Ottawa has frozen Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) from granting funds after a lengthy investigation uncovered evidence of conflict-of-interest breaches and alleged issues regarding governance involving the organization’s chief executive and board members.

SDTC is in the middle of a five-year agreement with the federal government to distribute $1 billion to small and medium businesses in the cleantech sector.

The federal government hired an external firm, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, to conduct an investigation of the allegations. The independent report has criticized its management of public funds. Specifically, investigators have raised questions about SDTC’s decision to distribute $38 million in emergency “relief payments” in 2020 and 2021 (during the COVID-19 pandemic), and about conflict of interest incidents.

In response, SDTC has issued the following statement:

“SDTC has received the Fact-Finding Exercise Report commissioned by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and completed by Raymond Chabot Grant Thorton (RCGT Consulting).

We note the report found no clear evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct at SDTC and indicated that no further investigation is merited. The SDTC Board of Directors and leadership team are carefully reviewing the report and are taking action to implement the recommendations as quickly as possible to minimize disruption to Canada’s sustainable innovation ecosystem.

SDTC will suspend the approval of new projects and will not be accepting new applications until the implementation process is completed, which we anticipate will be by year end. Otherwise, regular business operations will continue, including the disbursal of funds for all existing projects in our portfolio in accordance with companies’ contribution agreements.”

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Stay tuned for updates on this matter.

 

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