Thank you for the question.
I guess I would start by saying the Department of Finance and I.... In the current situation that we're describing, I'm not involved. The Department of Finance is not involved in negotiating an agreement, and we were not involved in negotiating an agreement with WE Charity. Those questions are for ESDC and not for Finance.
In terms of the process—thank you for that question—this has been, wow, a whirlwind over the last couple of months, in terms of the number of programs we've put in place. As assistant deputy minister for social policy, I have been involved in the CERB, in the student package, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, essential workers and wage top-ups. It's been very, very busy.
Given the time, given the unprecedented circumstances Canada and the world have found themselves in, it is not unusual—and it was not even unusual before COVID times—for there to be upstream policy deliberations. When the government says, “We want to to do something,” or “We have money,” or there's a real need when people need something, we work with ESDC and with my minister's office: What are the real needs? Who should we talk to? What can we put in place?
Quite frankly, almost everything in my purview, in the social policy realm, kind of worked that way. There was a massive number of discussions, emails and ideas, fecund ideas, rolling off the tongue, trying to land on what ultimately would be the best program, service or support to put in place to help Canadians who needed it during the pandemic.