Procedure 16-11 - Travel Expense

Date effective: 2016-03-07

Authorized by: Administration Committee



1. University Policy 21 Travel Expenses provides a set of principles for eligible travel and travel expense reimbursements. The purpose of this Procedure is to further outline the eligibility of travel expenses and the process by which travel expenses are reimbursed.


2. a) This Procedure applies to all travel expenses incurred for University business and submitted for reimbursement regardless of whether the travel expense is charged to or reimbursed by the University’s operating budget, by a grant or other funding source managed by the University.

b) The eligibility and reimbursement of travel expenses incurred by an Approved Traveller may vary from those that are eligible and reimbursed in the case of an Employee. While this Procedure applies to Approved Travellers, it or the Eligible Expenses set out should not be applied as a right or entitlement but must be applied as a maximum such that any reimbursement made to an Approved Traveller cannot exceed the provisions of this Procedure.

c) If a travel expense is not covered by this Procedure or in unusual circumstances, the Traveller and the Authorized Approver must apply good judgement and ensure the travel expense is consistent with Policy 21 and does not exceed the provisions of this Procedure.

3. For travel expenses under a research grant administered by the University, the policy, rules and regulations of the relevant funding agency or relevant contractual agreements must be applied along with this Procedure. In the event that there is a conflict between Policy 21 and this Procedure and a funding agency’s policy, rule, regulation or a contractual agreement, the more stringent provision will apply. Reference to Tri-Council regulations can be found on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Website (see heading « Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide » and click on « Use of Grant Funds »).


4. In this Procedure, the following definitions shall apply:
a) “Approved Traveller” refers to a person who is not defined as an Employee and who is required to travel for University business.

b) “Authorized Approver” refers to a person in a position of authority over the Traveller and/or who has authority to approve the commitment of University resources.

c) “Eligible Expense” refers to a travel expense that meets the principles and rules set out under Policy 21 and those more particularly set out in this Procedure and that may be eligible for reimbursement by the University.

d) “Employee” refers to a person who holds a regular position at the University or is subject to a collective agreement at the University or has incurred more than twelve months of continuous employment paid by grant or other funding source managed by the University.

f) “Expense Form”: refers to the form used to claim travel expenses after travel has taken place

g) “Incidental Expenses” include reasonable gratuities (excluding gratuities on meals), internet connection, laundry, dry cleaning, local and long distance telephone calls.

h) “Request Form”: refers to the form used to request authorization to travel and to request a cash advance

i) “Travel” refers to travel outside of the city limits of Ottawa and Gatineau and as may be more particularly defined in Appendix “A” of this Procedure.

j) “Traveller” refers to an “Employee” or an “Approved Traveller” requesting a reimbursement for travel expenses.

k) “University’’ refers to the University of Ottawa.

l) “University business” refers to purposes that are connected to the University’s educational, research and administrative activities, services and functions.


5. A traveller must obtain documented approval from the Authorized Approver by completing a Request Form.


6. An employee may submit a request for a cash advance for anticipated travel expenses no later than ten (10) days prior to departure. Under exceptional circumstances, an approved traveller may be granted a cash advance. Such circumstances must be fully documented.

The traveller must return any advances for which the event has been cancelled or postponed within ten (10) days.

7. When the amount of Eligible Expenses is greater than the advance given, the University will reimburse the Traveller an amount representing the difference. When the amount of the Eligible Expenses is less than the advance given, the Traveller must pay the difference to the University at the time the Expense Form is submitted.

The traveller shall reconcile outstanding cash advances before submitting any additional Expense Forms.



8. Travel should be made by the most practical, economical and direct route possible and in keeping with the principles set out in Policy 21 and this Procedure. The traveller is encouraged to purchase airline or other transportation through the Internet and to take advantage of any advance purchase fares and seat sales whenever possible.  

a) Air

The University reimburses an amount representing the lowest rate available not to exceed the full economy fare. Pending pre-approval, business class may be considered when a flight’s airtime exceeds 9 hours. Funding agencies for research projects do not allow travel by business class regardless of the flight duration. Travel stopovers are considered an Eligible Expense only when necessary for University business or when unavoidable.

b) Train

The University reimburses an amount not to exceed first class.

c) Rental vehicle

The University reimburses an amount not to exceed the amount of a compact model or its equivalent for car rentals. A traveller who rents a vehicle is responsible to obtain adequate car rental insurance. Reimbursable expenses include the rental fee, fuel charges, insurance coverage and the kilometre/mileage charged by the rental agency. The rental shall not exceed the cost of airfare as stated in Section 8 (a) of this Procedure.

