Evidence of meeting #41 for Finance in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was volunteer.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Gina Wilson  Senior Associate Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Department of Canadian Heritage
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Caroline Bosc
Rachel Wernick  Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Stephanie Hébert  Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Operations Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Paula Speevak  President and Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Canada

5:10 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

Very quickly, rewards are like that. Like Air Miles, you have to reach certain levels before you get a reward.

In terms of the legal advice provided, I am not able to speak to that, as you know, because that would constitute advice to ministers and solicitor-client privilege.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Oh, it's advice to the minister.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We're well over time on that round as well.

We have four questioners and we'll give five minutes each to them, or four and a half: Mr. Barrett, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Poilievre and Mr. Fragiskatos.

Mr. Barrett.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Ms. Wernick, did anyone suggest that you call Mr. Kielburger on April 19?

5:10 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

In the context of the mad rush to consider what could be done for the April 22 announcement, several different organizations were talked about. It was in that context that I offered to reach out and speak to WE Charity given that I had....

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Did you call the head of any other organization around the same time?

5:10 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

I personally did not.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

That's a yes or no question.

5:10 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Okay, great.

Is it typical that partner organizations are notified that they have been successful in becoming a partner via the Prime Minister's Office as was stated in this case by Mr. Kielburger?

5:10 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

I cannot speak to that.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

That was a media report, I believe, and Mr. Kielburger clarified that, but surely there must be somebody in ESDC that can clarify that.

Ms. Hébert, Ms. Wilson or Ms. Wernick?

5:10 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

Mr. Chair, if the question is whether or not somebody else talked to somebody else, I am afraid we cannot speculate or provide opinions on things that we do not have direct knowledge of.

July 16th, 2020 / 5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Chair, that was non-answer.

The question was this: Is it typical that partner organizations are notified that they have been successful in becoming a partner via the Prime Minister's Office and not by the ministry, as was stated in this case by the partner? Is it typical, Madam, that it would be the Prime Minister's Office and not you who would contact them? Is that typical?

5:10 p.m.

Senior Associate Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Department of Canadian Heritage

Gina Wilson

Let me take a shot at that—

5:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Operations Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Stephanie Hébert

I would be happy to help after Senior Associate Deputy Minister Wilson.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Just one short answer would be great.

5:10 p.m.

Senior Associate Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Department of Canadian Heritage

Gina Wilson

Okay. Sometimes it occurs; sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's a minister. Sometimes it's a staff person. Sometimes it's an employee. It varies. Nothing is particularly typical.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

In this case, who notified Mr. Kielburger that they were the successful proponents and on what date did that occur?

5:15 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

The WE Charity was informed that the contribution agreement had been approved on June 23.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

By whom?

5:15 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

I do not have a recollection of who directly notified them.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

It's interesting, Mr. Chair, that on June 12 the WE Charity announced during a webcast that they were recruiting for this program. That timeline is inconsistent.

Will you submit to the committee the email that you received from Mr. Kielburger that you referenced in a previous answer?

5:15 p.m.

Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

Rachel Wernick

Yes, Mr. Chair, we are collecting all of the information that the committee asked for with a deadline, I believe, of August 8. We are moving as quickly as we can to pull it all together and get it to the committee.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

I want to circle back to my last question. How is it that there are multisourced reports and it's documented that Mr. Kielburger was recruiting for this program on June 12 if he was supposedly notified weeks later?