Investigation: Ontario Trillium Foundation ‘muzzled’ charities with changes to advocacy policy

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request strongly suggest that partisanship influenced the foundation’s shift in 2020 toward a more restrictive approach to grantee advocacy.

Why It Matters

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is one of the province’s — and the country’s — largest funders. Any indication the foundation disapproves of grantees engaging in advocacy, one expert says, could have a ripple effect, “chilling” advocacy among charitable organizations across the province.

John Good, a retired community foundation executive director and current board member of an environmental conservation charity at the Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary on May 1, 2023. (Photo: Will Pearson)

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Last December, John Good and fellow board members of an Ontario-based environmental conservation charity decided not to sign a petition condemning the provincial government’s plan to open a portion of the Greenbelt to development. It was a decision he felt conflicted about. 

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