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

The school is very proud of these students (pictured, left to right): Halim Demir (holding Grace Valdez’ gold certificate); Lauren McIlwain, Shayleen Mack, Jaymen Schieck, Kyle Doiron, and Finn Carlson (photo submitted)
SAMS students excel in international competition

The SAMS team swept their category this year; all six participants received awards

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The avalanche came down on the highway sometime Sunday evening (Feb. 21) (Dawson photo)
Road to Bella Coola wharf reopens after large avalanche

The road was closed after a large avalanche covered a significant portion of the highway

Jenni Mueller lives near the wharf on the other side of the avalanche. She took this photo and thinks the avalanche happened around 8 p.m. last night (February 21). (Jenni Mueller photo)
Avalanche closes road to wharf at Bella Coola

A day and night of heavy rain resulted in avalanches across the region

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read