Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending the federal government’s determination to enlist a Toronto-based charity with shut ties to his household to manage its pupil volunteer program, saying the WE Charity is the one group able to executing a nationwide program at this scale.
Talking to reporters from a Kanata, Ont., brewery on Friday, Trudeau mentioned federal civil servants concluded that WE has the assets and community in place by its present actions that may enable it to attach hundreds of scholars looking for volunteer alternatives with organizations throughout the nation.
“We have launched a particularly bold program to get younger folks serving of their communities,” mentioned Trudeau.
“The WE group is the one group in Canada that has the dimensions and the power to ship volunteer alternatives for younger folks proper throughout the nation in any respect ranges of organizations.”
The Canada Scholar Service Grant (CSSG) program, introduced yesterday, will present post-secondary and up to date graduates with money grants in change for hours spent volunteering with non-profit organizations. This system targets college students hoping to avoid wasting for his or her post-secondary schooling who’re having hassle discovering summer time jobs as a result of pandemic-induced financial slowdown.
WATCH: Trudeau questioned about contracting WE Charity to run COVID pupil volunteer program
The grant will probably be price between $1,000 and $5,000, relying on the variety of hours accomplished. For each 100 hours labored, a pupil is eligible for $1,000, which suggests somebody should volunteer 500 hours to obtain the complete grant.
Minister of Variety and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger mentioned Thursday it was the Division of Employment and Social Improvement that beneficial WE Charity be contracted to dole out the grants. The worldwide charity, previously referred to as Free the Youngsters, was began by human rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger in 1995.
“They assessed WE Charity as having the mandatory expertise, experience and capability to ship the big scale program,” Chagger mentioned.
The federal government has pledged $912 million for the CSSG, nevertheless it’s not clear how a lot WE Charity will obtain. Trudeau mentioned WE Charity will not make a revenue however will probably be paid to manage this system.
The federal government is paying WE $19.5 million to cowl its prices; $5 million of that sum will probably be handed on to associate organizations resembling Huge Brothers, Huge Sisters and Pathways to Schooling.
In accordance with a spokesperson from Employment and Social Improvement Canada, the federal authorities gives funding and establishes the broad parameters of the challenge.
“Below a contribution settlement, the federal government units the high-level funding parameters, together with the targets, desired outcomes, eligible expenditures, and efficiency measurement,” Marie-Eve Sigouin-Campeau mentioned in an e mail to CBC Information.
“Nonetheless, the recipient will not be performing on the federal government’s behalf and the federal government doesn’t direct or dictate how the recipient will perform their challenge.”
The settlement can also be topic to an audit to ensure the specified outcomes are achieved. Bills are additionally reviewed. The federal authorities has the ability to get better the price of claims which might be later deemed ineligible.
WATCH: CBC’s Catherine Cullen reviews on the Liberal authorities’s determination to contract WE Charity
Requested about battle of curiosity
The prime minister and several other members of his household have participated in WE occasions prior to now.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Trudeau’s spouse, is an “ambassador and ally” for the group and hosts a podcast in affiliation with WE targeted on psychological well being points.
Grégoire Trudeau and Trudeau’s mom, Margaret, attended a star-studded occasion at Wembley Enviornment in London, U.Okay., in March of this yr, shortly earlier than Grégoire Trudeau introduced she had examined optimistic for COVID-19.
Trudeau himself has been a frequent visitor speaker at WE Day, an annual occasion that pulls hundreds of younger folks.
“I’ve labored with WE prior to now as a result of I consider strongly in selling alternatives for younger folks,” mentioned Trudeau in response to a query from CBC Information about whether or not he’s in a battle of curiosity due to his household’s shut ties to the charity.
“I’ll proceed to take action, as will my household.”
WE Charity mentioned in an announcement to CBC Information that members of the Trudeau household do not obtain any look charges or honoraria once they seem at WE occasions. Grégoire Trudeau has been reimbursed for journey bills associated to her volunteer work with the group.
The Battle of Curiosity Act bars public workplace holders and their relations from accepting presents that could be seen to affect them as they train their duties.
A spokesperson for the Workplace of the Battle of Curiosity and Ethics Commissioner mentioned in an announcement to CBC Information that, in lots of instances, free journey could be thought of a present beneath the act.
“A present can’t be accepted by the general public workplace holder or a member of their household if it could moderately be seen to have been given to affect the general public workplace holder (on this case the Prime Minister) within the train of his official energy, responsibility or perform,” the assertion mentioned.
The act requires politicians to declare any presents they or their relations have obtained.
A spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Workplace mentioned Grégoire Trudeau’s involvement with WE has been cleared by the ethics commissioner.