More than $250,000 in contracts for the company of the spouse of the CEO of Hydro-Québec

Over $250,000 in business contracts from CEO's spouse Hydro-Québec

, Marie Christine Trottier and Charles Mathieu MISE À DAY

Hydro-Québec has paid more than $250,000 to buy training from the firm of the spouse of its CEO, Sophie Brochu, since her appointment, and has even called on it to lead its employees .

On October 25, Le Journal revealed that a training session by Sophie Brochu offered at L'effet A generated revenues of nearly $50,000 at the firm of her husband, John Gallagher.

However, by examining data from Hydro-Québec, we see that $536,000 has been paid to L'effet A since March 2016. Of this amount, $251,000 has been spent since Ms. Brochu's arrival on March 1 April 2020. 

In total, almost as much money was spent in two and a half years under Sophie Brochu at L'effet A as during the reign of the previous CEO, Éric Martel, at 34,000 $ close.

The Crown corporation nevertheless assures that Ms. Brochu's appointment has nothing to do with it because she was doing business with L'effet A long before her arrival.

“Sophie Brochu did not intervene in any way likely to promote Effect A, these decisions were never hers. In addition, Hydro-Québec has been registering participants in L'effet A since 2016, when Éric Martel was CEO,” explained its media manager, Philippe Archambault, who recalls that it is the chair of the board of directors who manages this file.

That said, Ms. Brochu herself has given training. In 2021, seven Hydro-Québec employees took the “30-day Masterclass with Sophie Brochu”, offered by L’effet A, for a total bill of $4,595. 

Experts wonder

While Hydro insists that Ms. Brochu “does not receive any remuneration or compensation for her participation in L'effet A”, experts are wondering.

“Without calling into question the integrity and her attachment to the cause of women, she must be prudent in avoiding any direct involvement in the company of a person related to her”, believes the ethics expert of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) Michel Séguin.

“She should not participate in L'Effect A training. It becomes difficult to justify in terms of governance”, analyzes Saidatou Dicko, professor of accounting sciences at UQAM.

“What kind of message does this send to taxpayers? asks Nicolas Gagnon, Quebec director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

For Hydro-Quebec, however, there is no question of stopping hiring the firm of the spouse of the big boss of the state-owned company. , since everything is done in order.

“The governance of our organization and the rules of ethics are solid, it is not true that we are going to deprive women of training relevant to their professional development, whether those of L'effet A or others”, concluded its spokesperson Maxence Huard-Lefebvre.

L'effet A declined our requests for an interview with John Gallagher .

– With the collaboration of Philippe Langlois