Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant - July 21, 2020

[ * ] An asterisk appears where sensitive information has been removed in accordance with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.

PM memo: Increased support for Canadian youth and services / PM return

In this section

Memorandum for the Prime Minister: Increased support for Canadian youth and students

(Decision sought)

Summary

  • This memorandum is seeking confirmation of your decision on policy and funding authority to implement supports for Canadian youth and students.
  • On April 22, 2020, you announced a suite of measures to further support youth, students and recent graduates. With your approval, the government would implement those measures, with a total cost of $8.821 billion, with $8.174 billion in 2020-21, and $648.4 million in 2021-22, as follows:
    • Youth Employment and Skills Development Programs - $728 million over two years ($725 million in 2020-21, and $3 million in 2021-22): expand existing federal employment, skills development and youth programing to help students find employment;
    • Canada Student Loans - $1.945 billion over two years ($1.299 billion in 2020-21, and $645.4 million in 2021-22): change the Canada Student Loan Program to increase eligibility and loan amounts, doubling the non-repayable Canada Student Grant, and increase support for Indigenous education;
    • Canada Emergency Student Benefit - $5.250 billion in 2020-21: provide $1,250 per month, for eligible students, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities from May through August 2020; and,
    • Canada Student Service Grant - $900 million in 2020-21: provide up to $5,000 for education in the fall, for students who work in national service positions within their communities.

Minister of Finance decision

  • PCO understands that the Minister of Finance decided to provide $8.834 billion, with $8.188 billion in 2020-21, and $645.4 million in 2021-22 (accrual basis) for youth and students aligned with your announcement on April 22, 2020, and as set out in Tab A.

PCO comment:

  • Youth employment and skills development programs
    • [ * ]
  • Canada Student Loans
    • [ * ]
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit
    • As per the briefings with you, eligibility for students will extend to all post-secondary students (excluding international students), including those in college and CEGEP, regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time. Students graduating during the summer, such as high-school students graduating in June, would be eligible only for the period after they have graduated. This would ensure that students do not receive benefits while in high school.
    • In addition, to receive the benefit, students will be required to attest that they are actively looking for work and are unable to find full-time work due to COVID-19.
    • [ * ]
    • Further, as a result of the various benefits announced for students, there is a risk that a student may ultimately benefit from more financial support than a working parent also unable to work due to COVID-19. For example, a student benefiting from the student benefit and who accesses the maximum amount under the Canada Student Service Grant, as well as the maximum grant through student financial assistance, could obtain as much as $16,000 in non-repayable supports. In addition, the new benefit’s interaction with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) should be considered. While it is understood that the policy intent is for students to not be able to access this benefit after they have qualified for and exhausted their CERB, without regulations to close the gap there could be situations where a student could receive both benefits.
    • [ * ]
  • Canada Student Service Grant
    • In your announcement, you indicated that grants in support of post secondary studies would be available for students helping in the fight against COVID-19 this summer. You also announced that the grant value would be between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the number of hours. The remaining details including eligibility criteria, scalability, specific amounts based on hours and delivery mechanism have yet to be determined.
    • PCO understands the Minister of Finance provided conditional funding, to be provided should you both approve a detailed proposal from the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. PCO is of the view that this proposal should be brought forward to the COVID-19 Committee for discussion.
  • WE Social Entrepreneurship Initiative
    • PCO understands that the Minister of Finance has decided to fund the WE Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. PCO disagrees with this decision because the WE proposal proposes to offer $500 grant for a 10-week mentorship program, which would likely not be accessible to those most in need.

PCO recommendation:

  • PCO understands that through your announcement on April 22, 2020, you approved the policy and funding outlined above. PCO offers the following additional recommendations:
    • [ * ]
    • That the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion be directed to bring forward a proposal to the COVID-19 Committee as soon as possible on the parameters for the Canada Student Service Grant. Further, in the design of the program, the Minister be directed to consider making the grants available to students who volunteer or work in essential service sectors during the summer, such as agriculture, food processing and long-term care. This will help address anticipated labour gaps in these critical areas expected as a result of the lower number of available temporary foreign workers and domestic workers.
    • That the $12 million allocated by the Minister of Finance for the WE Social Entrepreneurship Initiative not be funded at this time and that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion be requested to work with WE to redevelop this proposal in order to increase accessibility for those most in need.

Do you agree?

Approved electronically by:

Ian Shugart
May 1, 2020

Attachment
Moriarty/Davis/Shannon/Setlakwe/km

[ * ]

[ * ]

[ * ]

For the Canada Student Service Grant, we understand that the Minister of Finance decided to provide a total of $912 million in 2020-2021:

  • Establish a grant for Canadian post-secondary students, under the age of 30, enrolled in spring-summer or fall 2020 courses who significantly contribute to COVID-19 efforts through voluntary service.
  • $900 million in 2020-2021 for Employment and Social Development Canada for the grant. Access is conditional on the minister of Finance and Prime Minister approving a detailed proposal for this initiative.
  • $12 million in 2020-2021 to Employment and Social Development Canada to support the WE Social Entrepreneurship Initiative.

[ * ]

[ * ]

Annex 4: Canada Student Service Grant

PCO
  19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 Total
Canada Student Service Grant - Set aside ESDC   900         900
WE - ESDC   0         0
Total   900         900
Cash same as accrual

Note: The proposed funding includes a set-aside of $100 million associated with the implementation and associated costs for a broader portal and public awareness campaign. This amount is indicative. The final amount would depend on the delivery agent(s).
Note: Funding is notionally allocated in 2020-21, however, funding profile is notional based on policy intent and is subject to change upon further development (e.g. options for administration).
MOF
  19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 Total
Canada Student Service Grant - Set aside ESDC   900         900
WE - ESDC   12         12
Total   912         912
Cash same as accrual

Note: The proposed funding includes a set-aside of $100 million associated with the implementation and associated costs for a broader portal and public awareness campaign. This amount is indicative. The final amount would depend on the delivery agent(s).
Note: Funding is notionally allocated in 2020-21, however, funding profile is notional based on policy intent and is subject to change upon further development (e.g. options for administration).

Totals

PCO
  19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 Total
[ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
Annex 4   900 [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
Total   [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
Accrual

MOF
  19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 Total
[ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
Annex 4   912 [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
Total   [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]

Prime Minister’s decision

Date: May 15, 2020

Re: Support for students and youth

Agree with the Minister of Finance’s decisions, with the exception of $12M for the WE Social Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Signed,
[Original signed by]
Justin Trudeau

[ * ]

PM memo: [ * ] for the Canada Student Service Grant / PM return

In this section

Memorandum for the Prime Minister: [ * ] funding for the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)

(Decision sought)

Summary

  • This note seeks your decision on final policy and funding authority to implement the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) to provide up to a $5,000 grant to students who volunteer this summer to support their fall post secondary education costs.
  • On May 15, 2020, you provided funding and policy authority for measures to support students [ * ] financial support through [ * ] and the CSSG. At the same time, you requested that the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth (DIY) present a detailed proposal prior to accessing the $900 million set aside, in 2020-21, for the CSSG.
  • On May 22, 2020, Cabinet ratified the student grant proposal, ad referendum on final funding approval. The Minister of DIY is now seeking access to up to $545.8 million of the $900 million set-aside, in 2020-21 to support the creation and implementation of the CSSG. The Minister has requested that the funding be provided through the statutory appropriation contained in the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act, subject to the concurrence of the Minister of Health.

Minister of Finance decision

The Minister of Finance decided to:

  • Provide up to $543.8 million to Employment and Social Development Canada for the establishment and payments under the new, taxable Canada Student Service Grant. 
  • Limit eligibility of the grant to students eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit who are under the age of 30.
  • Convert the remaining $356.2 million in the set-aside [ * ] to a provision for this initiative. The Minister of DIY can seek access to this provision with the approval of the Minister of Finance following submission of a letter and supporting information regarding expenditures to date and demand above and beyond initial estimates. A subsequent funding decision would not be required to access this funding.
  • Provide any funding for these measures in 2020-21 through the statutory appropriation contained in the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act, subject to the concurrence of the Minister of Health. Should funding be required beyond the expiry date of the statutory authority, the funding remains available through voted means.
  • Waive the condition placed on the Canada Service Corps program for Employment and Social Development Canada to report on results for 2020-2021 in order to access frozen funding for 2021-2022 (FPRSP-013-2019-v1). ESDC is to report back to Treasury Board in 2021-2022 when information can be fully compiled regarding the Canada Service Corps program outcomes for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

PCO comment

  • The grant is time-limited, from June 15 to September 15, 2020, with success to be measured by the timeliness of launch, the number of students who access the grant, the quality and availability of placements, and whether the requirements are attainable. With respect to the latter, as a result of feedback from Cabinet and to support effective implementation, the Minister adjusted the proposal to provide five levels: $1,000 for 100 hours, $2,000 for 200 hours, $3,000 for 300 hours, $4,000 for 400 hours and $5,000 for 500 hours. PCO supports this added flexibility.
  • The cost for the CSSG, $545.8 million, is based upon providing 100,000 grants at $5,000. The total cost of the grant is difficult to predict, as it is unclear how many placements would be available, the number of hours each placements would offer, and how many students would apply. PCO supports the Minister of Finance’s decision to provide funding of $543.8 million, with access to the $356.2 million set aside via an exchange of letters between the Minister of Finance and the Minister of DIY. The Minister of Finance decided to approve $2 million less than requested, which is funding for the I Want to Help Portal, which you already provided on May 15, when you approved student and youth supports.
  • Of the 100,000 placements, WE Charities would create up to 40,000 placements and administer the grant for all placements (i.e. monitor hours and make payments to eligible students), this accounts for the level of program funding ($43.8 million). The remaining 60,000 additional placements would be with not-for-profit organizations seeking volunteers, however before they would be available, WE Charities would review, according to established criteria, to ensure a safe and quality placement. Placements would be contingent on WE’s ability to review and post them to the I Want to Help platform quickly, and for students to be matched.
  • WE Charities is well placed to administer the grant. Its youth networks and technological sophistication should create demand to help ensure the initiative is a success. A detailed contribution agreement has been negotiated between ESDC and WE Charities to ensure stewardship of public funds, effective program management and robust reporting and ongoing monitoring, such that there can be course correction, if required. WE Charities will be required to ensure a diversity of placements across regions, in urban and rural communities, and that appeal to a diversity of students (i.e. official languages and under-represented groups).
  • PCO supports the Minister of Finance’s decision to limit eligibility of the CSSG to students under 30 years, as it would ensure that the grant would be available to students who likely need it most, rather than older and more financially secure Canadians.
  • PCO agrees with the Minister of Finance’s decision to make the CSSG taxable, similar to other support measures implemented response to COVID-19 (i.e. Canada Emergency Student Benefit). Preliminary advice based on the Income Tax Act is that the benefit is taxable and legislation would be required to change. This would preclude the June 15, launch. While the benefit would be taxable, depending on students’ tax brackets, they could receive a tax refund of some or all of the taxes paid.
  • [ * ]

PCO recommendation

PCO agrees with the Minister of Finance’s decisions.

Do you agree?

Ian Shugart

Moriarty/Shannon/Setlakwe

Prime Minister’s decision

Date: June 15, 2020

Re: [ * ] funding for the Canada Student Service Grant

  1. I agree with the Minister of Finance’s funding decision
  2. The Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth is require to write to the President of the Treasury Board to provide an update, not for approval, of the Canada Student Service Grant, prior to drawing down funding for phase 2 and subsequent cohorts.

Signed,
[Original signed by]
Justin Trudeau

[ * ]

[ * ]

Annex 4: Canada Student Service Grant

Responsible Branch: FPRSP

Drafted by: Gilliam Webster

Lead department: Finance Canada (Department of)

Issue

You have asked for options for consideration to provide students with an incentive in the form of a service grant to motivate their participation and contribution to the COVID-19 efforts. You have also indicated an interest in options that ensure that those that meet the eligibility receive the grant. A one-page summary is attached at Annex 1 of this note.

The proposed approach is meant to accompany a broader “call-to-action” to students to pitch in and provide support to COVID-19 efforts. The call could focus on the extraordinary circumstance that the pandemic response requires and seek to encourage students to pitch in to care for those in their communities who need them most, consistent with public health advice, while also recognizing that youth are generally less vulnerable than older generations. This could be announced in the context of National Volunteer Week (April 19-25).

The call-to-action should also focus on the specific skills and abilities that Generation-Z (those aged 25 and under) can bring to bear on the current situation. In particular, the call should focus on student attributes and how they can bring these unique characteristics to bear in the pandemic (like entrepreneurship, ethical focus and an interest in making the world a better place, their radical inclusivity and interest in connecting with people of different background, their ability to multi-task). In addition, Generation Z is known to be quite ambitious and the call could reference ways that youth gain valuable skills that can serve them well later in life.

If the campaign is to be successful and appeal to youth, it will need to be a sophisticated online campaign. The Call could accompany the launch of the new “I want to Help” Volunteer matching Platform that will support broader efforts to help young Canadians pursue national service positions (see Annex 1). The platform could provide helpful information about the grant while also providing students with information about available service opportunities and ways to get involved in a national service campaign. Opportunities could be explored to also leverage this platform to provide a range of information to youth and students regarding government programs and supports available at this time.

The call could be championed by a non-profit that could help to promote and advertise opportunities to students and youth and maximize the use of social media to do that. ESDC is exploring options of working with youth serving organizations to direct more youth to the “I Want to Help” platform as well as promoting the proposed service grant, including through their social media channels (e.g., WE has a significant social media following).

The proposed grant

We propose a grant to be provided to any eligible student who significantly contributes to the COVID-19 effort. Given that the grant would be available to any eligible student, we propose carefully defined eligibility to ensure that the proper incentives are in place, avoid duplication with existing programs and incentives, and focus energies on COVID-19 efforts.

We recommend that a grant range from $1,000 to $5,000, eligible student that performs acts of service in a COVID-19 related sector, scaled to the contribution of the student. We recommend a tiered grant, in order to incent student volunteerism, reduce the administrative burden, and also contain the cost of the proposed approach. We propose the following tiers:

  • Bronze: $1,000 for 100 hours
  • Silver: $3,000 for 300 hours
  • Gold: $5,000 for 500 or more hours

Service hours would need to be completed between May 1, 2020 and Sept. 6, 2020. A minimum of 100 hours is recommended. Data suggests that volunteers aged 20-34 volunteer at a rate of approximately 42 per cent for an average of 126-147 hours per year, with a median contribution of 39-52 hours for this age group (StatsCan, 2013). Setting the minimum at 100 hours would encourage the average student to perform more hours of service than they normally would and make a greater contribution.

Eligibility for grants should be limited to current Canadian post-secondary students under the age of 30 enrolled in spring-summer or fall 2020 courses, including high school graduates starting post-secondary and graduate students. The proposed grant is not expected to contribute to income over the summer but to support students in meeting their financial needs in the fall. As such, priority is given to students who are likely to need additional income in the fall as this is the group that is most likely to be incentivized to apply for the grant.

  • We recommend excluding other high school students (about 4.5 million students).
    • Current high school students are unlikely to have significant financial needs (many live at home, not all will attend post-secondary education, and they do not need funding the fall). In addition, a number of provinces and territories require high school students to complete a certain number of service hours as a requirement to graduate.
    • In contrast, high school graduates planning to attend PSE in the fall (about 0.8 million students) are entering a difficult job market and may need to work over the summer to cover expenses in the fall.
  • Graduate students (about 0.3 million students) should also be included given that they have higher living expenses (most live on their own) and higher tuition costs and many need to work over the summer to pay for their living expenses and costs in the fall.
  • We propose excluding international students to focus efforts on Canadian citizens (about 0.3 million students). Very little financial assistance is available to international students generally as they are expected to be self-financing.
  • We do not recommend including recent post-secondary graduates. Although this group (about 0.5 million students) will be entering a difficult job market, any aid to this group should focus on supporting them to secure jobs.
  • We recommend extending eligibility to both full- and part-time students in order to recognize that a number of students may opt to study part-time over the summer or fall due to changing financial circumstances. We recommend, however, that eligibility be limited to those under 30 to exclude mature students (0.4 million students) and focus the initiative on youth. Youth are more likely to be affected by unemployment and – for those who have limited parental support – may have fewer financial resources at their disposal.

Further, we recommend that eligibility be limited to students who provide service in areas relating most directly to the COVID-19 effort, including economic and social impacts. Organizations could include: the public sector (public health and health care, local governments, emergency responses) or the non-profit sector (food security, initiatives focused on the elderly, public health, homelessness, mental health). This would incent students to volunteer in areas that are most directly related to COVID-19 efforts, while recognizing that the pandemic has had broad-based social and economic consequences.

  • Data suggests that about 42 per cent of volunteers contribute service hours to sectors related to health, hospitals and social services – sectors that are most likely to be related to COVID-19 efforts. Roughly 28 per cent of service hours are dedicated to these sectors (StatsCan, 2013). Of note, available data does not provide a breakdown for service by age group so the share of youth providing service in these sectors is unknown.
  • One consideration is that the number of available service hours may be somewhat limited. We understand that the pandemic has meant that many non-profit organizations have had to adjust their practices to ensure social distancing measures can be enforced (e.g. fewer volunteers). Although the capacity of the COVID-19 related sector to absorb new volunteers is not known, it is plausible that some students simply may not be able to accumulate a significant number of service hours. By contrast, COVID-19 is calling on different approaches to addressing social needs and there are likely to be opportunities that arise from entrepreneurial approaches (e.g. delivery services, video-calling seniors, and so on) that may increase demand. Students could be encouraged to take on innovative approaches but it should be noted that these approaches need to be supervised by an existing organization that can provide verification of the hours of service.

By providing a known and defined incentive, the proposed grant is expected to influence individual decision-making but needs to be flexible enough to address a broad range of circumstances.

  • Students, who study over the summer or work would also have incentives to contribute, even if they contribute fewer service hours.
  • This option would benefit students who work part-time and who are the most likely to experience job-loss (COVID-19 related job losses are highest for part-time jobs). This might be a benefit to students who may not be able to find work and – while they may not have high expenses during the summer – rely partly on income earned in the summer. For students who may see their earning decrease and more of their earnings going to support their living expenses in the summer, the grant could provide needed savings in the fall to help pay tuition or afford rent.

The proposed grant is intended to be a particular benefit to low- or middle-income students but would not exclude middle- or high-income students. Service levels are typically higher amongst high-income groups who can afford to volunteer as they are not required to work during the summer to afford their living expenses in the summer of save for the fall. However, consideration could be given to means-testing to ensure that the grant flows to students who are more likely to demonstrate financial need.

  • We recommend that students who are eligible for CERB or the proposed CSEG also be eligible for the grant. The grant could provide a powerful incentive for students receiving income support to perform service.
  • We recommend that the grant be excluded from a student’s financial needs assessment in order to be supplemental to benefits under more generous Canada Student Loans or Grants programs. This would recognize the lower income potential of students of the summer and the need for some incremental income in the fall.
  • Consideration could be given to excluding students who earn more that the CERB amounts from accessing the grant. For these students, it is unlikely that the grant would provide a significant financial incentive given that they would likely be working full-time at higher-wage jobs and the proposed value of the grant per hour of service is lower than minimum wage. An upper limit on the earnings could be set but would risk some criticism given that students who do not work and collect CERB would be eligible and those who work and may have financial need, despite earnings over the summer, would not be.
  • Means-testing would be difficult to apply and very challenging to verify with any certainty. For example, there is some concern about the grant being accessed by students who come from high-income families that are fully subsidized by their parents, and elect not to work over the summer. In our view, if the initiative is intended as a call to action to perform service, than those that complete the require service, should qualify. If these students do not normally work, it is unlikely that they would be financially incentivized to provide service given the relatively low value per hour of the proposed grant.

Implementation

There are still significant outstanding issues to address relating to implementation. While the government could elect to announce the overall approach in the near term to quickly mobilize students, the level of detail required and the speed of implementation depend on when the application process for the grant is expected to be launched. We understand that there may be some benefit in launching the applications in the summer but this would limit implementation options. A launch in late summer would provide more time to make decisions about the delivery mechanism and related options.

A central consideration for implementation is ensuring a thorough verification process and guarding against abuses, given that the grant amounts are uncapped.

However, finding a delivery agent that could do a thorough verification and would be able to ramp up quickly may be challenging. For example, a system tied to a provincial student financial assistance systems would likely be able to verify work income and enrollment information for some students but officials at Employment and Social Development Canada have advised that provinces and territories are not likely willing to deliver this kind of program through their student financial assistance programs. Post-secondary education (PSE) institutions could potentially have a strong role in verification and could issue tuition credits but time would be needed to work with PSE institutions (or their representative associations) to ensure smooth implementation. Similarly, the federal government could verify some factors relating to income but is not well placed to verify student enrollment and would be unlikely to ramp up in the space of a few weeks.

That said, given the interests in rolling this out quickly, in our view, third party delivery is likely the best option. The federal government has previously contracted with third party delivery agents to administer payments for class action suits. In some ways, this model serves as a useful example where a third party administers funding based on a set of established criteria. Delivery agents, like Shopify, have come forward with proposals to deliver CERB payments and could be considered in this context. The main challenge is that private sector agents may not have the background or knowledge-base specific to the voluntary sector. This could be addressed by seeking to partner the delivery agent with the youth service champion (e.g. WE) to refine the criteria and ensure messaging is consistent.

With third party delivery, we would recommend a system of two-factor authentication at a minimum, both by the student and the organization (or organizations). Students would be asked to submit basic information, prove enrollment in an eligible post-secondary institution in spring-summer or fall 2020, provide some basic information about the organization(s) where service was performed, and provide an attestation of hours of service at the organization(s). The organization(s) would be asked to submit or verify (potentially under separate cover) information about the organization and its connection to COVID-19 efforts, information about the students’ service with the organization, and attestation of the number of hours of service rendered between May 1, 2020 and Sept. 6, 2020. Consideration would need to be given to how to build integrity into the system to minimize abuse. For example, attesting organizations could be limited to charitable organizations, non-profits or public bodies.

Costing

We have limited ability to develop an accurate estimate for the likely cost of this proposal. Our preliminary analysis based on existing data regarding student enrollment and levels of service suggest a potential cost of $0.8 billion with a high degree of uncertainty. The predicted cost assumes that about 1.4 million students would be eligible based on age and enrollment, would volunteer at a rate of roughly 42 per cent, with about 42 per cent of them providing service in a COVID-19 related sector (roughly 252,000 eligible students). We further assume that about a third of the eligible students would receive the gold grant, a third the silver and a third the bronze.

