Hydro-Quebec made bad decisions in donating cash to private schools tied to the utility's CEO, but Thierry Vandal didn't profit personally from the grants, Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau said Wednesday.

The minister defended Vandal amid allegations by opposition parties that he was in a conflict of interest given that he once attended College Jean-de-Brebeuf and College Notre-Dame, the two schools that received grants from the Crown corporation.

Both schools returned the donations after the grants were revealed in media reports this month.

Normandeau says Hydro's board made a mistake in approving the grants, but she added the decisions do not reflect on Vandal's judgment.

Hydro-Quebec announced Tuesday that it would no longer donate money to private schools.

Brebeuf is returning a $200,000 donation from the utility and College Notre-Dame said it was giving back the $50,000 installment that it received last year that was to have been the first part of a $250,000 donation.

Vandal is a former student at both schools.

The Parti Quebecois and the Action democratique have both demanded that Vandal resign.