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

File photo
A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, left, Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, centre and Chief Aaron Young during a meeting with First Nations Chiefs and Grand Chiefs in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta must retract Forest Act before it becomes law: Treaty 8 grand chief

‘We are asking (the government) to pull this back and consult with us,’ says Arthur Noskey of Treaty 8 First Nations

Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the United Conservative government’s draft elementary school curriculum pilot this fall. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
Calgary school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

Other school boards including Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic, Elk Island Public, Wild Rose, Medicine Hat Public, Medicine Hat Catholic and Lethbridge Public have also rejected it

Alberta reported its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since December 16 on Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Alberta reports 1,521 additional COVID-19 cases, 674 new variant cases

Daily case total the highest since mid-December

A cross made out of hockey sticks at a makeshift memorial is silhouetted against the setting sun at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Monday, April, 9, 2018. A virtual tribute is planned to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VIDEO: Humboldt Broncos team to be honoured on third anniversary of fatal bus crash

16 people died and 13 were injured when a semi-trailer ran a stop sign into the path of the hockey team’s bus

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney faces criticism from doctors, his own caucus, over new COVID-19 health rules

Alberta now has more than 10,000 active cases, about 43 per cent are variants

Most Read