  • The number of students that may be eligible is difficult to predict. Student numbers are based on student enrollment numbers form 2017-2018. Given current economic conditions, students may choose to enter the labour market due to changing personal financial circumstances or may remain in post-secondary for longer and avoid entering the labour market. This could result in shifts in the number of students in fall 2020 and have either a positive or negative effect on eligibility.
  • Estimates of student service were used to inform eligibility criteria and estimated costs but are somewhat outdated (the data dates to 2013). The best indicator of who is most likely to apply for the grant is based on people who are already volunteering in a COVID-19 related sector and, in this sense, the historical trends may prove useful. However, we acknowledge that a broader group of students may be incentivized to service in the COVID-19 sector given that the grant provides a known benefit and there are fewer employment or part-time work opportunities.
  • Estimates assume that about a third of the eligible application could qualify for the gold grant (100,000 students). The gold grant corresponds to a nearly full-time commitment on the part of students for the 18 weeks of summer. Given that the number of students seeking work and unable to find it in summer 2020 is estimated to be around 800,000 this year, the predicted costing could be very low. If unemployed students all meet the number of hours to qualify for the gold grant, costs could swell to $4 billion.
  • We note this figure is lower than previously discussed options as it is limited to youth under 30, and reflects actual rates of volunteering in COVID-related sectors (e.g., 42 per cent versus the previous estimate of 50 per cent).

Funding would also need to be provided to the third party to administer the grant. The scale of the funding would depend on the existing capacities of the third party and the speed of implementation (e.g. there would likely be a premium associated with launching the grant earlier).

This approach would duplicate incentives being considered through the Canada Student Corps (CSC – [ * ] but could have a broader reach with a successful call to action. Consideration could be given to excluding students who receive CSC stipends, should you decide to proceed with that option.

Recommendation

We have a number of significant concerns with this proposal, who is most likely to benefit, the potential cost, and how it may stack with other elements of a package of measures targeted at students. Should there be an interest in a near-term announcement, we recommend an announcement of the grant for students who make significant contributions to the COVID-19 efforts and some basic information about eligibility.

Further work would be needed to refine the proposal, including confirming the number of service hours required and levels of grant funding for hours of service (e.g. whether revisions to the bronze, silver and gold levels would be required).

We recommend setting aside $900 million for the initiative based on preliminary estimates and an additional $100 million for implementation and associated costs for a broader portal and public awareness campaign.

Should you agree, we would work to scope the delivery mechanism and seek a funding decision on outstanding elements, including how a third party would be selected, the level of funding required to implement the initiative (e.g., administration), and whether legislation might be required.

Fiscal impact of the Finance recommended option

Finance recommended
($ millions)
  19-20 20-21 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 Total Rem. Amort. Ongoing
Accrual profile                  
Canada Student Experience Grant or Credit - Set-aside - Finance Canada 0.0 1,000.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1,000.0 0.0 0.0
Total 0.0 1,000.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1,000.0 0.0 0.0
Cash profile Same as accrual              
*Note: The proposed funding includes a set-aside of $100 million associated with the for implementation and associated costs for a broader portal and public awareness campaign. This amount is indicative. The final amount would depend on the delivery agent(s). We will seek a subsequent funding decision on implementation costs.
Note: Funding is notionally allocated in 2020-21, however, funding profile is notional based on policy intent and is subject to change upon further development (e.g. options for administration).

Finance recommendation - Decision 1

Announce intent to establish a grant for Canadian post-secondary students under the age of 30 enrolled in spring-summer or fall 2020 courses who significantly contribute to COVID-19 efforts through voluntary service. The announcement would make clear that more details would follow at a later stage.

Set-aside $1 billion to support the announcement of the grant and associated administration costs.

(a) I concur 

X

 

I wish to discuss

X

Summary of gender-based analysis (GBA) + implications

There is relatively little difference in volunteer rates amongst males and females. However, females make up approximately 57 per cent of Canadian post-secondary enrollments (based on 2017-2018 statistics). Females of student age (aged 15-29 years old) are also more likely to be affected by unemployment as recent employment rate changes showed females disproportionately affected in both full- and part-time job losses. As a result, females are more likely to be seeking out opportunities to get involved and may also be seeking more opportunities to make up for lost income and incentivized by the proposed grant.

Summary of strategic environmental assessment

There are no anticipated environmental impacts associated with this proposal, either positive or negative.

Supplemental information

[ * ]

Summary of the proposal

Who:

  • Canadian post-secondary students under the age of 30 enrolled in spring-summer or fall 2020 courses, including high school graduates starting post-secondary and graduate students.

What:

  • A grant that range from $1,000 to $5,000 per eligible student that performs acts of service in a COVID-19 related sector, scaled to the contribution of the student. We would propose the following tiers:
    • Bronze: $1,000 for 100 hours
    • Silver: $3,000 for 300 hours
    • Gold: $5,000 for 500 or more hours
  • Service hours must be completed between May 1, 2020 and Sept. 6, 2020.
  • Eligibility includes service that relates to organizations that contribute to the COVID-19 efforts, including economic and social impacts. These could be organizations in the public sector (e.g. public health and health care, local governments, emergency responses) or the non-profit sector (e.g. food security, initiatives focused on the elderly, public health, homelessness, mental health).

How it would work:

  • April – Initial announcement about the grant with a promise of details on eligibility and eligible sectors to follow.
  • May – additional details about eligibility and the process to follow, in time to allow students to make their summer plans.
  • May 1 – Sept. 6 – Students perform acts of service.
  • July (TBC) – Sept. 30 – The application process is open (once the online portal has been established and delivery mechanism is finalized). Students can apply at any time but would only be eligible to apply once.
    • Students would need to submit an application via the portal that provides: basic information, proof of enrollment in an eligible post-secondary institution in spring-summer or fall 2020, basic information about the organization(s) where service was performed, and an attestion of hours of service at the organization(s).
    • Organizations would be asked to submit (under separate cover) information via the portal about the organization and its connection to COVID-19 efforts, information about the students' service with the organization, and an attestation of the number of hours of service rendered between May 1, 2020 and Sept. 6, 2020.
  • July – Nov. (TBC) – The third party will assess applications and make decisions about whether the applicant is eligible and the level of funding.
    • The third party may be required to verify information in cases where applications were incomplete or where the link between the activity and the COVID-19 efforts are unclear.
    • Successful candidates will receive a grant payment from the third party.

April 20 Finance package (see note)

In this section

Students eligible to study in Canada

Students eligible to study in Canada
Text version - Students eligible to study in Canada

Students eligible to study in Canada:

  • Found a summer job
    • [ * ]
      • Annex 4 – Canada Student Service Grant - Incent service
        Youth attending PSE, National Campaign / Call to Action
        Bronze: $1,000 for 100 hrs / Silver: $3,000 for 300 hrs / Gold: $5,000 for 500+ hrs
        • Fall 2020 [ * ]
  • Found a summer service placement
    • [ * ]
      • Annex 4 – Canada Student Service Grant - Incent service
        Youth attending PSE, National Campaign / Call to Action
        Bronze: $1,000 for 100 hrs / Silver: $3,000 for 300 hrs / Gold: $5,000 for 500+ hrs
        • Fall 2020 [ * ]
  • Go back to school for summer
    • Existing student financial assistance 145,000 students
      • Annex 4 – Canada Student Service Grant - Incent service
        Youth attending PSE, National Campaign / Call to Action
        Bronze: $1,000 for 100 hrs / Silver: $3,000 for 300 hrs / Gold: $5,000 for 500+ hrs
        • Fall 2020 [ * ]
  • CERB eligible, could not find job, volunteer or summer study
    • Receive CERB $2,000 per month
      • Fall 2020 [ * ]
  • Not CERB eligible, looking for or unable to work, financial need
    • [ * ]
      • Fall 2020 [ * ]

Annex 6 - Overview of estimated impact and stacking of proposed supports for students

  Entering in the fall/ continuing (age 20 and younger) Continuing (age 20-24) Graduating in the fall / graduate student (age 25-29)
# of students College: 232,383

University: 276,621

Total: 509,004
College: 272,868

University: 640,323

Total: 913,191
College: 102,925

University: 196,863

Total: 299,788
% with student loans 49 per cent 49 per cent 36 per cent
Employment / average income 178,000 part-time jobs lost (February to March, 2020)

Total unemployed in March 2020: 183,800 (increase of 59,700 since February)
154,800 part-time jobs lost (February to March, 2020)

Total unemployed in March 2020: 247,900 (increase of 93,300 since February)
40,700 part-time jobs lost (February to March, 2020)

Total unemployed in March 2020: 224,500 (increase of 74,500 since February)
Avg wkly part-time earning = $236.48

Avg wkly full-time earning = $768.80
Avg wkly part-time = $455.01

Avg wkly full-time = $1,254
Living arrangement 93 per cent live at home = approx. 473,000 63 per cent live at home = approx. 575,000 27 per cent live at home = approx. 81,000
[ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
  Entering in the fall/ continuing (age 20 and younger) Continuing (age 20-24) Graduating in the fall / graduate student (age 25-29) Total
[ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]
Annex 4 – Canada Student Service Grant Bronze: $1,000 for 100 hrs (100k students) / Silver: $3,000 for 300 hrs (100k students)/ Gold: $5,000 for 500+ hrs (100k students) Total: up to 300,000
  Entering in the fall/ continuing (age 20 and younger) Continuing (age 20-24) Graduating in the fall / graduate student (age 25-29)
[ * ] [ * ] [ * ] [ * ]

April 19, 2020

[ * ]

[ * ]

WE: Closing the COVID-19 opportunity gap for young people through social entrepreneurship

Concept paper prepared by WE Charity, April 9th, 2020

Executive summary

This document proposes to the Government of Canada (GoC) an opportunity to create a strong multi- faceted social entrepreneurship program to support young Canadians during and post COVID-19 pandemic. By incentivizing and equipping youth to engage with social entrepreneurship opportunities, we'll be empowering them both to efficiently contribute to the economy by creating small businesses and boost our nation’s economic output, while also addressing important social causes.

The program seeks to serve 8,000 young Canada (under-30) over 12-months with the following three bilingual elements: i) A 10-week digital program providing entrepreneurship expertise and support in the era of COVID-19; ii) a mentorship program linking entrepreneurs with 500+ experts from established companies who will provide functional and industry-specific support in areas such as finance, marketing, productization, distribution, employing at-risk populations, social impact measurement etc.; iii) a base payment to all participants, and access to additional incentive funds and long-term mentorship opportunities.

This program seeks to solve three timely challenges:

  1. how to engage at-scale young Canadians (under-30), including those who were not previously employed;
  2. how to jump-start entrepreneurism to create jobs for economic recovery, relevant to both 12-24 months of COVID-19 realities and in the years to follow;
  3. how to engage companies across Canada who have excess employee capacity. Specifically, asking companies that benefit from the 75% federal employee subsidy to consider redirect a small percentage of employee’s time (one day per week) to serve as skill-specific mentors for young entrepreneurs. This also encourages established companies to keep employees on the payroll and ensures that the 75% Canadian employer subsidy provides a further social benefit.

During preliminary conversations the idea to have their staff support young entrepreneurs in tackling society’s problems has been well received by numerous senior executives at corporate giants including RBC, Telus, KPMG and Microsoft to name a few of our 200+ partners; however, WE would open up the program for other businesses that can also contribute including, medium-sized and smaller businesses. This program will include a robust mentorship program, with for-profit partners providing over $7 million worth (on an annualized basis) of high-value in-kind skill-specific hours from committed subject matter experts across industries, in addition to millions more via discounts on technology and resources to assist these entrepreneurs.

Drawing from 25 years of experience in social entrepreneurship, including building up ME to WE and providing service-learning programs to 7,000+ schools and over 2.4 million youth across Canada, WE has all the ingredients including vision, expert capacity and strategic partnerships to be a unique support platform for the government in enabling the successful execution of a national program that is reflective of today’s COVID-19 crisis’ diverse needs and demands from youth and millions of Canadian looking to assist others as we navigate these challenging times.

Introduction

WE recognizes the immense efforts and investments being led by the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, supporting strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and our economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Equally important are the complementary economic response plans implemented by other levels of governments directly investing in critical front-line industries and support programs to all Canadians. We are rapidly learning that Canada post-COVID-19 pandemic will require a collective effort to rebuild our economy, and where youth are at the heart of creating the greatest value in our economy, bringing innovative solutions to new challenges.

Today, youth at large are becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic contraction and social limitations despite the GoC’s efforts in building safety nets for families, employers and businesses across Canada. There is an urgent need to proactively support young people between the ages of 19 and 29 who are recent school/university graduates without the opportunity to attain a job, looking for innovative ways to solve current and post COVID-19 challenges or build small businesses, and seeking to build their workplace readiness skills and professional network for when our economy stabilizes.

We know that young Canadians are passionate and committed to finding a career path that provides income, while also creating a positive impact in the world, such as creating employment for at-risk populations, protecting our environment, and assisting with health and human wellness. We have learned through our innovative work with our for-profit social enterprise ME to WE and WE Charity, to marry business with social change and encourage youth to redefine what’s possible through the employment of social entrepreneurship skills. Social enterprises – also known as purpose-driven businesses – create opportunities to encourage and enable priority populations to meaningfully participate in the creation of business ventures that address the unique needs of their community, including jobs and inclusive economic growth. For example, social enterprises are two times more likely to be run by women than traditional small and medium-sized businesses. While the number of purpose-driven businesses in Canada continues to increase, programming and support services available to such enterprises have not kept up with the demand, hence the importance of dedicated initiatives like our proposed social entrepreneurship program.

Now more than ever, WE is galvanizing our corporate partners to collectively support Canadian youth to build resiliency and continue their professional development during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our corporate partners have also been deeply impacted by the economic contraction worldwide, many continue to express their desire to offer their employees’ in-kind professional support to WE. Many of these are skilled professionals who are now working less hours as a result of the COVID-19 contraction and are passionate about giving back. This program will include a robust mentorship program offering over $7 million worth (on an annualized basis) of high-value in-kind skill-specific hours from committed subject matter experts across industries, in addition to millions more via discounts on technology and resources to assist these entrepreneurs.

The problem

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the world, the workplace and the economy in unprecedented ways. WE has identified three critical challenges Canadians are facing during this time of economic uncertainty.

  1. Young people and students are currently under-supported in the current economic relief plans. This demographic is not yet well established in the workplace, have had limited earnings or have had their summer jobs eliminated.
  2. With such a dramatic change in the Canadian economy, many small businesses have already vanished so there is a critical need for entrepreneurs to help replenish the lost businesses and create new jobs.
  3. There is an excess of idle and underutilized professionals as Canada’s corporate sector has seen a dramatic decline in work. Companies are desperately seeking to repurpose employees or risk eliminating their jobs.

Opportunity

We see an opportunity to support the government in further deepening targeted safety nets to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and further incentivize young Canadians to engage in social entrepreneurship and build community resilience while the economy stabilizes. We know that despite COVID-19 isolation measures, young Canadians are passionate and committed to finding a career path that continues to reinforce their skills and provides income, while also creating a positive impact on Canada and the world.

Our social entrepreneurship project is designed to engage youth during and post-COVID-19 pandemic, providing a free bilingual virtually delivered entrepreneurship program and one of kind world-class mentorship roster from leading Canadian corporate partners. Although the postsecondary education system is proactively engaging students, we are increasingly seeing the need to target youth who, are looking for non-academic programs that opens opportunities for future employment, are not enrolled in school or, unemployed youth. It is critical to emphasize that youth that engage in entrepreneurial activities not only create new business opportunities, but they also acquire essential skills for the 21st century economy like agility, leadership, collaboration and resilience – important contributions to the workforce as a whole.

We believe that creating a national entrepreneurship program is timely and strategic empowerment for young Canadians to move beyond COVID-19, particularly as we look to break down barriers such as longer transitional periods between finishing school and finding employment, high unemployment rates for out-of-school youth, and children depending on parents for a longer period than ever in our nation’s history. Furthermore, we are looking to further support priority populations and underrepresented youth groups (such as Indigenous, women, rural populations, new Canadians) and build unique support services that enable world class mentoring and company creation.

The solution

Provide up to 8,000 young people across Canada (aged 19-29) with a free, bilingual, inclusive, virtual social entrepreneurship program that provides them with all the tools and mentorship needed to start and grow a successful purpose-driven business.

We believe that a national entrepreneurship program can be developed to not only focus on the youth’s entrepreneurship activities but leverage their explicit desire to integrate purpose into their efforts and in turn help alleviate social problems both in Canada and beyond.

Proposed model

WE Charity’s objective is to help launch a new generation of SMBs, powered by purpose-driven young people and ready for the new economic realities. There are three core components to the program:

Part 1:
10-week virtual program
A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship.

Topics led by industry-experts include: accounting, product design and production, leading with purpose, market development and validation, sales, social impact measurement; digital marketing strategies and content marketing during COVID-19; Indigenous enterprise, health and wellness market opportunities, building resilience and perseverance; etc.

The program includes various complementary resources and a nation-wide online community for purpose-driven entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and to network to support one another.
Part 2:
1-on-1 mentorship with experts to support entrepreneurs
Extensive 1:1 mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders.

Executive coaches and mentors will be provided by an incredible roster of 500+ subject matter experts sourced from across Canada’s top corporations.

Each participant will have access to a minimum of 6 hours of high-value skill-specific mentorship necessary to help their business thrive. They will register for the mentorship areas of their choice which could include: branding, sales, marketing, legal, accounting/finance, social impact, accessing capital, generalist support.
Part 3:
Small grant for each participant
Upon the successful completion of the 10-week program each participant will receive a $500 grant that they can use to invest in their future and further their venture concept.

Upon completion of 10-week program each participant will receive a LinkedIn virtual badge.

Additional incentives are available based on engagement and success, including unlocking additional business funding and further stages to the program support.

WE Charity has modeled three options for program delivery, please see appendix I for an overview of each of the three options.

Demographics we will serve

The proposed national program will target young people underrepresented within current economic relief plans. Specifically, young people aged 19-29 who are current post-secondary students, recent graduates and recent entrants into the job market who have lost their employment due to COVID-19.

The program is bilingual, designed to ensure inclusive participation and recruitment of participants from priority youth groups including indigenous, women and new Canadians. Our program’s digital program delivery platform, program leaders, diverse subject matter experts and incentives effectively targets the youth at all levels of education and can reach areas far from urban centres, provide unique connections with industry experts and essential recognition for youths’ efforts respectively.

Why WE is uniquely positioned to lead this project

WE has 25 years of experience delivering meaningful and impactful programming to young people across Canada. We are uniquely positioned to take up this challenge as we have the internal expertise and resources to mobilize quickly, and multi-sector partnerships with the corporate, technology, and education to execute on a national scale.

  • Proven impact: WE is one of the largest founded in Canada charities, with programs coast-to-coast-to-coast. It uplifts the social sector by galvanizing Canadians across the country to volunteer, increase awareness and raise funds for the causes that matter most to them. In 2018-2019, 3,832 local organizations were supported and over $97 million in social value was created by Canadians participating in WE programs.1
  • Deep corporate partnerships: WE holds deep and unique relationships with 200+ best-in-class corporate partners who are committed to supporting social innovation and the ambitious vision of the WE Social Enterprise Centre.
  • Unparalleled amplification platforms: Reaching over five million Canadians in 2018-2019 alone, WE is a pipeline to Canadians, including youth, and has the capacity and expertise to support the government in reaching its priorities, raising awareness and creating demand for social enterprise on a national level. WE achieved 4B+ media impressions in 2019, and has 4M+ followers on its Facebook page.
  • Best practices learned through on the ground experience: WE is approached by several hundred not-for-profit peers, groups and individuals a year and there is a high demand for WE to share learnings from its successes and early failures. WE created the groundbreaking ME to WE social enterprise to support the efficiency of charity partner – WE Charity. ME to WE operates multiple successful lines of business for social purposes.

Our leadership team

Our programming will be led by our in-house team of entrepreneurial experts, with a proven track record of training and supporting Canadian entrepreneurs. Our leadership team includes:

  • Jon E Worren, Entrepreneur in Residence, WE Scale Up:
    • Served as the Lead Executive, Venture & Corporate Programs at MaRS, where he developed and delivered all of MaRS venture facing programming – both at MaRS and throughout Ontario. As part of his role, he built MaRS digital platform, directly serving 10-15,000 entrepreneurs every year, including the award-winning Entrepreneurship 101 program – which has supported entrepreneurs in 130 countries to date. As part of that, Jon has personally worked directly with over 5,000 Canadian entrepreneurs.
    • He developed and delivered programming to support youth entrepreneurs at more than 15 university campus linked accelerators as part of Ontario’s Jobs & Prosperity Program.
    • Jon also built MaRS Corporate programming, working directly with executive teams of 50+ corporate partners in helping them develop their innovation strategy.
    • Jon managed the $32.5M Ontario ScaleUp Voucher Program from 2016-2019, supporting the growth and expansion of the most promising high-growth innovation firms in the province, such as Fiix, Axonify, InteraXon, Asset Compliance, Bridgit, Wattpad and others with funding and growth coaching.
    • Jon is an accomplished entrepreneur having been co-founder of successful businesses in the software and cleantech space. Jon has an MSc from London School of Economics.
  • Hussam Ayyad, Managing Director, WE Scale Up:
    • Held leadership positions at Communitech, DMZ, Ryerson University and the U of T’s Rotman School of Management are listed below:
      • Built the core-operation of DMZ between 2016 and 2020 including all programs interfacing with entrepreneurs, investors and corporate backers, locally and internationally which most recently propelled the DMZ to become a world-leading tech accelerator and incubator that earned the ranking of #1 in the world by UBI.
      • Built the DMZ’s investor network to exceed 3,000 VCs & Angel investors in less than 2 years.
      • Spearheaded building programs to support thousands of entrepreneurs nationally and internationally and support Canadian ventures who collectively raised over $ 1 Billion and created multiples of that in value of market capitalization.
    • Hussam is an experienced multi-time entrepreneur and business leader. Most notably, he co-founded and led the growth of Algéro Canadian Metals to a $70 million revenue business in the environmental sustainability industry supplying metal scrap to world leading steel mills.
  • Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder and Executive Sponsor, WE:
    • He co-founded WE, a global movement that empowers people with the tools to change the world internationally and in their own communities.
    • Craig is a New York Times bestselling author who has written 12 books, including WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make a Living, and Change the World.
    • Craig is an MBA graduate with 15 honorary doctorates and has been awarded by the World Economic Forum and Roosevelt Institute, and received the Order of Canada.
  • Roxanne Joyal, CEO and Co-Founder, ME to WE:
    • She is CEO of ME to WE, a social enterprise that supports sustainable development projects of WE Charity.
    • Roxanne is a Francophone bilingual Canadian social entrepreneur, author, recognized leader in sustainable development and a women’s empowerment advocate.
    • Roxanne is a graduate of Stanford University, she earned an Oxford degree in law and a prestigious Rhodes scholarship, and clerked for the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
  • Dalal Al-Waheidi, Executive Director, WE Charity:
    • As the Executive Director of WE Charity, Dalal Al-Waheidi has been integral in shaping the success of the WE movement into a global international charity and educational partner.
    • In 2014, Dalal was selected as one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners for her passion and desire to make the world a better place, especially for the lives of youth around the world. In addition, she's been recognized by the Women’s Executive Network.

