Expert Analysis

In the midst of the politically-motivated hoax that was driven by politicians eager to take shots at the government, and amplified for months by the media, WE Charity proactively and voluntarily submitted themselves to three reviews by some of the most respected voices in Canada in government, law and forensic accounting.

They did this because they wanted to show the world that the narrative created about WE Charity is simply not accurate. Leveraging the current climate of cancel culture, this hoax was created by those who had only their own interests at stake.

The reports were commissioned from independent experts with impeccable credentials. People who took the time to look at all the facts, examine the newly created narratives about WE and its founders, and get to the truth.

One of the authors of these reports, Dr. Al Rosen, an esteemed accountant and expert in forensic accounting summed up the current environment eloquently, stating:

“The primary difference between our findings and the assertions made by the organization's critics is that ours were developed as a result of a detailed investigation into the organization's finances before, and since, the onset of the Pandemic. Conversely, the allegations and narrative asserted by critics often appear to be largely based on conjecture, and have not been substantiated in any convincing way by documentation or other evidence.”

We invite you to review these reports and consider the time and patience that went into preparing them in contrast with the rushes to judgement and false conclusions driving the media narrative and an ongoing politically-motivated hoax this summer.

Video from Matt Torigian, the former Deputy Solicitor General of Ontario. Currently he is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He and his team reviewed more than 5,000 pages of emails, documents, and other relevant material released by federal government departments to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, as well more 364 documents that WE Charity provided to the Standing Committee on Finance in satisfaction of prior undertakings.

Report on Awarding of the Canadian Student Service Grant Program to WE Charity

One of the key assumptions driving this hoax about WE Charity was the idea that the charity, through its co-founders Marc and Craig Kielburger, approached the Government of Canada with the idea for the $543M program.

Matt Torigian, the former Deputy Solicitor General of Ontario, reviewed this matter. Currently he is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

He and his team reviewed more than 5,000 pages of emails, documents, and other relevant material released by federal government departments to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, as well as more than 364 documents that WE Charity provided to the Standing Committee on Finance in satisfaction of prior undertakings. His key findings are that the documents prove:
The idea for the Canada Student Service Grant originated with the Government of Canada (not WE Charity).
The Government considered multiple potential vendors (Shopify, Volunteer Canada, United Way etc.)
The Government approached WE Charity through the proper bureaucratic channel to submit a proposal.
Please see Mr. Torigian’s full report here and opinion piece as published in a major Canadian newspaper here.

The Financial Viability of WE Charity Prior to Announcement of the CSSG Program

Another frequently stated misconception and theme of this hoax was that WE Charity was in poor financial shape before the CSSG program was announced and that the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance created the program to bail out the charity. 

To examine these questions, Dr. Al Rosen, a specialist in Investigative and Forensic Accounting (CA-IFA) reviewed the financials. He is Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a specialist in Investigative and Forensic Accounting (CA-IFA). He has provided expert testimony or affidavits in jurisdictions across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. His report also included analysis from Froese Forensic Partners.

Dr. Rosen’s report stated:

“(…) WE was financially viable at the time of the signing of the CSSG Funding Agreement with the Federal Government and was not in any financial peril.”
“Under the CSSG Funding Agreement WE was eligible for reimbursement of "Eligible Expenditures", but not to receive a profit.”
"In preparing our review we have been provided with unrestricted access to the financial records of WE Canada entities and the Kielburgers. This unrestricted access included, but was not limited to, copies of relevant financial statements, general ledgers, and corporate records. It included both bank records and real estate transactions for WE Charity (Canada), as well as the Kielburgers. The review also included imaging the full contents of your computers, cell phones, and digital transmission apps as well as your and your partners' corporate and personal credit cards and personal tax returns.”
 With respect to WE Charity and ME to WE: “The examination addressed real estate transactions, annual reconciliations and cost allocation between the entities, and payments between the entities. WE did not identify any concerns in relations to interactions between WE Charity and ME to WE Social Enterprise”
With respect to real estate: “We also reviewed property related expenses in the WE Canada entities for possible misallocated revenues or expenses. We did not identify any inappropriate dealings between the WE Canada entities and the Kielburgers in relation to real estate or any financial benefits to the Kielburgers.”
With respect to the co-founders “We found no evidence of improper transactions which benefited the Kielburgers personally."
See Dr. Rosen’s full report here.

Role of the Co-Founders

This politically-motivated hoax has even brought some to unfairly delve into the personal finances of the Kielburger family, making unfounded claims about their support for the charity. 

