Taxpayers picked up the tab for some of Pamela Wallin’s expenses as chancellor

Audit of Wallin’s travel expenses reveals University of Guelph events

(Canadian Press)

By all appearances Senator Pamela Wallin was a penny pincher when she served as the University of Guelph’s chancellor from 2007 until 2011. Wallin went to great lengths to limit the expenses she billed to the school, according to a story in the Guelph Mercury from last March. She regularly stayed on campus, for example, and over five years of expense reports, she “claimed nothing for accommodation three times and less than $300 in each of the other two years.” The good-news story quoted a university spokesman who had “nothing but good things to say” about Wallin’s time at the university.

However, a recently released audit of Wallin’s travel expenses reveals that Canadian taxpayers were on the hook for some of her business with the school.

  • On June 9, 2009, Wallin flew to Toronto from Ottawa. Her office told auditors that, while in Toronto, Wallin participated in two meetings on Senate business—one with a World Bank official, the other with a New York-based marketing firm. A Deloitte audit found no evidence those meetings occurred, but did discover Wallin attended a University of Guelph convocation ceremony in her capacity as the school’s chancellor. That trip to Guelph comprised part of an expense claim worth $2,870.55.
  • On Sept. 15, 2009, Wallin flew to Toronto from Ottawa. She claimed the trip included receptions hosted by Dignitas International, an organization that works to improve care for HIV/AIDS patients in vulnerable communities; and the Ontario Chancellors’ Dinner at the University Club, where she served in her capacity as chancellor. The bill for that trip, including the chancellors’ dinner, amounted to $1,234.85.
  • On June 15, 2011, Wallin flew to Toronto from Ottawa. She gave a convocation address in her capacity as chancellor. That trip cost taxpayers $2,214.43.

A university spokesperson says for the events on Guelph’s campus, Wallin only billed the school for car service from Toronto to Guelph. The spokesperson added that the school would have covered all of her costs.

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