WE Charity laying off staff, looking to sell real estate in Toronto

Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger speak during "We Day" in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon

WE Charity is scaling back its operations, making dozens of layoffs in Canada and the United Kingdom and looking to sell some of its real estate holdings in Toronto.    

The charity has been embroiled in a political controversy since the Trudeau government chose it to run a now-abandoned youth volunteer program.    

WE Charity says its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and "recent events,'' prompting a need to shift programming and reduce staff.    

At its global headquarters in Toronto, 22 full-time employees will be laid off and another 59 employees working on fixed-term contracts with the charity won't have their contracts renewed when they expire at the end of the month.    

WE Charity's U.K. operations will be centralized in Canada, which means 19 full-time and contract employees in London will be laid off.    

In addition, a number of buildings on a block near Moss Park in Toronto acquired by the charity as part of a 25th anniversary plan to create a youth campus will be assessed by the organization to determine which ones could be sold.