To debunk this hoax, WE Charity engaged the Honourable Stephen T. Goudge who served on the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He conducted a review of Marc and Craig Kielburger’s personal income, including salaries from ME to WE Social Enterprises. His report reinforces that 100% of ME to WE profits are given to WE Charity or reinvested to grow the social enterprise. He also confirms Marc and Craig’s parents provided years of rent to WE Charity without any financial gain. All the numbers in salary and donations are transparently available in the report linked below.
Re: Kielburger parents Fred and Theresa’s generosity to WE Charity: “Sotheby’s has valued the rent-free use of these office buildings at a $5,396,372.00 value, which represents a very significant saving in overhead and administrative costs for WE Charity. I also understand that Fred and Theresa elected not to receive a tax benefit for this charitable donation.”
Re: WE co-founders salary: “Moreover, neither Marc nor Craig Kielburger have received any form of salary from WE Charity or its predecessor, Free the Children” (… and… ) neither Craig nor Marc Kielburger have ever received dividends from ME to WE. Moreover, ME to WE’s accountants state that ME to WE has never distributed dividends.”
See Justice Goudge’s full report here.

Justice Goudge – Founder Compensation, Reporting Protocols and Independent Reviews

In a thorough and independent assessment of WE Charity's co-founders and WE Charity's reporting protocols, Justice Goudge examined:

• WE’s compensation of Craig and Marc Kielburger

• Whether there are reasonable protocols in place to generate, verify, and evaluate WE’s budgets and reporting

• Whether WE has used credible third-party organizations to conduct independent reviews of its programs

The findings of this independent review, include:

• Craig and Marc’s compensation (100% drawn from ME to WE), Justice Goudge found that “neither Marc nor Craig Kielburger have received any form of salary from WE Charity or its predecessor, Free the Children.”

• “WE has protocols in place to produce and verify the accuracy of these reports.”

• “Based on my review of documents provided by WE, Mission Measurement appears to be a credible, well-respected organization within the social innovation sphere.”

Anti Racism Report of WE Charity

This report details the findings and suggestions put forward by a designated committee of independent directors, referred to as the Special Committee, from the Boards of Directors of WE Charity both in the United States and Canada. The committee was instituted on July 22, 2020, with the objective of conducting a comprehensive workplace review following claims made by present and past employees alleging discriminatory behaviour against Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

The Special Committee solicited the legal expertise of McCarthy Tétrault LLP (McCarthy) to undertake the review. The McCarthy team was assembled with BIPOC professionals known for their proficiency in labour and employment law, education, anti-racism efforts, and workplace reviews. The team also enlisted the services of Amorell Saunders N’Daw, a recognized authority on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) matters. The team's work was overseen by the Special Committee exclusively, without interference from other Board members or senior management.

In light of WE Charity ceasing its Canadian operations, the Special Committee still deems it of utmost importance to maintain transparency and accountability. Therefore, with the unanimous approval of the Board, this report is being made available to the public.

The review did not unearth any discernible instances of overt racism. The majority of the allegations regarding BIPOC issues were indistinct and pertained to (a) perceived systemic or structural issues within WE Charity, and (b) a perceived culture that facilitated an atmosphere where BIPOC employees and volunteers felt marginalized and tokenized. This consequently reduced the need for the Special Committee to establish concrete findings or assess credibility, except in the case of Ms. Maitland’s allegations. The review corroborated that Ms. Maitland’s speech was edited, a fact that was undisputed. Although initially revised without her consent, Ms. Maitland was later given the chance to provide input on the changes.

No evidence was found to suggest malicious intent, disrespect for Ms. Maitland’s experiences, or racial animosity in the alteration of Ms. Maitland’s speech. It seems that due to the power dynamics of her position and insufficient awareness of how to handle EDI issues at WE Charity, the changes to Ms. Maitland’s speech were made permanent despite her reservations. WE Charity's senior management has acknowledged that, in retrospect, her speech should have been reviewed with an EDI perspective in mind.

The review also concluded that Ms. Maitland was neither silenced nor interrupted during the WE town hall in June 2019. An audio recording and transcript confirmed that Ms. Maitland voiced her perspective multiple times, was not interrupted by Mr. M.Kielburger or anyone else, and was even invited by Mr. M.Kielburger to extend the conversation post town hall. However, Ms. Maitland chose not to pursue it further.
See McCarthy’s report full report here.