Our partners

This project will leverage a multi sector partnership approach, leveraging WE’s network. Through value in-kind provided through partnerships, WE will match the financial investment provided by the Government of Canada. Partners could include:

  • Corporate partners:
    • Engaging WE’s network of 200+ corporate partners to provide mentorship hours to young entrepreneurs. WE has already opened conversations with corporate partners, who have expressed a strong interest. They are grateful for the government's 75% wage subsidy, and they want to give-back to support Canada during this time.
    • The Business Council of Canada (BCC) has been a partner of WE to engage business leaders together to call on their employees enroll in our mentorship program and provide valuable introductions in the sector. The 150 member-companies employ 1.7 million Canadians and are responsible for most of Canada’s corporate philanthropy. Craig Kielburger is the only non-profit member in the history of the BCC.
  • Technology partners:
    • Microsoft – WE is the largest Canadian charitable partner of Microsoft, and one of the largest global partners. Microsoft provides inclusive technology including the provision of hardware and software platforms powering digital programming delivery and ensuring accessibility capabilities (i.e., close captioning translation, readers, visual adaptation and hearing accommodations).
    • LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft) – partnership with this tech platform would be ideal as it will expose youth’s skills attainment after completion of programming, including a virtual badge that can enhance their profile. LinkedIn is a widely recognized platform that will offer young people a space to build their profile, highlight their training badge achieved, and which employers can easily track and validate. The LinkedIn experience has important long-term value, as it will be a validated record that young people can take anywhere in the world to support their education and employment. Digital badging is proving to be the most cost-effective and scalable model to provide incentives for youth to participate. Digital badging provides meaningful recognition to youth, while removing continued reliance and incentive focused on solely financial incentive strategies.
  • Community partners:
    • WE Charity currently holds 300 official educational partnerships across Canada with 17,309 active educators engaged in our network from 7,000 schools, educational institutions, and groups
    • Junior Achievement – One of the largest networks of youth programming in entrepreneurship
    • Enactus – the world’s leading Social Entrepreneurship program based in universities and colleges (36 countries worldwide, 1.3 million people impacted annually, 1,730 universities involved). In Canada, they are present with close to 3,500 students involved on campuses
    • Many other leading organizations such as:
      • Ryerson’s DMZ - Leading accelerator in Canada
      • Ashoka Canada
      • B Lab Canada at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
      • BCG Digital Ventures
      • Boston Consulting Group
      • The Brandery
      • Brand Project
      • Bullfrog Power
      • Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund

Conclusion

WE reaches over 2.4 million youth providing a platform to further national understanding about the important role of entrepreneurship to help solve some of the most complex social challenges that we are to experience during and post COVID-19 Pandemic. We would like to humbly raise the importance of government taking a leadership role and sending a clear message of hope to youth who are seeing their future very bleak and with limited opportunities to grow at this time.

  • Directly impacting up to 8,000 youth
  • Providing between 12-20 hours of 1 on 1 mentorship to youth
  • $500 cash grant to youth upon completion of program
  • Building a network of 500 industry leading mentors across Canada to support a new generation of small business with impact
  • Targeting priority youth demographics such as, indigenous, women and new Canadians

Together, we can bring a comprehensive future skills program to thousands of youth through digital programming, build a network of resilient youth deeply connected to the across sectors and, who can and will be able to reinsert themselves in the economy in a post COVID-19 world.

Appendix I: Program options

All program options run multiple cohorts over a one-year period
  Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Programming delivery details (per cohort)
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 24,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon program completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 48,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
Plus:
  • Doubling the number of beneficiaries, with a lower cost per beneficiary due to economies of scale
  • Up to $800,000 (per entire year) in a special fund available for top participant business ideas
  • Up to 1,000 participants will receive incremental 1-on-1 mentorship time for an additional 12 weeks to support the company building process for an additional 6,000 hours
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 48,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
Plus:
  • Doubling the number of beneficiaries, with a lower cost per beneficiary due to economies of scale
  • Up to $800,000 (per entire year) in a special fund available for top participant business ideas
  • Up to 1,000 participants will receive incremental 1-on-1 mentorship time for an additional 12 weeks to support the company building process for an additional 6,000 hours
Plus:
  • A digital conference featuring leaders in Canadian business, government, entrepreneurship and social impact – helping to raise the profile of entrepreneurship during times of economic challenge
  • Up to 100 of the top ventures will receive additional mentorship, business support, network access and capital for another 6 months to ensure the successful launch of the businesses for an additional 1,200 hours, in addition to PR and media support through WE’s amplification platforms such as WE Day online, nation-wide news outlets and with direct support from WE’s media and PR staff
Number of participants 4,000 8,000 8,000
Investment requested $6,000,000 $11,000,000 $14,000,000

Financial support for recent graduates and students impacted by COVID-19

Context:

  • According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in February 2020, there were 3.2 million students aged 15 to 29 in Canada, of which 2 million were postsecondary students.
  • Of those postsecondary students, 1 million of 50% were working in February. We also estimate that almost 800,000 of those students would have earned $5,000 in 2019 and therefore be eligible to the CERB.
  • Of the 2 million postsecondary students, 700,000 are from low- and middle-income families and are receiving student grants and loans (i.e. CSLP clients).

Provide immediate emergency support for students--summer

  • Canada Student Emergency Grant (CSEG)
  • [ * ] 16 weeks
  • Monthly $1,000 earning exemptions—incentive to work
  • Students enrolled in summer studies eligible – incentive to pursue studies
  • [ * ] for students with dependants and student with disabilities
  • May to August 2020
  • [ * ]
  • Attestation-based application—not receiving CERB or EI, earning no more then $1,000, PSE student or recently graduated
  • Of the 2 million PSE students, about 700,000 students are CSLP clients
  • Of those 700,000 students, 280,000 would be eligible to the CERB, leaving an estimated 420,000 eligible students for CSEGQC, NWT and NU do not participate in CSLP; compensation would be provided
  • Recent graduates would be eligible 
  • Legislation required
  • Reliable third-party provider—3-4 weeks to implement post legislative authority and final policy design
  • [ * ]

Decision points

[ * ]

2. Financial supports for returning and new PSE students for the fall

  • Double the Canada Student Grant (40%, platform commitment-permanent, 60% only 2020-21)—Maximum grant would increase from $3,000 to $6,000.
  • Exempt all expected contributions—student, spousal and parental—from need assessment for 2020-21 school year—estimated 15% increase in access to the program.
  • Increase the loans weekly cap from $210 to $350 or from $7,140 to $11,900—an increase of $4,760—for a standard 8-month academic year. Not increased since 2005: increase in line with increased cost of living and tuition costs.
  • Expected to reduce the proportion of students who received less than their assessed financial needs from 43% to 17%.
  • Need on regulatory changes.
  • Cost—4.6 billion.

Decision points

  • This proposal is scalable (3.2 billion for the increase in grant, 1.1 billion for the increase in loan cap and about 300 million for relaxing student, spousal and parent contributions)
  • The increase in the loan cap can be temporary or permanent

[ * ]

[ * ]

Jennings, Philip

From:

Jennings, Philip

Sent:

Monday, April 20, 2020 11:17 PM

To:

Shugart, Ian

Subject:

Students - latest

Attachments:

Annex 9 - WE Social Enterpreneurship Concept Paper_09 2020.pdf; [ * ] Annex 6 - Estimated Reach and Stacking of Students Supports.pdf; Annex 5 - student decision tree (FIN proposals).pptx; Annex 4 - Canada Student Service Grant.pdf; [ * ] Cover Memo Revised - COVID PSE Student Support Package.docx

Categories:

Orange Category

If read two documents, frame in cover memoradum and [ * ]

Philip

Scenario notes for May 8 Cabinet meeting

In this section

Cabinet scenario: Friday, May 8, 2020

[ * ]

Synopsis of the meeting

[ * ]

For the item on the Canada Student Service Grant, turn to Minister Chagger to provide an overview of her revised proposal.

  • The Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth presented a proposal on the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) to the COVID Committee (on Tuesday), which included the following components:
    • Cash awards through grants of up to $5,000 for eligible students who volunteer this summer in support of COVID-19 response;
    • Establishment and launch of the I Want to Help portal, a web-based one-window matching platform by Employment and Social Development, to help youth find service opportunities in their community and keep track of their hours towards the cash awards;
    • Funding for a third party organization to support the creation and delivery of service opportunities across all regions of the country with a diverse group of not-for-profit organizations. The third party will also be responsible for the disbursement of the grants to individual students.
  • While members were supportive, a number of eligibility and implementation questions were raised. Specifically, Ministers requested clarification on grant eligibility, including the rationale for not extending the grant to all post-secondary students, and the amount that could be received in combination with other federal support measures.

PCO comment

  • PCO recognizes that limiting grant eligibility to post-secondary students who are not in receipt of CERB (estimates suggest that up to 40 per cent of post-secondary students qualify for CERB) could inadvertently favour post-secondary students who did not have the financial need to work through the school year. This is balanced with equity considerations whereby students that may ultimately benefit from more financial support than a previously working parent also unable to work due to COVID-19; this risk exists already when combining the CSSG (maximum amount) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
  • There are existing programming supports for youth, which are similar to the new CSSG. As a part of the broader youth, student and graduate supports you announced on April 22, there are now increased employment and supports for youth. For example, increased funding and job opportunities have been made available to youth under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, and the Canada Service Corps micro-grants programming has been expanded to offer qualifying youth a monthly stipend of $1,250.
  • In terms of implementation, excluding those in receipt of CERB could create administrative challenges for the third party delivery organization. It will be important to ensure that students who are already volunteering with eligible organizations are able to count their service toward the grant. Further, consideration could be given to focusing efforts on opportunities that support Canada’s response to COVID-19, such as in the area of contact tracing or partnering with front line service organizations like the Canadian Red Cross.

Turn to the Deputy Prime Minister to provide key take-aways from [ * ] Tuesday’s meetings of the ad hoc Cabinet Committee on COVID-19.

[ * ]

[ * ]

Proposal for the Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Implementation of the Canada Student Service Grant
The Honourable Bardish Chagger
May 5, 2020

1. Purpose

The Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth is seeking authority to:

  • create the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) under the Canada Service Corps program to provide students who engage in national service opportunities during the summer with up to $5,000;
  • create and launch the I Want to Help portal, a web-based one-window matching platform by ESDC that allows students to find volunteer opportunities to contribute to the COVID-19 response in their community; and
  • fund a third party organization to support the implementation of the CSSG; and the payment of the grants directly to students.

Incremental funding is required and a funding request would be made, if approved, which would be ad ref to a funding decision by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. It is also proposed that funding be provided through the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act ad ref to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health.

2. Summary of the proposal

Due to the pandemic, many employers who traditionally hire youth have had to temporarily close their doors or limit the number of staff they hire. The money from summer employment that many students rely on to pay for basic needs and save for their studies is not available. This proposal aims to support a diverse population of students across the country to contribute towards the COVID-19 response in their community while gaining valuable experience and skills. It is a key pillar of the broader comprehensive suite of supports available to youth including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and enhancements to student financial assistance through the Canada Student Loans Program.

The new CSSG programming will include the following components:

  1. Cash awards through grants of up to $5,000 for eligible students who volunteer this summer in support of COVID-19 response;
  2. Establishment of the I Want to Help portal to help youth find service opportunities in their community and keep track of their hours towards the cash awards;
  3. Funding for a third party organization to support the creation and delivery of service opportunities across all regions of the country with a diverse group of not-for-profit organizations. The third party will also be responsible for the disbursement of the grants to individual students.

In addition, a complementary enhancement through the Canada Service Corps program will ensure that youth who are not students, but who contribute through service are also receiving financial support. Micro-grants will be increased from 1,800 to 15,000 and will include monthly stipends of up to $1,250 for all youth leading service projects using the micro-grants. This element is securing authority under separate cover.

CSSG eligibility

Participating students

The eligibility criteria has been aligned with the eligibility for the CESB, as this financial reward program is an additional way to incentivize the contribution of youth who are not able to engage in significant paid employment. Although any youth can seek service opportunities through the I Want to Help Portal, only students, who meet the criteria below, are eligible to receive an award upon completion of their hours of service:

  • students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019; and,
  • high-school graduates who have applied for, and will be joining, post-secondary programs in the coming months.

Students receiving the CESB would be eligible but those receiving the CERB would not be eligible. International students would not be eligible.

Participating organizations

Only registered non-profits or charities can submit volunteer placements. Volunteer placements would focus on students in contributing to the COVID-19 response and/or be understood as an essential service by the Government of Canada. Organizations will send the information on their proposed placement to the third party organization that will verify that the placement provides:

  • a minimum of 2 hours a week for 4 weeks within the period from launch of the program until September 30
  • safe conditions for students in compliance with public health guidelines; and
  • meaningful experiences that build skills.

The policy intent of this initiative is to provide students with the opportunity to contribute to their communities through service while gaining experience and skills and earning financial awards towards their education. Restricting eligibility to NFPs ensures that this does not become a vehicle for engaging students in unpaid labour for for-profit organizations. In the case of volunteer opportunities that are linked to essential services (e.g. contact tracing) students will still require the assistance of a NFP to be connected to the work and provided any necessary training (e.g. Canada Red Cross). NFPs will need to demonstrate a commitment to providing safe and meaningful volunteer work for the students.

Students participating in volunteering-service placements under the auspices of the Canada Service core national and regional-local projects would be eligible to submit their hours completed from the launch of the initiative up until September 30. ESDC will reach out to CSC delivery organizations to explain eligibility for the grant and how their student participants can apply.

Payment amounts: Lump sum award amounts for the CSSG will be directly linked to the number of volunteer hours that a student completes over the period of May to the end of September. Students can track their volunteer experience and hours through the I Want to Help portal which will generate a digital report that students can submit to the third-party partner to request payment of the grant.

The recommended amounts for three levels of grants are as follows: 100 hours for $1,000 (about 6 hours per week over the 18 week eligibility period); 300 hours for $3,000 (about 17 hours per week); and 500 hours for $5,000 (about 28 hours per week). These levels were chosen to ensure the right balance between incentivizing volunteering while not creating disincentives to take on paid employment. For example, it would be feasible to work either part-time or full-time and acquire enough hours to achieve the first threshold and work part-time and achieve the second threshold. However, it is important to not create thresholds that are unattainable given that NFPs will be constrained in the number of hours they can offer. It is also important to recognize that some of the volunteer work in essential services would be compensated at higher than minimum wage for non-students and that the Government’s support is meant to underscore the value of the contribution.

I Want to Help Portal

The I Want to Help portal will provide information on available volunteering opportunities, allow youth to create a user account and track their service, and search a listing of COVID-19 focused volunteer opportunities across Canada. Although powered by Job Bank technology, the portal would have its own branding and dedicated landing page and would target a youth audience. The Social Insurance Number would be used during the account creation process for students that want to track progress towards personal volunteering goals. An export function would provide a digital record of volunteer hours to both the individual student and the third-party administering the grant. A direct technology feed would be established with the third party to supply ESDC with regularly updated volunteer opportunities in the necessary format.

While I Want to Help will support students interested in the CSSG all youth will be able to create an account and use it, regardless of whether or not they qualify for CSSG.

Third party delivery organization (funding authority required)

The successful implementation of this initiative requires the support of a third party organization funded through a contribution agreement. ESDC cannot make direct payments to youth. Experience gained through the Canada Service Corps initiative has demonstrated that simply creating a platform-portal is not sufficient to ensure recruitment of youth and proactive engagement and support is key to success. In addition, given the short time frame within which this initiative is to be implemented it will be critical that a large number of diverse volunteering opportunities are already available to youth at launch. For this reason, ESDC recommends funding WE Charities who has submitted an unsolicited proposal to provide support. WE Charities is the largest youth serving charitable organization in Canada with substantial experience in youth service programming through fully bilingual programming for diverse youth in all parts of the country. It has the demonstrated capacity to deliver both the required financial oversight and to build partnerships with over 50 national NFPs to effectively support delivery of the initiative. WE Charities have offered to provide “white label” support, meaning it will be Government of Canada branding. Key deliverables will include the following:

  • Support the creation of up to 20,000 initial volunteer opportunities upon launch: WE will create volunteer placements for 10,000 students and partner with Imagine Canada, an umbrella organization for Canadian charities, to engage 50 national not-for-profit (NFP) organizations to create 10,000 additional opportunities that will be posted within two weeks of launch. These opportunities will be available in all parts of the country, in both urban centres and rural and small communities.
  • Support the creation of additional opportunities to be phased in over the summer: WE will continue to undertake outreach and act as the one-window intake for any additional opportunities submitted by NFPs, with a view to expanding the available opportunities to reach more youth across the country.
  • Onboarding of students: It is critical that participants have a positive experience and are made to feel highly engaged from the onset if they are to reach the critical milestones for the CSSG. While financial incentives will play a role in driving behavior, tapping into motivation to make the sustained time commitment will require that the user experience is robust and includes other non-financial benefits such as orientation training and the opportunity to build skills and gain experience beneficial for the resume. WE will support student onboarding and other supports to ensure a robust student experience.
  • Support to NFPs: WE will play a key role in supporting host NFPs, particularly small, local organizations in setting up volunteer opportunities that offer quality, safe experiences for students. This would include onboarding support to the students; answering questions about the programming; mentorship, coaching and training as required; and technological support to NFPs who want to offer virtual work to students.
  • Awarding of funds: WE will administer the payment of the grants directly to qualified students upon receipt of the digital record of hours volunteered, and further to verification of student status and other administrative requirements. All participating youth who do not receive a grant would receive a certificate of recognition and digital badging of skills gained through LinkedIn.

3. Financial implications

Funding authority is required:

  • up to $20M for a third party to support implementation of the CSSG
  • to disburse grants payments against the allocated envelope conditional on the meeting of eligibility
  • ESDC may also need operating funding to deliver the initiative

Funding would be sought per the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act.

Authority is also required to temporarily expand the scope of CSC program to provide the CSSG to Canadian post-secondary students of all ages, rescind leveraging requirements, and increase funding limits for the CSC’s Micro-Contribution and Innovative Engagement and Outreach streams.

4. Background and key considerations

There is no way to limit access to the I Want to Help portal to students only. There is some risk that youth who are not students will pursue volunteering opportunities and be surprised that they are not eligible for a grant. The portal and all communications related to the initiative will emphasize the eligibility of students and the rationale of paying for studies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the operational and fiscal capacity of many non-for-profit (NFP) organizations. In addition, continued physical distancing requirements creates unique demands on the nature of volunteering opportunities that can be created. Lack of supports to NFPs to create largely virtual opportunities through financial, technological and onboarding supports would likely limit the number of NFPs who post offerings on the I Want to Help portal.

Research and experience with youth service has underscored that the largest influencers of youth are their peers. For this reason, a strong launch supported by a robust communications and social media strategy will be essential to create momentum early in the summer and ensure broad participation across all regions and demographic groups. This robust and proactive communications campaign led by the Government of Canada will also be critical to encouraging NFPs to post COVID-19 placements.

It is impossible to predict how many NFPs will seek volunteers and how many students will engage in volunteer work. The proposed approach ensures a strong launch and puts the basic program elements in place to support sustained volunteering. However, given the unique and dynamic nature of the COVID-19 context, it will be necessary to assess the initiative in an ongoing way with a view to making adjustments as necessary to support continued success.

[Original signed by]
Hon. Bardish Chagger, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Scenario notes for May 22 Cabinet meeting

In this section

Cabinet scenario: Friday, May 22, 2020

[ * ]

Synopsis of the meeting

[ * ]

For the item on the Canada Student Service Grant, turn to Minister Chagger to provide an overview of her revised proposal.

  • The Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth presented a proposal on the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) to the COVID Committee (on May 5), which included the following components:
    • Cash awards through grants of up to $5,000 for eligible students who volunteer this summer in support of COVID-19 response;
    • Establishment and launch of the I Want to Help portal, a web-based one-window matching platform by Employment and Social Development, to help youth find service opportunities in their community and keep track of their hours towards the cash awards;
    • Funding for a third party organization to support the creation and delivery of service opportunities across all regions of the country with a diverse group of not-for-profit organizations. The third party will also be responsible for the disbursement of the grants to individual students.
  • While members were supportive, a number of eligibility and implementation questions were raised. Specifically, Ministers requested clarification on grant eligibility, including the rationale for not extending the grant to all post-secondary students, and the amount that could be received in combination with other federal support measures.

PCO comment

  • PCO recognizes that limiting grant eligibility to post-secondary students who are not in receipt of CERB could inadvertently favour post- secondary students who did not have the financial need to work through the school year, and also limit important skill development opportunities. Access to the CSSG for CERB recipients could raise equity considerations whereby students that can ultimately benefit from more financial support than a previously working parent also unable to work due to COVID-19.
  • PCO supports the inclusion of additional tiers of grant awards (200 hours and 400 hours) as it aligns with the objectives of the CSSG: to support work experience and skill development, to take part in service activities related to COVID-19, and to provide financial assistance for studies.

[ * ]

Key facts from April 6 to June 25 – overview

In this section

Canada Student Service Grant - PCO role from April 2020 - June 2020

I. Policy development phase: April 6, 2020 - April 22, 2020

Context: The pandemic began on March 13, 2020 and had an unprecedented economic impact on Canadians. The March 2020 labour survey indicated that students bore the brunt of the contracting labour market. Only half of students would likely qualify for CERB. Students graduating or ending their studies for the summer would face a very challenging labour market. In this context, the Government was facing significant pressure to expand CERB to students and the government wanted to consider options to offer financial support and contribute to their studies and continued professional development. This led to the $9 billion package announced on April 22, 2020, which covered the Canada Economic Student Benefit, employment measures, student loan measures, and the Canada Student Service Grant.

  • On April 6, 2020, Finance officials had a first meeting with its Mino on a potential student package to address students' particular needs as a result of COVID-19. Finance subsequently reached out to ESDC to seek ideas for youth and student COVID supports.
  • On April 15, 2020, the Prime Minister was briefed by Finance Mino, with support from Finance (Michelle Kovacevic), PMO, and PCO (Phil Jennings) on a potential package for students that included a combination of employment supports, tuition supports, and volunteer incentives, with specific elements to be refined.
  • April 20, 2020, Phil Jennings provided a copy of the Finance package to the Clerk (See Tab 1).
  • April 21, 2020, Prime Minister briefed on the final package (Phil Jennings in attendance).
  • April 22, 2020, Prime Minister announces the full student support package, including the Canada Student Service Grant. No policy or funding authorities were in place.
  • April 22, 2020, the DM of IGA (Chris Fox) received an unsolicited proposal from WE Charities given her previous role as DM of Youth.

II. Policy approval process - Approval in principle by COVID committee: April 23, 2020 to May 5, 2020

Context: The April 22, 2020 announcement articulated the Government's policy objectives for students. Focus shifted to considering implementation, which was to occur over summer 2020 (May 2020 to September 2020). The objective was to get to a mid-May 2020 launch to ensure that students could reasonably accrue sufficient hours to obtain the grant in support of their fall studies.

