Western University Chancellor stays in role promising to rebuild trust after travelling overseas

An overseas trip that cost Linda Hasenfratz her position on Ontario's vaccine task force will not impact her work with Western University where she serves as the school's chancellor. 

CEO of Linamar Corporation says she's heartbroken for letting everyone down

Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corporation, resigned Jan. 19 as a member of Ontario's COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force after she travelled outside of the country in December. (J.P. Moczulski/Reuters)

An overseas trip that cost Linda Hasenfratz her position on Ontario's vaccine task force will not impact her work with Western University, where she serves as the school's chancellor. 

The university's board of governors said Sunday it does not condone the travel, yet when weighed against "the extensive time the Chancellor has given to Western", said the CEO of Linamar Corporation would stay in the role. 

"The Board recognizes that the Chancellor is genuinely remorseful and will use this as a teaching and learning moment in the Western community," wrote Board Chair Rick Konrad. 

"The Chancellor understands she has breached the community's trust, and will begin seeking advice and opportunities to repair that trust," Konrad's statement said. 

Premier Doug Ford accepted Hasenfratz's resignation from Ontario's vaccine task force Jan. 19, after it was revealed she had travelled in December.

The head of the country's second-largest automobile parts manufacturer apologized at that time for the decision to leave the country when public health and governments were advising against travel.

Hasenfratz reiterated her disappointment in her choice to travel to the Western community in a letter sent Sunday through her Linamar office. 

"I am heartbroken for letting everyone down and am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as Western's Chancellor. I am committed to finding ways to earn back the trust and respect of the Western community," Hazenfratz wrote. 

Hasenfratz started her term as chancellor of Western University July 1, 2019.

According to the school's website, she is a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and advised on key recommendations regarding enhancement of the NAFTA region with other Canadian executives. 

"I have found great joy in supporting the university, whether serving as a guest lecturer, my role on the Ivey Advisory Board, or through the scholarship program I established for women in engineering and business that has been so meaningful to both our young scholars and me," Hasenfratz wrote Sunday. 

She says that's why she is disappointed for not setting a better example.

Neither Hasenfratz or the board gave examples of how the chancellor will work to rebuilt trust within the community.