IB 760.03 Travel Expenses Guidelines
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Effective: October 25, 2022
Applicable FAM Policies: Government Travel
Applicability: GNWT Departments and Public Agencies
This interpretative bulletin needs to be read in conjunction with IB 760.01 and 760.02.
Duty Travel Rates
The amount of compensation for meals, incidentals, and private accommodation or vehicle use that employees travelling on Government business are entitled to can be found here . These rates are set based on the equivalent federal duty travel rates and are reviewed quarterly for vehicle use and biannually for meals, accommodation and incidentals and are adjusted as required.
Government travel is restricted to the actual dates for approved meetings, conferences, courses, etc. and the next available flight home. Travel claims should not be accepted for expenses related to additional hotel accommodation, meals, incidentals, etc. beyond the next available flight home.
All government duty travel airfare must be charged to the Government’s credit card. The use of duty travelers’ personal card is only to be used in extenuating circumstances, for example your government credit card was disabled or lost during travel.
Arrangements for travel should be made with a northern business as defined in the Business Incentive Policy (BIP), unless impractical such as flight schedules, or not cost-effective.
Before booking any travel, duty travelers must first look to the Government’s current standing offer agreements. The standing offer agreements offer benefits such as discounted rates, no cancelation fee, and no change fee. Standing offer agreements must not be used for personal travel.
A traveler shall not volunteer to be “bumped” from his or her seat with a commercial carrier. Any compensation the carrier offers for “bumping” must be used in order to minimize future Government expense. Claims for expenses which could have been covered by a commercial carrier must not be approved without explanation, whether related to “bumping” or not.
The lowest cost ground transportation must be used if practical and in accordance with BIP. Reimbursement over $10.00 for transportation requires a receipt. There shall be no reimbursement for any gratuities for ground transportation.
Meal Allowance - General
- Meals will be reimbursed at the approved per diem rate. A receipt is not required for any meal covered by the per diem allowance. Justifiable meal costs (excluding gratuities), exceeding the applicable per diem rate may be reimbursed if supported by receipts, and authorized by the expenditure officer.
- The Government will not reimburse a duty traveler for alcoholic beverages.
- A meal allowance shall not be paid to a traveller with respect to a meal that is provided. Where a traveller has incurred out-of-pocket expenses to supplement meals provided, the actual incurred costs, excluding costs for alcohol, shall be reimbursed, based on receipts, up to the applicable meal allowance.
- Where duty travel extends beyond 15 calendar days in one location and housekeeping units or reasonable room and board are available, the maximum per diem rate for meals after 15 calendar days shall be reduced to fifty percent (50%). It is the travelers department’s responsibility to seek available housekeeping units or reasonable room and board; if one is not available the per diem rate would not be reduced.
Meal Allowance - Entitlement
Duty travel commences when you are on route to the airport or on route to your destination by other modes of travel.
When duty travel commences:
- After 6:30 AM local time the traveler has sufficient time to eat breakfast at home therefore breakfast may not be claimed.
- After 13:00 local time the traveler has sufficient time to eat lunch at home therefore lunch may not be claimed;
- After 18:30 local time the traveler has sufficient time to eat dinner at home therefore dinner may not be claimed.
When duty travel ends:
- Between midnight and 4:00 local time breakfast may not be claimed.
- Before 12:30 lunch may not be claimed;
- Before 18:30 local time dinner may not be claimed.
The following allowances and reimbursements are to be claimed in accordance with Section 45 of the Collective Agreement:
- Telephone Calls
- Extra Baggage
- Private Accommodation
A duty traveler receives a set payment for incidental expenses for each day or part day of duty travel, unless the trip begins and ends in the same calendar day. Incidentals cannot be claimed for a day where the last leg of travel did not start in the same day as the claim (i.e. flight arrives shortly after midnight). The incidental expense payment is meant to offset extra costs incurred by duty travelers such as gratuities for meals, taxis, or snacks which are not recoverable through other means. This amount is set and cannot be increased through submission of receipts.
Reimbursement and Standards
- Accommodations must be approved in advance and receipts must be provided. Accommodations must be purchased with a Government travel credit card.
- A traveler should use accommodations and government discount rates listed in the Government of Canada’s Accommodation Directory, or hotels providing similar government rates or better. Alternative accommodation without prior approval is not eligible for reimbursement above the posted government discount rate. The Directory is posted at http://rehelv-acrd.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/index-eng.aspx.
Any hotel arrangements within the Northwest Territories should use a BIP registered business.
A duty traveler traveling outside the Northwest Territories may use private accommodation.
A duty traveler requiring accommodation in the Northwest Territories must use commercial accommodation unless:
- there is no commercial accommodation within the community in which the duty traveler stays or within 10 Kilometres of the work site;
- the duty traveler stays in private accommodation with relatives or others as approved;
- the stay in one location is 15 days or longer; or,
- available commercial accommodation is not acceptable.
Accommodation Sharing Services
Accommodation sharing services (such as AirBnB or VRBO) are to be used only where they are regulated by either municipal, provincial, or territorial governments. Additionally, all associated fees should be considered and approval must be obtained in advance of the trip. Accommodation is not eligible for reimbursement above the posted government discount rate, without prior approval.
Currently within the Northwest Territories, Accommodation Sharing Services are regulated in the following communities:
All other communities in the Northwest Territories do not yet have regulations in place for Accommodation Sharing Services.
Other Types of Accommodation
Subject to prior approval by a senior management member of the department in consultation with Risk Management, Finance.
Special Travel Situations
Physically Handicapped Travelers
A physically handicapped traveler may be reimbursed for reasonable special assistance expenses (e.g., porter). Receipts are required for expenses exceeding $10.00 per individual expense.
Unavoidable Delays / Illness in Travel
Employees on duty travel shall make every reasonable effort to contact their supervisor for approval of travel plan changes due to unavoidable delay or illness. An explanation must be included on the expense claim.