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Internal conflict at CARE Montreal | A complaint for embezzlement filed with the police



The outgoing president of CARE Montreal filed a complaint with the police, learned The Pressdenouncing the use of public funds intended for homelessness to pay – among other things – for the cleaning of the home and the boat of the founder of the organization.

The latter argues that these are billing errors.

Catheryn Roy-Goyette resigned as head of CARE Montreal’s board of directors in mid-December. The organization, whose size has exploded with the pandemic, receives ten million in public funds a year to provide a roof for 250 homeless people each night.

Mme Roy-Goyette confirmed this week to The Press having met with the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) just before Christmas, in order to file a complaint “so that the competent authorities can fully assess the situation and the measures to be taken”.


Catheryn Roy Goyette

“All the relevant documents have been filed with the SPVM,” she added, in a telephone interview.

The former leader said she gave the police documents showing that the cleaning company used by CARE Montreal had invoiced the organization for work done at the home of founder Michel Monette, at that of his son, as well as than on his boat, mid-2022.

Mr. Monette was then Executive Director of CARE Montreal. He left office in August 2022, but his congregation still controls the body.

The police also received a copy of a car rental invoice paid by CARE Montreal, but used for personal purposes by Mr. Monette.

By resigning, Roy-Goyette had mentioned “worrying irregularities” in the management of CARE. An accounting report notably mentioned hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses that indirectly or directly benefited members of the board of directors.

” I’m not going to scrap my reputation for $5000”

Michel Monette, who created CARE Montreal in 2017 with members of his Mennonite Church, denies any allegations of financial embezzlement.

On December 16, in an interview with The Press, he had commented on the allegation related to the housekeeping business. “It’s great silliness, it’s great nonsense. I’ve been in business since I was 15, I have other businesses than CARE Montreal,” he said. ” I’m not going to scrap my reputation for $5,000 is a billing error. »

There is nothing illegal in what I did.

Michel Monette, founder of CARE Montreal

Mr. Monette said he reported the error to his wife and was about to notify CARE Montreal when the board got their hands on the problematic bill. It was used to justify his dismissal last August, he said: “I was thrown away like an old sock. »

This week, it was Mr. Monette’s lawyer who responded on his behalf to questions from The Press. He reiterated that these were “billing errors” which Mr Monette reimbursed or – in the case of housekeeping – said he was ready to reimburse after receiving a request in figures.

As for the outgoing president and whistleblower, “we wonder about her good faith” because of the delay between the moment she became aware of the invoices and her complaint to the police, said Ms.e Pierre-Paul Bourdages. “These are the instructions I had to send him a formal notice. »

“Great discomfort”

Catheryn Roy-Goyette’s complaint to the police is the latest chapter in the crisis that has rocked CARE Montreal for several weeks. The organization is the subject of a power struggle between the Church that founded it and the supporters of its dissolution within CAP St-Barnabé – another charitable organization in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

The two bodies planned their merger for several months, with plans that varied over time. In mid-December 2022, a public meeting of CARE Montreal members studied the possibility of dissolving the organization and transferring its assets to CAP St-Barnabé. The majority of members agreed, but Mr. Monette’s Church – which holds a veto – refused.

In the following days, Roy-Goyette resigned from his position and the managers of the organization collectively expressed their “great discomfort” with the intervention of a religious group in the affairs of a community organization. The employees, in collective bargaining, also demonstrated.

After a few years of operating a small heat drop-in center in a church, CARE Montreal has grown rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic and has become, in two years, a major player in the fight against homelessness in Montreal.

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