- ensure effective
travel management and administration, and promote economy and efficiency
in the use of travel funds
- support government's
commitment to carbon neutral business travel by making choices that
mitigate the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
- establish standards
- travel expenses
are proper, reasonable and necessary for program delivery
for travel claim requests and approvals, and travel emission reports
- provide and promote
alternatives to travel to carry out government business
Travel policy, allowances, reimbursement rates and limits are established by legislation and Treasury Board, and included in Treasury Board Orders, collective agreements, terms and conditions of employment for Order in Council and excluded employees, and the Official Duties Expense Regulation (BC Reg. 226/2001 as amended) for officials.
Travel policy applies to ministries, offices, special funds, accounts and appropriations as defined in the Financial Administration Act, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act and applies where or when travel costs are funded by, or recovered from, outside parties. In circumstances where the Province seeks reimbursement from another government for our employee travel costs, the employee will be reimbursed in accordance with core policy travel rates regardless of the rates provided by the other government.
Travel policy applies to employees (Groups I, II, and III) and officials (Group IV) unless specifically noted. For ease of use, the term "employee(s)" will be used throughout unless specific policy requires differentiation between employees and officials.
For the purposes of this policy, the terms "minister", "official", and "official duties" are used as defined in the Official Duties Expense Regulation (BC Reg. 226/2001 as amended).
Whenever possible, ministers and ministries are expected to promote the spirit and intent of government travel policy by requesting that similar policies are adopted by Crown corporations, public bodies, funded agencies and government contractors.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Employees are responsible for:
- obtaining expense authority approval to travel before expenses are incurred (See 10.4.4 for officials); and
- certifying that their travel expense claims are correct, complete and comply with policy.
- Expense authority officers are responsible for:
- approving travel before expenses are incurred;
- certifying that travel expense claims:
- are for business purposes, appear reasonable and comply with policy;
- that there are sufficient funds in the budget; and
- that travel related goods and services have been received.
- The BC Public Service Agency establishes travel policy and negotiates reimbursement rates and limits with bargaining units.
- The Office of the Comptroller General maintains policy and establishes procedures for the administration and processing of travel expenses, and advises ministries on travel policy and procedures.
- Procurement Services oversees accommodation rates, manages fleet vehicles, negotiates rental rates with vehicle vendors, and supports negotiations with travel agencies.
- For the purposes of travel approval in the following policies, a "director" is defined as an employee holding the title of director, including an "executive director". A director makes travel approvals for their own staff, and directors and executive directors seek their program area assistant deputy minister's approval regarding travel. In turn, assistant deputy ministers seek the executive financial officer's approval regarding travel.
Alternatives to Travel
consider alternatives to travel wherever practical. Video
conferencing and teleconferencing and other methods are to be used
where feasible to achieve cost savings and to mitigate the production
of greenhouse gas emissions. These can be very effective tools to bring
employees and others together across the province or country (e.g.,
business/project team meetings, interviews, hearings and trials, distance
learning, training and workshops).
- The means of
travel chosen needs to be operationally feasible, cost effective and
consider travel methods that will mitigate the production of greenhouse
gas emissions. Government employees are eligible for reimbursement of
travel expenses when:
- trip approval
is obtained (from the employee's Expense Authority) before travel
expenses are incurred;
- the expenses
are paid by the employee while on travel status* or away from headquarters**;
- claims are reasonable,
properly reported and comply with established rates and allowances.
*Group I, II and III employees are
on travel status when absent from their designated headquarters on approved
government business. This does not apply to employees who are temporarily
reassigned or on field status, or on board and lodging status.
headquarters is his/her usual work place or normal point of assembly
and the area within a 32 kilometre radius. If necessary, the director
must designate a headquarters for their staff, and can also approve
changes to their staff's assigned headquarters as changes in operational
conditions warrant. The designation for directors and executive directors
are made by the assistant deputy minister of the program area. The executive
financial officer must make designations for assistant deputy ministers.
The terms "travel
status" and "headquarters" are not used in reference
to Group IV travel policy. Travel policy applies to Group
IV during the period an official is away from home to discharge
claims require approval by the appropriate Expense Authority before
they can be paid. (see Procedure
Requirements - C.1.4, C.1.5)
has the right to designate an employee's
(other than officials) mode of transportation and manner of accommodation.
Other considerations must include:
- the cost and
efficiency of alternative transportation modes (i.e., time required
to reach the destination and lost productivity);
- additional travel
costs (accommodation, meals, taxi, vehicle rentals, overtime) associated
with each alternative; and
- travel arrangements
that mitigate the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Government employees
required to resource cabinet and government caucus meetings are eligible
for reimbursement of expenses.
