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In this week’s News Digest: more on WE Charity, non-profits team up to fight youth unemployment, a feminist economic recovery plan for Canada, and health charities seek relief.

The WE scandal continues

The sector’s largest story continues to be the controversy surrounding WE Charity’s ties to the families of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau. WE was to deliver the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), a $900 million pool of funding intended to pay students to volunteer with non-profits across the country.

Two parliamentary committees and the ethics commissioner are investigating the decision-making process behind the agreement between the federal government and WE. The charity announced that it will conduct a review of its operations.

Imagine Canada issued a statement about the controversy: “What worries us most is that a story about one charity, its conduct, organizational structure, and relationship with politicians threatens to overshadow the incredibly hard work being done in communities under increasingly difficult circumstances.”

While all levels of government frequently contract charities and non-profits to deliver programs and services, Imagine Canada said most are for very small amounts, often just a few thousand dollars. By contrast, WE stood to earn more than $43.5 million to oversee the program. Read the full statement.

Policy Options published an op-ed on the controversy. Written by Ilona Dougherty and Amelia Clarke, co-creators of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo, it outlines best practices for administering a program like the CSSG, highlighting details that must be considered before the program is revived.

Women to the front

YWCA Canada this week launches “A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada” with a live-streamed panel featuring leading experts on the importance of a feminist economic recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on women, two-spirit, and gender-diverse people, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, or people of colour. Women, who account for more than half of all COVID-19 cases and deaths in Canada, have faced disproportionate job losses, an increase in domestic violence due to lockdowns, and a rise in unpaid work.

YWCA Canada partnered with the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to create a feminist economic recovery plan. It proposes that Canada’s economy shift to focus on changing the structures and barriers that made some groups more vulnerable during the pandemic.

Speakers include Gladys Okine Ahovi, executive lead at the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity; Margo Greenwood, academic lead at the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health and adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Columbia; Fae Johnstone, principal consultant with Wisdom2Action; and Armine Yalnizyan, an economist and Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers. YWCA CEO Maya Roy will moderate, and Sarah Kaplan, director and professor at Rotman School of Management’s Institute for Gender and the Economy, will introduce the event.

The livestream starts at 3 p.m. EST today (July 28).