Subject: Travel Expense Policy
Group: Institutional
Approved by: The President
Approval date: November 12, 2013
Effective date: December 1, 2013
Revised: May 1, 2000, May 1, 2007; May 1, 2012; May 1, 2013
Administered by: Controller

 
GENERAL
1.0 Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for travel expenses

2.0 Scope
2.1 Sources of Funds
This policy applies to travel expenses from all sources of funds administered by the University including, but not limited to, departmental budgets, RTEs, PDRs, departmental special funds, expendable endowments and research grant accounts.
            
2.2 People
This policy applies to all persons who are charging travel expenses to the University, whether they are employees, students visitors or guests.

3.0 Exceptions
Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the appropriate Vice-President or by the President.
      
4.0 Definitions
‘Signing Authority’ means a person authorized to approve expenditures from a University account.

‘Claimant’ means a person submitting the claim for reimbursement.
      
5.0 Approvals     
5.1 General Requirements
All university travel expense claims must be approved by the person with signing authority over the account to which the expenses are to be charged and must be countersigned in accordance with the University’s Counter Signature Policy # 8000.
      
5.2 Research Fund Requirements
The Principal Investigator of a grant must approve all travel expenditures being charged to his or her research grant or contract.

In accordance with Tri-Council regulations, if the traveller is the Principal Investigator, the claim must be countersigned by the department head or dean confirming the relevance of the travel to the research being funded.

6.0 Responsibilities
6.1 Claimant
The Claimant incurring an expense is responsible for ensuring that the expense is for University purposes, is reasonable, and is in accordance with this policy, with applicable granting agency guidelines, and with the terms of the specific award covering the expense.
            
6.2 Signing Authority
The Signing Authority is responsible for ensuring that the expense is incurred for a University purpose and is charged to an appropriate account.
            
6.3 Countersigner
The person countersigning a claim is responsible for ensuring that the expense is for a University purpose.
            
6.4 Countersigner for Tri-Council Funded Research
The department head or the dean is responsible for confirming the relevance of the travel to the research being funded.

7.0 Other
Transportation involving students is also subject to the University’s travel Involving Students policies # 2220-2221.

ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

8.0 Transportation      
8.1 General
Only reasonable expenses for travel for University purposes will be reimbursed. Normally, reasonable expenses are those required to travel the most direct route to the destination using the most economical means of travel and are limited to meal, transportation and accommodation costs.

If a Claimant’s travel does not fit these criteria, or is otherwise unusual, it is recommended that plans be discussed with Financial Services before any expense is incurred in order to confirm the expenses will be reimbursed.

The Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) has negotiated favourable rates for accommodations and other travel related costs. Information on these rates may be accessed through CAUBO.

Claimants should consider alternatives to travel such as online conferencing.

8.2 Vehicle
8.2.1 Personal or Rental Vehicles
A personal or rental vehicle may be used for travel to destinations within the Maritime Provinces.

For travel to destinations outside the Maritime provinces, a personal or rental vehicle may only be used when that is the most economical means of transportation taking into account all costs, including accommodations, meals and working time lost as a result of travel.

Reimbursement will be based on the rate per kilometre specified in Appendix A.
            
8.2.2 Rental Vehicles
Vehicles may be rented for University business when it is reasonable to do so. However, under no circumstances are vehicles to be rented for a period longer than 30 days because the University’s non-owned vehicle liability insurance policy does not apply in the case of such vehicles.

The cost of the rental, gas, and the collision insurance offered by the car rental agency will be reimbursed.

While it is not a requirement, car rentals may be arranged through agencies whose rates have been negotiated favourably for universities by CAUBO.
            
8.2.3 Collision Insurance on Vehicles
When a Claimant rents a vehicle, he or she will be offered collision insurance on the vehicle being rented. This insurance should always be taken.

Collision insurance on a personal vehicle is the owner’s responsibility. The University has no insurance that will cover damages to a personally owned vehicle, and the University will not cover the cost of such damages.
            
8.2.4 Liability Insurance on Vehicles
When a Claimant rents a vehicle he or she will not be offered liability insurance, and it is increasingly likely that the rental company will not have any liability insurance on the vehicle.

If an accident occurs with a rental or personal vehicle and claims are made against the Claimant in respect of that accident, various insurance policies will respond in a certain order as follows:

  • a) If the Claimant was using a rental vehicle and the rental company had liability coverage, that policy will respond;
  • b) If that policy does not satisfy the claims, or if there is no such policy, then the policy or policies on the Claimant’s personal vehicles will respond; and
  • c) Finally, the University’s non-owned vehicle policy will respond. However, if the driver is a student, the University’s non-owned vehicle policy will only respond if the accident takes place in Canada or the Continental United States, Therefore, students should not drive rental vehicles outside Canada or the Continental United States.           

8.2.5 Insurance on a Personal Vehicle
If a personal vehicle will be used for University business, the Claimant should contact his or her insurance company to secure appropriate endorsements to his or her policies if such endorsements are necessary. The costs of such endorsements will not be covered by the University.
            
8.2.6 Transportation of Others
If a rental or personal vehicle is used to transport other persons, such as other employees or students, the Claimant should be mindful that he or she is increasing his or her own risks in the event of an accident. This means that should an accident occur, any liability assessed to the claimant could include the costs related to any or all passengers involved.
      
