Eligibility Policy

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In order to maintain the highest standards of public accountability, ensure an efficient application process, and provide an opportunity for applicants to self-assess their eligibility, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has established eligibility criteria for applicants and activities as outlined in its governing documents with the Government of Ontario.

OTF funds are granted in such a way as to avoid dependency on OTF or the Province of Ontario and are intended to supplement rather than duplicate or substitute for any existing sources of funds.

OTF funds help finance, through time-limited, results oriented grants, eligible costs that directly support the funded project activities.


This policy defines eligibility for OTF funding, and outlines exclusions. Funds are provided to eligible applicants delivering eligible project activities that directly align with OTF Priority Outcomes. 


3.1 Eligible Applicants

OTF considers any one of the following organizations eligible for funding:

  • A charitable organization or foundation registered with the Canada Revenue Agency
  • An organization incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation without share capital in a Canadian jurisdiction
  • A First Nation or a First Nation library
  • A Metis, Inuit or other Indigenous community
  • A municipality with a population of 20,000 or less is eligible to:
    • apply for funding under the Inspired or Active People Action Areas 
    • apply for their cultural or recreation agencies, including municipal libraries and museums
    • County Library Boards and Local Services Boards serving populations of 20,000 or less are eligible to apply for funding under the Inspired or Active People Action Areas
  • A collaboration of two or more organizations, where the lead organization meets OTF eligibility criteria, and accepts responsibility for the application and grant including financial and reporting accountability (refer to Collaborative Applicants Policy).

In addition, an applying organization must:

  • Have a presence and reputation in Ontario with a primary purpose of delivering community programs and services to benefit people in Ontario
  • Comply with all applicable legislation
  • Demonstrate capacity to manage and complete the proposed project

3.2 Ineligible Applicants

OTF will not support the following:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations
  • Organizations with a mandate or history of political or advocacy activities, such as furthering the aims of a political party; promoting a political doctrine; or persuading the public to adopt a particular political view 
  • Any organization whose major activities and/or major resources are used to directly influence the position of political parties or to bring about change in law or government policy, through lobbying of government or political activity
  • Organizations or agencies established primarily to support/fund otherwise ineligible organizations
  • Organizations that do not have presence, purpose and reputation for delivering activities with community benefit in Ontario
  • Organizations that discriminate, or that seek to limit the legal rights and activities of people, as per OTF's Anti-Discrimination Policy

While OTF will not directly support the following, they can be part of an eligible collaboration (refer to Collaborative Applicants Policy): 

  • Private or Corporate Foundations and their agencies
  • Agencies of provincial or federal governments
  • Municipalities with populations over 20,000, and their agencies
  • Universities, colleges, schools and hospitals, and their agencies 
  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations

3.3 Ineligible Activities

OTF will not support the following types of funding activities:

  • Financing of deficits
  • Purchase, or sale of alcohol or cannabis, related licenses or permits or capital renovations or repairs to facilities or spaces used for the specific purpose of selling alcohol or cannabis
  • Any political activity (program or project with an established political purpose) including:
    • support of, or opposition to, a particular party or candidate for office
    • promotion of a political or socio-economic ideology
    • intending to bring about or oppose a change in law or governmental policy through court action, lobby of government, or political activity unless it furthers the non-political aims of the organizations and is ancillary to its usual non-political activities
  • Any program that unreasonably advocates for one side of a public or political debate between one or more organizations, and federal, provincial or municipal governments
  • Religious activities or programs
  • Capital renovations or repairs for facilities or space used for the specific purpose of religious observance or practice
  • Discriminatory Activities, as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code and OTF Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Contributions to general fundraising drives or capital campaigns
  • Dollar-for-dollar replacement of government funding
  • Organizational core funding
  • Project activities, programs or services taking place outside of Ontario 
  • Project activities completed or costs incurred before the approval of the request to OTF
  • Flow-through funding (funds that will be reallocated to a third-party organization)
  • Subsidization of government mandated positions or activities
  • Loans


Collaborative Application: 
When two or more organizations with a well-defined relationship submit an application for funding in which the organizations are working jointly to achieve a common goal. Characteristics include mutual benefit, shared decision making and accountability to each other and to the communities they serve. (refer to Collaborative Applicants Policy)

A collaborative may include both eligible and ineligible organizations who are in good standing and do not engage in discriminatory or political/advocacy activities. The lead organization (Collaborative Lead) must be eligible as per OTF policies and fully assumes the responsibilities of applicant and grantee.

Political Activity: 
An activity is considered political if a grantee:

  1. explicitly communicates a call to political action (that is, encourages the public to contact an elected representative or public official and urges them to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country);
  2. explicitly communicates to the public that the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country should be retained (if the retention of the law, policy or decision is being reconsidered by a government), opposed, or changed; or
  3. explicitly indicates in its materials (whether internal or external) that the intention of the activity is to incite, or organize to put pressure on, an elected representative or public official to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country.

Flow through funding:
Funding that will be reallocated to a third-party organization. The line of funding accountability is between OTF and the grantee. 


Applicant; Application; Eligibility; Eligible; Ineligible; Advocacy; Political Activity; Flow Through


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