A key piece of a much-scrutinized $900-million program to get youth working in the community will also pay teachers $12,000 each to recruit and mentor students over the summer.
The Canada Student Service Grant program, which pays students and recent graduates to work with community organizations across the country, has come under new scrutiny after it was revealed the WE Charity was selected by the federal government as the only group able to administer the program. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family have appeared multiple times at WE events.
The decision to pay teachers to recruit and manage their own students — even for an opportunity that would financially benefit the students — has surprised some.
"We don't have all of the details, but certainly this is not common practice," said Ilona Dougherty, managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo, who has co-founded several public service organizations.
According to the posting for the "Volunteer Manager" position on the WE website, educators will be expected to recruit and manage different numbers of students, depending on whether they're based in rural or urban areas.
"[W]e need engaged educators like you to recruit, lead and mentor a group of 75-100 eligible students in your community through this program. As a group leader, you will receive $12,000 in compensation," says the posting.
Cash for recruitment
Educators from rural regions need to recruit and oversee at least 55 students to receive the same compensation.
Responsibilities include being available to "actively recruit" students, and helping to oversee volunteer participation in the program during July and August.
The students themselves have the opportunity to make between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on how many hours they complete with a not-for-profit organization.
The WE Charity referred all questions about the program to the federal government.
"It's the first time in my life I've heard of teachers being paid for any kind of compensation or bonus for recruiting their own students to an activity," said Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre, who has criticized how the grant program is being run.
The money being paid to teachers amounts to administrative costs, said Poilievre, arguing it would be better spent on the charities and students themselves.