Car rental rates are negotiated with major car rental companies. The traveller is encouraged to rent through this venue in order to take advantage of corporate rates. Refer to the Procurement Services Website, under the “Negotiated Contract” section, for more information.

 When making a reservation, the Traveller should request prices for government personnel, promotional prices and CAUBO negotiated prices, and choose the least expensive of the options.

d) Private vehicle

The University reimburses the kilometric rate in effect as shown in Appendix A located at the end of this Procedure. The reimbursement for costs are calculated by applying the kilometric rate to the most direct route and shall not exceed the cost of airfare as stated in Section 8 (a) of this Procedure. The University will not pay for the use of a private vehicle at a rate other than the University established kilometric rate.

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

When two or more persons travel together in a private vehicle, only the Traveller 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 Request for reimbursement of travel expenses form.

The University does not assume responsibility for any wear and tear or any other damage to the vehicle used for travel. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for checking with their insurance agent to determine whether it is advisable to take out supplementary insurance for business travel.


9. The Traveller is reimbursed for actual expenses for single accommodation in a standard room. Such accommodation should be convenient and comfortable. The use of luxury accommodation is not permitted unless approved by the Authorized Approver and the event is hosted in such accommodations.

10. The traveller should use reduced corporate rates available at many hotels, as published on the Procurement Services Website. The traveller should request prices for government personnel, promotional prices and CAUBO prices and select the least expensive option when making a reservation.

Private Stays

11. Private stays with a family member or friend may be claimed to a maximum of $30 per night. The traveller must submit a written explanation describing the purpose of the travel, the host relationship (i.e. friend, relative, etc.) and the length of stay. The $30 value may be given in the form of a small gift, which must be accompanied by an original itemized receipt.

Meals and Incidental Expenses

12. Subject to the rates shown in Appendix A located at the end of this Procedure, the Traveller is reimbursed actual expenses for meals and Incidental Expenses supported by original itemized receipts whether the travel occurs in Canada, the United States or abroad. Meal claims shall include gratuities and taxes. The Traveller cannot claim for and will not be reimbursed for meals that are included in the accommodation rate, transportation fare and cost of registration fees or otherwise included in another expense.

13. When travelling within Canada, the amount claimed cannot exceed the maximum rates stated in Appendix A located at the end of this Procedure. For travel to the United States, the maximum rates in Appendix A shall be considered to be in American dollars.

14. When travelling outside Canada and the United States, the maximum amounts claimed shall not exceed the rates stated according to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat guidelines (Appendix D). 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.

15. Business meals with colleagues (University of Ottawa employees) while travelling for University business are not considered hospitality expenses as defined by Policy 60. These expenses are considered travel expenses and must be claimed under this Procedure.  

Other Eligible Expenses

16. Other eligible expenses, such as but not limited to the list below, may be submitted for consideration as an Eligible Expense under this Procedure:
a) registration fees to attend a conference or event related to University business
b) taxis, public transit and shuttles
c) excess luggage when necessary for the purpose of the travel
d) flight cancellation insurance, foreign exchange fees
e) cost of a visa
f) immunizations and medications if necessary for international travel and if not covered by insurance
g) field work as described in Section 17 in this Procedure
h) reception or hospitality expenditures incurred while travelling on University business. The Reception and Business Meeting Claim Form must be filed and attached to the travel expense claim. Refer to Policy 60 for more details.

17. Some funding agencies may recognize “field trips” (trips off University premises normally associated with special courses requiring the presence of a professor and 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 agencies recognize such costs under the heading "travel". A Traveller must submit a written description of the nature of the trip, the name of the participants and the reasons why travel is essential and obtain the prior approval by the Department Chair, the Vice-Dean or the Dean.

18. Expenses that are not considered to be Eligible Expenses under this Procedure may be eligible for reimbursement in accordance with other University policies and must be claimed separately. For example, expenses for supplies, equipment and rentals where Policy 36 may apply.



