Annual bonuses were cut by 42% at Investissement Québec (IQ) last year, where the return of -4.8% resulted in a net loss of 224 million. A little over 7 million will still be distributed throughout the financial arm of the Quebec state.

This is revealed by the data obtained by La Presse under the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information. In 2021-2022, a record sum of 12 million had been paid. In its response, IQ explains that the majority of performance indicators had been exceeded in two of the three categories assessed, namely economic development and organizational performance.

“His score on the financial performance factor was negatively impacted by the net loss,” it says. Overall, this decline in the financial performance factor contributed to a significant reduction in the amount paid to its employees in terms of incentive compensation. »

IQ employees are now entitled to long-term bonuses, which stem from results recorded since 2019-2020. This sum will be added to the annual bonuses.

An increase in provisions for losses – $130 million was set aside – and a decline in the value of investments caused the Crown corporation to plunge into the red at the end of the fiscal year ended March 31 last. During that time, three of IQ’s six highest-paid executives saw their overall salaries, which take into account base salary, bonuses and other perks, cross the $1 million mark.

By videoconference to comment on the results, he pointed out that out of 18 performance indicators, 12 had been met or exceeded. These cast a very wide net. For example, it lists targets for the number of projects funded, productivity and sales generated internationally by companies supported by IQ.

“No one can be rational with 18 indicators,” says Luc Bernier, professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. We have one when we base ourselves on three or four indicators. »

Exceptionally, the Crown corporation held a technical briefing on the issue of compensation before announcing its results.

“Payments [of bonuses] this year will probably be 50% of what they were last year, had launched Marie Zakaïb, senior vice-president, human resources and internal communications. The fact of not having met our performance this year will have an impact on the bonuses this year. »

Mr. LeBlanc was entitled to an annual bonus of $86,737 in 2022-23, a decline of 17.4%. This amount will appear in the next annual report.

“I understand that the role of IQ is not only profits, but when you lose 234 million, we do not enrich Quebec, estimates Mr. Bernier. If it is not only a loss on paper, it will be necessary, one day or another, to cash it for real. »

The expert does not understand why annual bonuses are distributed when the performance is negative. In his opinion, one should “at a minimum” achieve a result of about 2%, which is the government’s borrowing rate.

“You would have to play zero-sum,” says Bernier.

In presenting the annual results, Mr. LeBlanc pointed out that the five-year yield, which reached 6.3%, was higher than Quebec’s borrowing costs.