Requirements - C.2
Combining Personal Travel
combines government and personal business must be reimbursed at the
- actual transportation
- an estimate of
the minimum acceptable expenses that would have been incurred if the
personal travel had not taken place.
- Additional expenses
arising from personal extensions to business travel are the employee's
for an employee's spouse or family members are not reimbursable, except:
- when a spouse
is formally representing the government and a written invitation has
been issued to the spouse (see also 10.4.4 and C.14.3);
- travel is to
a pre-retirement seminar or awards function; or
- the employee
is relocating (for details refer to Administration, Relocation).
- Employees must
not claim any optional payments or surcharges related to carbon offset
programs administered by travel service providers.
10.3.4 Out-of-Province/Country Travel
Staff (and contractor) out-of-province and out-of-country travel, including complete plans to combine personal travel, requires prior approval of the respective director (Treasury Board Directive 4/04). Approvals for directors and executive directors are made by the assistant deputy minister of the program area. The executive financial officer must make approvals for assistant deputy ministers. Refer to C.2 for staff approval procedures and to 10.4.4 for approval requirements for ministers, parliamentary secretaries, deputy ministers and ministers' office staff.
For out-of-province accommodation a reasonable amount must be established considering business requirements and federal accommodation rates. For out-of-country or U.S. accommodation, employees will be reimbursed for actual commercial accommodation expenses for the travel location up to those rates established by the federal government through their standing offer arrangements for accommodation. (Refer to this federal accommodation site for rate information.
For travel in the U.S. the Group I meal rate, Group II or III per diem allowance, or Group IV meal allowance must be the amount claimed for BC in U.S. currency (as required by PSA Policy Statement 17. Travel, Appendix 1 sec. 8. (1)), which will be converted to Canadian dollars, including claims for partial day travel. Meals received without charge or paid for from public funds cannot be claimed.
For other foreign locations (as required by PSA Policy Statement 17. Travel, Appendix 1 sec. 9), meal rates for full days must be calculated using the “Meal Total” rate published by the federal Foreign Affairs Department. This is then grossed up for incidental amounts as specified in the PSA table at Appendix 1 sec 9. (1).
For partial days or for situations where meals are received without charge or paid with other public funds, the related individual meals (using the federal Foreign Affairs Department rates) must be deducted from the full day rates calculated above. Where the individual meal rates are not published, refer to the percentages to deduct from the calculated full day rate specified in the PSA table at Appendix 1 sec 9. (2).
Procedure Requirements -- C.1.6 (iExpenses & foreign exchange); C.2 (Approval Requirements); C.11 (Miscellaneous Foreign Travel Expenses)
Foreign Travel Guide
- The most economical
airfare for air travel considering operational requirements and options
that mitigate the production of greenhouse gases is required. This requirement
may be waived in exceptional circumstances, with the prior approval
of the director. For directors and executive directors, prior approval
is sought from the assistant deputy minister for the program area. For
assistant deputy ministers, it must be pre-authorized by the executive
financial officer. Officials and accompanying staff are permitted airfare
upgrades to executive or business class where the in-flight travel is
four hours or more, and the purpose of the travel is to represent the
government at a business meeting. The upgrade for staff only applies
when there is a need to conference with the official during a flight.
- Travel loyalty
program benefits, such as airline frequent flyer points that are accumulated
by employees while travelling at public expense, must not be used for
personal benefit. Such benefits or discounts should be applied only
against future business travel or donated to charities associated with
the program. Benefits accumulated while travelling at public expense
should not be used beyond the term of employment.
Requirements - C.7
use of a chartered aircraft by an official is permitted only when:
there is no scheduled
air service available that can meet the travel requirements (timing
or duration) of the minister(s); or
the charter cost
is economical as compared to the scheduled air service; and
the charter aircraft
and crew meet the safety, maintenance and experience standards established
by Transport Canada for such operations.
- The use of chartered
aircraft by employees must only be approved when there is no alternative
means of transportation at a lesser cost, and within a reasonable time.
The deputy minister or a delegated approval authority must approve in-province
charter flights. Out-of-province charter flights require approval in advance
by the respective minister.
Meals / Per Diems
Employees are entitled to claim meal or per diem allowances not exceeding specified limits for their applicable Group. For Group definitions refer to section 10.4.1.
On the date of departure, travel status must start before 7:00 a.m. to claim breakfast; before 12:00 noon to claim lunch; and, on the date of return, travel status must end after 6:00 p.m. to claim dinner.
