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Canada’s Ethics Commissioner drops investigation into Bill Morneau’s WE Charity trips


TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, the Ethics Commissioner of Canada announced that he is discontinuing his investigation into former Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s trips with WE Charity.

“We are pleased with the Ethics’ Commissioner’s finding that there was no ethical breach in these volunteer trips,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE. “We have always maintained that these trips were done in good faith and welcome this important clarification of the facts.”

To further correct inaccurate information, WE Charity, ME to WE Social Enterprises and the Kielburger brothers are voluntarily releasing a series of in-depth investigations and reviews conducted by non-partisan experts into the awarding of the CSSG and the overall conduct of WE. These experts spent hundreds of hours reviewing documentation, including a two-month forensic audit review examining the workings of WE Charity, ME to WE Social Enterprises and the Kielburger’s personal finances.

Matt Torigian, former Deputy Solicitor General for the province of Ontario, reviewed the awarding of the CSSG. He examined over 5,000 pages of emails, documents and other relevant material released by the federal government to the Standing Committee on Finance and by WE Charity. He found that there are three distinct elements that have been widely misreported in recent months. Mr. Torigian confirmed that:

  1. The Government of Canada, not WE Charity, first proposed that WE Charity might be suitable to administer the Canada Student Services Grant.
  2. The Government of Canada considered other organizations and entities that would have been capable of administering the Canada Student Services Grant.
  3. The Government did not predetermine and, in particular, the Prime Minister’s Office did not predetermine, that WE Charity would be selected to administer the Canada Student Services Grant.

“To be clear, the CSSG Program was not pre-determined for WE Charity to implement; the government approached WE Charity through the proper channels, requesting that the charity submit a proposal,” said Torigian.

Furthermore, two forensic auditing firms conducted in-depth reviews.

Forensic accountant Dr. Al Rosen is releasing the findings of a fulsome review of WE finances to specifically correct inaccurate claims that WE Charity was not in sound financial condition prior to being selected by the Government of Canada for the CSSG program, as well as other questions about its finances. He further reinforces that the Government of Canada contribution agreement would have only reimbursed eligible expenses, and WE Charity was not entitled or able to receive profit.

Dr. Al Rosen drew from the findings of Froese Forensics, which conducted a detailed forensic audit with unrestricted access to confirm the financial integrity of WE and the Kielburger brothers. This unrestricted access included WE’s financial statements, general ledgers and corporate records. The Kielburgers provided bank records, real estate transactions, and imaging of the full contents of computers, and cell phones, and more.

Independent experts have also confirmed ME to WE Social Enterprises has given 100% of its profits to WE Charity or reinvested funds for social purposes. Furthermore, the Kielburger brothers have never financially benefited from WE Charity. They received only a salary (publicly available HERE) from ME to WE Social Enterprises. In fact, the Kielburger family are among the most generous financial supporters of WE Charity.

The report states:

  • “We found no evidence of improper financial benefits to the Kielburgers from WE Charity, M2WSE (ME to WE Social Enterprises) or any WE Canada entity. We found no evidence of improper transactions which benefited the Kielburgers personally.”
  • “WE also reviewed property related expenses in the WE Canada entities for possible misallocated revenues or expenses. WE did not identify any inappropriate dealings between the WE Canada entities and the Kielburgers in relation to real estate or any financial benefits to the Kielburgers.”

Dr. Rosen also determined that WE Charity’s decision to wind down was prudent given the economic circumstances and long-term impacts of COVID-19.

“These financial findings stand in stark contrast to many public allegations launched against the organization by Members of Parliament, Canadian media, and select critics,” writes Dr. Rosen, “The primary difference between our findings and the assertions made by the organization’s critics is that ours were developed as a result of a detailed investigation into the organization’s finances before, and since, the onset of the Pandemic.”

“Millions of Canadians supported WE Charity over the years. We hope that this accurate information helps to ensure public trust that WE Charity always operated with the highest financial integrity.” added Marc Kielburger.

The reports by Matt Torigian and Dr. Al Rosen were commissioned by the Stillman Foundation, a US-based foundation seeking to better understand Canadian events regarding WE Charity. WE Charity has made the full reports publicly available here and here, and encourages Canadians to review the findings. A 7min video is also available with Matt Torigian providing a summary of results is also available HERE.


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