August 9, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

In business with a former senior civil servant: Troubling ties with the Ministry of Health

In business with a former senior civil servant: Troubling ties with the Ministry of Health

A Ministry of Health executive was able to set up a company with a lobbyist targeting his own ministry while earning his full public service salary.

Our Bureau of Investigation discovered that on January 19, Stephane Brassard, director of information technology at the ministry, became president and shareholder of Digital Health.

He did not officially leave the cabinet until February 11.

In his new professional adventure, Plackett, a former senior civil servant, connected with Isabelle Girard, president of clinical services.

Little known to the general public, this company specializes in consulting services for medical clinics and primary care.

Plackett has multiplied its ties with the Ministry of Health over the years (Look there) Ms. Girard was a lobbyist and obtained both contracts by mutual agreement.

In addition to Stéphane Brossard, the company hired a former senior political adviser to the minister and gave consulting assignments to a former associate deputy minister.

The Ministry was not informed

The Ministry of Health said Stephen Broussard had announced on January 16 that he intended to leave his post and go into business.

However, he indicated that he was not informed at the time about Plackett’s creation of Digital Health and Isabelle Girard’s role in the company.

“At that time, the MSSS [ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux] Mr. not to start his business activities before leaving MSSS. Brossard was asked,” said ministry spokeswoman Marjorie LaRoche.

The regulations do not prevent a former manager from going into business, but he must respect applicable ethics and post-employment rules.

“We have no information to believe that Mr. Broussard did not respect these rules”, the ministry states.

No interview

When contacted by telephone by our Investigations Office, Stephane Brossard declined to answer our questions and promised to call us back. Instead, it is a public relations firm that provides clarifications via email.

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“According to our consulting mandates, the majority of Placket team members may have consulted, at various times, with employees of several ministries, including the Ministry of Health, particularly Mr. Brossard”, indicated Maxim Couture of Catapult Communication. .

The situation of Professor Marie-Soleil Tremblay of the National School of Public Administration (ENAP) is questionable.

“We’re gray, there’s reputation risk,” she said.

A public management specialist recommends a period of one year between a senior official’s departure from a ministry and employment with a private supplier.

“Some distance must be kept between the public administration and the suppliers,” she said.

Pascal Dugas Bourdon and Nicolas Lachance, with the Bureau of Investigation

The former deputy minister defended himself

The former associate deputy minister, who subsequently received consulting orders with Plackett, denied any favoritism.

Luc Bouchard.  Former Deputy Minister

Photo taken from Facebook

Luc Bouchard. Former Deputy Minister

Luc Bouchard left the ministry in May 2021. In 2020, Plackett signed two no-contest contracts.

Then, in late 2021, he received two payment terms from Plackett.

When first contacted by our Bureau of Investigation, he initially denied working for the company.

A few days later, he admitted to representing Plaquette outside of Quebec.

The company guarantees two orders of no more than a few hours.

In an interview, Mr. Bouchard admitted that, as deputy minister, he had been in contact with Plaquet and its president, Isabelle Girard.

“Placket is a company that works a lot with FMGs [groupes de médecine de famille] and medical and other clinics […] It’s power in Quebec,” he argued.

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Over-the-counter deals

One of the contracts awarded to Plackett without competition was to evaluate various technologies for making doctor appointments.

According to documents obtained under access to information, Isabelle Girard presented her analysis to the deputy minister in November 2019.

For this same contract, she also had the mandate to study the computerization needs of professionals in private practice.

Luc Bouchard now works at the Institute for Relevance of Medical Acts (IPAM). He agreed to continue meeting with Plackett employees on occasion.

“We meet the suppliers [notamment ceux référés par Plakett]. We hear what they say, That’s it, that’s it. Later, we refer them to the Ministry of Health or FMSQ,” he said.

IPAM was created as part of an agreement between Quebec’s Federation of Medical Professionals and the Treasury Board when Christian Dubey was in charge. The organization aims to identify sources of annual savings in physician wages.

  • Luc Bouchard gave a presentation on IPAM on 13 May during the premier Ligne en Sante symposium organized by Pluckett.

4 examples of proximity

Appointment of Dubé Adviser

Isabelle Girard and Stephen Brossard

Photo from Plackett Clinical Services website

Last January, Plackett was hired Patrick-Emmanuel Parent, a senior political adviser to Minister Christian Dubé, announced his departure from the cabinet a month early. After joining Plackett, he learned that the company was playing a strategic advisory role with people involved in building Physician Appointment Scheduling Orchestrator. This orchestrator is essential to the Patient Access Counter, one of the main components of the plan for the overhaul of health presented by Christian Dubey in March.

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The minister will make a speech

Christian Dubey at a symposium organized by Plackett last May.

Photo from Plackett’s Facebook

Christian Dubey at a symposium organized by Plackett last May.

Minister Christian Dube On May 13, the last premier delivered a keynote speech at the Ligne en Sante symposium organized by Plackett. Isabelle Girard also maintains a relationship with the Minister of State for Health, Lionel Carmont. Last December, the two ministers also met again at an event in the company of Plackett Bass at the UP Pediatric Center in Brossard.

Active lobbyist

Isabelle Girard has been lobbying the Ministry of Health since 2017. She notably represented UP Pediatric Emergency Center, Radiology Group and Carpe Diem Medical Clinics. His company also provided his lobbying support services. She is currently registered in the lobbyist register on behalf of the computer company Logibek.

Both contracts without competition

Plackett received two over-the-counter contracts from the Ministry of Health in 2020. The first contract was awarded to provide an analysis of various technologies for making appointments with a doctor over the Internet. The company also secured a contract to hire an “orchestrator” to make appointments at medical clinics. In both cases, the contract was issued with reservations from the Departmental Contract Management Branch. However, the comments regarding these reservations have been modified in response to an information request made to our investigative office.

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