See PSA Policy Statement 17. Travel, Appendix 1 sec.1 for the applicable meal and per diem allowances for groups I, II, and III. For Group III employees, in determining whether it is reasonable to claim a full day, half-day or other per diem, they should consider the time spent and the number of meal periods while on travel status. Group II and III employees are entitled to the incidental amount when no meals are claimed on travel status (refer to CPPM 10.3.11 Miscellaneous Expenses).
Group IV (officials) may claim a meal allowance of up to $61.00 for each day (or portion of a day) the official discharges official duties, if the official is not at home while discharging those official duties. See the Official Duties Expense Regulation (BC Reg. 226/2001 as amended).
Procedure Requirements - C.4
- All groups are
entitled to claim a private
vehicle allowance for the use of a privately owned vehicle on business
travel. For private vehicle insurance requirements, refer to 11.3.2 policy 3. Employees are expected to carpool where practical to minimize
costs and the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Employees may
claim the vehicle mileage allowance where they are driven to the departure
location (i.e., airport, bus, ferry or train terminal) and picked up
distance allowance (for travel to and from the employee's residence) must
be authorized by the employee's Expense Authority before expenses are
incurred. The Expense Authority must consider the cost and efficiency
of alternative modes of travel before granting approval to an employee
to take his/her vehicle to work for use when travel may be required. Allowance
claims for vehicle mileage must not exceed 32 kilometres per day.
Requirements - C.5
- A government or
rental vehicle should be used when public transportation is not operationally
feasible or a privately owned vehicle is not available or economical
(i.e., when daily travel exceeds 150 kilometres). A government vehicle,
where available, should be the first choice.
- Employees renting
vehicles using the Province’s Daily Vehicle Rental Corporate Supply Arrangement (CSA), regardless of the form of payment (corporate travel card, purchasing card, invoice, cash), must not purchase any additional insurance (collision, personal accident, etc.). All required insurance is included for in-province travel in vehicles rented under the CSA.
- Employees using
the corporate travel card must not purchase the Collision Damage Waiver
option, as this is covered under the travel card. However, employees
renting a vehicle outside of BC and not using the corporate travel card
must purchase the Collision Damage Waiver option.
The vehicle rental
rate table can be found at the Procurement
Service's site. Refer to section
11.3.3, Transportation policy, for the use of government vehicles.
Requirements - C.5
- Employees may use private accommodation instead of commercial accommodation and claim the private accommodation allowance (see BCPSA Policy #17 – Travel – Appendix 1, s.6). Reimbursement for commercial accommodation within BC must be in accordance with the hotel accommodation guide approved accommodation rates.
expenses within BC that exceed the limits established by Treasury
Board require pre-authorization from the individual's expense authority.
Amounts in excess that are considered acceptable may be determined
on a case by case basis, considering variables such as the urgency
of the travel, whether travel is occurring in peak season and if accommodations
at the established limits are not available. See also the Accommodation
For guidance on
officials, see the Officials
Duties Expense Regulation (BC Reg. 226/2001 as amended).
Requirements - C.8
- Employees are
entitled to claim miscellaneous travel expenses for:
Loss or Damage
- Extraordinary losses incurred when an employee or appointee is on travel status, or while on government business, suffers damage to personal property are reimbursable to amounts allowable under PSA Policy Statement 17. Travel, Appendix 1 sec.13.
Procedure Requirements – C.19.2
- Employees must
use their corporate travel card to pay for travel related expenditures
and to obtain travel related cash advances (via ATMs).
- Employees who are
eligible for a corporate travel card cannot apply for an accountable
travel advance. Accountable travel advances can only be issued to employees
who are not eligible for the corporate travel card and the expense authority
authorizing the travel must approve the accountable advance. The temporary
advance must be repaid or accounted for within one week of the trip.
- A standing accountable
travel advance (issued to employees that require continuous or seasonal
travel) must be repaid at the end of the designated period.
Requirements - E.3
- Volunteers must not use Oracle iExpenses. Volunteer out of pocket travel expenses will be reimbursed at the discretion of the host minsitry. Meal allowances must not exceed Group I rates.
- Contractors must not use Oracle iExpenses. Reimbursement for meals and incidentals must not exceed the Group II per diem rates. Refer to section 10.4.1, this chapter, for the definition of Group II.
Requirements - C.10
Oracle iExpenses is
a web-based system for processing expense reports. When staff submit a
claim, their electronic signature is equivalent to certifying that the
expense report is correct, complete, complies with government policy,
and their completed travel emission report is attached. The electronic
signature of Expense Authority means that they agree the trip was for
business purposes, the amounts appear reasonable, and that the employee
has attached a travel emission report which appears reasonable. As well,
they are certifying that there are sufficient funds in their budget and
that travel related goods and services have been received. User IDs and
Passwords MUST NOT be shared. Note that officials use an electronic travel
voucher to process their claims. See C.14.6.