19. Alcohol cannot be claimed and will not be reimbursed as part of a travel or meal expense. Reimbursement for the service of alcohol as part of a hospitality event may be considered under Policy 60.


20. Other travel expenses, such as but not limited to the list below, are considered non-Eligible Expenses and cannot be claimed or reimbursed:

a) Expenses applicable to an accompanying person

b) Expenses paid by another organization or source or for which they are eligible to be paid by another organization or source

c) Any 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)

d) Expenses related to stolen, loss or damage to personal possessions while traveling, expenses related to accompanying travel companions and expenses related to vacation or personal days while on business travel

e) Expenses related to documentation such as additional life insurance or other insurance

f) Cancellation fees arising from failure to cancel transportation, registration to an event or hotel reservations.

g) Other expenses considered ineligible include but are not limited to

i) Interest, service charges on credit cards or others; airline clubs (i.e. frequent flyer/hotel or other loyalty programs). No reimbursement will be made for equivalent cost related to loyalty program reward point redemption or airfare acquired with frequent flyer points.
ii) Costs such as traffic, parking fines or other vehicle violations, car wash expenses, commuting to and from place of residence, private vehicle repairs, maintenance, gas.


Timeline for a request

21. Within ten (10) working days following completion of the travel, the Traveller must complete the Expense Form, submit it to the Authorized Approver for review and approval along with the documentation mentioned in this Procedure at Section 24 under the heading Documentation in support of a request. A travel expense involving a group can only be claimed by the person with the higher level of authority.

22. A Traveller who does not submit an Expense Form within ten (10) working days following the completion of a trip may be refused subsequent requests for travel.

23. If leaving employment with the University or the person’s relationship or status with the University is ending, the Traveller shall immediately submit all requests for reimbursement.

Documentation in support of a request

24. A Traveller must submit the following when requesting a reimbursement of travel expenses:
a) a Request Form with the Traveller and the Authorized Approver’s signature,
b) An Expense Form with the Traveller and the Authorized Approver’s signature, and
c) original itemized receipts

and where applicable,

d) receipts and other documentation as proof of air/rail travel such as boarding pass or other receipts for costs incurred at the travel destination
e) copy of the conference program or advertising leaflet
f) the name of any other source where reimbursement of the expense is received or may be claimed
g) the information mentioned under Private Stays in Section 11 of this Procedure
h) the list of names of each person in a group for which a travel expense was incurred
i) when the amount of the Eligible Expenses is less than the advance given to the Traveller, a cheque made payable to the University of Ottawa in an amount representing the difference between the advance given to the Traveller and the Eligible Expenses
j) in the case of field trips or field work as described in Section 17 of this Procedure, a written description of the nature of the trip, the name of the participants and the reasons why travel is essential and prior approval by the Department Chair, the Vice-Dean or the Dean.
k) documents to support any exchange rates when claiming outside the electronic system (E-Travel) or modifying the electronic system (E-Travel) rate.
l) when the travel expense is charged against a research project and the traveller is not the Principal Investigator, the relationship of the traveller to the research project must be stated on the Expense Form
m) any other supporting document or information mentioned in this Procedure.

25. Photocopies, credit card statements and Interac slips are not sufficient. If original itemized receipts and any other supporting documentation do not provide sufficient information or cannot be obtained or are not available, the Traveller must provide a written explanation, complete the missing receipt affidavit and submit, for consideration, a copy of any other document as proof of the expense. An Expense may be refused if a Traveller regularly fails to provide original receipts.


26. The Traveller’s and Authorized Approver’s signature certifies that the claim complies with Policy 21 (and other applicable policies) and that expenses were incurred for University purposes, have not been reimbursed from another source and conform to funding agency policy, rule or regulations where applicable.

27. For research grants and contracts, the funding agencies require that the signature of the Principal Investigator be present on all claims charged to a research fund. When the Traveller is a Principal Investigator or a guest researcher, the person in a position of authority over the Principal Investigator must sign. In no instance will the use of a signature stamp or an email be an acceptable form of approval.  


28. All advances and reimbursements are paid in Canadian currency. Eligible Expenses in American currency are to be reported in US$ and are converted automatically to Canadian dollars. Eligible Expenses in foreign currency are to be reported in Canadian dollars. Eligible Expenses are converted according to the Bank of Canada’s conversion rate, using an average rate for the travel period or actual rates incurred. Documentation supporting exchange rates used must be provided along with the travel claim. Refer to the Bank of Canada’s Website.


