Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Governor General designate Julie Payette talks to reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday July 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Governor General designate Julie Payette talks to reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday July 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Federal funding to help former GGs set up charitable foundations is discretionary

Payette resigned as governor general last month, only three years into her five-year term

The federal government has allocated $30 million over the past 15 years to sustain charitable foundations created by governors general once they leave office.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office won’t say if the current government would offer the same support should Julie Payette choose to set up a foundation of her own.

Payette resigned as governor general last month, only three years into her five-year term, after a scathing, independent review concluded she had presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall.

She has not thus far signalled an intention to set up a foundation and could not be reached for comment.

Consequently, the Prime Minister’s Office refused to say if it would consider funding one.

READ MORE: Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

The PMO referred The Canadian Press to an email statement from Privy Council Office spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon, who said funding for former governors general’s foundations is discretionary.

“This is not an entitlement and the decision to provide financial support, including the amount of support, to a foundation established when a Governor General leaves office is made on a case-by-case basis,” said Fenelon.

She added that foundations created by former governors general are “subject to the same reporting requirements as other Canadian charitable foundations.”

There is a long tradition of former governors general engaging in philanthropic work, dating back to Vincent Massey, who held the viceregal post from 1952 to 1959 and contributed to an existing family foundation after retiring.

For each of the three governors general who preceded Payette, Fenelon said the government contributed a $3-million grant to help establish foundations and committed to give up to another $7 million over 10 years to match funds raised from other sources.

Adrienne Clarkson, who held the post from 1999 to 2005, created The Institute for Canadian Citizenship. According to the institute’s website, it employs 22 people and “delivers programs and special projects that inspire inclusion, create opportunities to connect, and encourage active citizenship.”

The institute’s 2018-19 annual report says it brought in $5.2 million, 68 per cent of which came from “government” and 28 per cent from donations. It does not specify whether governments other than the federal government contributed.

The statement says the institute spent 89 per cent of that money on programs.

Clarkson’s successor, Michaëlle Jean set up the Michaëlle Jean Foundation when she left the post in 2010. It employs a staff of five and aims to help “fragile and excluded youth … find themselves through the arts and civic participation,” including providing bursaries to young artists, according to its website.

According to its 2018-19 annual report, Jean’s foundation had revenue of $1.6 million, 41 per cent of which (just over $657,000) came from the federal government’s Canadian Heritage department.

Payette’s immediate predecessor, David Johnston, set up the Rideau Hall Foundation when he retired from the viceregal job in 2017.

According to its website, the foundation was established to “amplify the impact of the office of the Governor General as a central institution of Canadian democracy, and to better serve Canadians through a range of initiatives linked to learning, leadership, giving and innovation.”

It employs 25 staff and, according to its 2019 annual report, had revenue of $10.5 million. It does not specify how much of that came from the federal government.

The Rideau Hall Foundation spent nearly $9 million, $3.8 million of which went to programs and another $3.8 million to grants and scholarships. It is now a partner with the Michener Awards Foundation, established by Roland Michener, governor general from 1967 to 1974, to celebrate excellence in journalism.

Other governors general who set up charitable foundations after leaving the post include Ray Hnatyshyn, Jeanne Sauvé, Jules Léger, and Georges Vanier.

READ MORE: Payette resignation shines light on generous pension, expense account for former GGs

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Payette

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The platanthera dilatata is the fragrant white bog orchid whose perfume on a hot August day is one of the unforgettable delights of a summer hike in Strathcona Park. Photo supplied
Strathcona Wilderness Institute AGM upcoming

The Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI) will hold its 2021 annual general meeting… Continue reading

The candidates in the recent municipal by-election say while they’re disappointed with the voter turnout, most are intending to take another run at a seat in 2022. Black Press File Photo
Candidates lament low voter turnout in Campbell River municipal by-election

Many say they will still be putting their names forward again in the future, however

BC Rent Bank helps people stay out of homelessness. Black Press stock photo
BC Rent Bank pitched for Campbell River

Program provides loans to keep people housed

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Most Read