4000-1-2Travel, Meals And Hospitality Policy

Issue Date:
April 01, 2011

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Lambton College receives public funds for which it is accountable, including those funds used for travel and hospitality expenses. It is essential that all expenses support business objectives and, because expense accounts can become matters of public record, it is essential that expenses should be incurred and claimed in a manner that is publicly defensible and will not harm the reputation of the College as a good manager of its resources. In incurring and reimbursing travel, meals and hospitality expenses, the reasons and rules must be clear, easily understood and available to the College community and the public. By being accountable and transparent in its use of public funds for travel, meal and hospitality expenses, the College will demonstrate good value for money through the prudent and responsible use of those funds. Legitimate, authorized expenses incurred during the course of the business of the College will be reimbursed.

Consistent with the above principles, this policy establishes the framework for the incursion of travel, meal and hospitality expenses and the reimbursement of such expenses in order to ensure fair and reasonable practices, provide a structure of accountability and oversight for the incursion and reimbursement of expenses, and establish the parameters for the public disclosure of the policy and expenses.

Policy

This policy shall be consistent with the Management Board of Cabinet Directive dated April 1, 2011. Every funding agreement between the College and a Ministry or Agency of the Government of Ontario is deemed to include the requirements of this directive. Where there is a conflict between the terms of any agreement and this directive, this directive shall prevail; between this policy and any legislation or collective agreement with College and employees, the latter shall prevail.

This policy and its rules governing the incursion and reimbursement of expenses apply to any person employed by or associated with the College making a claim for travel, meal and hospitality expenses, and includes, but is not limited to, Board of Governors, employees, volunteers, appointees, and consultants and contractors engaged by the College.

Travel

This Policy applies whenever travel is required. Travel does not refer to a person's regular commute to work and is not reimbursable. All travel must be approved prior to being undertaken; otherwise, the travel expense will not be eligible for reimbursement.

The following chart identifies the level for approvals for travel for everyone covered by this Policy. In limited cases, the authority for approval may be delegated.

Travel approval chart
RoleWithin Ontario North America International
Chair N/A N/A Board Secretary/Treasurer
President N/A Board Chair Board Chair
Employee Supervisor VP President
Consultant Manager VP President

In no instance may an individual approve his/her own travel plans.

When planning any travel, consider business continuity, e.g. deciding whether senior management or people with specialized knowledge or expertise should travel together.

When an automobile is used for travel, the order of preference for the vehicle is College vehicle, a rental vehicle, a personal vehicle.

When the claimant's own vehicle is used for transportation, the amount reimbursable is the lesser of the kilo metric claim or the cost of transportation using a rental or College vehicle, bus, train, taxi, airplane or other means of publicly available transport.

If a personal vehicle is used by the traveler while on College business, insurance on and damage to the vehicle is the responsibility of the owner traveler. The owner traveler should be cognizant of and compliant with the Rules and Guidelines: Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenditure and Reimbursement.

Travel by plane and train is permitted when it is the most practical and economical way to travel. Air and train travel should be in economy (coach) class unless explicit prior permission is granted for an alternative class. Such permission will be granted consistent with the Rules and Guidelines: Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenditure and Reimbursement.

Accommodation

Accommodation expenses while traveling will be reimbursed, subject to prior approval and post-travel approvals.

In the normal conduct of business, reimbursement for overnight accommodation within the area of the office will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Travel accommodation should be single accommodation in a standard room. Exceptions may be approved by a Vice-President or President and be consistent with the Rules and Guidelines: Travel, Meal and Hospitality expenditure and reimbursement. When traveling, stays with friends or family are acceptable, and a cash payment or gift may be provided to the host, consistent with the Rules and Guidelines: Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenditure and Reimbursement.

Meals

Reasonable and appropriate meal expenses will be reimbursed, provided they are incurred while on College business, have prior approval, are supported by receipts and do not exceed the rates as established by and found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat web-site. Exceptions may be granted with prior approval of the President and Vice-President under certain conditions.

Meal cost reimbursement will not cover alcoholic beverages, meals consumed at home, meals included in the cost of conferences, seminars, transportation or accommodation.

Hospitality

Hospitality is the provision of food, beverage, accommodation, transportation and other amenities, using College funds, to people who are not engaged in work for the College. Functions involving only people who work for the College are not considered hospitality functions and cannot be reimbursed.

Functions and expenses that are not eligible for reimbursement include such events as office social events, retirement parties, holiday lunches.

Hospitality is provided only when the event involves people from outside the College. Functions involving only employees of or others associated with the College are not considered hospitality functions.

College sanctioned events such as those relating to recognition, condolence or remembrance, or length of service achievements may qualify as hospitality and for reimbursement.

Prior written approval is required for hospitality events at which alcohol will be served.

Hospitality may be extended when it will facilitate College business or is considered desirable as a matter of courtesy or protocol.

