Framework for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Ontario Trillium Foundation supports and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our entire organization with our staff, volunteers and in our service to our communities. We believe in creating opportunities for our employees, volunteers, and grantees to succeed in their work.

We celebrate the unique differences, diverse backgrounds and experiences of all our employees and volunteers. We welcome new talents and insights, as we foster a culture of inclusion and accessibility for all.  

Our approach in supporting diversity and inclusion considers demographics throughout the province and systemic barriers that many groups face resulting from historical and codified policies of exclusion.

It is our expectation that our employees, volunteers, stakeholders and partners share our values and take part in a societal transformation where a commitment to diversity and inclusion is not only a corporate responsibility, but also an individual one.

OTF vision for diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity, equity & inclusion graphicAs a public agency, funder and employer, we build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario by living the values of diversity, equity and inclusion and ensuring we are reflective of the diversity of those we serve.

Building on our history and achievements, we will act on our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion while strengthening the Ontario Trillium Foundation and helping all communities across Ontario thrive.

At the core of this vision is a focus on three pillars: staff, volunteers, and communities.

We understand diversity as the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within a group, organization, or society. The dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to, ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

We understand equity as a condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences. We are committed to the fair and just treatment of all community members through the creation of opportunities and reduction of disparities in opportunities and outcomes for diverse communities in Ontario. We understand that these disparities are rooted in historical and contemporary injustices and disadvantages.

We understand inclusion as the situation in which individuals or communities (both physical and demographic) are fully involved in the society in which they reside, including the economic, social, cultural and political dimensions of that society. It requires the creation of an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, respected, able to participate fully and valued. It’s about recognizing the needs of each individual and having the right conditions so that each person has the opportunity to bring their entire selves to work and contribute their ideas, experiences and talents to the fullest.

Our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion will evolve as we learn and work on implementing this framework. 

Fundamentals for success

Board & Senior Leadership commitment

We believe that senior leaders are essential and must be visible champions for diversity inside and outside the Foundation. Having a diverse and inclusive environment is a collaborative effort that must engage the whole Foundation. We will help identify opportunities and support leaders in their roles as champions.

Employee involvement

We believe that individually and collectively employees have a role and voice in owning and stewarding diversity, equity and inclusion.

Stakeholder engagement

We believe collaboration results in better outcomes. OTF believes a deeper understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion among all stakeholders is crucial to making progress.

Stakeholders include employees, prospective employees, volunteers, applicants and grantees, government, public sector organizations, community members, grassroots agencies, experts, and the Public Benefit Sector.

Accountability and reporting

We believe establishing accountabilities provides clarity and helps drive productive efforts. We will establish clear accountabilities for our diversity and inclusion initiatives and commitments.


We believe clear, consistent, open communication is essential for a healthy and productive organizational culture. We will communicate regularly about our diversity progress, share experiences and best practices.

Measuring progress

We believe “what gets measured, gets done” in our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. We will develop key metrics and will use a range of appropriate diversity performance indicators.

Equity and access in granting is tracked and reported as part of our Balanced Scorecard.

For volunteers, we use self-identification surveys for both the Board and GRTs. We are launching a similar survey to track diversity among staff and leadership. This information helps identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Goals and tactics


In response to those we serve, and in delivering on our mission, it is critical that we reflect our communities by recruiting and retaining the best talent.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is committed to the following tactics:

1. Recruitment, learning and inclusive culture:

  • Incorporate recommendations from the work of the OTF Affinity Groups (convened in 2017) where appropriate. Foster a welcoming, barrier-free environment
  • Strengthen our culture of inclusion
  • Recruit and develop people from diverse communities, including but not limited to people living with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, Francophones, members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and racialized people (outreach, how to succeed, internships)
  • Enhance practices to identify talent earlier and accelerate professional development
  • Enable and promote work practices that foster diversity of thought and build diverse teams
  • Strengthen OTF’s work culture through the application of equity and diversity principles in internal communications and staff contribution to decision-making.
  • Continually increase OTF’s knowledge of effective equity and diversity practices to enhance individual and organizational performance

2. Leadership Development

  • Address any potential barriers to career advancement
  • Enable diversity and inclusion learning, including addressing unconscious bias
  • Fostering inclusive leadership

3. Regularly track, measure and report on OTF’s progress toward achieving its vision of equity, diversity, and inclusion.


It is important that volunteers understand the importance of and reflect the diversity of our communities ensuring fairness and inclusivity are a part of everything we do in delivering on our mission.

OTF is committed to the following tactics:

  1. Advocate with the Public Appointments Secretariat (PAS) and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport that OTF volunteers reflect the diversity of our communities.
  2. Actively recruit potential PAS appointees that reflect the diverse communities of the province and address gaps.
  3. Continually increase volunteers’ understanding of pressing issues communities are facing and building solutions for, and their knowledge of equity and inclusion ensuring fair and unbiased granting.


We will provide fair and equitable access to OTF funding, services and partnerships while addressing systemic barriers and historical challenges.

OTF is committed to the following tactics:

  1. Reaching out to and building relationships with all communities, including those not traditionally involved with OTF and engaging thought leaders from those communities when developing strategies and making decisions.
  2. Ensuring our services meet the diverse needs of organizations and communities across the province.
  3. Integrating equity principles into our outreach, policies, practices, partnerships and services addressing systemic barriers.
  4. Making OTF communications vehicles accessible and reflective of Ontario’s diversity.
  5. Tracking, reporting, and improving on OTF’s progress toward achieving its vision of equitable, inclusive, and accessible granting on a regular basis.
  6. Applying equity principles in its grant assessment practices ensuring staff and volunteers are adequately trained and knowledgeable about equity principles and Ontario’s diversity.
  7. Continually increase staff understanding of pressing issues communities are facing and building solutions for, and their knowledge of equity and inclusion ensuring fair and unbiased granting.

Accountability (oversight & reporting)

The CEO is accountable to the board for the implementation of this Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Framework.