Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

Date effective: 2019-07-01

Authorized by: Administration Committee


1.1 This Procedure applies to reimbursement of Travel expenses incurred by an Individual for University Business. This procedure acts as a companion to Policy 21 – Reimbursement to Individuals for University Business Expenses.


2.1 This procedure applies to all travel expenditures reimbursed by the University to Individuals.


3.1 Cash advances are payments to the Individual to cover anticipated cash expenses while travelling. Cash advances may be obtained prior to departure by using the Corporate Travel Card at any Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). When travelling outside Canada it is recommended that an ATM be used in the country of destination.

Request a travel card

3.2 In exceptional circumstances (e.g. travel to a remote location where access to an ATM is not possible) a cash advance may be issued to the Individual. Arrangements for issuance and repayment of cash advances shall be made with the designated administrative unit.


4.1 AIR

4.2 For domestic and international flights, the standard eligible reimbursement must be based on the most practical, economical and direct route possible.

4.3 Business class, first class and premium economy air travel is not encouraged in normal circumstances, but may be deemed appropriate if justified (e.g., intercontinental flights, or for medical reasons accompanied by a medical certificate).

4.4 Where available, business/executive class air travel may be authorized for intercontinental flights where continuous air travel exceeds nine (9) hours. Continuous air travel means either a single flight or a combination of flights interrupted solely by layovers necessitated by the schedules of connecting flights.

Explicit written approval from the Head of Unit must be obtained prior to booking the flight. The approval must be included as supporting documentation for the travel in the expense reimbursement system. If the request is for the Head of Unit, the Authorized Approver approval must be obtained, as defined in the Procedure for Approval Authority.

4.5 In assessing a request for approval of business class, first class or premium economy air travel, the Head of Unit should consider whether a reasonable and objective third party would agree that the higher rate is justified. This approval cannot be delegated. If the request is for the Head of Unit, the Authorized Approver approval must be obtained, as defined in the Procedure for Approval Authority.


4.7 When travelling by train or bus, the University reimburses an amount not to exceed the cost of a first class or business class fare.


4.9 The University reimburses for personal vehicle usage based only on the rate per kilometre indicated by the National Joint Council (effective July 1 of each calendar year). This rate includes the cost of fuel, vehicle ‘wear and tear’ and insurance, and as such, no amount other than the rate per kilometre is paid out for use of a private vehicle.

4.10 The reimbursement amount is calculated by applying the rate per kilometre to the number of kilometres and shall not exceed the cost of airfare.

4.11 Use of a personal vehicle is limited to those trips where no other suitable public transportation is available or where the use of a personal vehicle is more economical and effective considering all factors such as costs, time constraints and itinerary.

4.12 When two or more persons travel together in a private vehicle, only the Individual who owns the vehicle can claim the kilometric rate. Passengers may not claim a kilometric allowance or equivalent costs. The names of the passengers must be shown on the reimbursement request.

4.13 The University does not assume responsibility for any wear and tear or any other damage to the vehicle used for travel.

4.14 An Individual claiming for use of a personally owned vehicle must have a current valid driver’s licence and carry insurance on the vehicle that meets the minimum legal requirements of the province where the vehicle is registered.


4.16 The University reimburses for car rentals only to an amount equal to that of a standard or intermediate model. Reimbursable expenses related to car rentals only include the following:

  • (i) rental fee;
  • (ii) fuel charges; and
  • (iii) insurance coverage.

4.17 An individual who rents a vehicle is responsible to obtain adequate car rental insurance for vehicle physical damage (see the Rental Vehicles/Non-Owned Auto section) through the Office of Risk Management (ORM) prior to renting the vehicle.

4.18 The car rental cost must not exceed the cost of equivalent airfare.

4.19 The University negotiates car rental rates with major car rental companies. The Individual is encouraged to rent through this venue to take advantage of corporate and other discounts. For more information, refer to the Negotiated Contracts section of the Procurement Services Website.


5.1 When personal travel is combined with University Business travel, the Individual will be reimbursed only for the University Business portion of the trip, as defined under section 6 of this Procedure. An airfare quote for the business portion, taken at the same time as the actual airline booking, should be provided to the Authorized Approver. The airfare quote for the business portion of the trip will be the reimbursable amount if this amount is lower than the total cost of the trip.

5.2 All non-business-related expenses incurred will not be reimbursed by the University.


6.1 Under normal circumstances, the University may reimburse for eligible travel expenses prior to and following a University Business trip as per the following:

  • (i) Travel from Canada to the Americas and Europe: Expenses incurred one day prior to commencement of University Business approved work or events.
  • (ii) Travel from Canada to all other locations: Expenses incurred two days prior to commencement of University Business approved work or event and one day after the end of the University Business approved work or events.

Exceptional circumstances outside the control of the Individual may be approved by the Head of the Unit.


7.1 The University reimburses for accommodation based on the actual expenses for single accommodation in a standard room. Such accommodation should be convenient and comfortable for a reasonable cost for the travel location.

7.2 The Individual should use reduced corporate rates available, as published on Negotiated Contracts section of the Procurement Services Website.


8.1 The University reimburses for Private stays with a family member or friend in accordance with the rates disclosed in Procedure 16-14 – Approved Reimbursement Rates.