  • April 26, 2020, PCO receives an unofficial Finance Minister decision on the broad student package and routes its policy and [ * ] funding note to the Prime Minister on the broad student package. (See Tab 1)
  • May 5, 2020, Proposal considered by COVID Committee. The proposal included references to WE. The proposal was approved in principle.

III. Policy approval process - Ratification: May 6, 2020 - May 22,2020

Context: Following COVID Committee approval in principle, Cabinet ratification was sought in order for the program to be launched by end of May.

  • May 8, 2020, Proposal scheduled for ratification at Cabinet but time ran out. (See Tab 1).
  • May 15, 2020, PM return on original student funding package as recommended by PCO, including a $900 million set aside for a student service grant (See Tab 1).
  • May 21, 2020, Prime Minister briefing with PMO and PCO (Phil Jennings, Chris Fox, Lisa Setlakwe, and Tara Shannon) on Minister Chagger's proposal. The briefing focused on eligibility criteria (whether students in receipt of CERB can access the volunteer grant), role of WE charities and ensuring proper checks and balances in an agreement with WE Charities (bilingual, capacity, program integrity in terms of reach to vulnerable and underrepresented populations), should Cabinet ratify the proposal.
  • May 22, 2020, Cabinet ratified the proposal, ad referendum on funding to the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.

IV. Final funding approval and program launch: May 23, 2020 - June 25, 2020

Context: Following Cabinet ratification, the focus was on obtaining final funding and policy approvals for the grant. Consistent with the PM briefing and Cabinet discussion, attention also turned to ensuring that the program would be implemented in a manner that would have the widest reach, capturing vulnerable and underrepresented students.

  • June 6, 2020, PCO sends [ * ] funding decision to the Prime Minister, agrees with MoF decision to provide up to $534.8 million to support implementation. (See Tab 1).
  • June 22, 2020, PM return received providing final policy and funding authority (See Tab 1).
  • June 25, 2020, PM announcement launching the grant and identifying WE Charities as the partner.

Canada Student Service Grant - April 2020 — June 2020

I. Policy development phase: April 6, 2020 — April 22, 2020

Context: The pandemic began on March 13, 2020 and had an unprecedented economic impact on Canadians. The March 2020 labour survey indicated that students bore the brunt of the contracting labour market. Only half of students would likely qualify for CERB. Students graduating or ending their studies for the summer would face a very challenging labour market. In this context, the Government was facing significant pressure to expand CERB to students and the government wanted to consider options to offer financial support and contribute to their studies and continued professional development. This led to the $9 billion package announced on April 22, 2020, which covered the Canada Economic Student Benefit, employment measures, student loan measures, and the Canada Student Service Grant.

Key players: Finance, Finance Mino, ESDC, PMO.

  • On April 6, 2020, Finance officials had a first meeting with its Mino on a potential student package to address students' particular needs as a result of COVID-19. Finance subsequently reached out to ESDC to seek ideas for youth and student COVID supports.
  • On April 15, 2020, the Prime Minister was briefed by Finance Mino, with support from Finance (Michelle Kovacevic), PMO, and PCO (Phil Jennings) on a potential package for students that included a combination of employment supports, tuition supports, and volunteer incentives, with specific elements to be refined.
  • April 20, 2020, Phil Jennings provided a copy of the Finance package to the Clerk (See Tab 1).
  • April 21, 2020, Prime Minister briefed on the final package (Phil Jennings in attendance).
  • April 22, 2020, Prime Minister announces the full student support package, including the Canada Student Service Grant. No policy or funding authorities were in place.

II. Policy approval process — Approval in principle: April 23, 2020 to May 5, 2020

Context: The April 22, 2020 announcement articulated the Government's policy objectives for students. Focus shifted to considering implementation, which was to occur over summer 2020 (May 2020 to September 2020). The objective was to get to a mid-May 2020 launch to ensure that students could reasonably accrue sufficient hours to obtain the grant in support of their fall studies.

Key Players: PCO, PMO, Finance, ESDC.

  • April 26, 2020, PCO receives an unofficial Finance Minister decision and routes its policy and [ * ] funding note to the Prime Minister. (See Tab 1).
  • May 5, 2020, Proposal considered by COVID Committee. The proposal included references to WE. The proposal was approved in principle.

III. Policy approval process — Ratification: May 6, 2020 — May 22, 2020

Context: Following COVID Committee approval in principle, Cabinet ratification was sought in order for the program to be launched by end of May.

Key players: PCO, PMO, ESDC, Committee, Cabinet.

  • May 8, 2020, Proposal scheduled for ratification at Cabinet but time ran out. (See Tab 1).
  • May 15, 2020, PM return on original student funding package as recommended by PCO, including a $900 million set aside for a student service grant (See Tab 1).
  • May 21, 2020, Prime Minister briefing with PMO and PCO (Phil Jennings, Chris Fox, Lisa Setlakwe, and Tara Shannon) on Minister Chagger's proposal. The briefing focused on eligibility criteria (whether students in receipt of CERB can access the volunteer grant), role of WE charities and ensuring proper checks and balances in an agreement with WE Charities (bilingual, capacity, program integrity in terms of reach to vulnerable and underrepresented populations), should Cabinet ratify the proposal.
  • May 22, 2020, Cabinet ratified the proposal, ad referendum on funding to the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.

IV. Final funding approval and program launch: May 23, 2020 — June 25, 2020

Context: Following Cabinet ratification, the focus was on obtaining final funding and policy approvals for the grant. Consistent with the PM briefing and Cabinet discussion, attention also turned to ensuring that the program would be implemented in a manner that would have the widest reach, capturing vulnerable and underrepresented students.

Key Players: PCO, PMO, ESDC.

  • June 6, 2020, PCO sends [ * ] funding decision to the Prime Minister, agrees with MoF decision to provide up to 534.8 million to support implementation. (See Tab 1)
  • June 22, 2020, PM return received providing final policy and funding authority (See Tab 1)
  • June 25, 2020, PM announcement launching the grant and identifying WE Charities as the partner.

Questions and answers

Interference

  1. Was there any political interference in the selection of WE Charity?
  2. Did the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister of Finance direct the public service to enter into an agreement with WE Charity?
  3. Did the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance advocate for WE Charity when the matter was considered by Cabinet?
  4. Did WE try to use its relationships with the Trudeau family to influence the public service to award the agreement?
  5. If the agreement with WE was above board, why would they try to hide the fact that they previously paid members of the Prime Minister’s family to speak at events?
  6. In interactions with public servants, what did the Prime Minister’s office and other political staffers focus on? Was the Prime Minister’s relationship with WE noted?
  7. Was the CSSG designed so that only WE Charity could deliver? Was it PMO that designed the CSSG?

Conflict of interest

  1. Was there advice on a possible conflict of interest? If not, why not? The PM’s connection is well known. Isn’t your role as his Deputy to advise on such matters?
  2. Did the public service flag conflict of interest issues when WE was proposed? What concerns were raised about the agreement with WE Charity?
  3. As the Clerk of the Privy Council, and the head of the public service, have you been briefed by your DM colleague at ESDC responsible for the scandal? Can you confidently state that the public service acted in accordance with the code for values and ethics?
  4. Do any of the public servants involved have an existing relationship with WE Charity?
  5. The last time we had discussions on a scandal was in February 2019 when the previous Clerk had to defend the public service actions relating to the Jody Wilson scandal. Tell us, is this the public service once again doing the Prime Minister’s bidding? Since that time, why hasn’t the public service instituted measures to ensure conflict of interest is not identified earlier as part of the vetting process?

Process

  1. What was the role of the Minister of Finance and Department of Finance officials in WE receiving the contribution agreement for the CSSG
  2. Is it strange for the Department of Finance to develop policy proposals and identify third parties that could deliver the programs?
  3. What is the role of the COVID sub-committee?
  4. What concerns did Ministers raise? What did the Deputy Prime Minister, as the committee chair, say about the agreement?
  5. Were there concerns raised by Ministers of an agreement with WE Charity when the items were presented at Cabinet?
  6. What did the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance say about the agreement with WE Charity at Cabinet?
  7. On April 22, when the Prime Minister announced $9 billion in supports for students, was the decision to award the agreement to WE Charity already made?

Role of Public Service

  1. Was the public service aware that members of the Prime Minister’s family received payments for engagements with WE Charity? 
  2. What would you say if the integrity of the public service was questioned? Would you say that it was deserved?
  3. Can you explain why Canadians shouldn’t be concerned that the public service is doing the government’s bidding?
  4. Knowing that the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance families had links to WE, why did the public service decide to award the agreement to WE?
  5. It’s been said that the only option to deliver the CSSG was WE Charity. Why was so little faith placed in the public service to deliver the program?
  6. Do you feel that the public service exercised appropriate due diligence prior to allowing the proposal to advance?
  7. Given we are in the times of COVID – are processes and protocols being used in a fast and loose manner? Is this what led to awarding the agreement to WE Charity?
  8. Given this matter, what measures will the public service put in place to ensure WE charity does not get any additional Government of Canada agreements/contracts?

Role of PCO

  1. What was PCO’s advice to the Committee and Cabinet? Was it considered?
  2. The role of PCO is to provide non-partisan advice to the government (Cabinet) – did this take place?
  3. What did you and PCO know about the plans to enter into an agreement with WE Charity?

[ * ]

[ * ]

Report on Finance Committee hearing (from Mala), unedited transcript from committee

In this section

Khawaja, Saba

From :

Tumber, Reema on Behalf of Khanna, Mala

Sent :

Friday, July 17, 2020 8:12 AM

To :

Blanchard, Dominique; Setlakwe, Lisa; Halucha, Paul; Beck, Stefanie; Baird, Louise; Shea, Matthew; Wong Fortin, Bonny; Hartnell, Chad; van Dieen, Jodie; Wittmann, Patrick; Khwaja, Saba; Brunelle-Cote, Antoine; Sutherland, Allen; MacKillop, Ken; Ghali, Rodney; Beaudoin, Alain; Wilshaw, Sara; Nix, Shannon; Lattirpore, Michelle; Cintrat, Jean; Kempton, Laurie-Anne; Laberge, Raphaelle; Roble, Abdillahi; Tumber, Reema; Desrochers, Pierre; Tumber, Reema; Shannon, Tara; Schwendt, Steven; Garrard, Michael; Soni, Shannon-Marie

Subject :

FW: Committee Summary - FINA - WE Charity

Good morning,
Please find below the FINA summary from yesterday's meeting.

From: Bédard, <Rachelle Rachelle.Bedard@pco-bcp.gc.ca>
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2020 9:16 PM
Subject: FW: Committee Summary - FINA - WE Charity

Report on committee hearing

Name of Committee:

Standing Committee on Finance (FINA)

Date and time:

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Location:

Room 415, Wellington Building, 197 Sparks Street and Videoconference

Report prepared by:

Daniel Lennox, Parliamentary Affairs, ESDC

Subject:

Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant

Members in Attendance:

  • LPC: Julie Dzerowicz, Wayne Easter (Chair), Peter Fragiskatos, Sean Fraser, Annie Koutrakis, Michael McLeod
  • CPC: Michael Cooper, James Cumming, Marty Morantz, Pierre Poilievre (Vice-Chair)
  • NDP: Peter Julian
  • Non-members in attendance: Rhéal Fortin (Bloc Québécois), Charlie Angus (NDP), Michael Barrett (CPC), Elizabeth May (Green), Marie-Hélène Gaudreau (BQ)

Witnesses:

Panel 1 (3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.):

  • Hon. Bardish Chagger, P.C., M.P., Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
  • Department of Canadian Heritage
    • Gina Wilson, Senior Associate Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Panel 2 (4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.):

  • Department of Canadian Heritage
    • Gina Wilson, Senior Associate Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
  • Department of Employment and Social Development
    • Rachel Wernick, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch
    • Stephanie Hébert, Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Operations Branch

Panel 3 (5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.):

  • Volunteer Canada
    • Paula Speevak, President and Chief Executive Officer
Overview:

The committee met on the first of four meetings to examine how much the government spent in awarding the $912 million sole-source contract to WE Charity, and how the outsourcing of the Canada Student Service Grant to WE Charity proceeded as far as it did. The Chair noted some committee business at the opening of the meeting, submitting the sub-committees report on this study, relating to dates of upcoming meetings, the planned appearance of the Clerk of the Privy Council (July 21) and noting that the committee would hear from a maximum of 18 witnesses.

Minister Chagger made opening remarks, as did Ms. Wilson and Ms. Wernick for panel two. Ms. Speevak discussed the reservations her organization raised, noting that these reservations are unrelated to WE Charity being selected as the program provider. She discussed the partnership with the Canada Service Corps. She discussed concerns raised with the Minister’s Office about paying an hourly rate below minimum wage, importance of a range of opportunities (not solely COVI-19 related), capacity to engange students and screening for vulnerable populations, ability of organizations to create placements, importance of building on existing infrastructure. She presented a timeline of discussions with the Minister’s Office and WE Charity.

The Chair indicated that questioning would follow the style of the COVID Committee, in that witnesses would have the same amount of time to answer as the length of the question. Mr. Fortin raised points of order on the needs of the interpreters and the importance to respect the spirit of official languages. CPC and NDP members were terse with the Minister and officials for the first two panels, focusing on issues of timing and ethics, often interrupting these witnesses. LPC members took issue with Ms. Speevak’s position on the appropriateness of a service grant.

Highlights:
  • Panel 1:
    • Questions from CPC:
      • Pierre Poilievre asked the Minister the name of the public servant who recommended the WE Charity, if she spoke to the PM, to PMO, if Cabinet signed off on the MC, if she discussed it with PMO, with Katie Telford, with the Minister of Finance; if anyone from her office spoke to PMO before it was introduced to Cabinet; the total number of job placements; amount that WE would be allocated; to explain the number of placements in context of the full cost of the program.
      • Michael Barrett asked about the timing for a call for proposals; asked why the Minister proposed this program from a different department; if WE Charity was the only recommended option in the Memorandum to Cabinet; was the program discussed with the PM or the Minister of Finance; whether she or her office had conversations with WE; names of the individuals who negotiated the termination of this agreement.
    • Questions from LPC:
      • Peter Fragiskatos discussed the technical distinction between a sole-sourced contract and a contribution agreement; asked why WE was selected; asked if there was a directive to select WE to administer the program; what’s planned for the CSSG.
      • Annie Koutrakis asked about the importance of the CSSG; how often third parties provide assistance to deliver programs. She commended the work of the public service.
    • Questions from BQ:
      • Rhéal Fortin asked who Rachel Wernick spoke to before recommending WE Charity; asked why the Canada Service Corps were not considered to manage the program and if she asked those questions; how WE was better positioned than the Canada Service Corps to manage the program.
    • Questions from NDP:
      • Charlie Angus, on ethics investigations, asked if the Minister is aware of the Minister Morneau’s and the PM’s family connections to WE Charity; the cost for each placement; asked if a legal opinion was provided about students getting paid less than minimum wage to do paid work;
  • Panel 2:
    • Questions from CPC:
      • Pierre Poilievre asked Ms. Wernick about which Ministers WE’s initial proposal was sent to (follow-up), when did she learn of this proposal; whether she was informed that Ministers had opinions on WE’s initial proposal; who directed Ms. Wernick to prepare a student service grant proposal; who first gave Ms. Wernick the WE proposal, whether this was related to a grant proposal; how many positions were going to be created. The Chair sought clarifications from Ms. Wernick on a seeming contradiction in statements made. Mr. Poilievre resumed questioning about the timing of communications with WE Charity and the Prime Minister’s announcement in April 2020. He asked who instructed Ms. Wernick to contact Mr. Kielburger on April 19; who raised WE Charity in discussion; if the Finance official instructed Ms. Wernick to contact WE Charity; asked about the mid-April WE proposal; asked about the timing of the contribution agreement.
      • Michael Barrett asked about the timing of calls to WE and to other organizations; relating to reports that PMO informed WE of being selected as a partner, who notified WE and when; asked about emails from WE; asked why WE was recruiting on June 12 when he was only officially notified on June 23.
    • Questions from LPC:
      • Julie Dzerowicz recapped the timeline of discussions and announcements of April 2020; asked if other organizations or internally, before selecting WE; whether other organizations sent unsolicited proposals; the cost of the program; the nature of a contribution agreement.
      • Michael McLeod asked what steps are taken to ensure Indigenous and northern youth are included in program design.
      • Peter Fragiskatos took interest in the work of third parties in the context of contribution agreements; the situation facing the public service when reaching out to third parties; whether call for proposals are always used.
    • Questions from BQ:
      • Rhéal Fortin asked Ms. Wernick if she knew Mr. Kielburger; if she approached other organizations prior to April 22 (follow-up); did Ms. Wernick know that the PM’s was a WE ambassador, that other family members were paid speakers, whether she raised this with Ms. Chagger; asked about the difference between contracts and contribution agreements; is there a requirement to hold an open call.
    • Questions from NDP:
      • Charlie Angus asked about the pre-April 19 WE proposal, who it circulated to, asked to see this initial proposal (follow-up); whether it was possible that WE Charity got the inside track to be granted the contribution agreement; asked if Trudeau family links were raised; asked about the per-student placement financing; about bogus placement proposals; about paying students below minimum wage rates and the legal liability of charities and if the public service has a legal opinion on this matter.
  • Panel 3:
    • Questions from CPC:
      • Michael Cooper asked about the communications with ministers and officials, timing of communications with WE Charity and their content; asked about the scope of work WE Charity was discussing with Volunteer Canada; asking about fees; why the program was inflexible. He further asked about volunteer matching, asked about the expertise required to run the program, asked about Volunteer Canada projects, asked about why Volunteer Canada communicated with the Minister’s Office.
    • Questions from LPC:
      • Julie Dzerowicz discussed the governments position in providing a grant for volunteer work.
      • Annie Koutrakis discussed the pay issue as well.
      • Peter Fragiskatos further discussed incentives to draw students to volunteering; asked if Volunteer Canada would have been able to handle 100,000 volunteer placements; asked if Volunteer Canada would have been able to reach the targeted population of the program.
    • Questions from BQ:
      • Rhéal Fortin asked if an organization other than WE could have been selected; whether she has worked with the Canada Service Corps and could they have done the work; could Canada Summer Jobs have been a better vehicle to pay students; whether the organization was offered to manage the program; whether they could have done the work WE was going to do.
      • Marie-Hélène Gaudreau asked for Volunteer Canada’s definition of “volunteer”, that volunteering is based on interests, discussed the importance of non-renumerated work and the use of an incentive; questioned the government’s perception of volunteer work.
    • Questions from NDP:
      • Peter Julian discussed the grant rate and minimum wage issue; timing of her contact with officials; whether her concerns were heard; whether issues of ethics, privacy and bilingualism were raised; asked about the flat fee contract; whether organizations were approached.
ESDC follow-up items for the committee:
  • Which Ministers received the early WE proposal
  • List of organizations considered by ESDC
  • The pre-April 19 WE Proposal
Next steps:

The committee will next meet on July 21, 2020, with the Clerk of the Privy Council (among others), to continue this study. This study will also continue on July 22 and 28, 2020.

Daniel Lennox
Conseiller principal, Affaires parlementaires, Secrétariat ministériel
Emploi et Développement social Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
daniel.lennox@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca / Téléphone [ * ]

Senior Advisor, Parliamentary Affairs, Corporate Secretariat
Employment and Social Development Canada / Government of Canada
daniel.lennox@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca / Telephone [ * ]

House of Commons - 43rd Parliament, 1st Session

Media

John Ivison: The ethics commissioner's key question — was the deck stacked in WE's favour?
National Post | John Ivison | July 16, 2020

John Ivison: With Trudeau it's always repent, rinse, and repeat
National Post | John Ivison | July 17, 2020

Additional information

Note to file: Chronologies (Tabs 1 a-c) in Clerk’s briefing binder for July 21, 2020 FINA appearance

The chronologies located in Tabs 1 a-c of the Clerk of the Privy Council’s July 21, 2020 FINA appearance note that on May 8, 2020 Cabinet ran out of time to consider the Canada Student Service Grant. This is an error. Subsequent to preparing these chronologies and including them in the briefing binder, PCO Priorities and Planning confirmed that the Canada Student Service Grant proposal was instead deferred from the May 8, 2020 Cabinet meeting. This corrected information was reflected in the final chronology provided to the FINA committee as part of the Clerk of the Privy Council’s undertakings from the July 21, 2020 appearance. The final chronology provided to the committee was based on PCO’s understanding of the key dates.

A note to file was provided to the FINA committee regarding an April 20, 2020 email from Christiane Fox and referred to in the chronologies (see attached).

House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance Study: Government spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant

Note to file to the Clerk of the Finance Committee

In the package of documents prepared for the committee’s study on the WE Charity and the Canada Student Services Grant, there are two references to a briefing to the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I wanted to clarify that the briefing in question on the student’s package and provincial and territorial considerations did not occur. In addition, there is an April 20th email I authored that suggests that the WE Charity was working with the offices of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister at that time and I wanted to indicate that I have been informed that these discussions did not take place.

Christiane Fox, Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Privy Council Office

Chronology

In this section

Canada Student Service Grant: April 2020 – June 2020

Framing of the Broad Student Support Package - April 6 – April 22

Context: The pandemic began on March 13, 2020 and had an unprecedented economic impact on Canadians. The March 2020 labour survey indicated that students bore the brunt of the contracting labour market. Only half of students would likely qualify for CERB. Students graduating or ending their studies for the summer would face a very challenging labour market. In this context, the Government was facing significant pressure to expand CERB to students and the government wanted to consider options to offer financial support and contribute to their studies and continued professional development. This led to the $9 billion package announced on April 22, 2020, which covered the Canada Economic Student Benefit, employment measures, student loan measures, and the Canada Student Service Grant.

Key players: Finance, Finance Mino, ESDC, PMO.

