WE Charity only organization capable of running COVID-19 volunteer program: PM


OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the non-partisan civil service, not him, decided the WE charity was the best option to dole out grants to students who volunteer in this summer.

WE will administer the Canada Student Service Grant, which will provide eligible students with up to $5,000 to support the costs of post-secondary education in the fall, with the amount of each grant dependent on the time the recipient devotes to volunteer work.

That demanded an organization with reach, Trudeau said in a news conference Friday.

"We needed to have a partner to help establish the networks and to deliver that with all partners across the country, and as the public service dug into it, they came back with only one organization that was capable of networking and organizing and delivering this program on the scale that we needed it, and that was the WE program," he said.

He also said the Canadian organization, founded by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, is not making any profits off the administration of the grant program.

"We're making sure that their costs are covered but they are not making any profits on this. Our focus is on helping kids get those opportunities that they need," Trudeau said.

His own association with the WE organization, which has several components, is one reason why the government deferred to the public service on the decision, he said.

The program is part of a $9-billion investment by the federal government to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic on young people that also includes money for thousands more summer-job placements and internships.

The Canadian Press

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