Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk

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.

 

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read