Ottawa Suspends a $1 Billion Green Fund Following a Complaint From a Whistleblower

A report raises concerns about $38 million in 'relief payments' for emergencies in 2020 and 2021.

In response to a report that criticized the government foundation's use of taxpayer money, Ottawa has put a halt to its operations. The organiztion funds the development of green technologies.

A five-year agreement between the federal government and Sustainable Development Technologies Canada (SDTC) calls for the distribution of $1 billion to small and medium-sized clean technology companies.

François-Philippe Champagne, the innovation minister, declared on Tuesday that the organisation would no longer be able to approve fresh financing.

The action was taken in response to a complaint lodged by a group of whistleblowers against SDTC to the government earlier this year regarding issues with the foundation's administration of its federal funds and human resources.

The government commissioned Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, an outside company, to look into the claims.

Investigators questioned SDTC's decision to give $38 million in emergency "relief payments" to businesses with which it had prior funding commitments in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic in their report that was just made public by the government.

According to the investigation, one of the receivers of funding "appeared to be ineligible" to receive $280,000.

The conflict of interest policy at SDTC is also questioned by the study, which claims it was "inconsistently applied."

Investigators discovered two financing streams formed by SDTC, totaling over $20 million, appear to "contravene" or "not meet the main goal" of its agreement with the government, according to a different section of the study.

Champagne says his department has created a "management response and action plan" that SDTC should put into effect by the end of 2023. He also says he is "exploring further options to strengthen the governance oversight of SDTC."

In a statement released on Tuesday, SDTC stated that it is studying the report and "taking action to implement the recommendations as quickly as possible."


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