The University of Quebec at Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) must go to the courts to scrap an embarrassing $500,000 donation. Generous donor Bryan A. Coates, a heavyweight in Quebec’s mining community, is said to have sexually assaulted two university employees on the sidelines of a dinner with the principal last year.
Posted at 5:00 am
Those allegations come in an application filed Monday in Quebec Superior Court by the UQAT Foundation against Mr. Coates, the former major boss of Osisko Gold Royalties, one of Quebec’s largest mining companies. Accompanied by The press on Wednesday, Mr Coates declined to comment.
In November 2020, a few months after leaving Osisko, Bryan A. Coates agreed with the UQAT Foundation to contribute $500,000 to an endowment fund dedicated to research and innovation in the mining industry. An amount paid in shares of mining companies.
Passing through the region on August 18, 2021, Bryan A. Coates was invited by the Rector of UQAT, Vincent Rousson, to a well-known restaurant in Rouyn-Noranda to discuss strategy surrounding the fundraiser, tracking shows. Two UQAT employees also attended this dinner. The four people had never met in person.
The foundation alleges in its filing that Bryan A. Coates then attacked these two women as the principal was leaving the dinner.
After the meal, Mr Coates made a “gesture of sexual violence” against the first staff member, who confided in the principal in the presence of his colleague, the court filing said.
The term “sexual violence” used in the application refers to its definition in the Policy on preventing and dealing with sexual violence including the University Code of Conduct. This definition stretches a wide net and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, but also persistent unwanted sexual suggestions.
After this “trust”, the rector then immediately launched an internal investigation, which is in line with the university’s policy, the legal inquiry states. As part of the investigation, the second employee “confided to the rector that at the end of the evening she had also been sexually abused by the founder […] in the presence of the other employee and the rector,” the motion reads. According to the petition, both women were referred by the rector to the UQAT employee assistance program.
The exact gestures or words accused of Mr Coates are not specified in the request, nor are the identities of the two university employees. Note that according to a search of the record, Mr Coates does not face any criminal charges.
No simple refund possible
At the end of the investigation, a few weeks later, the university and the UQAT Foundation severed ties with Bryan A. Coates, specifically stripping him of co-chairing the major fundraiser. 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.
If the foundation returns the half-million to the donor, it even risks a $525,000 fine from Canada’s Internal Revenue Service and jeopardizes its non-profit registration. According to the petition, these sanctions would have “devastating effects” on the foundation and the university.
For this reason, given the “serious acts and circumstances” alleged in the application, the Foundation is applying to the Superior Court of Quebec for the annulment of the donation.
“In view of the pending legal application, UQAT and the UQAT Foundation will not comment on this file,” it said The press the communications director at UQAT.
Bryan A. Coates spent fifteen years with the mining company Osisko, which founded the Malartic gold mine in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. From 2014 to December 2019, he was President of Osisko Gold Royalties, a Montreal-based company whose primary asset is a royalty from the Malartic mine, the country’s largest gold mine. He is no longer an employee of the company, the latter confirmed by email.
Mr Coates also resigned from his position as Chief Executive of mining company Falco in December 2021. The Mont-Tremblant resident runs his consulting firm Normétal Conseils Inc., according to the Registraire des Entreprises.
With Vincent Larouche, The press