SDTC’s Chair Annette Verschuren has announced her resignation due to allegations of conflict-of-interest breaches and mismanagement within the federal funding agency. In a letter to Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Verschuren stated that she would step down on December 1. 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.
Having faithfully and fully committed herself and her decision-making to serve the organization’s best interests, Verschuren expressed that it is time for her to step aside. She has been the chair of SDTC’s board of directors since 2019. This announcement comes after the resignation of former SDTC CEO Leah Lawrence, who cited a “sustained and malicious campaign to undermine” her leadership as the reason for her departure.
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 departure of both Verschuren and Lawrence is likely to have a significant impact on the future direction and leadership of Sustainable Development Technology Canada.