April 6 Finance officials had a first meeting with its mino on a potential student package to address students’ particular needs as a result of COVID-19 (the majority of students who did not work during the school year would be ineligible for CERB at the end of the school year in April 2020 and faced significantly diminished employment prospects). Finance subsequently reached out to ESDC to seek ideas for youth and student COVID supports.
April 6-8 Finance mino (and PMO) hold consultations on students with a broad range of student/youth organizations and stakeholders, including: Alex Usher, CASA, Palette, Actua, Universities Canada, YWCA / YMCA, Colleges & Institutes, Canadian Mental Health Assoc., National Assoc. Friendship Centres, ITK, WE, Canadian Community Education Network, Canadian Council for Rehabilitation and Work, Fédération des cegeps, PMYC, Conseil du Patronat du Québec, and Business/Higher Education Roundtable. The results of these consultations are rolled up into a What We Heard report (not shared with PCO).
April 8 PCO (Tara Shannon) met with ESDC (Rachel Wernick and Ritu Banerjee) to discuss their options, which included enhancements to the Canada Summer Jobs Program, Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), Student Work Placement Program, Canada Service Corps, Workforce Development Agreements and Labour Market Development Agreements. To note, the proposed enhancements to the Canada Service Corps included expansion of placements and an increased number of micro-grants. 
April 9-15 Finance worked with ESDC to develop a revised package. ESDC’s focus was on its Canada Service Corps micro-grant proposal. An April 15, 2020 email from Michelle Kovacevic to Benoit Robidoux indicates ESDC needs to “think of something bigger”.
April 14 The Finance Minister was briefed on a revised package. Finance mino requested a note on “emergency student experience grant + mechanism(s)”.
April 15 The Prime Minister was briefed by Finance Mino, with support from Finance (Michelle Kovacevic), PMO, and PCO (Phil Jennings) on a potential broad package for students that included a combination of employment supports, tuition supports, and volunteer incentives, with specific elements to be refined.
April 16 ESDC chronology indicates that an email from Rachel Wernick to Michelle Kovacevic noted “Volunteer Canada low capacity, I have asked Job Bank to come back to me with a proposal.” The same chronology shows that Minister Chagger met with Craig Kielburger of WE Charity and requested briefing material from ESDC on the Canada Service Corps. This material included unsolicited WE proposals on social entrepreneurship and creating a culture of service nationwide. Finance chronology notes that email between it and ESDC regarding volunteer and service options references WE Charity.
April 18 The Finance Minister briefed.
April 19 Final memo to the Finance Minister on options for entire student package. First note of the Canada Student Service Grant with third party delivery suggested (includes WE, Shopify as examples). This also attached an unsolicited proposal from WE for a ten week mentorship program ($13 million), unrelated to the service grant.
April 19-20 ESDC chronology shows Rachel Wernick call with Craig Kielburger. An email from Michelle Kovacevic to PCO (Phil Jennings and Antoine Brunelle-Cote) notes a lot of back and forth on student package over the Easter weekend between Finance Mino and PMO. The email also indicates that there has been positive communications with WE to be a partner (scope unstated). Email from Finance mino to Finance officials confirming a discussion with WE and interest in partnership.
April 20 Phil Jennings provided a copy of the Finance package to the Clerk. Separately, Chris Fox shared a copy of the WE social entrepreneurship proposal with ESDC (Rachel Wernick) and PCH (Gina Wilson), noting that she understood the proposal had likely already been shared with them by WE. Email notes that Chris Fox was told WE met with Ministers Ng, Chagger and others to discuss the file, and were also working with DPMO and PMO.
April 21 Prime Minister briefed on the final package (Phil Jennings in attendance).
April 22 Announcement Prime Minister announces the full student support package, including the Canada Student Service Grant. No policy or funding authorities were in place. Separately, PCO (Chris Fox) receives an unsolicited proposal from WE (Craig Kielburger) given her previous responsibilities with youth.

Preparation of the proposal - April 23 – May 5

Context: The April 22, 2020 announcement articulated the Government’s policy objectives for students. Focus shifted to considering implementation, which was to occur over summer 2020 (May 2020 to September 2020). The objective was to get to a mid-May 2020 launch to ensure that students could reasonably accrue sufficient hours to obtain the grant. The potential role of students in Canada’s COVID-19 response was a central consideration, as was how to ensure safe opportunities in the context of the pandemic.

Key players: PCO, PMO, Finance, ESDC.

April 24-May 4 Various meetings with WE Charity, including: April 24, 2020 (Michelle Kovacevic, Rachel Wernick); April 28, 2020 (ESDC officials); May 1, 2020 (Rachel Wernick, ESDC officials); May 3, 2020 (Rachel Wernick, ESDC officials); May 4, 2020 (Rachel Wernick, ESDC officials)
April 26 PCO receives an unofficial Finance Minister decision and routes its policy and [ * ] funding note to the Prime Minister. PCO recommended that the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth to bring a proposal to Cabinet to outline the grant parameters before seeking final funding approval. PCO recommended against the unsolicited WE social entrepreneurship proposal ($13 million).
April 29 Pre-brief between PCO, ESDC, Finance in advance of a Four Corners meeting to discuss options for implementing the Canada Student Service Grant. ESDC noted WE Charity as an option to deliver the CSSG. PCO probed on whether other organizations could be involved.
April 30 Four Corners with participation of PCO, PMO, ESDC, and Finance, to discuss path forward on student grant. ESDC spoke to their recommended role for WE given the need for implementation by mid-May. PCO notes show PCO asked about a competitive process for engaging a third party and PMO asked what could WE do that the public service is unable.
May 3-4 ESDC provided a draft proposal for consideration by COVID Committee. Based on ESDC’s recommendation on WE, PCO asked why their proposal did not name their intended third party administrator. ESDC indicated this was a decision for their Minister.

Cabinet approval process - May 5June 22

Context: Following COVID Committee approval in principle, focus turned to Cabinet ratification in order for the program to be launched by end of May.

Key players: PCO, PMO, ESDC, Committee, Cabinet.

May 5 Covid Committee meeting: the proposal was approved in principle
May 6 ESDC advises that Minister Chagger would like to amend her proposal as a result of input at COVID committee, including introduction of additional award levels and expansion of the program to all youth, not just post secondary students. On May 8, 2020, ESDC advised that Minister Chagger would not be amending her proposal.
May 8 Proposal scheduled for ratification at Cabinet but time ran out.
May 11-13 ESDC (Rachel Wernick) has calls with WE Charity to continue discuss potential Contribution Agreement.
May 13 ESDC (Rachel Wernick) sends an email to PCO (Tara Shannon) outlining why the Canada Service Corps would not be a good option to deliver the grant.
May 15 PM return on broad student funding package as recommended by PCO, including a $900 millon set aside for a student service grant.
May 21 Prime Minister briefing with PMO and PCO (Phil Jennings, Chris Fox, Lisa Setlakwe, and Tara Shannon) on Minister Chagger’s proposal. The briefing focused on eligibility criteria (whether students in receipt of CERB can access the volunteer grant), role of WE charities and ensuring proper checks and balances in an agreement with WE Charities (bilingual, capacity, program integrity in terms of reach to vulnerable and underrepresented populations).
May 22 Cabinet ratified the proposal, ad referendum on funding to the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.

Development of the contribution agreement - May 23 - June 25

Context: Following Cabinet ratification, the focus shifted to obtaining final funding and policy approvals for the grant. Consistent with the PM briefing and Cabinet discussion, attention also turned to ensuring that the program would be implemented in a manner that would have the widest reach, capturing vulnerable and underrepresented students.

Key players: PCO, PMO, ESDC.

May 26-29 Focus was on ensuring in its administration that WE would have adequate reach to vulnerable and underrepresented students. PMO shares a copy of a draft Contribution Agreement with WE with PCO-SDP (Tara Shannon and Lisa Setlakwe) and requests a meeting to discuss how to ensure proper reporting in WE’s administration of the grant, with a focus on reaching vulnerable and underrepresented youth. Meeting occurs on May 27, 2020 with the participation of SDP, RDU and PMO. On May 29, 2020, ESDC provided the draft eligibility criteria being used in negotiations with WE.
June 1 Minister Chagger submits her funding proposal in the amount of $543.8 million
June 4 Finance Minister funding decision, providing up to $534.8 million for the Grant.
June 6
  1. PCO sends [ * ] funding decision to the Prime Minister, agrees with MoF.
  2. In response to a request from PMO, the final contribution agreement as negotiated between ESDC and WE Charity counsels, was provided to PMO for their information. PMO subsequently sent a series of technical questions on the Agreement to PCO (Contribution Agreement 101). PCO worked with ESDC to provide answers. The Contribution Agreement did not change.
June 17 PCO hosted a Four Corners to discuss the launch of the grant, including communications, readiness of WE Charities with placements, and whether given the late launch (previously targeted for Mid-May 2020), additional time should be accorded to accrue volunteer hours.
June 22 PM return received providing final policy and funding authority, and includes a condition that ESDC report to on progress to the President of the Treasury Board before accessing funding for cohort 2 (placements beyond an initial 20,000) and beyond.
June 23 ESDC and WE sign the Contribution Agreement.
June 25 PM announcement launching the grant and identifying WE Charities as the partner.

Key dates April 2020 – June 2020

April 6 Finance officials had a first meeting with its mino on a potential student package to address students’ particular needs
April 6-8 Finance mino and PMO hold consultations on students with a broad range of student/youth organizations and stakeholders, including: Alex Usher, CASA, Palette, Actua, Universities Canada, YWCA / YMCA, Colleges & Institutes, Canadian Mental Health Assoc., National Assoc. Friendship Centres, ITK, WE, Canadian Community Education Network, Canadian Council for Rehabilitation and Work, Fédération des cegeps, PMYC, Business/Higher Education Roundtable. The results of these consultations are rolled up into a What We Heard report (not public).
April 8 PCO met with ESDC to discuss their options, which included enhancements to the Canada Summer Jobs Program, Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), Student Work Placement Program, Canada Service Corps, Workforce Development Agreements and Labour Market Development Agreements.
April 15 The Prime Minister was briefed by Finance Mino, with support from Finance PMO, and PCO on a potential broad package for students that included a combination of employment supports, tuition supports, and volunteer incentives.
April 21 Prime Minister briefed on the final package (Phil Jennings in attendance).
April 22 Announcement Prime Minister announces the full student support package, including the Canada Student Service Grant. No policy or funding authorities were in place. Separately, PCO (Chris Fox) receives an unsolicited proposal from WE (Craig Kielburger) given her previous responsibilities with youth.
April 24-May 4 Various meetings between ESDC, Finance with WE Charity.
April 29 Pre-brief between PCO, ESDC, Finance in advance of a Four Corners meeting to discuss options for implementing the Canada Student Service Grant. ESDC noted WE Charity as an option to deliver the CSSG. PCO probed on whether other organizations could be involved.
April 30 Four Corners with participation of PCO, PMO, ESDC, and Finance, to discuss path forward on student grant. ESDC spoke to their recommended role for WE given the need for implementation by mid-May. PCO notes show PCO asked about a competitive process for engaging a third party and PMO asked what could WE do that the public service is unable.
May 3-4 ESDC provided a draft proposal for consideration by COVID Committee. Based on ESDC’s recommendation on WE, PCO asked why their proposal did not name their intended third party administrator. ESDC indicated this was a decision for their Minister.
May 5 Covid Committee meeting: The proposal, with the recommendation of WE as third-party delivery, was approved in principle.
May 8 Proposal scheduled for ratification at Cabinet but time ran out.
May 15 PM return on the broad student funding package as recommended by PCO, including a $900 million set aside for a student service grant.
May 21 Prime Minister briefing with PMO and PCO (Phil Jennings, Chris Fox, Lisa Setlakwe, and Tara Shannon) on Minister Chagger’s proposal. The briefing focused on eligibility criteria (whether students in receipt of CERB can access the volunteer grant), role of WE charities and ensuring proper checks and balances in an agreement with WE Charities (bilingual, capacity, program integrity in terms of reach to vulnerable and underrepresented populations).
May 22 Cabinet ratified the proposal, ad referendum on funding to the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.
May 26-29 Focus was on ensuring in its administration that WE would have adequate reach to vulnerable and underrepresented students. Meeting occurs on May 27, 2020 with the participation of PCO and PMO.
June 17 PCO hosted a Four Corners to discuss the launch of the grant, including communications, readiness of WE Charities with placements, and whether given the late launch (previously targeted for Mid-May 2020), additional time should be accorded to accrue volunteer hours.
June 22 PM return received providing final policy and funding authority, and includes a condition that ESDC report to on progress to the President of the Treasury Board before accessing funding for cohort 2 (placements beyond an initial 20,000) and beyond.
June 23 ESDC and WE sign the Contribution Agreement.
June 25 Announcement PM announcement launching the grant and identifying WE Charities as the partner.

Canada Student Service Grant - April 2020 – June 2020

I. April 6, 2020 – April 22, 2020 – Development and announcement of Student Support Package

Context: The pandemic began on March 13, 2020 and had an unprecedented economic impact on Canadians. The March 2020 labour survey indicated that students bore the brunt of the contracting labour market. Only half of students would likely qualify for CERB. Students graduating or ending their studies for the summer would face a very challenging labour market. In this context, the Government was facing significant pressure to expand CERB to students and the government wanted to consider options to offer financial support and contribute to their studies and continued professional development. This led to the $9 billion package announced on April 22, 2020, which covered the Canada Economic Student Benefit, employment measures, student loan measures, and the Canada Student Service Grant.

Key players: Finance, Finance Mino, ESDC, PMO.

  • On April 6, 2020, Finance officials had a first meeting with its Mino on a potential student package to address students’ particular needs as a result of COVID-19 (the majority of students who did not work during the school year would be ineligible for CERB at the end of the school year in April 2020 and faced significantly diminished employment prospects).
  • Finance subsequently reached out to ESDC to seek ideas for youth and student COVID supports.
  • On April 8, 2020, PCO (Tara Shannon) met with ESDC (Rachel Wernick and Ritu Banerjee) to discuss their options, which included enhancements to the Canada Summer Jobs Program, Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), Student Work Placement Program, Canada Service Corps, Workforce Development Agreements and Labour Market Development Agreements. To note, the proposed enhancements to the Canada Service Corps included expansion of placements and an increased number of micro-grants. 
  • On April 9, 2020, the Finance Minister was briefed on the potential student package.
  • Between April 9, 2020 – April 15, 2020, Finance worked with ESDC to develop a revised package. ESDC’s focus was on its Canada Service Corps micro-grant proposal. An April 15, 2020 email from Michelle Kovacevic to Benoit Robidoux indicates ESDC needs to “think of something bigger”.
  • On April 14, 2020, the Finance Minister was briefed on a revised package. Finance Mino requested a note on “emergency student experience grant + mechanism(s)”.
  • On April 15, 2020, the Prime Minister was briefed by Finance Mino, with support from Finance (Michelle Kovacevic), PMO, and PCO (Phil Jennings) on a potential package for students that included a combination of employment supports, tuition supports, and volunteer incentives, with specific elements to be refined.
  • On April 16, 2020, ESDC chronology indicates that an email from Rachel Wernick to Michelle Kovacevic noted “Volunteer Canada low capacity, I have asked Job Bank to come back to me with a proposal.” The same chronology shows that Minister Chagger met with Craig Kielburger of WE Charity and requested briefing material from ESDC on the Canada Service Corps. This material included unsolicited WE proposals on social entrepreneurship and creating a culture of service nationwide. Finance chronology notes that email between it and ESDC regarding volunteer and service options references WE Charity.
  • April 17, 2020, Finance officials sent a draft funding memo to the Finance Minister. This draft did not include a reference to WE.
  • April 18, 2020, Finance Minister briefed.
  • April 19, 2020, Final memo to the Finance Minister on options for entire student package. First note of the Canada Student Service Grant with third party delivery suggested (includes WE, Shopify as examples). This also attached an unsolicited proposal from WE for a ten week mentorship program ($13 million), unrelated to the service grant.
  • April 19 – 20, 2020, ESDC chronology shows Rachel Wernick call with Craig Kielburger. An email from Michelle Kovacevic to PCO (Phil Jennings and Antoine Brunelle-Cote) notes a lot of back and forth on student package over the Easter weekend between Finance Mino and PMO. The email also indicates that there has been positive communications with WE to be a partner (scope unstated). Email from Finance Mino to Finance officials confirming a discussion with WE and interest in partnership.
  • April 20, 2020, Phil Jennings provided a copy of the Finance package to the Clerk.
  • April 21, 2020, Prime Minister briefed on the final package (Phil Jennings in attendance).
  • April 22, 2020, Prime Minister announces the full student support package, including the Canada Student Service Grant. No policy or funding authorities were in place.

II. April 23, 2020 to May 5, 2020 – Announcement to COVID ad hoc committee

Context: The April 22, 2020 announcement articulated the Government’s policy objectives for students. Focus shifted to considering implementation, which was to occur over summer 2020 (May 2020 to September 2020). The objective was to get to a mid-May 2020 launch to ensure that students could reasonably accrue sufficient hours to obtain the grant.

Key Players: PCO, PMO, Finance, ESDC.

  • April 24, 2020 – May 4, 2020, Various meetings with WE Charity, including: April 24, 2020 (Michelle Kovacevic, Rachel Wernick); April 28, 2020 (ESDC officials); May 1, 2020 (Rachel Wernick, ESDC officials); May 3, 2020 (Rachel Wernick, ESDC officials); May 4, 2020 (Rachel Wernick, ESDC officials)
  • April 26, 2020, PCO receives an unofficial Finance Minister decision and routes its policy and [ * ] funding note to the Prime Minister. PCO recommended that the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth to bring a proposal to Cabinet to outline the grant parameters before seeking final funding approval. PCO recommended against the unsolicited WE mentorship proposal ($13 million).
  • April 29, 2020, Pre-brief between PCO, ESDC, Finance in advance of a Four Corners meeting to discuss options for implementing the Canada Student Service Grant. ESDC noted WE Charity as an option to deliver the CSSG. PCO probed on whether other organizations could be involved.
  • April 30, 2020, Four Corners with participation of PCO, PMO, ESDC, and Finance, to discuss path forward on student grant. ESDC spoke to their recommended role for WE given the need for implementation by mid-May. PCO notes show PCO asked about a competitive process for engaging a third party and PMO asked what could WE do that the public service is unable.
  • May 3 – 4, 2020, ESDC provided a draft proposal for consideration by COVID Committee. Based on ESDC’s recommendation on WE, PCO asked why their proposal did not name their intended third party administrator. ESDC indicated this was a decision for their Minister.
  • May 5, 2020, Proposal considered by COVID Committee. The proposal included references to WE. The proposal was approved in principle.

III. May 6, 2020 – May 22, 2020 – COVID ad hoc committee to Cabinet ratification

Context: Following COVID Committee approval in principle, Cabinet ratification was sought in order for the program to be launched by end of May.

Key players: PCO, PMO, ESDC, Committee, Cabinet.

  • May 6, 2020, ESDC advises that Minister Chagger would like to amend her proposal as a result of input at COVID committee, including introduction of additional award levels and expansion of the program to all youth, not just post secondary students. On May 8, 2020, ESDC advised that Minister Chagger would not be amending her proposal.
  • May 8, 2020, Proposal scheduled for ratification at Cabinet but time ran out.
  • May 11-13, 2020, ESDC (Rachel Wernick) has calls with WE Charity to continue discuss.
  • May 13, 2020, ESDC (Rachel Wernick) sends an email to PCO (Tara Shannon) outlining why the Canada Service Corps would not be a good option to deliver the grant.
  • May 15, 2020, PM return on original student funding package as recommended by PCO, including a $900 millon set aside for a student service grant.
  • May 21, 2020, Prime Minister briefing with PMO and PCO (Phil Jennings, Chris Fox, Lisa Setlakwe, and Tara Shannon) on Minister Chagger’s proposal. The briefing focused on eligibility criteria (whether students in receipt of CERB can access the volunteer grant), role of WE charities and ensuring proper checks and balances in an agreement with WE Charities (bilingual, capacity, program integrity in terms of reach to vulnerable and underrepresented populations) should Cabinet ratify.
  • May 22, 2020, Cabinet ratified the proposal, ad referendum on funding to the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.

IV. May 23, 2020 – June 25, 2020 – Cabinet ratification to program launch

Context: Following Cabinet ratification, the focus was on obtaining final funding and policy approvals for the grant. Consistent with the PM briefing and Cabinet discussion, attention also turned to ensuring that the program would be implemented in a manner that would have the widest reach, capturing vulnerable and underrepresented students.

Key Players: PCO, PMO, ESDC.

  • May 26 – 29, 2020, PMO shares a copy of a draft Contribution Agreement with WE with PCO-SDP (Tara Shannon and Lisa Setlakwe) and requests a meeting to discuss how to ensure proper reporting in WE’s administration of the grant, with a focus on reaching vulnerable and underrepresented youth. Meeting occurs on May 27, 2020 with the participation of SDP, RDU and PMO. On May 29, 2020, ESDC provided the draft eligibility criteria being used in negotiations with WE.
  • June 1, 2020, Minister Chagger submits her funding proposal in the amount of $543.8 million
  • June 4, 2020, Finance Minister funding decision, providing up to $534.8 million for the Grant.
  • June 6, 2020, PCO sends [ * ] funding decision to the Prime Minister, agrees with MoF.
  • June 9-11, 2020, In response to a request from PMO, the final contribution agreement as negotiated between ESDC and WE Charity counsels, was provided to PMO for their information. PMO subsequently sent a series of technical questions on the Agreement to PCO (Contribution Agreement 101). PCO worked with ESDC to provide answers. The Contribution Agreement did not change.
  • June 17, 2020, PCO hosted a Four Corners to discuss the launch of the grant, including communications, readiness of WE Charities with placements, and whether given the late launch (previously targeted for Mid-May 2020), additional time should be accorded to accrue volunteer hours.
  • June 22, 2020, PM return received providing final policy and funding authority, and includes a condition that ESDC report to on progress to the President of the Treasury Board before accessing funding for cohort 2 (placements beyond an initial 20,000) and beyond.
  • June 23, 2020, ESDC and WE sign the Contribution Agreement.
  • June 25, 2020, PM announcement launching the grant and identifying WE Charities as the partner.

Summary of the program and breakdown of the costs

In this section

Overview of Canada Student Service Grant

The new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) aims to encourage young people to take part in service activities that will help them support their communities’ COVID-19 response and gain invaluable experience.

The CSSG is a one-time payment (grant) available at five levels, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The amount will vary based on the number of hours each volunteer completes, with $1,000 provided for each 100 hours completed, up to a maximum of $5,000 for 500 hours.

Role of WE Charity

WE Charity was to administer the CSSG program by providing back-end support for screening, onboarding, and training, and matching functions, in addition to the disbursement of grants to eligible participants.

Overview of contribution agreement with WE Charity

  • $912M has been set aside for the CSSG, from the $9 billion student package.
  • Of the $912M, $543M was allocated in a contribution agreement to WE Charity. The remainder ($369M) of the set aside could be accessed by the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth for the purpose of the student grant if the number of students participating in the grant exceeded the initial allocation.
  • Of $543M:
    • $500M was allocated to fund the disbursement of the grant which would be provided directly to eligible students.
    • WE Charity was to be provided up to $43M for delivering the CSSG program.
      1. $19.5M for program delivery of cohort 1 of 20,000 volunteer placements
        • $5.3M will go to directly support other NFP partners and provide supports to students facing barriers to access the program (such as technological devices).
      2. $13.5M was to be allocated for cohort 2 of another 20,000 volunteer placements.
        • $4.1M will go to directly support other NFP partners and provide supports to students facing barriers to access the program (such as technological devices).
      3. $10.5M for a supplementary cohort.
    • The costs cover a broad range of program delivery activities to create and support volunteer opportunities including:
      • onboarding infrastructure and supports for youth and NFPs that meet public health guidelines so that participants can safely engage in placements which reduces the liability on government;
      • infrastructure to remove impediments for disadvantaged youth to participate in the CSSG;
      • developing the technological infrastructure and processes to make placements available on the I Want to Help platform for the launch of the initiative;
      • promoting this initiative extensively through their networks and social media (WE has 4 million Facebook followers);
      • ensure that the placements are geographically distributed across Canada, and include students from underrepresented backgrounds by providing the necessary supports to attract and engage these students.