9.0 Accommodations
9.1 Commercial Accommodations
Reimbursement for accommodations will be limited to reasonable amounts and must be accompanied by a detailed bill. When a detailed bill is not available, for example, when the booking was made through an online third party agency, a copy of the electronic booking plus proof of payment should be submitted.

Claimants are encouraged to review CAUBO arranged hotel rates.
            
9.2 Staying with Family or Friends
A “personal accommodation per diem” may be claimed when a Claimant stays with relatives and friends in lieu of commercial accommodations, and provides the host with a gift or other benefit. The amount is specified in Appendix A.
            
10.0 Meals
Meal per diems can be claimed without the submission of receipts.

Meal per diems cannot be claimed for meals which are included in transportation charges and conference registration fees, or are otherwise supplied by a third party without charge.

Each Claimant must submit his or her own expense report when claiming per diems, except when a Claimant is claiming per diems for athletic travel or meals for student researchers. If a Claimant claims for meals for students using receipts, that claim cannot exceed the number of student meals times the per diems for those meals.

Meal per diems for various categories of travel or travellers are noted in Appendix A.
      
11.0 Other Travel Expenses
11.1 Visas and Vaccinations
Expenses such as those to obtain visas and vaccinations related to a trip for University purposes are eligible expenses.
            
11.2 Incidental Expenses
A “daily incidentals per diem” may be claimed without receipts for miscellaneous expenses such as for parking and bus/subway tokens. The amount of this per diem is specified in Appendix A.
            
11.3 Other Expenses
Other reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed on the submission of receipts.

FUNDING GUIDELINES
      
12.0 Cash Advances and the use of AMEX Cards
The University does not provide cash advances.

However, cash advances can be obtained by an employee with the assistance of the Accounts Payable Operating Technician in Financial Services, if he or she has an American Express (AMEX) card.

Financial Services can assist employees in obtaining an AMEX card to use for travel expenses. However, the AMEX card, any balance outstanding, and any service charges, including late payment charges, are the responsibility of the individual cardholder.
            
13.0 Third Party Reimbursements    
Where expenses are recoverable from a third party, the University will reimburse the Claimant and invoice the third party for payment. Claimants must submit the information that is necessary for the University to prepare that invoice with the expense report to Financial Services.
      
14.0 Foreign Currency Exchange Rates
The rates used to charge accounts or to reimburse Claimants for expenses paid in foreign currencies will be as follows:

  • i. for cash payments, the rate paid when the foreign currency was purchased;
  • ii. for credit card purchases, the rate used by the credit card company to convert the purchase to Canadian dollars; and
  • iii. when it is not clear how the payments were made or what rates were used, Financial Services will use the following currency exchange tool (http:/www.oanda.com/currency/converter/) using the average rate during the time of travel.            

15.0 Prepayment of Travel
Prepayment of travel costs is often the most economical travel option and University employees will be reimbursed for travel costs paid in advance of a trip. A copy of the transportation ticket, prepaid hotel or other prepaid travel expense along with proof of payment, and a signed “Prepaid Travel “ form must accompany the request. Evidence of travel, such as the hotel invoice or airline boarding pass, must be submitted after the trip.
 
INELIGIBLE EXPENSES
      
16.0 Personal Expenses
16.1 General
Expenses which are not a necessary consequence of travel on University activities are not eligible.
            
16.2 Travel Expenses of Spouses, Family or Friends
Expenses for the travel of spouses, family and friends are not eligible expenses.
            
16.3 Lost or stolen items
The cost of replacing personal items which were lost or stolen during travel is an ineligible expense.
            
16.4 Stopovers
Expenses as a result of air or rail travel stopovers for other than University purposes are ineligible expenses.
            
16.5 Passports and Other Documents
Expenses to obtain and renew passports, drivers’ licenses and other documents that may be used for both personal and business purposes are ineligible expenses.
            
16.6 Traffic offences
Parking tickets, traffic fines and similar types of expenses are ineligible expenses.

MAKING A CLAIM
 
17.0 Timing of Claims
All travel expense claims must be submitted for reimbursement within 45 days after the return to campus.

Timely claims are important to ensure that charges are recorded against departmental accounts and research grants in the correct accounting period and while a grant is still open and eligible for charges, and to avoid personal interest charges on credit cards (which are not an eligible expense).
            
18.0 Claims Procedure
Travel expenses must be submitted to Financial Services on a completed and approved expense report, accompanied by original receipts which show the nature of the expense and proof of payment. See Appendix B for guidance on proof of payment.

If original receipts for major costs are lost and a reasonable attempt to obtain duplicates has not been successful, a written explanation of the circumstances must be provided by the Claimant to Financial Services.
            
19.0 Reimbursement
Reimbursement will be in Canadian dollars except in the case of foreign visitors who may be reimbursed in a currency other than Canadian dollars.
            
20.0 Partial Reimbursements
If the University is reimbursing the Claimant for only a portion of an expense and the Claimant requires the proof of payment to make another claim, the proof of payment will be returned to the Claimant with a notation on it of the portion reimbursed by the University

Appendix A — Per Diems Schedule

Appendix B — Proof of Payment