Hospitality may be extended on behalf of the College when:

  • engaging in discussion of official public matters with, or sponsoring formal conferences for business and industry, public interest groups or labour groups; providing people from national, international, or charitable organizations with an understanding or appreciation of the workings of the College;
  • honouring distinguished people for exceptional public service;
  • conducting prestigious ceremonies for heads of state, government or distinguished guests from the private sector;
  • pursuing commercial contracts of agreements where approved by the President;
  • events related to the functioning of the Hospitality or Culinary program at the College;
  • providing other hospitality functions that are consistent with this policy and approved by the President.

Alcoholic beverages may be provided at a hospitality function only with prior written approval. Approval may be provided per the following authorizations:

  • for events hosted by a Vice-President or other members of management, approval must be provided by the President.
  • for events hosted by the President, approval must be provided by the Chair of the Board.
  • for events hosted by the Chair, approval must be provided by Secretary/Treasurer of the Board.

For some departments of the College, the serving or provision of alcohol at hospitality events may be considered integral to their service delivery or business, for example, the hospitality program, wine tasting courses or brewery courses. These departments may apply for special status that would allow the President to approve the service of alcohol at hospitality events in advance.

Individuals seeking reimbursement for hospitality expenses must have the appropriate prior approvals and required post approval of expenses, and submit the claim in a manner consistent with the Rules and Guidelines: Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenditure and Reimbursement.

Rules and Guidelines

Travel, Meal and Hospitality expenditure and reimbursement:

Written approval (including electronic approval) is required before any arrangements are made for travel and hospitality events involving alcohol. Expenses related to alcohol may not be claimed and will not be reimbursed as part of a travel or meal expense.

Reimbursement of alcohol expenses is allowed only when the appropriate approvals are in place.

Expenses for a group can only be claimed by the most senior person present.

Travel by economy (coach) class is the standard option for ticket purchase. Travel in business class must have prior approval by the Vice-President or President

Meal expenses will be reimbursed, provided they are incurred while on College business, have prior approval, are supported by receipts and do not exceed the rates as established by and found on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat web-site . These rates include taxes and gratuities.

The College reserves the right to refuse, in whole or in part, reimbursement of business expenses.

The College will not reimburse for the following expenses:

  • service charges related to the late payment of credit card charges ;
  • charges, fines and or court costs related to parking, and traffic related offences;
  • additional costs for traveling with a companion;
  • 'no show' charges unless incurred as a result of business related circumstances or extenuating personal circumstances;
  • unused or lost tickets;
  • expenses related to attendance at or contribution to political fundraising events;
  • since expenses are subject to audit, ineligible expenses identified through audit shall be reimbursed to the College by the claimant.
  • charges for movie or game rentals, bars service, other hotel services, personal grooming, etc. will not reimbursed.

Loyalty points may be earned as a result of business travel provided that the travel purchases are cost effective and consistent with the travel rules and guidelines.

Loyalty points can be redeemed at the user's discretion. They cannot be redeemed for cash by using the points for business purposes and then submitting a claim for reimbursement. Claimants are responsible for being aware of and complying with income tax rules and regulations concerning personal use of loyalty points.

Private stays with friends or family are acceptable, and a cash payment or gift may be provided to the friends or family. A maximum of $30 per night is allowed for accommodation including any meals with friends or family, in lieu of commercial accommodation. Instead of a receipt, you must submit a written explanation describing the purpose of the trip, identifying the host and the number of days you stayed. The $30 value may be given in the form of a small gift (which must be accompanied by a receipt) or by cash or cheque.

Individuals Making Claims (Claimants)

Claimants must:

  • obtain all appropriate approvals before incurring expenses;
  • submit original, itemized receipts with all claims;
  • submit claims within the end of the month following the month in which the expense was incurred;
  • if the information above is not available or is not possible, claimant must submit a written explanation with the claim to provide the approver with adequate information for decision-making;
  • repay any advance over payments.

Individuals Approving Claims (Approvers)

Approvers are prohibited from approving their own expenses.

Expenses for a group can only be claimed by the most senior person present - expenses cannot be claimed by an individual that are incurred by his/her approver.

Approvers must :

  • provide approval only for expenses that were necessarily incurred in the performance of organization business;
  • provide approval only for claims that include all appropriate documentation;
  • use the following principles to guide exceptions to the rules:
    • Trust - use discretion and latitude for persons and supervisors to act in a fair and responsible manner;
    • Flexibility - management decisions respect the duty to accommodate, respond to persons' needs and interests and consider unforeseen circumstances;
    • Stewardship - ensure consistent, fair and equitable application of the policy giving consideration to all circumstances, while maintaining the shared responsibility for wise and prudent use of public resources;
  • where an approver exercises discretion in making an exception, in order to ensure a proper record for audit purposes, the waiver must be approved by a Vice-President or the President, as appropriate, and accompany the claim.

Consultants and Other Contractors Claims for Reimbursement of Expenses

Reimbursement for allowable expenses under this Policy may only be claimed when the contract with the College specifically allows for it.


For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact:

Jim Elliott
Director, Quality Assurance & Institutional Research
519-542-7751 x 3489
jim.elliott@lambtoncollege.ca

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