I Want to Help platform (ESDC-managed)

Not-for-profit organizations would be able to submit volunteer opportunities to the I Want to Help platform. Eligible and high quality placements will be posted on the platform, where students can search and apply for opportunities in their communities.

In order to be eligible, a placement must:

  • be with a not-for-profit organization, which includes registered charities;
  • take place in Canada and support Canada’s response to COVID-19;
  • be a minimum of two hours per week for four, weeks; and,
  • follow all applicable public health requirements.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the grant, participants must be 30 years of age or younger, a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a student with a refugee status, and either:

  • enrolled in and attending post-secondary education during the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semesters;
  • recent post-secondary graduates (no earlier than December 2019); or
  • studying abroad and currently residing in Canada.

Post-secondary students and recent graduates must register no later than August 21, 2020, to be eligible to receive the grant. Completed applications for the CSSG must be submitted no later than November 6, 2020, and participants will only be able to count hours accumulated from June 25 to October 31, 2020.

Overview of contribution agreements

  • Contribution agreements, as outlined under the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments is a frequently used tool for the Government of Canada to deliver programs.
  • Recipients have the flexibility to design projects that further government policy objectives according to their experience and expertise. Costs to execute the project, including administrative costs, which include salary, are negotiated as part of the contribution agreement. Such costs must be reasonable.
  • Under a contribution agreement, the government does not direct or dictate how the recipient will carry out the project. The government cannot directly benefit from a contribution agreement unlike service contracts, which are used to acquire goods or services that will directly benefit the government and supports its operations.
  • All contribution agreements are subject to audit.
  • Contribution agreements have been used with other recipients for other emergency programming.

Examples of third-party delivery

In this section

Examples of contribution agreements used during COVID-19

Emergency Community Support Fund: May 2020

$350 million to improve the ability of community organizations to serve vulnerable Canadians during COVID-19.

The investment will flow through national intermediaries (United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and Community Foundations of Canada) that have the ability to get funds quickly to community organizations that serve vulnerable populations.

As of May 19, 2020, community-based organizations from across the country are able to apply for funding to support a variety of activities that address a pressing social inclusion or well-being need caused by COVID-19, such as:

  • increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications;
  • scaling up help lines that provide information and support;
  • helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits;
  • providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response; and,
  • replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet.

Canadian Red Cross: June 2020

The Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada have entered into a contribution agreement for up to $100 million. Funding will support additional relief and recovery efforts this year related to COVID-19, floods and wildfires, to enhance the Red Cross’s response capacity and to support public health efforts, including support in Quebec long-term care facilities and in Ontario for temporary foreign workers.

Answer to question on document release

[ * ]

Q&As

[ * ]

 

Documents to submit to the Finance Committee by ESDC following the testimony

In this section

Canada Service Corps

Coalition partner contact list
Organization Key contact
4-H Canada [ * ]
4Rs [ * ]
Apathy is Boring [ * ]
Boys & Girls Club of Canada [ * ]
Canadian Roots Exchange [ * ]
Canadian Wildlife Federation [ * ]
Chantiers jeunesse [ * ]
Duke of Edinburgh's International Awards, Canada [ * ]
Katimavik [ * ]
mindyourmind [ * ]
Ocean Wise [ * ]
TakingITGIobal [ * ]
YMCA [ * ]

Meetings with officials from ESDC with each CSC national organizations were held between April 14 and 21.

The purpose of the meetings was to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the capacity of the organizations to continue offering placements and serving youth. At that time, the majority of organizations were rethinking how best to move forward and most were on pause. Some organizations relayed that they did not have the capacity to continue engaging with youth given the limitations around their ability to move to digital programming.

Organization Date of meeting
Apathy is Boring April 14, 2020
Chantiers Jeunesse April 14, 2020
4Rs April 15, 2020
Katimavik April 15, 2020
mindyourmind April 15, 2020
Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) April 16, 2020
Duke of Edinburgh April 16, 2020
YMCA April 16, 2020
OceanWise April 17, 2020
Boys and Girls Club of Canada April 17, 2020
4-H Canada April 20, 2020
Canadian Wildlife Federation April 21, 2020

Merissa, Rahel

From:

craig@we.org

Sent:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 12:16 PM

To:

rachel.wernick@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Cc:

[ * ] daisy.arruda@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Subject:

Youth Strategies‬‬‭

Attachments:

image001.png; WE Charity Proposal - Engaging 20000 Youth - COVID-19 Strategy.pdf

Categories:

Orange Category

Hi Rachel,

It was terrific to connect on Sunday. I'm inspired by your Sunday call - which proves the tireless efforts and resiliency to advance public policy issues while facing COVID-19!

I appreciate your outreach to inquire about my thoughts and whether we would be interested to be involved in such a national youth service program. Allow me to share with you a proposal informed by our conversation together, which seeks to address some of the concerns that we both share, and outlines a viable solution that can reach 20,000 young Canadians with opportunities for summer service and to earn income for post-secondary studies.

As discussed, we had previously been in conversation with Minister Ng and Minister Chagger about their priorities for young people on entrepreneurship and employment. In that spirit, we have proposed two programs-and we could deliver one or both programs - to address the needs of young Canadians.

  • Youth Summer Service Program: This 3-month program seeks to serve 20,000 young Canadians (ages 16-30) with the following four bilingual elements : i) digital service opportunities designed in partnership with non-profits across the country; ii) a support system to assist young people with training and user support; iii) reporting and tracking process for youth accomplishments and earned stipend for post-secondary studies; iv) a digital national celebration of service showcasing the accomplishments of young people. It would also be available to support those in all stages of life with an emphasis on supporting at least 25% of youth from underrepresented groups. Given WE's experience in launching similar initiatives, we'd be ready to accept the first cohort later this May, and comfortable to track and report their accomplishments and any microgrants they receive.
  • Youth Social Entrepreneurship Program: This 12-month program seeks to serve 8,000 youth Canadians (ages 16-30) with the following three bilingual elements: i) A 10-week digital program providing entrepreneurship expertise and support in the era of COVID-19; ii) a mentorship program linking entrepreneurs with 500+ experts from established companies who would provide pro bono skill-specific services in areas such as finance, marketing, productization, human resources, legal, distribution, employing at-risk populations etc.; iii) a base payment to all participants, and access to additional incentive funds and long-term mentorship opportunities. By incentivizing and equipping youth to engage with social entrepreneurship opportunities, we'll empower them to efficiently contribute to, and boost our nation's economic output by creating small businesses while gaining practical entrepreneurship skills.

This plan also seeks to solve timely challenges, such as:

  • Developing alternative opportunities to provide youth with meaningful ways to virtually connect, which in-turn, bolster the economy and social sector. These alternatives also recognize the importance of flattening the curve while providing an impactful national service program for youth to join service opportunities and summer jobs.
  • Supporting non-profits who may need guidance in transforming their traditional volunteer placements into digital opportunities to place youth who're looking to earn income, complete necessary volunteer hours and meaningfully engage.
  • How to jump-start entrepreneurism to create jobs for economic recovery, relevant to both 12-24 months of COVID- 19 realities and in the years to follow.
  • Engaging companies who have excess employee capacity, including those benefiting from the 75% federal employee subsidy, to consider redirecting available employee's time (one day per week) to provide pro-bono skill-specific services. This’ll assist young entrepreneurs building their skills and launching their businesses, and encourage existing companies to keep employees on the payroll, which ensures the 75% Canadian employer subsidy provides further social benefit.

Attached is a proposal that summarizes both options (3-month youth summer service program and 12-month youth entrepreneurship program) that WE Charity can turn-key to launch this summer with hundreds of support staff ready to deliver. The document begins with a one-page exec summary. Recognizing your vast experience, Sofia and I hope to continue the conversation with you. If open to the idea, my EA, Lauren is happy to coordinate another call. Thank you for your consideration.

Warmest,
Craig

Craig Kielburger
Co-Founder
t: 1.416.925.5894 xl60

[ * ]
t: 1.416.925.5894x160 [ * ]

Engaging young canadians in service and social entrepreneurship programming

Proposal for the Government of Canada
Prepared by WE Charity
April 21st, 2020

Overview of proposal

WE Charity is honoured to advance a comprehensive program to support young Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis. The program provides turn-key solutions to engage 20,000 or more young Canadians (aged 16 to 29 years) to develop life skills, earn income, assist their country, while safely maintaining social distancing. Participants select either of the following: i) a summer program delivering meaningful digital service opportunities that build social benefits; ii) a 12-month entrepreneurship programming to launch businesses during and post COVID-19 crisis.

Our proposal envisions the launch of a bilingual national digital platform and support network designed to provide end-to-end support and critical resources for youth in two areas.

1. Youth Service Program:

This program would support over 3-months (summer 2020) young Canadians who were planning to secure summer jobs to save up money for their post-secondary education tuition or personal needs, or those looking to participate in a service program over the summer break and will face limitations in finding safe opportunities given COVID-19. Without alternative opportunities for young people to engage in the coming months, there is a significant risk of loss to, the economy, skill development, post-secondary economic access, and, social sector as a result from youth and students not participating in summer jobs or volunteering.

The program framework includes: i) service opportunities delivered digitally and designed in partnership with non- profits across the country; ii) a support system to assist young people with training and user support; iii) a reporting and tracking process for youth accomplishments and incentivization by way of accessing alternative income, currently unavailable for youth; iv) a national digital celebration upon completion to showcase the accomplishments. By incentivizing and supporting youth to engage through a system of well-organized service opportunities, they will be empowered both to safely participate in service projects in an era of physical distancing, and to provide tangible benefits to addressing important social causes in their communities in collaboration with non-profits across Canada.

2. Youth Entrepreneurship Program:

WE's existing social entrepreneurship program can be scaled to engage thousands of youth over 12 months, targeting young people who are, looking for non-academic programs that open opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, not enrolled in school or, unemployed. Youth partisans will acquire long-term skills for advancement in the 21st century economy, launch start-ups to help society solve current and on-going challenges, and engage in entrepreneurial activities creating new jobs.

This program framework includes: i) a 10-week entrepreneurship program delivered digitally to multiple cohorts; ii) a mentorship program linking entrepreneurs with 500+ experts from established companies who will contribute millions of dollars in functional and industry-specific pro-bono coaching and professional services in areas such as finance, marketing, productization of products, distribution, social impact measurement, etc.; iii) a base payment to all participants, access to additional incentive funds to jump start small business and long-term mentorship opportunities.

WE Charity is able to deliver either/both of these turn-key programs. Drawing from 25 years of experience in the non-profit and social enterprise sector, we are uniquely positioned to continue supporting youth through COVID-19's new challenges. Engaging over 2.4 million Canadian youth in +7,000 schools and educational institutions, WE's transformative service-learning and social entrepreneurship programs are designed and proven to support youth's skill development while increasing their service engagement in Canada as well as, providing critical ongoing support to entrepreneurs as they build and scale their ventures. WE has a proven track record achieving economies of scale to support programs for thousands of youth, capable of implementing either programming streams proposed or both simultaneously, leveraging existing staff's expertise and the strategic cross sector partnerships necessary to ensure the successful execution of this ambitious proposal.

Table of contents

In this section

1. Service programming: Closing the COVID-19 opportunity gap for young people

Executive summary

This document outlines an opportunity to launch a national, bilingual turn-key digital service program to enable 20,000 young Canadians to engage in summer service placements and projects during the COVID-19 crisis. There is an urgent need to support young people between the ages of 16 and 29, particularly those from underrepresented groups, who are seeking meaningful opportunities to develop life skills, earn income for personal use such as paying for post-secondary studies, and serving Canada to benefit communities.

By incentivizing and supporting youth to engage through a system of well-organized service opportunities, they will be empowered both to safely participate in service projects in an era of physical distancing, and to provide tangible benefits to addressing important social causes in their communities in collaboration with non-profits across Canada.

This bilingual digital service program seeks to:

  • Create meaningful service opportunities for approximately 20,000 youth between ages 16 and 29 years across Canada, bearing in mind the COVID-19 physical distancing measures
  • Offer turn-key service opportunities that are flexible and supportive of social impact efforts and designed in collaboration with non-profits across Canada
  • Support Canada Service Corps national partners that may be in need of support to transform their traditional volunteer placements into digital service projects
  • Ensure service initiatives are diverse and inclusive in nature for youth, provide skill-development and learning for participants, allow for practical and verifiable outcomes that benefit society, and include effective economic incentives to encourage participation

Drawing from 25-years of experience providing service-learning programs to 7,000+ schools and over 2.4 million youth across Canada, WE has the track record, expert capacity, and strategic partnerships to rapidly deploy a turn-key national digital service platform. WE is a cause-inclusive platform that assists youth to volunteer and support thousands of charities and causes every year. In 2019, youth logged over 10.5M hours of service through WE programs.

This service program would include: i) digital service opportunities designed in partnership with non-profits across the country; ii) a support system to assist young people with training and user support; iii) a reporting and tracking process for youth accomplishments and incentivization. WE's extensive expertise and established staffing support network would allow this program to welcome the first cohort of youth participants in late May 2020.

The total investment would be $44,500,000 for 20,000 young Canadians - which equals $2,225 per participant. The largest share of those costs is an incentivization payment averaging $1,500 per participant for personal use such as funding post-secondary studies. Secondary costs are payments to partner non-profit partners to assist with development of service opportunities and, WE's costs to launch and manage the program and support network.

The program would conclude with a national digital celebration of service in August showcasing the accomplishments of the young change-makers. Leveraging the experience of hosting 100+ WE Days over the past decade, WE has the production skillset and network of celebrity ambassadors and media partners to ensure that this is a remarkable celebration for Canada.

As Canada's largest organization engaging youth in service, WE is uniquely able to rapidly deliver a successful execution of a digital service program that is reflective of today's COVID-19 crisis' diverse needs and demands from youth looking to assist others as we navigate these challenging times.

Key considerations on how COVID-19 impacts youth engaging in summer service
  • Traditionally, youth who would plan to secure summer jobs to save up money for their post-secondary education tuition, or those looking to complete their required high school volunteer hours over the summer break, will be looking for service opportunities (which tend to be predominately interactive in nature), such as working as a summer camp counselor, seasonal hospitality, one-on-one tutoring programs, etc.
  • Due to physical distancing requirements, COVID-19 has impacted or eliminated traditional service opportunities and summer jobs that would typically be available to thousands of youth and students across Canada this summer, leaving Canada's youth looking for alternative ways to earn money, complete volunteer hours, and meaningfully engage in society.
  • Without alternative opportunities for young people to engage in the coming months, there is a significant risk of loss to the economy, skill development and, social sector as a result from youth and students not participating in summer jobs or volunteering.
  • Although the COVID-19 mortality risk to youth is statistically low, young people have been identified by epidemiologists as "super-spreaders" because they are often asymptomatic and can spread COVID-19 to family and social networks. This is especially concerning given many young Canadians under-30 years of age continue to live at home in multi-generational households. As a result, there is a significant need to develop an alternative opportunity to provide youth with meaningful ways to virtually connect and support Canada's economy and social sector in a way that is not dependent on physical contact and does not put anyone at risk by allowing the spread of coronavirus through physical contact. With a national imperative to flatten the curve and to maintain diligence for the foreseeable future, a national service program causing even one case of COVID-19 is one too many.
Key considerations on how COVID-19 is impacting non-profits who rely on traditional physical volunteering support
  • Young Canadians who volunteer overwhelming contribute via physical service roles (i.e. roles that require them to come in physical contact with others, in ways that do not meet the new physical distance requirements due to COVID-19). This reality is typically due to the fact that i) youth have a limited window during the summer of only a few months to engage in a service role; ii) young Canadians bring passion to their service work, but the majority do not have the skills to serve in professional roles.
  • Due to COVID-19, Canada's social sector has already been severely economically affected, face dislocation due to work displacement, and facing rising demands on their services. It is not reasonable to expect that hundreds of overwhelmed non-profits across the country will have the capacity to absorb the effort required to create an alternative digital service opportunity to engage young volunteers on their own.
  • There are many urgent social needs that would benefit from youth with the proper system and support to serve. There is a pressing need to find an alternative, physically distant approach that would allow Canada's youth to continue to provide support to charities and non-profits this summer, and going forward.
  • Therefore, there is a need for a centralized, third-party (i.e. WE) to take care of the back-end requirements or creating and running a turn-key, easy to implement program or platform that allows Canada's youth to connect, and engage with Canada's charities and non-profits in a way that addresses the social sector's critical needs during, and post COVID-19.
Opportunity to engage youth via digital service program

Taking into account all of the above mentioned considerations, this proposal outlines a digital service program tailored for the current realities impacting Canada's youth and the social sector due to COVID-19, and physical distancing requirements.

Youth across Canada play a critical role in shaping the country's future. The Government of Canada can fulfill its goals for youth service by supporting 20,000 digital service projects. This digital service-leaning program would ensure physical distancing by providing Canada's youth with a safe alternative to traditional summer jobs or volunteer opportunities that allow youth to continue to tackle some of the most prevalent issues of our time. Moreover, this digital framework would allow scalability of program offerings and increased participation by way of mentorship and microgrants.

By creating a digital service program where all young people are invited to get involved in service to their communities by supporting Canada's charities and non-profit organizations, we not only unlock transformative long-term outcomes for communities, but for youth themselves. The program aims to achieve key results such as:

  • Finding safe, digital opportunities to allow youth to continue to connect and contribute to Canada's economy and social sector in a variety of meaningful ways
  • Driving measurable skill development and learning outcomes for youth
  • Providing opportunities that allow for tangible, trackable social outcomes
Target audience

The proposed national program will target young people underrepresented within current economic relief plans. Specifically, young people aged 16-29 who are current high school and post-secondary students, recent graduates and recent entrants into the job market who have lost their employment due to COVID-19.

The program is bilingual, designed to ensure inclusive participation and recruitment of at least 50% of participants from priority youth groups including indigenous, new Canadians, and women.

The program will be designed within a framework of digital access and digital service; however, the program will be inclusive for youth who do not have access to technology. Core resources will also be available via email, fax, and mail - including turn-key service opportunities that do not require technology. Support services will also be available via phone and mail.

Our program's digital program delivery platform, program leaders, support staff and incentives effectively targets the youth at all levels of education and can reach areas far from urban centres, provide unique connections with industry experts and essential recognition for youths' efforts respectively.

Proposed service framework

To implement our digital service program, WE will create and launch a centralized website designed to match eligible young people with turn-key digital volunteering opportunities, designed in partnership with leading partner charities and non-profit organizations. Visitors to the website will be able to select from four areas of interest and learn more about the opportunities that exist within them. In addition to the four core areas, there will be an additional fifth area to access resources and support youth in creating their own service initiative. This centralized system will aggregate youth participating in the program and allow WE to provide accurate verification and reporting of the volunteer service initiatives.

The five identified volunteer areas available are:

  1. Arts and culture: Initiatives that further arts-based programs and non-profits that are using the arts to create healthier communities.
  2. Environment: Promoting, supporting or creating initiatives to engage Canadians on environmental protection and climate sustainability.
  3. Social services: Service opportunities and causes that provide social services to Canadians in need.
  4. COVID-19 specific: Supporting initiatives that are responding directly to the challenges that Canadians are facing due to COVID-19 and physical distancing measures.
  5. Other: Young people who are passionate about a cause and have an idea that they wish to explore will be connected to a WE youth service mentor who will provide them with a framework and coaching support to build a custom program, in addition to verifying the actions and outputs of these youth.

Within each of the four pre-determined volunteer categories (Arts & Culture, Environment, Social Services and COVID-19 Specific), there will be 10-15 activities that have been co-created in partnership with partner charities and non-profit organizations and meet the following criteria:

  • Can be completed digitally and physically distant
  • Have a minimum and maximum number of hours allocated to achieve completion of the initiative
  • Verifiable outputs exist to ensure the activity is complete
  • Provide youth participants with personal skill development and learning
  • Completed activities will provide a clear and tangible benefit to a partner charity or cause, thus making a meaningful contribution to Canadian society

Each activity will be developed to create a turn-key user experience for youth who are looking to provide a tangible social benefit. This will ensure youth are able to start activities immediately after registering. Every activity will be accompanied by detailed information on:

  • Social benefit of the initiative
  • The charity, non-profit organization, or cause that is being supported
  • The required task(s) and detailed steps on how to complete the task(s)
  • Easy on-boarding and skill training resources
  • Estimated number of hours
  • Accessibility information
  • Eligibility and qualification requirements
  • Verification process
  • Support network

In order to draw efficiencies and build a cost-effective program, WE will serve as a centralized service provider for this program, designing the turn-key service initiatives in collaboration with social sector partners across Canada. This approach will also ensure a seamless client experience for youth, experienced facilitators and mentors on service projects, and sourcing specialized resources to enable the involvement of underserved youth. All service opportunities can be co-created and implemented in partnership with charities, non-profits, and experts in the field to ensure they identify legitimate gaps in their capacity to deliver services, and thus not overwhelm them.

Examples of how this program can be implemented:
Focus area Example partner organization Turn-key service project examples Estimated number of hours Outputs
Arts and culture The Royal Canadian Legion Youth will be paired with veterans to document their life and contribution to Canadian history. The Royal Canadian Legion will identify citizens who would like to be documented and engaged youth will connect with them via phone and video. Youth will be provided with interview questions and the resources required to complete the initiative.

Note: similar programs can be created with Indigenous groups, and non-profits that primarily serve the elderly such as Rotary Clubs of Canada.
80 Each veteran will be provided with a book commemorating and celebrating their life and achievements. This will service as verification of the completed activity, and as a record of their contribution to Canadian society.

Through this service- learning opportunity, youth will develop verbal communication and writing skills.
Social services Stella's Place Stella's Place - or a similar peer to peer support service in times of anxiety - can train lead volunteers at WE who will take on the role of training additional short-term youth volunteers. This train-the-trainer model will allow the partner non-profits to continue to accept new and qualified volunteers, without overwhelming their training system. +120 Youth will partake in the peer-to-peer trainer program, as documented by the partner non-profit and will sign up for shifts online that are recorded.
COVID-19 specific School boards across Canada Qualified youth can be paired with younger students in elementary, middle, or high school who need additional educational support as a result of school being paused due to COVID-19.

These youth will become tutors and mentors in specific subjects that they are qualified for, with the facilitation of school board partners across Canada communicating this opportunity to families.
60 Each mentorship session will be recorded via audio and/or video as a record of completion and used to create accurate reporting on the program outcomes.

