Toxic climate created by the president: OCPM urges foreign firm to clean up

The Office de Consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) is calling on a foreign firm to manage the crisis over allegations of a toxic work environment.

• Also read: What to do with these companies protecting the toxic climate?

The approach comes after allegations against new president Isabelle Beaulieu have led to difficult crisis management and an internal investigation that “looks like a witch hunt” in recent days, according to our sources.

OCPM is an independent organization funded by the City of Montreal to consult with the public on a variety of issues.

The Office has been experiencing an internal crisis since allegations of a toxic climate at the office began to circulate in the media. This climate would be established when the new president, Isabelle Beaulieu, took office in February 2022. Métro newspaper also published an article on the subject.

Last week, we spoke separately to four sources who painted a less-than-complimentary picture of the situation at OCPM.

According to our sources, Ms. Beaulieu would not hesitate to talk behind her back in front of other colleagues.

“He makes us feel like fools and idiots,” a source said.

“The climate quickly became unhealthy and toxic,” another told us. It infantilized micro-management. »

About half of the organization’s dozens of full-time employees have quit in the past year.

Some talk about painful exchanges with the president. Another source tells us: “You always have to say yes to everything and you can’t argue.”

If this person, who is still on probation, had told his boss about his difficult relationship with the president, he would have been shown the door. But some time ago, he got a positive grade.

OCPM toxic climate

“Not my style at all”

President Isabelle Beaulieu, who Le Journal spoke to, denied the information.

“I’m stunned,” he told Variety last week.

While he acknowledges that the Office is in a period of transition that includes several changes, he flatly denies that he intimidated staff or contributed to a toxic climate.

“It’s not my style at all,” Ms. Beaulieu said.

As for the high number of departures, Ms. Beaulieu confirms that there is always high turnover in the Department, adding that there is nothing abnormal or alarming.

Last week, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante called the allegations “to be taken seriously” and asked for the story to be covered.

The investigation has started

Following the latest revelations, Ms Beaulieu launched an internal investigation.

At his request, General Secretary Guy Grenier began meeting individually with each employee for two hours. The latter had to bring any documents or provide any information that could be useful to the investigation.

Employees were also required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Mr. Grenier assured that no employee would be reprimanded for participating in the investigation.

However, according to our sources, the person who expressed a desire to be met by a neutral and independent third party instead has been sent home on unpaid leave.

Internally, the staff associated this investigation with more of a witch hunt.

Finally, on Wednesday morning, OCPM reviewed its strategy and opted to seek reinforcements from an independent human resources firm, Le Journal has learned.

Contacted this morning, the president said he wanted to wait for the contract to be signed before confirming the firm’s name. A few hours later, a public relations specialist explained to us that OCPM would not be commenting.

“We are a small company and we told ourselves we would look for help in human resources, Ms. Beaulieu explained to us a few hours ago. This way, it will be a simpler and more professional process. »

A human resources policy will be implemented to support the Secretary General. “We’re in transition,” he recalled.

The organization’s secretary-general is the sole person in charge of human resources, appointed by Ms. Beaulieu, Mr. Grenier was previously Alain Laplante’s chief of staff before being appointed chief of staff to Alain Laplante, mayor of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. was removed from office by the majority of elected opposition members.

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