The site of WE Charity’s former headquarters in Toronto officially has a new tenant, years after the multimillion-dollar youth activism network faced controversy and accusations of illegal business practices.
In 2020, WE Charity was embroiled in controversy after it was revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family and the family members of his team had, over the years, received payments totalling hundreds of thousands to serve as speakers for the organization.
WE also ended up backing out of the Canada student grant program, a partnership that would’ve seen the charity join the federal government to distribute more than $900 million for the Canada Student Service Grant.
The homegrown charity also faced a flurry of allegations of racism and abuse of power.
Amanda Maitland, who worked as a speaker and leadership facilitator at WE in 2018 and 2019, spoke about her negative experience working for the charity and its founders Marc and Craig Kielburger.
She alleged that she was silenced after executives completely rewrote an anti-racism speech she was due to deliver in Calgary.
In 2020, the founders of WE Charity finally stepped down from the organization they started as teenagers. They confirmed in an open letter posted to their website that the charity would be selling off its $50 million real estate portfolio and shutting down operations in Canada.
According to the letter, the money from the sell-off would go into an endowment fund overseen by a new board of governors and used to continue work on several international humanitarian projects.
The net profits from the sale of the properties would also reportedly “cover the operating costs of several large-scale infrastructure projects, such as a hospital and college in Kenya and an agricultural centre in Ecuador.”
Now, the former WE Global Learning Centre headquarters at 339 Queen Street East is home to a location of Spaces, a coworking space provider.
Spaces already has several locations in Toronto, including one at The Junction, Gladstone, Liberty Village, and will soon be opening a new site at The Well in October 2023.
The building boasts six meeting rooms, 300 dedicated desks, breakout areas, showers and space for networking events.