29. The Associate Vice-President, Financial Resources is responsible for the review, interpretation and implementation of this Procedure and for any exceptions or amendment made to it.


30. In addition to Policy 21, the following University policies may be associated with this Procedure
Policy 26 - Petty Cash,
Policy 60 - Hospitality, Receptions, Business Lunches and Expenditures Chargeable to University Accounts,
Policy 74 - Sending of Flowers or Gifts,
Policy 75 – Purchasing Cards.

(Financial Resources) 



The rates and examples in this Appendix are all subject to the principles and rules set out in Policy 21 and Procedure 16-11.

1. Kilometric rate

The allowance is 58 cents per km. The allowance includes cost of fuel and vehicle ‘’wear and tear’’. No amount other than the mileage allowance is paid out for use of a private vehicle.

2. Meals

For each full day of approved travel, actual expenses may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $86.80/day for incurred meals and snacks (including taxes and gratuities). The maximum amount is calculated per day. For partial days of travel, the maximum amount is calculated using the eligible meals (see example below).

a) breakfast: $19.45
b) lunch: $19.20
c) dinner: $48.15

Example: If a Traveller’s departure time occurs at 10:30 a.m., the maximum amount that can be claimed for that specific day is $67.35 ($19.20 for lunch and $48.15 for dinner).

When meals are otherwise included (i.e. in the accommodation rate, transportation fare, cost of registration fees, etc.) no claim for meals shall be made.

3. Incidental Expenses

Incidental Expenses are reimbursed up to a maximum of $17.30/day upon submission of receipts. See definition of “Incidental Expenses” in Section 4f of this document.

4. City of Ottawa and Gatineau boundaries

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

City of Ottawa (City of Ottawa - Ward Structure and Ward Maps)

City of Gatineau (Electoral districts – scroll to bottom of page)


APUO Members

APUO members have stipulations in their collective agreement regarding travel expense reimbursements which may differ from Policy 21 and this procedure. These different stipulations are detailed below and prevail over the Procedure 16-11 and Appendix A. In the event that a specific expense is not covered by the APUO collective agreement, the provisions of Policy 21 and Procedure 16-11 apply.

The following stipulations only apply for travel expenses incurred by the APUO member. Should an APUO member elect to pay travel expenses for a person who is not an APUO member (i.e. a student) these expenses must be claimed separately and rates in Appendix B do not apply.

1. Meals and Incidental expenses

For each full day of travel APUO members may claim the meal and incidental per diem given in Section 3 of Appendix B. Incidental per diem covers expenses such as gratuities, laundry, dry cleaning and local telephone calls.

For travel outside Canada and the United States current practices for meal allowances and incidental expenses (ex. per diem) are acceptable.

2. Accommodation

Private accommodation with relatives or friends may be arranged. In such cases, the allowance of $20.00 per night may be claimed.

3. Travel Allowances

The allowances that may be claimed as travel expenses shall be as follows:

i. Meal and incidental expenses: The allowances are reimbursed in accordance with the rates of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 
- breakfast: $19.45
- lunch: $19.20
- dinner: $48.15
- incidentals: $17.30

ii. Taxi: Receipts are required for single trip charges over $15.00.

Note: Funding agencies for research projects require taxi receipts for single trip charges under $15.00.

For travel to the United States, the above amounts shall be understood to be in U.S. dollars.The travel allowances (other than the amount for private accommodations) will be updated annually on July 1.

(Revised on July 1, 2018)


Decision Tree
Pre-approval of travel expenses
Meal allowances and incidental expenses

Who am I?

Non-APUO employee or Approved traveller

Pre-approval of expenses is required and must be attached to the travel reimbursement.

What is the travel destination?

Canada / United States / Abroad

Policy 21 is applicable. Receipts for meals and incidental expenses are required (when not available, the missing receipt affidavitmust be completed and attached to the travel reimbursement).

APUO Member

Notification of leave (if there is an impact on academic activities). Not required to be attached to the travel reimbursement.

What is the travel destination?

Canada / United States

Meal allowances and incidental expenses (per diem) from Appendix B of Procedure 16-11 (section 3) are applicable.


Current practices for meal allowances and incidental (ex.: per diem) are acceptable.


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