By Jessica Lovell
Senator Pamela Wallin, currently under public scrutiny in a scandal over Senate expense claims, was paid a total of $25,000 by the University of Guelph for her duties as chancellor, in addition to travel expenses.
“She received honoraria twice – once when she became chancellor and once when she became chancellor emeritus,” said U of G spokesperson Lori Bona Hunt.
The role of chancellor, a person chosen by the university senate who has the power to confer degrees and serves on the university’s board of governors, is considered a voluntary position. Wallin was paid $20,000 when she was first appointed to the position in March 2007. She was elected to a second three-year term in 2010, but she resigned a year later, citing increased responsibilities in the Canadian Senate, where she has served since 2008.
When she stepped down as chancellor, she was made chancellor emerita, and was paid another honorarium of $5,000 – a one-time- only payment, said Bona Hunt.
The role of chancellor emerita is an honorary title, similar to that of professor emeritus, she said. “It just represents the continuing relationship with the university,” she said.
The honoraria are in addition to the total of $24,604 in travel expenses the university paid for Wallin during the four years she served as chancellor.
Wallin’s U of G expenses became an area of interest to the media after an independent examination of her Senate expenses showed that she had claimed travel expenses to the Senate when she was actually attending university convocations. The claims were made in June 2009 and in June 2011, after Wallin had stepped down as chancellor.
The investigation by Deloitte found that Wallin had wrongly claimed Senate expenses for return flights from Ottawa to Toronto and back for the two convocations in the amount of $2,728 and $2,042 respectively.
The university was not billed for the airfare on either of these occasions, said Bona Hunt, but she noted that it’s an expense the university would have paid. The second trip was an example of Wallin serving in her chancellor emeritus role, said Bona Hunt.
Wallin’s expense claims to the university were relatively reasonable, said Bona Hunt. “I would say that her expenses were reasonable and actually, in some cases, nominal compared to some others in the past,” she said, choosing not to elaborate on the subject of “others.”
In many cases, Wallin was not reimbursed for expenses, but instead “the university would just pay that bill directly,” Bona Hunt added. The university’s expense claims are also carefully checked, she added. They are reviewed on a regular basis and are reviewed at the time the expense claim is submitted, she said.
Wallin was also not the only chancellor to receive an honorarium – a payment that Bona Hunt said is viewed not as an expense, but as “more of a recognition for service.”
“I know that Lincoln Alexander received an honorarium,” she said. She would not reveal how much the U of G’s longest-serving chancellor was paid in recognition of his service, suggesting instead that the Trib file a freedom of information request to obtain the number.
By Jessica Lovell