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

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

(Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for man who tried to grab boy near Robertson elementary school

A man in a parked minivan reached out the driver side window as a young boy passed by

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Dean Werk, president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, at the Fraser River boat launch at Island 22 Regional Park in Chilliwack on Dec. 1, 2019. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Salmon society calls for moratorium on vehicle access to gravel bars near Chilliwack

Gill Road and Jesperson Road gravel bars have seen increased use and environmental abuse

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

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

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Emergency crews are on scene at Walnut Grove Secondary School after a report of a bomb threat at Walnut Grove Secondary School on March 3, 2021. The school was safely evacuated. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

Most Read