Both students will develop their academic and studying skills.

Once verified, youth can submit a log of the time they volunteered and any accompanying verification materials to receive program completion microgrants:

  • 30 hours completed: $500 as money or tuition subsidy
  • 60 hours completed: $1,000 as money or tuition subsidy
  • 120 hours completed: $2,000 as money or tuition subsidy
  • 180 hours completed: $3,000 as money or tuition subsidy

A key component of the program is skill development for the youth participants. Each youth participant will receive a letter of commendation highlighting the skills acquired in order to complete their service initiative. This recognition can be reflected on their resume when applying to further studies or future career opportunities, in addition to digital badging platforms such as Linkedln.

Furthermore, all youth who have completed service will be invited to a virtual celebration in August, hosted by WE and streamed live online, to congratulate them to their service to Canada and showcase some of the incredible projects that Canadian youth completed. Over the past decade, WE Day has hosted 100+ celebrations of service, including working with Heritage Canada to host a special WE Day on Parliament Hill in front of Centre Block to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. WE would engage its network of celebrity ambassadors, media partners, and technology enablers to ensure that this is an extraordinary national celebration delivered via digital platform.

Timelines & program costs

We are pleased to provide the Government of Canada with a preliminary budget and timeline for the proposed program to serve 20,000 young Canadians.

Proposed budget
Funding area Description Investment Cost per participant
Microgrants for participants Target of 20,000 youth between the ages of 16-29. Depending on the government objectives funds can be allocated to personal use, or specifically for post-secondary studies. $30,000,000 $1,500
Program development, coordination and support WE would ensure effective participation in the program. This cost includes:
  • Website and technology platform costs, helping to match youth to their virtual service opportunity
  • Program development, including building each of the turn-key service programs
  • Marketing and promotion of the program
  • Service coaches to assist youth who want to custom design their service program
  • Staff for inquiries and user support
  • Process for tracking and verification of service, in addition to issuing letters of commendations
  • Translations services to support youth in both official languages
  • Virtual celebration event to take place at the end of August
  • Measurement and evaluation of program
  • Administration including coordination with non-profit partners, finance and legal.
$12,000,000 $600
Non-profit partner support Financial support provided to core non-profit partners involved in development of the turn-key service initiatives, and funds to assist with any costs incurred for their involvement in the program. $2,500,000 $125
Total cost $44,500,000  
Timelines

WE Charity is prepared to quickly mobilize in an effort to launch this proposed program in the coming weeks as young people complete their University/college terms and high school students complete their remaining course work. Proposed timelines include:

  • Week of April 27th (or based on government preference)
    • Public announcement
    • Launch preliminary website
    • Begin outreach to non-profit partners to co-develop the turn-key volunteer roles
  • Week of May 4th
    • Public promotion of the program
    • Continue outreach with non-profit partners and co-design the service placements on offer, including designing a profile of the skills they are seeking
    • Launch sign-up/registration for youth seeking volunteer placements
  • Week of May 11th, 18th and 25th
    • Continue public promotion of the program including through digital and social channels
    • At the end of May, begin welcoming first cohort of youth participants into the program, and matching with their first turnkey roles
  • June, July, August
    • Continued registration and matching of youth volunteer
    • On-going 1 on 1 support and coaching for select youth, led by WE team members
    • Verification of service hour completion and assessments of service projects between WE and non-profit partner
  • Week of August 24th
    • Host a virtual summer-end celebration for all program participants and non-profit partners to celebrate the collective social impact of all 20,000 youth participants. The event will profile select service projects, welcome special guests and speakers including inspirational Canadians, celebrities, and the opportunity for government officials to recognize the achievements of Canadian youth
Why WE is uniquely positioned

WE has a proven track record of engaging and inspiring youth in meaningful service actions. Our programs educate, engage, and inspire youth to take action on some of the world's most pressing local and global issues. Over the last 25 years we have honed our approach and become leaders in providing experiential service-learning and currently serve as an educational partner to over 7,000 schools across Canada. WE is cause inclusive, each year young people participating in the WE Schools program do service actions in support of over 5,000 local and global non-profit organizations. During the 2018-2019 academic year, our programs impacted over 2.4M youth across Canada, making WE one of the largest networks of youth service in Canada.

Our proven history of supporting the systemic rollout of service opportunities for youth

WE has experience working in partnership with government to achieve specific objectives related to youth service initiatives. Most recently WE was part of the Canada Service Corps' design phase.

WE first started its service-learning programs in 1999 when the organization played a critical role in supporting the roll-out of Ontario's 40-hour service requirement for graduation. The Toronto District School Board partnered with WE Charity to develop a program that would train youth and equip educators and students about service-learning. WE Charity developed a comprehensive curriculum, a guide called "Take Action: A Guide to Active Citizenship", offered hands-on leadership workshops in schools, professional development training programs for educators, and celebrated and recognized the service actions of young people at WE Day events.

WE Charity continues its partnership with the Toronto District School Board, and our service and civic engagement programs are supported by 30 official school board partners and 3,200 schools across the province of Ontario. This model was subsequently adopted by the majority of school boards in Canada with 7,000 schools and groups actively engaged in WE Schools programming. Today, WE Schools is implemented with 130+ school board and government partners across Canada.

The Canadian model of success has also been adopted in the US. In 2017, the College Board approached WE to form a partnership to scale service-learning. The College Board is a US non-profit formed in 1899 to administer college entrance examinations, which today including the SATs. Together, College Board and WE launched AP with WE Service - which includes the first and only verification system to recognize service on the AP transcript when students apply to colleges.

WE Charity has the proven track record, the experienced team and the agility to quickly mobilize to meet the goals of the Canada Service Corps program in the summer of 2020.

Our team

The WE team is committed to delivering high-quality programming that is responsive to the needs of our core stakeholders. With incredible backgrounds in education, youth development/programming, service and volunteering, our team is well positioned to help youth across Canada thrive during their service placements. Our team leading this initiative will include:

  • Dalai Al-Waheidi, Executive Director, WE Charity
    • As the Executive Director of WE Charity, Dalai Al-Waheidi has been integral in shaping the success of the WE movement into a global international charity and educational partner.
    • In 2014, Dalai was selected as one of RBC's Top 25 Canadian immigrant Award winners for her passion and desire to make the world a better place, especially for the lives of youth around the world. In addition, she's been recognized by the Women's Executive Network.
  • Carrie Patterson, Chief Operations Director, WE Charity
    • An experienced Chief Operations Director with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry and in education. A long and extensive career specializing in work with young people with a focus on positive youth development, service-learning and social and emotional learning.
    • She was formerly served for twelve years with Tim Horton's Children Foundation, including as Director of Camp Operations.
  • Roxanne Joyal, co-Founder of WE Charity
    • Roxanne has assisted in building the non-profit since the earliest days into best-in-class organization engaging youth in service. As a proud Franco-Canadian, she helps to ensure that the organization serves youth coast-to-coast-to-coast.
    • Roxanne studied at Stanford University, followed by a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for law at Oxford University, and started her legal practice as a clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • WE Schools Youth Program Facilitators and Mentors
    • WE has an in-house team of experienced youth facilitators and mentors who help to coach young people and provide the tools and resources they need on their service journeys. This team will connect directly with young people in the program and offer 1 on 1 support.
Infrastructure capabilities to deliver service programming

With WE Charity's established reach and infrastructure, we believe design and delivery of new programming will be cost-effective and highly scalable.

In 2017, WE Charity opened the WE Global Learning Centre, which is our hub to deliver innovative programming across Canada. The Centre is equipped with two digital classrooms, two production bays, skype pods, and technology that enables the organization to connect and engage with youth across the country. From one-on-one mentorship, to virtual workshops for groups, to large virtual gatherings around the world-the Centre is equipped to support virtual and digital program delivery. Furthermore, strategic partnerships with leaders in technology including Microsoft, Telus, and Cisco enable WE Charity to enhance programming and increase efficiency through technology while remaining cost-effective.

Amplification and celebration

WE has unparalleled platforms for amplification and celebration of youth across Canada:

  • Reaching over five million Canadians in 2018-2019 alone, WE is a pipeline to Canadians, including youth, and has the capacity and expertise to support the government in reaching its priorities, raising awareness and creating demand for service initiatives on a national level.
  • WE achieved 15B+ media impressions in 2019 and has 4M+ followers on across our social channels.
  • WE also has a passionate and committed network of celebrity ambassadors who would champion and amplify this program to millions of Canadians.

2. Social Entrepreneurship Program: Closing the COVID-19 opportunity gap for young people

Executive summary

This document proposes to the Government of Canada (GoC) an opportunity to create a strong multi- faceted social entrepreneurship program to support young Canadians during and post COVID-19 pandemic. By incentivizing and equipping youth to engage with social entrepreneurship opportunities, we'll be empowering them both to efficiently contribute to the economy by creating small businesses and boost our nation's economic output, while also addressing important social causes.

The program seeks to serve 8,000 young Canada (under-30) over 12-months with the following three bilingual elements: i) A 10-week digital program providing entrepreneurship expertise and support in the era of COVID-19; ii) a mentorship program linking entrepreneurs with 500+ experts from established companies who will provide functional and industry-specific support in areas such as finance, marketing, productization, distribution, employing at-risk populations, social impact measurement etc.; iii) a base payment to all participants, and access to additional incentive funds and long-term mentorship opportunities.

This program seeks to solve three timely challenges:

  • how to engage at-scale young Canadians (under-30), including those who were not previously employed;
  • how to jump-start entrepreneurism to create jobs for economic recovery, relevant to both 12-24 months of COVID-19 realities and in the years to follow;
  • how to engage companies across Canada who have excess employee capacity. Specifically, asking companies that benefit from the 75% federal employee subsidy to consider redirect a small percentage of employee's time (one day per week) to serve as skill-specific mentors for young entrepreneurs. This also encourages established companies to keep employees on the payroll and ensures that the 75% Canadian employer subsidy provides a further social benefit.

During preliminary conversations the idea to have their staff support young entrepreneurs in tackling society's problems has been well received by numerous senior executives at corporate giants including RBC, Telus, KPMG and Microsoft to name a few of our 200+ partners; however, WE would open up the program for other businesses that can also contribute including, medium-sized and smaller businesses. This program will include a robust mentorship program, with for-profit partners providing over $7 million worth (on an annualized basis) of high-value in-kind skill-specific hours from committed subject matter experts across industries, in addition to millions more via discounts on technology and resources to assist these entrepreneurs.

Drawing from 25 years of experience in social entrepreneurship, including building up ME to WE and providing service-learning programs to 7,000+ schools and over 2.4 million youth across Canada, WE has all the ingredients including vision, expert capacity and strategic partnerships to be a unique support platform for the government in enabling the successful execution of a national program that is reflective of today's COVID-19 crisis' diverse needs and demands from youth and millions of Canadian looking to assist others as we navigate these challenging times.

Introduction

WE recognizes the immense efforts and investments being led by the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, supporting strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and our economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Equally important are the complementary economic response plans implemented by other levels of governments directly investing in critical front-line industries and support programs to all Canadians. We are rapidly learning that Canada post-COVID-19 pandemic will require a collective effort to rebuild our economy, and where youth are at the heart of creating the greatest value in our economy, bringing innovative solutions to new challenges.

Today, youth at large are becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic's economic contraction and social limitations despite the GoC's efforts in building safety nets for families, employers and business across Canada. There is an urgent need to proactively support young people between the ages of 19 and 29 who are recent school/university graduates without the opportunity to attain a job, looking for innovative ways to solve current and post COVID-19 challenges or build small businesses, and seeking to build their workplace readiness skills and professional network for when our economy stabilizes.

We know that young Canadians are passionate and committed to finding a career path that provides income, while also creating a positive impact in the world, such as creating employment for at-risk populations, protecting our environment, and assisting with health and human wellness. We have learned through our innovative work with our for-profit social enterprise ME to WE and WE Charity, to marry business with social change and encourage youth to redefine what's possible through the employment of social entrepreneurship skills. Social enterprises - also known as purpose-driven businesses - create opportunities to encourage and enable priority populations to meaningfully participate in the creation of business ventures that address the unique needs of their community, including jobs and inclusive economic growth. For example, social enterprises are two times more likely to be run by women than traditional small and medium-sized businesses. While the number of purpose-driven businesses in Canada continues to increase, programming and support services available to such enterprises have not kept up with the demand, hence the importance of dedicated initiatives like our proposed social entrepreneurship program.

Now more than ever, WE is galvanizing our corporate partners to collectively support Canadian youth to build resiliency and continue their professional development during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our corporate partners have also been deeply impacted by the economic contraction worldwide, many continue to express their desire to offer their employees' in-kind professional support to WE. Many of these are skilled professionals who are now working less hours as a result of the COVID-19 contraction and are passionate about giving back. This program will include a robust mentorship program offering over $7 million worth (on an annualized basis) of high-value in-kind skill-specific hours from committed subject matter experts across industries, in addition to millions more via discounts on technology and resources to assist these entrepreneurs.

The problem

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the world, the workplace and the economy in unprecedented ways. WE has identified three critical challenges Canadians are facing during this time of economic uncertainty.

  1. Young people and students are currently under-supported in the current economic relief plans. This demographic is not yet well established in the workplace, have had limited earnings or have had their summer jobs eliminated.
  2. With such a dramatic change in the Canadian economy, many small businesses have already vanished so there is a critical need for entrepreneurs to help replenish the lost businesses and create new jobs.
  3. There is an excess of idle and underutilized professionals as Canada's corporate sector has seen a dramatic decline in work. Companies are desperately seeking to repurpose employees or risk eliminating their jobs.
Opportunity

We see an opportunity to support the government in further deepening targeted safety nets to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and further incentivize young Canadians to engage in social entrepreneurship and build community resilience while the economy stabilizes. We know that despite COVID-19 isolation measures, young Canadians are passionate and committed to finding a career path that continues to reinforce their skills and provides income, while also creating a positive impact on Canada and the world.

Our social entrepreneurship project is designed to engage youth during and post-COVID-19 pandemic, providing a free bilingual virtually delivered entrepreneurship program and one of kind world-class mentorship roster from leading Canadian corporate partners. Although the postsecondary education system is proactively engaging students, we are increasingly seeing the need to target youth who, are looking for non-academic programs that opens opportunities for future employment, are not enrolled in school or, unemployed youth. It is critical to emphasize that youth that engage in entrepreneurial activities not only create new business opportunities, but they also acquire essential skills for the 21st century economy like agility, leadership, collaboration and resilience - important contributions to the workforce as a whole.

We believe that creating a national entrepreneurship program is timely and strategic empowerment for young Canadians to move beyond COVID-19, particularly as we look to break down barriers such as longer transitional periods between finishing school and finding employment, high unemployment rates for out-of-school youth, and children depending on parents for a longer period than ever in our nation's history. Furthermore, we are looking to further support priority populations and underrepresented youth groups (such as Indigenous, women, rural populations, new Canadians) and build unique support services that enable world class mentoring and company creation.

The solution

Provide up to 8,000 young people across Canada (aged 19-29) with a free, bilingual, inclusive, virtual social entrepreneurship program that provides them with all the tools and mentorship needed to start and grow a successful purpose-driven business.

We believe that a national entrepreneurship program can be developed to not only focus on the youth's entrepreneurship activities but leverage their explicit desire to integrate purpose into their efforts and in turn help alleviate social problems both in Canada and beyond.

Proposed model

WE Charity's objective is to help launch a new generation of SMBs, powered by purpose-driven young people and ready for the new economic realities. There are three core components to the program:

Part 1:
10-week virtual Program
A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship.

Topics led by industry-experts include: accounting, product design and production, leading with purpose, market development and validation, sales, social impact measurement; digital marketing strategies and content marketing during COVID-19; Indigenous enterprise, health and wellness market opportunities, building resilience and perseverance; etc.

The program includes various complementary resources and a nation-wide online community for purpose-driven entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and to network to support one another.
Part 2:
1-on-1 mentorship with experts to support entrepreneurs
Extensive 1:1 mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders.

Executive coaches and mentors will be provided by an incredible roster of 500+ subject matter experts sourced from across Canada's top corporations.

Each participant will have access to a minimum of 6 hours of high-value skill-specific mentorship necessary to help their business thrive. They will register for the mentorship areas of their choice which could include: branding, sales, marketing, legal, accounting/finance, social impact, accessing capital, generalist support.
Part 3:
Small grant for each participant
Upon the successful completion of the 10-week program each participant will receive a $500 grant that they can use to invest in their future and further their venture concept.

Upon completion of 10-week program each participant will receive a Linkedln virtual badge.

Additional incentives are available based on engagement and success, including unlocking additional business funding and further stages to the program support.

WE Charity has modeled three options for program delivery, please see appendix I for an overview of each of the three options.

Demographics we will serve

The proposed national program will target young people underrepresented within current economic relief plans. Specifically, young people aged 19-29 who are current post-secondary students, recent graduates and recent entrants into the job market who have lost their employment due to COVID-19.

The program is bilingual, designed to ensure inclusive participation and recruitment of participants from priority youth groups including indigenous, women and new Canadians. Our program's digital program delivery platform, program leaders, diverse subject matter experts and incentives effectively targets the youth at all levels of education and can reach areas far from urban centres, provide unique connections with industry experts and essential recognition for youths' efforts respectively.

Why WE is uniquely positioned to lead this project

WE has 25 years of experience delivering meaningful and impactful programming to young people across Canada. We are uniquely positioned to take up this challenge as we have the internal expertise and resources to mobilize quickly, and multi-sector partnerships with the corporate, technology, and education to execute on a national scale.

  • Proven impact: WE is one of the largest founded in Canada charities, with programs coast-to-coast-to-coast. It uplifts the social sector by galvanizing Canadians across the country to volunteer, increase awareness and raise funds for the causes that matter most to them. In 2018-2019, 3,832 local organizations were supported and over $97 million in social value was created by Canadians participating in WE programs.2
  • Deep corporate partnerships: WE holds deep and unique relationships with 200+ best-in-class corporate partners who are committed to supporting social innovation and the ambitious vision of the WE Social Enterprise Centre.
  • Unparalleled amplification platforms: Reaching over five million Canadians in 2018-2019 alone, WE is a pipeline to Canadians, including youth, and has the capacity and expertise to support the government in reaching its priorities, raising awareness and creating demand for social enterprise on a national level. WE achieved 4B+ media impressions in 2019, and has 4M+ followers on its Facebook page.
  • Best practices learned through on the ground experience: WE is approached by several hundred not-for-profit peers, groups and individuals a year and there is a high demand for WE to share learnings from its successes and early failures. WE created the groundbreaking ME to WE social enterprise to support the efficiency of charity partner - WE Charity. ME to WE operates multiple successful lines of business for social purposes.
Our leadership team

Our programming will be led by our in-house team of entrepreneurial experts, with a proven track record of training and supporting Canadian entrepreneurs. Our leadership team includes:

  • Jon E Worren, Entrepreneur in Residence, WE Scale Up:
    • Served as the Lead Executive, Venture & Corporate Programs at MaRS, where he developed and delivered all of MaRS venture facing programming - both at MaRS and throughout Ontario. As part of his role, he built MaRS digital platform, directly serving 10-15,000 entrepreneurs every year, including the award-winning Entrepreneurship 101 program - which has supported entrepreneurs in 130 countries to date. As part of that, Jon has personally worked directly with over 5,000 Canadian entrepreneurs.
    • He developed and delivered programming to support youth entrepreneurs at more than 15 university campus linked accelerators as part of Ontario's Jobs & Prosperity Program.
    • Jon also built MaRS Corporate programming, working directly with executive teams of 50+ corporate partners in helping them develop their innovation strategy.
    • Jon managed the $32.5M Ontario ScaleUp Voucher Program from 2016-2019, supporting the growth and expansion of the most promising high-growth innovation firms in the province, such as Fiix, Axonify, InteraXon, Asset Compliance, Bridgit, Wattpad and others with funding and growth coaching.
    • Jon is an accomplished entrepreneur having been co-founder of successful businesses in the software and deantech space. Jon has an MSc from London School of Economics.
  • Hussam Ayyad, Managing Director, WE Scale Up:
    • Held leadership positions at Communitech, DMZ, Ryerson University and the U of T's Rotman School of Management are listed below:
      • Built the core-operation of DMZ between 2016 and 2020 including all programs interfacing with entrepreneurs, investors and corporate backers, locally and internationally which most recently propelled the DMZ to become a world-leading tech accelerator and incubator that earned the ranking of #1 in the world by UBI.
      • Built the DMZ's investor network to exceed 3,000 VCs & Angel investors in less than 2 years.
      • Spearheaded building programs to support thousands of entrepreneurs nationally and internationally and support Canadian ventures who collectively raised over $ 1 Billion and created multiples of that in value of market capitalization.
    • Hussam is an experienced multi-time entrepreneur and business leader. Most notably, he co-founded and led the growth of Algero Canadian Metals to a $70 million revenue business in the environmental sustainability industry supplying metal scrap to world leading steel mills.
  • Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder and Executive Sponsor, WE:
    • He co-founded WE, a global movement that empowers people with the tools to change the world internationally and in their own communities.
    • Craig is a New York Times bestselling author who has written 12 books, including WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make a Living, and Change the World.
    • Craig is an MBA graduate with 15 honorary doctorates and has been awarded by the World Economic Forum and Roosevelt Institute, and received the Order of Canada.
  • Roxanne Joyal, CEO and Co-Founder, ME to WE:
    • She is CEO of ME to WE, a social enterprise that supports sustainable development projects of WE Charity.
    • Roxanne is a Francophone bilingual Canadian social entrepreneur, author, recognized leader in sustainable development and a women's empowerment advocate.
    • Roxanne is a graduate of Stanford University, she earned an Oxford degree in law and a prestigious Rhodes scholarship, and clerked for the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
  • Dalai Al-Waheidi, Executive Director, WE Charity:
    • As the Executive Director of WE Charity, Dalai Al-Waheidi has been integral in shaping the success of the WE movement into a global international charity and educational partner.
    • In 2014, Dalai was selected as one of RBC's Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners for her passion and desire to make the world a better place, especially for the lives of youth around the world. In addition, she's been recognized by the Women's Executive Network.
Our partners

This project will leverage a multi sector partnership approach, leveraging WE's network. Through value in-kind provided through partnerships, WE will match the financial investment provided by the Government of Canada. Partners could include:

  • Corporate partners:
    • Engaging WE's network of 200+ corporate partners to provide mentorship hours to young entrepreneurs. WE has already opened conversations with corporate partners, who have expressed a strong interest. They are grateful for the government's 75% wage subsidy, and they want to give-back to support Canada during this time.
    • The Business Council of Canada (BCC) has been a partner of WE to engage business leaders together to call on their employees enroll in our mentorship program and provide valuable introductions in the sector. The 150 member-companies employ 1.7 million Canadians and are responsible for most of Canada's corporate philanthropy. Craig Kielburger is the only non-profit member in the history of the BCC.
  • Technology partners:
    • Microsoft - WE is the largest Canadian charitable partner of Microsoft, and one of the largest global partners. Microsoft provides inclusive technology including the provision of hardware and software platforms powering digital programming delivery and ensuring accessibility capabilities (i.e., close captioning translation, readers, visual adaptation and hearing accommodations).
    • Linkedln (owned by Microsoft) - Partnership with this tech platform would be ideal as it will expose youth's skills attainment after completion of programming, including a virtual badge that can enhance their profile. Linkedln is a widely recognized platform that will offer young people a space to build their profile, highlight their training badge achieved, and which employers can easily track and validate. The Linkedln experience has important long-term value, as it will be a validated record that young people can take anywhere in the world to support their education and employment. Digital badging is proving to be the most cost-effective and scalable model to provide incentives for youth to participate. Digital badging provides meaningful recognition to youth, while removing continued reliance and incentive focused on solely financial incentive strategies.
  • Community partners:
    • WE Charity currently holds 300 official educational partnerships across Canada with 17,309 active educators engaged in our network from 7,000 schools, educational institutions, and groups.
    • Junior Achievement - One of the largest networks of youth programming in entrepreneurship.
    • Enactus - the world's leading Social Entrepreneurship program based in universities and colleges (36 countries worldwide, 1.3 million people impacted annually, 1,730 universities involved). In Canada, they are present with close to 3,500 students involved on campuses.
    • Many other leading organizations such as:
      • Ryerson's DMZ - Leading accelerator in Canada
      • Ashoka Canada
      • B Lab Canada at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
      • BCG Digital Ventures
      • Boston Consulting Group
      • The Brandery
      • Brand Project
      • Bullfrog Power
      • Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund
Conclusion

WE reaches over 2.4 million youth providing a platform to further national understanding about the important role of entrepreneurship to help solve some of the most complex social challenges that we are to experience during and post COVID-19 Pandemic. We would like to humbly raise the importance of government taking a leadership role and sending a clear message of hope to youth who are seeing their future very bleak and with limited opportunities to grow at this time.

