BurlingtonGreen looking to the city for $50,000 a year; they have received $773,500 from the Trillium Fund since 2017

By Pepper Parr

March 3rd, 2024


The Ontario Trillium Foundation advises that: The $615K grant was a Grow grant which are typically have terms of up to 3 years. The other 2 grants were Resilient Community Fund grants which had terms of 1 year and a maximum request amount of $150K.

OTF does not accept MPP letters of support nor are MPPs required to support grant applications.


Council will hear a request from BurlingtonGreen this week for an annual fee from the city for services they provide.

The Staff recommendation is to approve one time funding for 2024 in the maximum amount of $50,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund as a fee for services provided by BurlingtonGreen.

Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and BurlingtonGreen outlining the services to be provided in 2024, including performance measures in a form satisfactory to the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel; and

Consider an ongoing fee for services approach with BurlingtonGreen in the amount of $50,000 per calendar year during the Mayor’s 2025 budget process the period of 2024 – 2027.

This is where the rubber hits the road for the BurlingtonGreen people.  CleanUp-GrenUp

In 2023, BurlingtonGreen received $70,000 under the Recreation, Community and Culture’s Community Development program to deliver programs which support the City’s strategic directions related to sustainable transportation, urban nature priorities, climate change actions and zero waste.

The unfortunate part of the Staff report before City council this week is that there is no mention of the $ 773, 500. BurlingtonGreen has received from the provincial Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that distributes profits from the lotteries.

Ontario Trillium Foundation Community Investments

Amount awarded$615,300.00


Delivering a project that builds on the success of a proven model or program with a $615,300 grant over 36 months to increase the number of people volunteering in community eco-action activities. Encouraging people to support a healthy and sustainable environment, this initiative is helping people and resource users take deliberate actions to benefit the environment, and has an impact on the lives of 6,300 people in the community.


In Burlington activities like this are part of the right of passage; an experience that stays with younger people forever.

Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund

Amount awarded$78,400


Our organization, with a $78,400 Resilient Communities Fund grant over 12 months, will rebuild and recover from impacts of COVID-19 by engaging staff to create new, inclusive and safe volunteer opportunities, attract more diverse volunteer participation, and implement new volunteer fundraising strategies.

Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund

Amount awarded $79,800


Three generation Clean Up crew – an annual event that draws thousands.

From 2017 through to 2023/24 BurlingtonGreen has received $773,500.00 from different OTF programs  that are financed by the proceeds from the different lottery  programs.

BurlingtonGreen has been operating in the community since 2007 and has a long history of partnering with the City. They took over the annual community Clean Up event from the City in 2011 (formerly organized by the Mayor’s office) and significantly increased participation as it has evolved into the annual Clean-up Green-up event, running over several months instead of just one week around Earth Day.

Forestry staff and BurlingtonGreen have partnered on several occasions to deliver tree planting, give aways and educational events. The City entered into a funding agreement with BG in 2021/22 to complete the community based Electric Mobility Strategy presented to Council in September 2022 (fifty percent of funding was provided by the provincial Ministry of Energy).

The Pump House that once brought in water from the lake to meet the city’s needs and is now used by BurlingtonGreen as an EcoHub. No word on how long a lease was signed or the rental rate.

In 2022, BG successfully made arrangements with the City to lease the Burlington pump house located on the Beachway. They transformed it into a community Eco Hub where they present climate related programs and actions, such as:

  • Home energy retrofits showcasing the air source heat pump installed at the Eco Hub;
  • Active and sustainable transportation given the location on the multi-use trail along with bike parking and a bike repair station; and
  • Electric mobility with the soon to be installed electric vehicle charging

The fee for services approach will help to supplement external funding and provide additional support for staff and resources allowing BurlingtonGreen to attract volunteers, develop and coordinate communications and successfully deliver activities noted above.

BurlingtonGreen has made a huge difference to the public perception of environmental issues.  Their reach starts with students at the elementary level through to grandparents.  The corporate sector is very comfortable and readily identifies with the group.

But there is a bigger question here that does not get raised in the Staff report – at what point does the City pick up all the costs of this organization.

There are other community organizations that deliver services to the community at no cost. The work done by Bfast has resulted in transit services that meet the needs of that part of the population that depends on public transit.

A neighbourhood tradition in Burlington – not a dime of public money.

The Food Banks provide services without financial support from the city.

The matter before Council should not be:  does the City keep providing and increasing ongoing financial support but rather at what point do taxpayer dollars get used to support community groups. There is a policy the city does not appear to be adhering to.

There is absolutely nothing in the Staff report on the BurlingtonGreen financials; how much they raise and what it gets spent on.

BurlingonGreen has an impressive public profile; it has close to Holy Grail status. Its reach within the community is both admirable and far reaching – the questions is how far should it be reaching into the public purse.

The 3711 taxpayers who signed a petition against the 7.5% 2024 tax increase have to be taken into consideration – their voice is as valid as the BurlingtonGreen supporters.

Past due property tax at the highest level in 5 years.

Transparency and accountability launched a political career.

Missing anywhere in the Staff report are the two pillars that said to be critical to what gets done with public money: transparency and accountability – a special interest group doesn’t use the words and City Council appears to be taking a pass on them as well.

We will return tomorrow with detail on what BurlingtonGreen has done in terms of its own fund raising and how it spends the funds it receives.  And we will look at that policy as well.




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4 comments to BurlingtonGreen looking to the city for $50,000 a year; they have received $773,500 from the Trillium Fund since 2017

  • David

    A good indicator to me of how seriously we take our environment is the off-ramp from the QEW West to North Shore Blvd I usually get caught at the light before turning East onto Lakeshore, while waiting for the light I glance over to the shoulder of the road and look at the trash people throw out from their vehicles. Boomers for all their apparent faults wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.

  • Joe Gaetan

    BG Financials 2019 to 2022
    Year Comp %
    End Revenue Expenses Comp of Rev
    2019 $367,933 $372,012 $310,364 84%
    2020 $504,983 $358,119 $315,732 63%
    2021 $368,534 $357,567 $303,049 82%
    2022 $247,793 $347,841 $280,426 113%
    Total $1,489,243 $1,435,539 $1,209,571 81%

    The above represents the Revenue and Expenses for BG for the years 2019 to 2022. The data is as reported by BG to the CRA. The financials for the year ending 2023 have not as yet been published on the CRA website. I am sure council will want to see those figures before making a decision on the $50K ask. I added the Comp % of revenue. Based on the fact that comp was more than revenue in 2022 I understand why they may be looking for help from COB. This org does a lot with the help of volunteers.

  • Anneand Dave Marsden

    Not sure if readers are familiar with the Pride organization that was called out by a member of the public on not spending public funding on the intended purpose and had to pay it back. So yes, Grahame is right more transparency and information is needed. We believe they do a superb job but that does not mean transparency and accountability responsibilities can be set aside in terms of use of public monies. There may well and likely will be no legitimate concerns verified but public has a right to know.

  • Grahame

    What is the value of this org using the Pump House .Are they paying rent ?Is there a lease agreement?Does Burlington own the Pump House or Halton?
    We need a lot more info on what the OLG funds are used for?