On June 18th, the Ministry of Education had awarded $250,000 to WE Charity for providing student engagement programming for social justice issues.
This was part of a multi-million dollar enhanced student mental health program from the ministry as part of its COVID-19 response.
Alexandria Adamo, spokesperson for education minister Stephen Lecce, told the Canadian Press that the Ontario government is deeply concerned and troubled by the allegations that have been made against WE.
The ministry will not renew its contract with the charity and is going to investigate any expenditures to date.
The charity, founded by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, has been the subject of intense scrutiny following a sole-sourced contract awarded by the federal government to operate its $900 million summer student grant program.
WE Charity opted out of the contract that would have seen it earn up to $47 million in management and operational fees.
The ministry may be ending a formal relationship with WE, but school boards and individual schools are not banned from participating in activities and programming from the charity, including its popular “Me to We” program.
April Scott-Clarke with the Upper Canada District School Board said there was no board-wide activity or program with the charity.
“Currently, activities that support WE Charity are initiated and acted on at the school level, with schools choosing what makes sense for their community,” Scott-Clarke said.
“We do have many schools that have WE clubs, however we also have many schools that do other types of fundraising and create their own independent groups that promote change in their schools and communities.”
No comment was received from the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario about its activities with WE by deadline.
Morrisburg-based St. Mary-St. Cecilia Catholic School did have a Me-to-We Club active in that school.
By Phillip Blancher, local journalism initiative reporter, The Leader