Reimbursement of Hospitality Expenses

Date Effective: 2019-07-01
Authorized by: Administration Committee


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


2.1 The University extends hospitality when it serves the University’s interests, for example to improve community and public relations, and to facilitate events recognizing excellence of University staff and students.

2.2 Events held in hotels or conference centres are considered to be large events and functions. Organizers of such events are responsible for ensuring that all logistics and related expenses fall within the parameters of all related policies, such as Policy 36 – Procurement of goods and services, prior to hosting an event. These events shall be approved in advance by the responsible Head of Unit.

2.3 Hospitality expenditures determined to be ineligible as per Policy 21 and Related Procedures will not be reimbursed.

2.4 When possible, the University encourages large events to be held on University campus; when events cannot be held on campus, Policy 36 – Procurement of Goods and Services must be followed, in keeping with the limits established in Policy 21 Related Procedure, Procedure 16-14 - Approved Reimbursement Rates.

2.5 This Procedure applies to events held on campus and events outside those describe in section 2.2 of this Procedure.


3.1 A Host must submit the following into the University’s reimbursement system when requesting a reimbursement for Hospitality expenses:

(i) itemized receipts;
(ii) the name of any other source where reimbursement of the expense is received or may be claimed if applicable;
(iii) the list of names of each person in a group for which a hospitality expense was incurred;
(iv) documents from a verifiable source (i.e. credit card statement) to support any exchange rates when modifying the electronic reimbursement system rate; and
(v) any other supporting document or information mentioned in this Procedure.

3.2 A request for University Business Hospitality reimbursement will not be considered unless the above documentation is completed in full.


4.1 Cost of University Business Hospitality must be reasonable and may be reflective of the following considerations:

  • (i) number of attendees; and
  • (ii) circumstances undertaken.

4.2 Units hosting a business lunch, dinner or other entertainment event should limit the number of University employees and other participants attending to only those who are expected to contribute directly to the accomplishment of the business purpose.

4.3 The guidelines concerning the allowable maximum reimbursement per person, as set out in Procedure 16-14 - Approved Reimbursement Rates, must be considered in planning all hospitality functions. These guidelines exclude the cost of logistics and other non-meal-related expenses, but include the cost of food, refreshments and gratuities.

4.4 Business entertainment of Non-Employees should be limited to the cost of meals and beverages furnished in a hotel dining room or restaurant of an equivalent quality. Cost per person will be deemed reasonable if within the guidelines set out in Procedure 16-14 - Approved Reimbursement Rates of this policy.

4.5 The Head of Unit will direct the Unit to report identified instances of hospitality events that exceed the guidelines as per Procedure 16-14 - Approved Reimbursement Rates and report such instances to the responsible Vice-President.


5.1 The following are ineligible expenses and will not be reimbursed by the University:

  • (i) expenses deemed to be social in nature;
  • (ii) hospitality that does not serve the University’s interests; and
  • (iii) political fundraising events.

5.2 When hosting an event or reception, reasonable cost for alcohol may be reimbursed where the consumption is nominal and moderate, does not exceed the cost of food and is not specifically restricted by a funding source. For regular in-house meetings involving Employees, alcohol is not reimbursed.

5.3 The University does not reimburse the cost of cannabis or its derived substances for hospitality purposes.


6.1 Hospitality such as beverages, meals, tours or other entertainment is to be provided only to individuals who act as Hosts to guests of the University of Ottawa. This responsibility is normally assumed by Head of Units. Other employees acting as Host must be approved by their Head of Unit;

6.2 Non-alcoholic beverages may be offered to Employees required to work through ‘breaks’ otherwise called ‘coffee breaks’, when justified by the Head of Unit. Such hospitality should be restricted to occasions of a formal nature where the dispersal of participants during a break period is not desirable. Managerial discretion and due regard for economy should be used in identifying such occasions.

6.3 Hospitality must not be offered to Employees during meetings of close colleagues working together on a regular basis, e.g. regular team meetings.


7.1 Hospitality may be offered to Employees who participate in work sessions extending over meal hours or beyond normal working hours.

7.2 Hospitality may be extended on behalf of the University when Employees participate in meetings to plan program-oriented work, in technical advisory committee meetings, or in departmental conferences, or when employees attend functions at which there are guests who are not Employees.


8.1 Hospitality may be extended on behalf of the University on the following occasions, when:

  • (i) discussions on official matters are held with persons who are not University employees, including interviews with persons who are being considered for recruitment at the University, members of other universities, industry, public interest groups, seminars, or during special events such as public openings;
  • (ii) persons visiting Canada as members of universities, national or international organizations are involved in activities relating to those of the University;
  • (iii) the University sponsors formal conferences, and other universities or external bodies are represented;
  • (iv) a prestigious ceremony (e.g. sod-breaking, laying of a cornerstone, inauguration or opening) takes place, attended by dignitaries and guests;
  • (v) special events take place such as convocations, traditional receptions including the Chancellor’s New Year’s reception, and other such events approved by the President;
  • (vi) other special events are held to enhance the University’s public image, approved by the Vice- President, External Relations;
  • (vii) business breakfasts, luncheons or dinner concerned with the activities of University Business, or matters of particular interest to the University are held; and
  • (viii) conferences, seminars, displays and similar functions approved by a Head of Unit or the PI, as applicable, are held within their respective terms of reference.


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

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