Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk

Amrik Virk advised Kwantlen on secret executive bonus

Advanced education minister admits he wrote emails, says it's up to Premier Christy Clark to decide if he stays in cabinet

Opposition MLAs have renewed their call for Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk to be removed from cabinet, after releasing emails showing Virk took part in discussions about a hidden bonus for a university executive.

Virk was on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University board of governors in April 2011, when an offer was made to then-University of Regina dean of business Ann Lavack for the position of vice-president academic (VPA) for Kwantlen.

Emails released by the NDP Monday show Virk, then an inspector with the Langley RCMP and a volunteer Kwantlen board member, participating in discussion to get around the B.C. salary guidelines for the job.

NDP leader John Horgan said Monday the emails were provided from a “whistleblower” at Kwantlen, who found printouts in a binder. Horgan said they contradict an internal investigation by an assistant deputy minister that determined board members were not involved in decisions to pay executives more than provincial rules allowed.

The Kwantlen VPA salary was capped at $170,000, less than what Lavack was making in Regina. The emails discuss adding $100,000 for moving expenses and a $20,000 “research allowance.”

Virk confirmed Monday that he wrote in an April 2011 email from his RCMP account: “Given the low pay level of a VPA at Kwantlen and the difficulty in drawing candidates within the current pay scale, the research leave is one way to ‘top’ off the pay level.”

Virk said he had forgotten the email exchange, and it will be forwarded to Rob Mingay, the government official who conducted the investigation.

Asked if he should remain in cabinet, with authority over post-secondary institutions, Virk said that is up to Premier Christy Clark.

The government’s Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) set salary ranges for Levack’s position at $125,000 to $175,000. When Levack was hired in 2011, she received the maximum salary, plus a $20,000-a-year research allowance and a $50,000 “consulting fee” before starting work that was not reported to PSEC.

Kwantlen president Alan Davis also received extra payments when he was hired earlier in 2011 that were not disclosed to PSEC. Davis received a $50,000 consulting fee in addition to his $225,000 salary and $35,000 to relocate from New York state.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for incumbent Throness uncertain as riding awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

The chair and vice chair of Chilliwack’s School Board, Dan Coulter and Willow Reichelt, at a Jan. 29, 2019 meeting. (Sarah Gawdin/ Chilliwack Progress)
Coulter confirms plan to resign from Chilliwack school board if elected

Dan Coulter says ‘it’s a little early’ to call the election, as mail-in votes wait to be counted

Two schools in Chilliwack have sent out notices to parents or been listed on the Fraser Health school exposure event website in the past week. (Pixabay)
Two Chilliwack schools send letters out regarding potential COVID-19 exposures

One public and one private school reporting mid-October exposure events

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters more COVID-19 records with 817 new cases, highest-ever weekend total

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Ontario’s overly cautious approach to COVID-19 testing is endangering lives and hindering efforts to rein in soaring infections that are ravaging long-term care facilities, filling ICU beds and lurking silently in communities, say critics alarmed by the province’s admission that labs can handle four times the number of tests they receive. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Most Read