WE Charity says it’s launching a major restructuring and corporate review to “refocus” its “mission” after it became embroiled in controversy over a contract to administer a $900-million federal summer student grant program.
“After much reflection and with great care and concern for all our stakeholders, we have made some important decisions to refocus on our mission, simplify our program offering, and undertake a series of governance and structural changes,” said a statement released tonight.
WE Charity says it is bringing in outside experts to review and streamline its structure and governance. The charity also says it will hire a risk and compliance officer that will report directly to the board of directors.
The board itself will be reviewed for diversity, inclusion, independence and governance issues, says the statement. A general workplace review will also be conducted.
The charity also said former lieutenant governor of Ontario David Onley will join the organization to help guide its structural changes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have been under fire since announcing the program and the contract with WE Charity late last month because of the charity’s association with the Trudeau family.
Trudeau and his mother, Margaret, have appeared at a number of WE Day events, while Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, hosts a podcast for the group called “WE Well-being.”
Initially, WE Charity said members of the Trudeau family were not paid for appearing at WE events, although Sophie Grégoire Trudeau had been reimbursed for travel expenses.
Late last week, it emerged that Trudeau’s mother Margaret was paid approximately $250,000 for speaking at 28 events, while his brother Alexandre spoke at eight events and received about $32,000.
The deal between WE Charity and the federal government has since been dissolved but the controversy over Trudeau’s role in the contract continues to haunt his government.
More to come …