  • Directly impacting up to 8,000 youth
  • Providing between 12-20 hours of 1 on 1 mentorship to youth
  • $500 cash grant to youth upon completion of program
  • Building a network of 500 industry leading mentors across Canada to support a new generation of small business with impact
  • Targeting priority youth demographics such as, indigenous, women and new Canadians

Together, we can bring a comprehensive future skills program to thousands of youth through digital programming, build a network of resilient youth deeply connected to the across sectors and, who can and will be able to reinsert themselves in the economy in a post COVID-19 world.

Appendix I: Program options
All program options run multiple cohorts over a one-year period
  Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Programming delivery details (per cohort)
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 24,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon program completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 48,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
Plus:
  • Doubling the number of beneficiaries, with a lower cost per beneficiary due to economies of scale
  • Up to $800,000 (per entire year) in a special fund available for top participant business ideas
  • Up to 1,000 participants will receive incremental 1-on-1 mentorship time for an additional 12-weeks to support the company building process for an additional 6,000 hours
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 48,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
Plus:
  • Doubling the number of beneficiaries, with a lower cost per beneficiary due to economies of scale
  • Up to $800,000 (per entire year) in a special fund available for top participant business ideas
  • Up to 1,000 participants will receive incremental 1-on-1 mentorship time for an additional 12-weeks to support the company building process for an additional 6,000 hours
Plus:
  • A digital conference featuring leaders in Canadian business, government, entrepreneurship and social impact – helping to raise the profile of entrepreneurship during times of economic challenge
  • Up to 100 of the top ventures will receive additional mentorship, business support, network access and capital for another 6 months to ensure the successful launch of the businesses for an additional 1,200 hours, in addition to PR and media support through WE’s amplification platforms such as WE Day online, nation-wide news outlets and with direct support from WE’s media and PR staff.
Number of participants 4,000 8,000 8,000
Investment requested $6,000,000 $11,000,000 $14,000,000

Closing the COVID-19 opportunity gap for young people through social entrepreneurship

Concept paper prepared by WE Charity, April 9th, 2020

Executive summary

This document proposes to the Government of Canada (GoC) an opportunity to create a strong multi-faceted social entrepreneurship program to support young Canadians during and post COVID-19 pandemic. By incentivizing and equipping youth to engage with social entrepreneurship opportunities, we'll be empowering them both to efficiently contribute to the economy by creating small businesses and boost our nation's economic output, while also addressing important social causes.

The program seeks to serve 8,000 young Canada (under-30) over 12-months with the following three bilingual elements: i) A 10-week digital program providing entrepreneurship expertise and support in the era of COVID-19; ii) a mentorship program linking entrepreneurs with 500+ experts from established companies who will provide functional and industry-specific support in areas such as finance, marketing, productization, distribution, employing at-risk populations, social impact measurement etc.; iii) a base payment to all participants, and access to additional incentive funds and long-term mentorship opportunities.

This program seeks to solve three timely challenges:

  • how to engage at-scale young Canadians (under-30), including those who were not previously employed;
  • how to jump-start entrepreneurism to create jobs for economic recovery, relevant to both 12-24 months of COVID-19 realities and in the years to follow;
  • how to engage companies across Canada who have excess employee capacity. Specifically, asking companies that benefit from the 75% federal employee subsidy to consider redirect a small percentage of employee's time (one day per week) to serve as skill-specific mentors for young entrepreneurs. This also encourages established companies to keep employees on the payroll and ensures that the 75% Canadian employer subsidy provides a further social benefit.

During preliminary conversations the idea to have their staff support young entrepreneurs in tackling society's problems has been well received by numerous senior executives at corporate giants including RBC, Telus, KPMG and Microsoft to name a few of our 200+ partners; however, WE would open up the program for other businesses that can also contribute including, medium-sized and smaller businesses. This program will include a robust mentorship program, with for-profit partners providing over $7 million worth (on an annualized basis) of high-value in-kind skill-specific hours from committed subject matter experts across industries, in addition to millions more via discounts on technology and resources to assist these entrepreneurs.

Drawing from 25 years of experience in social entrepreneurship, including building up ME to WE and providing service-learning programs to 7,000+ schools and over 2.4 million youth across Canada, WE has all the ingredients including vision, expert capacity and strategic partnerships to be a unique support platform for the government in enabling the successful execution of a national program that is reflective of today's COVID-19 crisis' diverse needs and demands from youth and millions of Canadian looking to assist others as we navigate these challenging times.

Introduction

WE recognizes the immense efforts and investments being led by the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, supporting strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and our economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Equally important are the complementary economic response plans implemented by other levels of governments directly investing in critical front-line industries and support programs to all Canadians. We are rapidly learning that Canada post-COVID-19 pandemic will require a collective effort to rebuild our economy, and where youth are at the heart of creating the greatest value in our economy, bringing innovative solutions to new challenges.

Today, youth at large are becoming more vulnerable and susceptible to the COVID-19 pandemic's economic contraction and social limitations despite the GoC's efforts in building safety nets for families, employers and business across Canada. There is an urgent need to proactively support young people between the ages of 19 and 29 who are recent school/university graduates without the opportunity to attain a job, looking for innovative ways to solve current and post COVID-19 challenges or build small businesses, and seeking to build their workplace readiness skills and professional network for when our economy stabilizes.

We know that young Canadians are passionate and committed to finding a career path that provides income, while also creating a positive impact in the world, such as creating employment for at-risk populations, protecting our environment, and assisting with health and human wellness. We have learned through our innovative work with our for-profit social enterprise ME to WE and WE Charity, to marry business with social change and encourage youth to redefine what's possible through the employment of social entrepreneurship skills. Social enterprises - also known as purpose-driven businesses - create opportunities to encourage and enable priority populations to meaningfully participate in the creation of business ventures that address the unique needs of their community, including jobs and inclusive economic growth. For example, social enterprises are two times more likely to be run by women than traditional small and medium-sized businesses. While the number of purpose-driven businesses in Canada continues to increase, programming and support services available to such enterprises have not kept up with the demand, hence the importance of dedicated initiatives like our proposed social entrepreneurship program.

Now more than ever, WE is galvanizing our corporate partners to collectively support Canadian youth to build resiliency and continue their professional development during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our corporate partners have also been deeply impacted by the economic contraction worldwide, many continue to express their desire to offer their employees' in-kind professional support to WE. Many of these are skilled professionals who are now working less hours as a result of the COVID-19 contraction and are passionate about giving back. This program will include a robust mentorship program offering over $7 million worth (on an annualized basis) of high-value in-kind skill-specific hours from committed subject matter experts across industries, in addition to millions more via discounts on technology and resources to assist these entrepreneurs.

The problem

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the world, the workplace and the economy in unprecedented ways. WE has identified three critical challenges Canadians are facing during this time of economic uncertainty.

  1. Young people and students are currently under-supported in the current economic relief plans. This demographic is not yet well established in the workplace, have had limited earnings or have had their summer jobs eliminated.
  2. With such a dramatic change in the Canadian economy, many small businesses have already vanished so there is a critical need for entrepreneurs to help replenish the lost businesses and create new jobs.
  3. There is an excess of idle and underutilized professionals as Canada's corporate sector has seen a dramatic decline in work. Companies are desperately seeking to repurpose employees or risk eliminating their jobs.

Opportunity

We see an opportunity to support the government in further deepening targeted safety nets to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and further incentivize young Canadians to engage in social entrepreneurship and build community resilience while the economy stabilizes. We know that despite COVID-19 isolation measures, young Canadians are passionate and committed to finding a career path that continues to reinforce their skills and provides income, while also creating a positive impact on Canada and the world.

Our social entrepreneurship project is designed to engage youth during and post-COVID-19 pandemic, providing a free bilingual virtually delivered entrepreneurship program and one of kind world-class mentorship roster from leading Canadian corporate partners. Although the postsecondary education system is proactively engaging students, we are increasingly seeing the need to target youth who, are looking for non-academic programs that opens opportunities for future employment, are not enrolled in school or, unemployed youth. It is critical to emphasize that youth that engage in entrepreneurial activities not only create new business opportunities, but they also acquire essential skills for the 21st century economy like agility, leadership, collaboration and resilience - important contributions to the workforce as a whole.

We believe that creating a national entrepreneurship program is timely and strategic empowerment for young Canadians to move beyond COVID-19, particularly as we look to break down barriers such as longer transitional periods between finishing school and finding employment, high unemployment rates for out-of-school youth, and children depending on parents for a longer period than ever in our nation's history. Furthermore, we are looking to further support priority populations and underrepresented youth groups (such as Indigenous, women, rural populations, new Canadians) and build unique support services that enable world class mentoring and company creation.

The solution

Provide up to 8,000 young people across Canada (aged 19-29) with a free, bilingual, inclusive, virtual social entrepreneurship program that provides them with all the tools and mentorship needed to start and grow a successful purpose-driven business.

We believe that a national entrepreneurship program can be developed to not only focus on the youth's entrepreneurship activities but leverage their explicit desire to integrate purpose into their efforts and in turn help alleviate social problems both in Canada and beyond.

Proposed model

WE Charity's objective is to help launch a new generation of SMBs, powered by purpose-driven young people and ready for the new economic realities. There are three core components to the program:

Part 1:
10-week virtual program
A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship.

Topics led by industry-experts include: accounting, product design and production, leading with purpose, market development and validation, sales, social impact measurement; digital marketing strategies and content marketing during COVID-19; Indigenous enterprise, health and wellness market opportunities, building resilience and perseverance; etc.

The program includes various complementary resources and a nation-wide online community for purpose-driven entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and to network to support one another.
Part 2:
1-on-1 mentorship with experts to support entrepreneurs
Extensive 1:1 mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders.

Executive coaches and mentors will be provided by an incredible roster of 500+ subject matter experts sourced from across Canada's top corporations.

Each participant will have access to a minimum of 6 hours of high-value skill-specific mentorship necessary to help their business thrive. They will register for the mentorship areas of their choice which could include: branding, sales, marketing, legal, accounting/finance, social impact, accessing capital, generalist support.
Part 3:
Small grant for each participant
Upon the successful completion of the 10-week program each participant will receive a $500 grant that they can use to invest in their future and further their venture concept.

Upon completion of 10-week program each participant will receive a Linkedln virtual badge.

Additional incentives are available based on engagement and success, including unlocking additional business funding and further stages to the program support.

WE Charity has modeled three options for program delivery, please see appendix I for an overview of each of the three options.

Demographics we will serve

The proposed national program will target young people underrepresented within current economic relief plans. Specifically, young people aged 19-29 who are current post-secondary students, recent graduates and recent entrants into the job market who have lost their employment due to COVID-19.

The program is bilingual, designed to ensure inclusive participation and recruitment of participants from priority youth groups including indigenous, women and new Canadians. Our program's digital program delivery platform, program leaders, diverse subject matter experts and incentives effectively targets the youth at all levels of education and can reach areas far from urban centres, provide unique connections with industry experts and essential recognition for youths' efforts respectively.

Why WE is uniquely positioned to lead this project

WE has 25 years of experience delivering meaningful and impactful programming to young people across Canada. We are uniquely positioned to take up this challenge as we have the internal expertise and resources to mobilize quickly, and multi-sector partnerships with the corporate, technology, and education to execute on a national scale.

  • Proven impact: WE is one of the largest founded in Canada charities, with programs coast-to-coast-to-coast. It uplifts the social sector by galvanizing Canadians across the country to volunteer, increase awareness and raise funds for the causes that matter most to them. In 2018-2019, 3,832 local organizations were supported and over $97 million in social value was created by Canadians participating in WE programs.3
  • Deep corporate partnerships: WE holds deep and unique relationships with 200+ best-in-class corporate partners who are committed to supporting social innovation and the ambitious vision of the WE Social Enterprise Centre.
  • Unparalleled amplification platforms: Reaching over five million Canadians in 2018-2019 alone, WE is a pipeline to Canadians, including youth, and has the capacity and expertise to support the government in reaching its priorities, raising awareness and creating demand for social enterprise on a national level. WE achieved 4B+ media impressions in 2019, and has 4M+ followers on its Facebook page.
  • Best practices learned through on the ground experience: WE is approached by several hundred not-for-profit peers, groups and individuals a year and there is a high demand for WE to share learnings from its successes and early failures. WE created the groundbreaking ME to WE social enterprise to support the efficiency of charity partner - WE Charity. ME to WE operates multiple successful lines of business for social purposes.
Our leadership team

Our programming will be led by our in-house team of entrepreneurial experts, with a proven track record of training and supporting Canadian entrepreneurs. Our leadership team includes:

  • Jon E Worren, Entrepreneur in Residence, WE Scale Up:
    • Served as the Lead Executive, Venture & Corporate Programs at MaRS, where he developed and delivered all of MaRS venture facing programming - both at MaRS and throughout Ontario. As part of his role, he built MaRS digital platform, directly serving 10-15,000 entrepreneurs every year, including the award-winning Entrepreneurship 101 program - which has supported entrepreneurs in 130 countries to date. As part of that, Jon has personally worked directly with over 5,000 Canadian entrepreneurs.
    • He developed and delivered programming to support youth entrepreneurs at more than 15 university campus linked accelerators as part of Ontario's Jobs & Prosperity Program.
    • Jon also built MaRS Corporate programming, working directly with executive teams of 50+ corporate partners in helping them develop their innovation strategy.
    • Jon managed the $32.5M Ontario ScaleUp Voucher Program from 2016-2019, supporting the growth and expansion of the most promising high-growth innovation firms in the province, such as Fiix, Axonify, InteraXon, Asset Compliance, Bridgit, Wattpad and others with funding and growth coaching.
    • Jon is an accomplished entrepreneur having been co-founder of successful businesses in the software and deantech space. Jon has an MSc from London School of Economics.
  • Hussam Ayyad, Managing Director, WE Scale Up:
    • Held leadership positions at Communitech, DMZ, Ryerson University and the U of T's Rotman School of Management are listed below:
      • Built the core-operation of DMZ between 2016 and 2020 including all programs interfacing with entrepreneurs, investors and corporate backers, locally and internationally which most recently propelled the DMZ to become a world-leading tech accelerator and incubator that earned the ranking of #1 in the world by UBI.
      • Built the DMZ's investor network to exceed 3,000 VCs & Angel investors in less than 2 years.
      • Spearheaded building programs to support thousands of entrepreneurs nationally and internationally and support Canadian ventures who collectively raised over $ 1 Billion and created multiples of that in value of market capitalization.
    • Hussam is an experienced multi-time entrepreneur and business leader. Most notably, he co-founded and led the growth of Algero Canadian Metals to a $70 million revenue business in the environmental sustainability industry supplying metal scrap to world leading steel mills.
  • Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder and Executive Sponsor, WE:
    • He co-founded WE, a global movement that empowers people with the tools to change the world internationally and in their own communities.
    • Craig is a New York Times bestselling author who has written 12 books, including WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make a Living, and Change the World.
    • Craig is an MBA graduate with 15 honorary doctorates and has been awarded by the World Economic Forum and Roosevelt Institute, and received the Order of Canada.
  • Roxanne Joyal, CEO and Co-Founder, ME to WE:
    • She is CEO of ME to WE, a social enterprise that supports sustainable development projects of WE Charity.
    • Roxanne is a Francophone bilingual Canadian social entrepreneur, author, recognized leader in sustainable development and a women's empowerment advocate.
    • Roxanne is a graduate of Stanford University, she earned an Oxford degree in law and a prestigious Rhodes scholarship, and clerked for the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
  • Dalai Al-Waheidi, Executive Director, WE Charity:
    • As the Executive Director of WE Charity, Dalai Al-Waheidi has been integral in shaping the success of the WE movement into a global international charity and educational partner.
    • In 2014, Dalai was selected as one of RBC's Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners for her passion and desire to make the world a better place, especially for the lives of youth around the world. In addition, she's been recognized by the Women's Executive Network.

Our partners

This project will leverage a multi sector partnership approach, leveraging WE's network. Through value in-kind provided through partnerships, WE will match the financial investment provided by the Government of Canada. Partners could include:

  • Corporate partners:
    • Engaging WE's network of 200+ corporate partners to provide mentorship hours to young entrepreneurs. WE has already opened conversations with corporate partners, who have expressed a strong interest. They are grateful for the government's 75% wage subsidy, and they want to give-back to support Canada during this time.
    • The Business Council of Canada (BCC) has been a partner of WE to engage business leaders together to call on their employees enroll in our mentorship program and provide valuable introductions in the sector. The 150 member-companies employ 1.7 million Canadians and are responsible for most of Canada's corporate philanthropy. Craig Kielburger is the only non-profit member in the history of the BCC.
  • Technology partners:
    • Microsoft - WE is the largest Canadian charitable partner of Microsoft, and one of the largest global partners. Microsoft provides inclusive technology including the provision of hardware and software platforms powering digital programming delivery and ensuring accessibility capabilities (i.e., close captioning translation, readers, visual adaptation and hearing accommodations).
    • Linkedln (owned by Microsoft) - Partnership with this tech platform would be ideal as it will expose youth's skills attainment after completion of programming, including a virtual badge that can enhance their profile. Linkedln is a widely recognized platform that will offer young people a space to build their profile, highlight their training badge achieved, and which employers can easily track and validate. The Linkedln experience has important long-term value, as it will be a validated record that young people can take anywhere in the world to support their education and employment. Digital badging is proving to be the most cost-effective and scalable model to provide incentives for youth to participate. Digital badging provides meaningful recognition to youth, while removing continued reliance and incentive focused on solely financial incentive strategies.
  • Community partners:
    • WE Charity currently holds 300 official educational partnerships across Canada with 17,309 active educators engaged in our network from 7,000 schools, educational institutions, and groups.
    • Junior Achievement - One of the largest networks of youth programming in entrepreneurship.
    • Enactus - the world's leading Social Entrepreneurship program based in universities and colleges (36 countries worldwide, 1.3 million people impacted annually, 1,730 universities involved). In Canada, they are present with close to 3,500 students involved on campuses.
    • Many other leading organizations such as:
      • Ryerson's DMZ - Leading accelerator in Canada
      • Ashoka Canada
      • B Lab Canada at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
      • BCG Digital Ventures
      • Boston Consulting Group
      • The Brandery
      • Brand Project
      • Bullfrog Power
      • Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund

Conclusion

WE reaches over 2.4 million youth providing a platform to further national understanding about the important role of entrepreneurship to help solve some of the most complex social challenges that we are to experience during and post COVID-19 Pandemic. We would like to humbly raise the importance of government taking a leadership role and sending a clear message of hope to youth who are seeing their future very bleak and with limited opportunities to grow at this time.

  • Directly impacting up to 8,000 youth
  • Providing between 12-20 hours of 1 on 1 mentorship to youth
  • $500 cash grant to youth upon completion of program
  • Building a network of 500 industry leading mentors across Canada to support a new generation of small business with impact
  • Targeting priority youth demographics such as, indigenous, women and new Canadians

Together, we can bring a comprehensive future skills program to thousands of youth through digital programming, build a network of resilient youth deeply connected to the across sectors and, who can and will be able to reinsert themselves in the economy in a post COVID-19 world.

Appendix I: Program options

All program options run multiple cohorts over a one-year period
  Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Programming delivery details (per cohort)
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 24,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon program completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 48,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
Plus:
  • Doubling the number of beneficiaries, with a lower cost per beneficiary due to economies of scale
  • Up to $800,000 (per entire year) in a special fund available for top participant business ideas
  • Up to 1,000 participants will receive incremental 1-on-1 mentorship time for an additional 12-weeks to support the company building process for an additional 6,000 hours
  • A structured curriculum-based 10-week company formation program delivered as workshops and group advisory sessions by subject matter experts and leaders in entrepreneurship
  • 6 hours of 1:1 executive mentorship and coaching for each participant in the program on business fundamentals by functional experts and industry leaders for a total of 48,000 hours
  • $500 grant per participant upon completion
  • Nation-wide online community for social entrepreneurs to share best practices, learning experiences and network to support one another
Plus:
  • Doubling the number of beneficiaries, with a lower cost per beneficiary due to economies of scale
  • Up to $800,000 (per entire year) in a special fund available for top participant business ideas
  • Up to 1,000 participants will receive incremental 1-on-1 mentorship time for an additional 12-weeks to support the company building process for an additional 6,000 hours
Plus:
  • A digital conference featuring leaders in Canadian business, government, entrepreneurship and social impact – helping to raise the profile of entrepreneurship during times of economic challenge
  • Up to 100 of the top ventures will receive additional mentorship, business support, network access and capital for another 6 months to ensure the successful launch of the businesses for an additional 1,200 hours, in addition to PR and media support through WE’s amplification platforms such as WE Day online, nation-wide news outlets and with direct support from WE’s media and PR staff.
Number of participants 4,000 8,000 8,000
Investment requested $6,000,000 $11,000,000 $14,000,000
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