Skip to content

Community Living: funding, staffing among challenges the non-profit sees

Non-profit's annual expenses are $24.5 million, with majority for staffing
Participants in the 43rd annual Walk and Roll for Community Living Burlington smile for the camera.

Community Living Burlington (CLB) has been serving the area since 1955 but recently, like many organizations, it has struggled through pandemic restrictions, staff turnover and shortages, and challenging sources of funding. 

The good news is that the board of directors for CLB has a renewed spirit, a desire to learn from the challenges faced over the past three years, and has a new Strategic Plan in place that will see the organization not only survive but thrive in its goals towards 2027. 

Imagine running a business with 30 plus locations all operating 24/7, a head office staff of 35, an outreach with dozens of partnering organizations, more than 300 employees serving some 400 people that often need constant support, and doing it all as a non-profit.

If we were to say that this business was located in Burlington, you would say that it is a major employer, a significant operation and a great community asset.

The mission of CLB is to enrich the quality of life and to promote full and meaningful inclusion in our community of people who have a developmental disability. 

Developmental disability, as described by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behaviour areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period (children and youth), may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person's life.

Examples of developmental disabilities include autism, behaviour disorders, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, intellectual disability, and spina bifida.

CLB receives what is known as a contract from the provincial Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services based on the different services that CLB provides to each client (residential supports, 24-hour supported group living, supported independent living, employment services, and access to a range of community resources).

In addition to government funding, CLB raises funds through grants and donations, other social programs, and events such as the ‘Walk and Roll’ which takes place in September, to cover annual expenses of $24.5 million, almost 80 per cent of which goes toward staffing.

Judy Pryde, the executive director of CLB, noted, “Funding is broken down depending on the services we provide. Adult group supportive living (in homes owned or rented by CLB) is the largest portion of our support followed by day services such as life skills support.”

Those two programs require a huge number of support workers so that those in the community with developmental disabilities have continuous guidance, care, encouragement and emotional support while living in the community. A generation ago, many of the people that CLB supports today would have been sent to an institution and, perhaps, forgotten by the larger community.

CLB's employment team works with many businesses to encourage inclusive employment throughout Burlington. CLB's Children's Inclusion Services team provides services and support to licensed child care programs, nursery schools or licensed private home child care in the Burlington community.

CLB also offers day services at four locations: its Mainway facility; Compass Point Church, Tansley Woods Community Centre and the Rotary Youth Centre.

“We’re not just a welfare case,” said Pryde. “The people we support have so much to offer. They have social capital themselves. The people we support are great employees. They’re reliable. They come to work. They love their job. They’re personable. They’re going to be there. They’re going to be on time. They’re people who are part of, and should be seen as part of, our community.”

Graham Browne, a two-term chairman of the CLB board helped lead the year-long strategic plan process. “The new strategic plan looks out to 2027 and takes into account all the changes we anticipate will affect the way we deliver our service,” explained Browne. “We learned (through the strategic planning process) about risk and managing risk, new ways of communicating, and the importance to attract, keep and fully engage staff, because staff are at a premium.”

When asked what the community can do to help with the mission of CLB, Browne said, “People do interact routinely with the folks that we serve in grocery stores, in Tim Hortons, a lot of places. I would encourage people to learn a little more about us. I think that they’ll find that we do great work and there is more that we can do along with the community to maximize the potential of the people that we serve.  They’ve got a lot to give and we sometimes forget about that.”

For more information about Community Living Burlington, visit



What's next?

Reader Feedback

Lawson Hunter

About the Author: Lawson Hunter

Lawson Hunter has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years. His articles on technology, the environment, and business have been published in local and national newspapers, magazines and trade publications
Read more
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks