Policy 7100 — Travel Expense Policy

Policy section:
Section 7100-7199 Purchasing, Claims and Reimbursement
Policy number:
Travel Expense Policy
Approved By:
The President
Approved date:
November 12, 2013
Effective date:
December 1, 2013
May 1, 2000
May 1, 2007
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2013
September 1, 2018
May 22, 2022
June 27, 2023
Administered by:


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 their 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.


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 Hired or Leased Automobiles (for a period not exceeding 30 days)

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 and gas 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, they will be offered collision insurance on the vehicle being rented. This insurance need not be taken when the vehicle is rented in the University’s name and used only for business purposes in Canada or the Continental United States. The University’s non-owned automobile policy extends to cover Legal Liability for Damage to Hired Automobiles and will cover damage greater than $1,000. Damage under $1,000 will be funded by the account where the rental fee is being charged or appropriate departmental account

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 leases or hires an automobile they 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 hired or leased 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 (varies from province to province);
  • 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, if the automobile was used in the business of the University. 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 their insurance company to secure appropriate endorsements to their 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 they are increasing their 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 their 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.


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 Financial Services, if they have 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.


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.


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

(Effective July 1, 2023)   

Per diem type, amount, and applicable clause in policy:

  • Kilometre rate — $0.51/km ($0.48/km to June 30, 2023)
  • Daily incidentals — $10/day (10.2)
  • Personal accommodation — $25/day (8.2)

Meals within Canada (9.0)

  • $14 — breakfast ($10 to June 30, 2023)
  • $18 — lunch ($15 to June 30, 2023)
  • $28 — supper ($25 to June 30, 2023)

Meals within the US (9.0)

  • $21* — breakfast ($15 to June 30, 2023)
  • $27* — lunch ($23 to June 30, 2023)
  • $42* — supper ($38 to June 30, 2023)

*in CAD

Meals outside Canada and the US (9.0)

Meals involving athletic teams (9.0)

  • $7 — breakfast ($6 to June 30, 2023)
  • $9 — lunch ($7 to June 30, 2023)
  • $14 — supper  ($12 to June 30, 2023)
Appendix B — Proof of Payment

Proof of payment of travel expenses — required documentation

Type of expense: Air Transportation
Documentation required: E-Ticket passenger itinerary and proof of payment

Type of expense: Rail Travel
Documentation required: Original passenger ticket or E-ticket itinerary and proof of payment

Type of expense: Hotels
Documentation required: Detailed hotel bill. If booking is made electronically through a third party and the detailed hotel bill is not available, a copy of the online booking PLUS proof of payment must be submitted together.

Type of expense: Personal Car Usage
Documentation required: Other proof of travel should be submitted such as air fare, hotel, conference registration, etc.

Type of expense: Rental Car
Documentation required: Original rental agreement and proof of payment

Type of expense: Registrations
Documentation required: Detailed Registration form and proof of payment.

Type of expense: Other Expenses
Documentation required: Original Receipts

Type of expense: Third Party Reimbursements
Documentation required: Original Receipts and Financial Services will certify copies for you to submit to the sponsor.

Type of expense: Cell Phone Charges
Documentation required: Business calls made on personal cell phones can be claimed by submitting a detailed phone statement. They must be identified on the statement.

Type of expense: Per Diems when no travel related expenses claimed
Documentation required: Proof of Travel: i.e.) Boarding passes, gas receipts, rental car agreement, restaurant bills

Note: Online credit card statements are acceptable. It is not necessary to wait for the original statement.

The acceptability of proof of payment is as determined by Financial Services.