Revenu Québec intends to tighten the ethical rules imposed on its key employees when they leave to work in the private sector, explained the agency’s CEO. But for the opposition, the measures it inspires represent a “minimum”.
Christine Tremblay, head of the tax authorities, spoke about the upcoming changes on Tuesday during a study of budget allocations with Finance Minister Eric Girard.
“For example, we’re talking about our people working on aggressive tax planning,” she explained. We may have more important announcements for them. The lawyers and accountants working in this group try to identify elaborate schemes that help millionaires pay as little tax as possible.
The CEO and the Minister were responding to a question posed by MNA Frederic Beauchemin referring to a report. Press Published in February. investigation1 Revenu Quebec is demanding more than 10 million before joining the BCF organization and taking over the mandate from former Gildan Sportswear CEO Greg Chamandy, focusing on lawyer Mathieu Gendron, who left the aggressive planning department in October.
The tax expert is on his second round trip between private and public. He already worked for the controversial millionaire at the Heenan Blaikie firm until 2014, then spent eight months at Deloitte in 2016.
“I wonder if such a thing is possible. But today we have to believe that we do not have to be surprised by many things,” said Daniel Bourgeois, the judge in charge of the investigation that learned about Matthew Gendron’s career on February 6.
Revenu Québec’s CEO wants to establish a “wider adaptation” of civil servants who have left the tax department “to add a bit of robustness, especially in these strategic jobs that see more mobility between the agency and the private sector.” .
Press Wanted to be more specific about how it plans to implement these intentions, Revenu declined our request for an interview with the Quebec CEO.
The Communications Department has a policy of never granting a telephone interview and will not provide further details via email.
“It is premature at this stage to discuss the details of the anticipated changes and improvements as the work is still in progress and these amendments will be presented to the Board of Directors of Revenue Quebec before they are applied,” wrote the door. -Words by Claude-Oliver Faugnant.
The agency’s next board meeting is scheduled for June.
The official opposition spokesman for finance, Frédéric Beauchemin, said Quebec was only committed to the “minimum” for the time being. “In my head, she left the door open for more conversations to happen about it,” he said. We give the runner a chance. »
For liberals, inquiry Press Revenu Québec’s ethical standards demonstrate that they are very weak. They suggest the agency should draw inspiration from the Code of Ethics for Federal Employees.
For one year, a lawyer working for Ottawa must obtain approval before “intervening on behalf of another person with a department or agency with which he has official dealings.”
Applying these criteria, Matthew Gendron would need permission to work on any litigation against his former employer, the tax authorities.
In studying budget allocations, Christine Tremblay suggests that Quebec rules are “superior to the federal public service” because they have no deadlines. “There is no time limit,” she said. Sanctions in the Code of Ethics are not limited to one year, but are permanent.
However, Revenu Quebec’s code of ethics does not contain a provision comparable to Ottawa’s. It only prohibits “employees who have acted in connection with one proceeding” from subsequently acting on behalf of others “in connection with the same proceeding.”
In other words, according to this code, if Mathieu Gendron Chamandy did not work on the tax file, nothing prevents him today from helping the millionaire to fight his former colleagues.
According to Liberal MP Frederic Beauchemin, a job limit should have a valid time limit in any case.
“They can’t ban something ‘throughout your career,'” he said. With a clause like that, you go to see a lawyer and a judge, it’s automatically overturned. »
The story so far
Matthew Gendron’s company, Heenan Blakey, has been disbanded. Mr. Gendron joins Revenu in Quebec. He therefore ceased to represent Gildan’s former CEO, Greg Chamandy.
Mathieu Gendron left the tax department for eight months at Deloitte, where he reconnected with Chamandy before returning to Revenu Quebec.
The lawyer then left the tax office again to join the BCF firm and advised Chamandi in a more than 10 million lawsuit against his former colleagues.