9.1 The University reimburses for meals and Incidental Expenses per diem allowances as disclosed in Procedure 16-14 - Approved Reimbursement Rates and in accordance with the rates of the National Joint Council.

9.2 When rates are not indicated for a specific location, the rate of ‘other’ for that country may be used. Should ‘other’ not be listed within the guidelines, the location of closest proximity may be used.

9.3 The Individual will not be reimbursed for meals that are already included as part of cost for:

  • (i) Accommodation;
  • (ii) registration (e.g. conference, workshop, symposium, etc.); and
  • (iii) otherwise included in another expense.


10.1 The following list includes other expenses (but not limited to) that may be submitted for consideration as an Eligible Expense under this Procedure:

  • (i) registration fees to attend a conference or event related to University Business;
  • (ii) taxis, parking, public transit, ride sharing (UBER, Lyft) and shuttles;
  • (iii) regular baggage fees;
  • (iv) excess baggage fees when necessary for the purpose of the University Business travel;
  • (v) flight cancellation insurance,
  • (vi) foreign exchange fees
  • (vii) cost of a travel visa;
  • (viii) immunizations and medications if necessary for international travel and if not covered by personal insurance;
  • (ix) reception or hospitality expenditures incurred while travelling on University business;
  • (x) unanticipated expenses resulting from unforeseen events arising during the University Business trip that are not otherwise covered.

Expenses that are personal in nature are not considered as Eligible Expense under Policy 21 and Related Procedures.

10.2 Some external funding sources may recognize ‘field trips’ (trips off University premises normally associated with special courses requiring the presence of a professor with students) or certain ‘field work’, such as visits to other laboratories either to collaborate on a joint research project or to use equipment in other laboratories as eligible expenses. The term ‘field work’ does not include travel to scientific meetings or visits to other laboratories when granting sources recognize such costs under the heading ‘travel’.


11.1 The following lists expenses (including but not limited to) that are considered Non-Eligible Expenses and cannot be claimed or reimbursed, regardless of the source of funding:

  • (i) expenses claimed and/or paid by another organization or source;
  • (ii) expenses incurred for personal reasons or of personal nature (for example: toiletries, personal entertainment, room mini bar, movies, hotel exercise facilities, sporting events, magazines, books, shoeshine, sightseeing trips)
  • (iii) expenses related to theft, loss or damage to personal possessions while travelling
  • (iv) interest, service charges on credit cards or others;
  • (v) airline clubs and lounges, frequent flyer/hotel or other loyalty programs. No reimbursement will be made for equivalent costs related to loyalty programs reward point redemption or airfare acquired with frequent flyer points.
  • (vi) costs such as traffic, parking fines or other vehicle violations, car wash expenses, private vehicle repairs, maintenance, gas.
  • (vii) expenses to be claimed for Income Tax purposes.
  • (viii) alcohol and cannabis.

11.2 Incremental expenses related to an employee’s spouse, family members or any other accompanying person are considered personal expenses and are not reimbursable. If there is a business purpose for their presence, pre-approval is required by the Head of Unit. This pre-approval cannot be delegated.


12.1 When requesting a reimbursement of travel expenses, the Individual is responsible to include documentation of the pre-approval by the Authorized Approver as well as itemized receipts.

12.2 The Individual is responsible for the quality and authenticity of supporting documents. If itemized receipts and any other supporting documentation does not provide sufficient information, cannot be obtained, or are not available, the Individual may provide other documentation such as credit card statements, including an explanation as part of the supporting documents.

12.3 When submitting a claim in the University’s expense reimbursement system, other documentation may be required and include the following, where applicable:

  • (i) while boarding passes are not required as proof of travel, the Individual shall provide acceptable documentation that identifies the city and dates travelled;
  • (ii) when other sources of funding are used, the name of any other source where reimbursement of the expense is received or may be claimed should be included;
  • (iii) the list of names of each person in a group for which a travel expense was incurred;
  • (iv) documents from a verifiable source (i.e. credit card statement) to support any exchange rates when claiming outside the electronic reimbursement system or modifying the electronic reimbursement system rate;
  • (v) when the travel expense is charged against a research project and the Individual is not the Principal Investigator, the relationship and scope of work of the Individual to the research project must be stated on the claim; and
  • (vi) any other supporting document or information mentioned in this Procedure.


13.1 In cases where travel relates to research grants, a pre-approval in the University expense management system is not required. However, the Individual is responsible to ensure the claim was pre-approved by the Principal Investigator (PI) or its delegate, prior to incurring the cost.

13.2 The Principal Investigator has the responsibility to provide evidence that the claim is eligible for the Principal Investigator’s research project.


14.1 All requests for reimbursement must be submitted within thirty (30) days of return from Travel or from the date the expense was incurred, whichever is later.

Expenses shall not be considered for reimbursement if submitted twelve (12) months or more after being incurred.

14.2 In cases where a cash advance was received, claims to account for the advanced funds must be submitted within thirty (30) days following the completion of the activity.

Individuals who fail to clear cash advances within sixty (60) days following the completion of the activity will have no further expenses reimbursed until the advance is cleared.


15.1 The reference to travel applies to travel outside the city limits of Ottawa and Gatineau. The Individual can refer to the cities’ website for details on boundaries using the following links:


16.1 The Associate Vice-President, Financial Resources is responsible for the review and interpretation of this Procedure.

(Office of the Associate Vice-President, Financial Resources)