At the last Quebec political leaders’ debate, there was a discussion, regarding former employees of public institutions lobbying their former employers. I understood Mr. Couillard (now Premier) to say that he considered there should be a two year time frame, between leaving a government job before doing business with the same public institution.
The letter to the editor on page 9, in the PDF, at the end of part 3, summarizes the situation wherein the former chairman of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, who resigned part way through his mandate, (April 2011) and was employed by the company, Ameresco . That same company then shortly afterwards started to lobby the board, via its former chair Marcus Tabachnick.
Part of the lobbying included promoting the product at the Quebec English School Boards Association Conference in May 2011, and the Canadian School Boards ‘Congress’ in July 2012. (For several years Mr. Tabachnick had been president of the QESBA and the CSBA)
Nonetheless, a company, Johnson Controls, which had been praised and honoured for its previous work with the board with contracts worth millions of dollars, bid for another million dollar contract, but along with the twelve other bidders, suddenly withdrew from the process, which left Ameresco with the sole bid.
Subsequently, in 2013, a $5.4 million contract was signed between Ameresco and the LBPSB.
It is noteworthy that the Quebec Education Act stipulates that boards create a by-law for the Code of Ethics for Commissioners, which defines what is acceptable behaviour following the resignation of a commissioner.
The LBPSB has repeatedly refused to provide a time frame, when a commissioner is permitted to start doing business with the board, after leaving the board.
Moreover, even if Mr. Tabachnick’s new employment was within the legal guidelines, one assumes that not only must there be no actual conflict of interest or impropriety but there also should be no appearance of any conflict of interest or impropriety. If the school board is putting out tenders and may be they are dealing with their former chairman, can it be done without it being prejudicial to others who may be bidding?