Canadian charities worry about loss of trust, donation amid WE scandal

WE Charity co-founders testify at committee hearing
ABOVE: WE Charity co-founders testify at committee hearing.

The head of a group promoting charities says the sector is worried about long-term negative impacts of the ongoing WE controversy on Parliament Hill.

Imagine Canada’s Bruce McDonald says the concerns are that donors will pull back on giving money, or volunteering their time, due to a lack of trust in how it’s used.

Read more: Ontario government severs ties with WE Charity amid controversy

Imagine Canada, a charity itself, has calculated the COVID-19 pandemic will cut donations by up to $6 billion this year, and that was before the controversy hit.

McDonald says another worry is that governments will become hesitant to partner with charities over political concerns.

The timeline of Trudeau’s WE Charity controversy
The timeline of Trudeau’s WE Charity controversy

WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger spent four hours at the House of Commons committee last week, where they were peppered with questions about their organization’s complex structure and social enterprise arm known as ME to WE.

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McDonald says having multiple foundations and arms is not representative of the sector, but adds many charities do rely on social enterprises to fund their operations.