Approved Board of Governors 2007.36



1. The policy on Pcards (the “Policy”) sets out the terms, conditions and guidelines that govern the use of Pcards for the low-value payment of goods and services that can be applied to decentralized purchases, which are needed for the efficient operations of the University. The mechanisms for implementing these terms, conditions and guidelines appear in the Purchasing Card Manual, which is an integral part of this policy.

2. This Policy is not intended to supersede the Supply of Goods and Services policy no. 36 or any other policies of the University. It must be read in conjunction with them.


3. The Pcard is designed to offer an alternate method of paying for goods/services, introducing best practices and reinforcing internal controls.

4. Pcards are provided to facilitate the payment of expenses incurred for University purposes only.


5. Only those University employees who have the responsibility to process decentralized purchases for their sector may receive a Pcard. Pcards must be authorized by the appropriate Dean/Director.


6. In this Policy, the following definitions shall apply:

  • a) “University” means the University of Ottawa.
  • b) “Cardholder” means a University employee who is in possession of a Pcard pursuant to this Policy.
  • c) “Card Manager” means a person managing the purchasing card program.
  • d) “Excluded Purchases” means:


 i. all services requiring the issuance of income tax forms by the University; for example: T4A for professional fees or honoraria;
ii. travel expenses with the exception of conference registrations, transportation and hotel reservations, when these expenses are covered by an operating budget;
iiii. any other restricted purchases as provided in any other policies of the University.

  • e) “Pcard” means a purchasing card with limited merchant category codes as described in the Purchasing Card Manual.


    7. Pcards must be used whenever possible to pay for University goods and services except Excluded Purchases.

    8. Procurement of goods and services for personal use is strictly forbidden.

    9. The Cardholder is responsible for ensuring that the Pcard is used only within the stated guidelines of this Policy, the University‘s Supply of Goods and Services policy and applicable procedures. Failure to comply with the policies and procedures will result in revocation of the Pcard.

    10. Pcards are assigned to the Cardholders’ name and cannot be assigned to multiple users. Pcards shall not be loaned to any other individual. The Cardholder is the only person authorized to use the assigned Pcard and is responsible for all of its transactions.


    11. Upon receipt of a Pcard application, Financial Services will analyze and approve or reject the application in accordance with related polices and procedures. The University reserves the right, at any time, to cancel a Pcard.

    12. Change requests must be submitted to the Card Manager, Financial Services. All change requests will be analyzed in the same manner as an application.


    13. The Cardholder (or designated person) must code all purchases to the appropriate general ledger account and reconcile them to the monthly statement by the last day of each month. The cardholder also ensures that each purchase is supported with adequate documentation and is in accordance with University policy.

    14. The Cardholder is responsible for ensuring that his or her use of the Pcard is consistent with polices and procedures as stated in article 9 above.

    15. The individual who approves the Cardholder’s monthly statement is responsible for ensuring that the expenses were incurred for University approved purposes with adequate documentation and are in accordance with this Policy.

    16. The Card Manager is responsible for the management of the purchasing card program.


    17. The maximum transaction limit for decentralized purchases is defined in policy 36.

    18. The monthly limit is established based on the department or faculty’s needs. The levels of approval are described in the Purchasing Card Manual.


    19. The University may, through its Administrative Committee, establish procedures relating to the implementation of this Policy.


    20. Imbedded on each card will be any restrictions that have been established by the University, such as monetary limits and certain Merchant Category Codes (MCC).

    21. Some of the Merchant Category Codes (MCC) are “blocked” from usage in the program. If the cardholder presents the card to any of these suppliers with blocked MCCs, the transaction will be declined.


    22. Purchasing cardholders who fail to comply with this Policy and related procedures, as stated in article 9 above, may have their Pcard cancelled and may be disciplined, up to and including termination, in accordance with applicable University policies or collective agreements.

    23. The University will hold the Cardholder fully responsible for all unauthorized purchases (not business related) and any other fees associated with those purchases.


    24. Pcard transactions are subject to audit and monitoring compliance by the University.


    25. The Director of Financial Services is responsible for interpreting this Policy. The application of the Policy is the joint responsibility of faculty and service administrators and the Director of Financial Services.

    26. This Policy should be interpreted in conjunction with the following documents that are an integral part of it:

    • a) the Purchasing Card Manual
    • b) the Purchasing Cardholder Agreement.


    27. No exception may be made to this Policy without the written consent of the Administrative Committee.

    Published December 17, 2007


    (Financial Services)