The University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) must turn to the courts to strike out a $500,000 donation that has become embarrassing. Generous donor Bryan A. Coates, a heavyweight in the Quebec mining community, allegedly committed acts of a sexual nature towards two University employees on the sidelines of a dinner with the rector last year.
These allegations are found in a motion filed Monday in Quebec Superior Court by the UQAT Foundation against Mr. Coates, former big boss of Osisko Gold Royalties, one of Quebec’s largest mining companies. Reached by La Presse on Wednesday, Coates declined to comment.
A few months after his departure from Osisko, Bryan A. Coates reached an agreement with the UQAT Foundation in November 2020 to contribute $500,000 to an endowment fund intended for research and innovation in the industry. mining. An amount paid in shares of mining companies.
Passing through the region, on August 18, 2021, Bryan A. Coates was invited to a well-known restaurant in Rouyn-Noranda by the rector of UQAT, Vincent Rousson, to discuss the strategy surrounding the fundraising campaign, indicates the pursuit. Two UQAT employees also took part in this dinner. The four people had never met in person.
After the meal, Mr. Coates allegedly committed an “act of sexual violence” against the first employee, and this, in the presence of her colleague, she confided to the rector, indicates the court document.
The term “sexual violence” used in the request refers to its definition in the Policy to Prevent and Address Sexual Violence including the University’s Code of Conduct. This definition casts a wide net and encompasses sexual assault, sexual harassment, but also insistent unwanted sexual proposals.
Following this “confidence”, the rector then immediately launched an internal investigation in accordance with University policy, the court request states. During the investigation, the second employee “confided to the rector that she was also sexually assaulted by the Donor at the end of the evening […] without the presence of the other employee and the rector” , indicates the query. Both women were referred by the rector to UQAT’s employee assistance program, according to the petition.
The exact gestures or words alleged against Mr. Coates are not specified in the request, as well as the identity of the two University employees. It should be noted that Mr. Coates does not face any criminal charges, according to a search in the docket.
At the end of the investigation, a few weeks later, the University and the UQAT Foundation cut ties with Bryan A. Coates, notably removing him from co-chairing the major fundraising campaign. Then, from September to December 2021, the Foundation tried to find a way to return the $500,000 to its donor. However, a simple refund proved impossible.
Indeed, if the Foundation returned the half-million to the donor, it risked being imposed a penalty of $525,000 by the Canada Revenue Agency, in addition to jeopardizing its registration as a charitable organization. These sanctions would have a “devastating effect” on the Foundation and the University, the petition notes.
“Considering the legal motion which is still in progress, UQAT and the UQAT Foundation will not comment on this file,” UQAT’s communications director told La Presse.
Bryan A. Coates spent fifteen years with the Osisko mining company, which founded the Malartic gold mine in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. From 2014 to December 2019, he was President of Osisko Gold Royalties, a company based in Montreal, whose key asset is a royalty from the Malartic mine, the largest gold mine in the country. He is no longer an employee of the company, the latter confirmed by email.
Mr. Coates also left his position as president of the board of directors of the mining company Falco in December 2021. The resident of Mont-Tremblant runs his consulting company, Normétal Conseils inc., according to the Registraire des entreprises.