The volunteer training of the boss of Hydro-Québec raises eyebrows

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The volunteer training of the boss of Hydro-Québec raises eyebrows

Sophie Brochu has for years been leading, on a voluntary basis, workshops for business women for L'Effect A, a for-profit business of her husband.

Sophie Brochu, CEO of Hydro-Quebec

The training given by the boss of Hydro-Québec, Sophie Brochu, as part of the L'effet A initiative, raised eyebrows in high places . Quebec also wants to know more and will have a meeting with the management of the state-owned company to clarify the file, learned Radio-Canada.

In order to fully understand the current situation, a meeting is scheduled between the Secretariat for Senior Employment and Hydro-Québec, confirmed Cynthia Boissoneault in an email sent on Tuesday.

According to our information, this meeting will be held over the next few days, certainly this week, so that the Crown corporation responds quickly to the questions in the file.

The Senior Employment Secretariat advises the government on the recruitment of senior executives, such as deputy ministers or heads of agencies, and also makes recommendations on ethics and governance.

Over the past few days, several questions have arisen regarding training given by Ms. Brochu for L'Effect A, an initiative co-founded by Isabelle Hudon that aims to help women in business. Ms. Brochu was quickly involved in this project, when she was managing Énergir, formerly Gaz Métro.

On the L'effet A website and on its Facebook page, the leader is highlighted in several formations. Leader of the first hour within L’effet A, Sophie Brochu leaves no one indifferent. She shares her journey and her precious advice with the outspokenness that we know her, it is written.

Ms. Brochu is giving a master class until November 18 with pre-recorded video clips. Each course costs $695. She also participates in other workshops, the 100-day Challenge, whose participants must pay up to $2,900, plus taxes.

Image taken from the L'effet A website

For Hydro-Québec, this is a voluntary contribution on the part of of its leader at L'Effect A. But according to information revealed by the Journal de Montréal– and confirmed by Radio-Canada –, The A Effect is owned by Médias O'Dandy, whose majority shareholder is John Gallagher, Mrs. Brochu's spouse.

According to the daily, the last training of the boss of Hydro-Québec has generated sales of nearly $ 50,000 for the company of Mr. Gallagher. The Crown corporation has also enrolled participants and contributed over $530,000 to The A Effect in training costs since 2016.

Like many other large companies, Hydro-Québec has been registering participants since 2016 when Eric Martel was CEO. The number of Hydro-Québec participants has been stable since the beginning. Sophie Brochu has not intervened in any way likely to promote L'Effect A, the state corporation said in a statement.

For Hydro, the press release continues, the business relationship between Ms. Brochu's spouse and L'effet A has been the subject of all declarations of interest to the Board of Directors and the Secretariat for Superior Employment.< /p>

However, for Ivan Tchotourian, professor of law at Laval University and specialist in governance, the whole process brings its share of questions.

Ms. Brochu can share her experience, it's inspiring. What's annoying is the form or pattern she took to do it. It is a profitable model. We can say that it is indirect, it is by her husband, but there is still a form of remuneration that involves a member of her family, he says.

Hydro-Québec's code of ethics stipulates that officers must not use the powers inherent in their position to directly or indirectly obtain a benefit for their own benefit or that of a third party.

Behind the code of ethics, there is the text, but there is its spirit. I think the spirit is that in a situation like this, you have to take a step back and say to yourself that maybe the remunerative side is something to take away, he says.

Ms. Brochu's spouse, John Gallagher, did not wish to grant an interview, but for the principal director, Isabelle Marquis, it would be a shame if this whole affair hurt her The A effect.

I don't think it will have a negative impact, but I hope women are not prevented from hearing the learnings of Sophie or the others. In all humility, I find it important, what we are doing, she said in an interview with Radio-Canada.

Questioned on the subject, the Minister of the Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, did not want to get involved and pointed out that the matter was the responsibility of the board of directors of Hydro-Québec.

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