The resignation of Annette Verschuren, the chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), due to allegations of conflict-of-interest breaches and mismanagement within the federal funding agency, has been announced. Verschuren stated that she would step down on December 1 in a letter to Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne. This resignation comes as the federal ethics commissioner begins a probe into her role in providing $38 million in relief funding for SDTC’s companies during the pandemic, including one she leads as chief executive.
The departure of former SDTC CEO Leah Lawrence, who cited a “sustained and malicious campaign to undermine” her leadership as the reason for her departure, has also been announced. An investigation into SDTC, ordered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, revealed evidence of inappropriate funding and breaches of conflict-of-interest rules. These findings were a result of allegations made by a whistle-blower group comprised of current and former employees of the organization. The resignation of both Verschuren and Lawrence is likely to have a significant impact on the future direction and leadership of Sustainable Development Technology Canada.