Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is facing significant leadership changes as Annette Verschuren, chair of the organization’s board of directors, has resigned amid allegations of conflict of interest violations and mismanagement. In her letter to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Verschuren announced that she would step down on December 1.
The resignation comes as the federal ethics commissioner begins an investigation into her role in providing $38 million in aid to SDTC companies during the pandemic, including one she leads as CEO. The investigation follows the resignation of former SDTC CEO Leo Lawrence, who cited a “sustained and malicious campaign to undermine” her leadership as the reason for his departure.
The departure of both Verschuren and Lawrence is likely to have a significant impact on the future direction and leadership of SDTC. A whistleblower group made up of current and former employees at the organization has raised concerns about improper funding and violations of conflict of interest rules. An investigation commissioned by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada found evidence supporting these allegations.
In her letter announcing her resignation, Verschuren expressed her commitment to serving the best interests of SDTC while fully respecting its governance structure. She has been a member of SDTC’s board since 2019 and will continue to serve in that capacity until she steps down on December 1st.