02/26/2014 05:08 EST | Updated 04/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Hubert Lacroix apologizes for $30K expenses error

CBC president Hubert Lacroix is apologizing to CBC staff and supporters for claiming $30,000 in expenses to which he wasn't entitled.

Lacroix, in his opening statement before a Senate committee studying the challenges facing the news organization, said both he and the CBC made an error in reimbursing his Ottawa business expenses.

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"When I was told, I was stunned. I immediately asked for a full accounting and I voluntarily paid back every cent," Lacroix said.

"I want to apologize to my fellow employees at CBC/Radio-Canada.… We are now entering a period of great challenge, and I want to assure our CBCers and Radio-Canadiens that they can continue to have faith in their leaders. I also want to apologize to all those Canadians who support CBC/Radio-Canada for this careless error."

Lacroix said he's devoted to integrity and transparency and has spent most of his career in corporate governance. He called the error "deeply embarrassing" and said he was angry at himself for not clarifying the rules when he was hired. 

"I'm deeply distressed that this could damage the integrity of CBC/Radio-Canada and its management of public resources," Lacroix said.

The Senate transport and communications committee is looking at the "changing environment of broadcasting and communications" and how that will affect the CBC. The committee started the study at the end of January.

CBC News is carrying the meeting live starting at 6:45 p.m. ET.

Lacroix may be asked to explain his spending following a report last week that he repaid nearly $30,000 in living and meal expenses last fall.

An internal audit found he had been wrongly claiming accommodation costs since his 2008 appointment. Lacroix had been submitting claims for living expenses since he started his job as CEO and president of CBC on Jan. 1, 2008. He was also getting a $1,500 per month living allowance after deciding not to move to Ottawa, where the CBC is headquartered. Lacroix lives in Montreal. 

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