Kevin Arseneau

University of Moncton student federation president Kevin Arseneau questions the pension package the university gave to its former president, Yvon Fontaine. (CBC)

Students at the University of Moncton are questioning the cost of a former president's pension package.

Yvon Fontaine retired in 2012 after serving 12 years as the university's president.

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada show Fontaine was offered an additional pension from the university, as well as an additional year of paid sabbatical.

Fontaine was already entitled to a pension from the university as a former professor. The additional pension provides for another $45,000 annually until Fontaine's death. If Fontaine doesn't touch his pension until 2017, the annual pension payment increases to $60,000.

Kevin Arseneau of the Federation of Students at the university wants to know how the university can afford the additional pension for its former president.

"They are saying we have to tighten out belts but it's a double-faced message," said Arseneau.

"On one side saying: `Hey, you know what, the government is cutting, we have to tighten our belt, …we are having a lot of difficulty to make the institution work as it works. And then we have this kind of news that comes out."

The student leader also takes exception to the additional year of sabbatical offered to Fontaine. He estimates the two years of paid leave for Fontaine could cost the university almost $600,000.

"For the students since 2004, since first contract was signed, tuition went up $1000."

But the university's vice-president of administration and human resources says such benefits are needed to attract and retain top administrators.

"The types of advantages we see in this contract are likely no different than the ones we could see in probably many contracts of presidents across Atlantic Canada," said Edgar Robichaud.

Fontaine stated in an email that he co-operated with the right to information request and he doesn't intend to comment further.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story indicated Radio-Canada had obtained information about Yvon Fontaine's pension through New Brunswick's Right to Information Act. In fact, the information was obtained by other means.
    Oct 02, 2013 8:20 AM AT