- Expense authority
must review and approve expense reports and travel emission reports
prior to giving their electronic authorization.
- Travel expense
receipts must ensure proof of payment and be accessible by expense authority
for examination if requested. In addition supporting receipts (paper or electronic reproductions, e.g. scanned or digital images, see policy 3 below), including those
for taxi and bus claims over $20
a day, and other documents must be:
- filed at the
location designated by the ministry chief financial officer (but
not by the employee personally);
- filed in an
Expense Report Envelope or electronic documentation of same, and forwarded upon request within 5 working
days to the Corporate Compliance and Controls Monitoring Branch
The envelope/electronic documentation must be retained as an Administrative Records Classification
System (ARCS) file #1050-09. The ARCS and the Operational Records
Classification System (ORCS) support policy in this section and the
need to retain and manage records in accordance with government Recorded
Information Management (RIM) policy and standards.
Ministry use of the Redundant Source Records Special Schedule 206175 to maintain a reproduced record (scan or digital image) as the official file copy must be in accordance with the schedule and the requirements set out in the Guide part 3. For detail, refer to 18.3.5 Financial Records policy.
Staff who do not
travel more than once a year and who have claims of less than $100 should
be reimbursed by petty cash. Staff that have regular claims for mileage
must claim reimbursement through iExpenses.
Delegates for iExpenses entry
must not have an alternative delegate substituting for their leave or
vacation period. Deputy minister expense reports are to be routed to
the Executive Financial Officer or Chief Financial Officer who will act as expense authority for approving these
- All iExpenses users
must complete any outstanding processing, and take appropriate action
on any notifications, prior to transfer or termination. Ministry signing
authority officers must be kept informed of any changes to prevent delays
and errors when an expense authority departs prior to completion of
Requirements - C.1.6
- Airfare, except in an emergency or extenuating circumstances, must not be paid by the employees but billed directly to the ministry. For officials see C.14.8.
Requirements - D.7
Oracle iExpenses has been configured to collect data necessary to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions from employee business travel (i.e.: when on travel status or 32 kilometres or more outside of their designated headquarters, as defined by policy 10.3.2).
Employees enter travel details in the required fields (e.g.: expense type, travel mode, fuel type, and city/region) when they complete their iExpense travel claim. The associated travel emissions are then automatically calculated based on these entries.
Employees can view greenhouse gas emission reports via SMARTTOOL. SMARTTOOL provides standardized measurement and reporting on the production of Greenhouse gases used within the provincial government.
Additional guidance is provided at: Where green ideas work. This site is available to Government of British Columbia intranet users only.
Information and References
Employee Group definitions
for travel entitlements pursuant to Treasury Board Order #88, as amended,
and the Official Duties Expense Regulation (BC
Reg. 226/2001 as amended) are as follows:
- employees who are
members of the British Columbia Government Employees' Union (BCGEU),
the Professional Employees Association (PEA), British Columbia Nurses
Union (BCNU), Union of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia
(URPNBC), and Excluded Administrative Support Staff as specified on
Schedule A of the Personnel Management Policies and Procedures manual,
- persons outside
the government service such as employees appointed to boards, commissions
and agencies in bargaining unit classifications, or persons performing
equivalent administrative or technical support functions, plus persons
on miscellaneous payroll;
- order in council
appointees not specifically included in Groups II or III; and
- other employees
or persons not specifically included in Groups II or III.
- persons whose positions
are classified under the: Management Job Evaluation Plan, Levels 1 through
8; Legal Officer Classification Plan; Legal Counsel Classification Series;
or Salaried Physician Classification Plan; and
- persons appointed
to part or full-time positions as members or managerial employees on
boards, commissions or agencies.
- persons with the
status of deputy minister or assistant deputy minister or equivalent
status (positions classified at levels 9 through 12 of the Management
Job Evaluation Plan); and
- a person appointed
to the position of chief provincial court judge, associate chief judge
or as part or full-time provincial court judges.
- officials as defined
by the Official
Duties Expense Regulation (BC Reg. 226/2001 as amended); and
- a personal attendant
where a physically disabled official requires an personal attendant
in order for the official to travel to discharge official duties. The
application of Group IV rates to a personal attendant is limited to
transportation, meals, accommodation and out of pocket expenses necessarily
incurred for the purpose of this travel. A personal attendant can be
and guidance on how to use iExpenses are detailed on the CAS intranet
Services. This information is available to Government of British Columbia
intranet users only.
Discount Lodging and Travel Tips
provides a list of lodgings and travel tips for employees on business
travel. A number of properties offer discounts on room rates. These are
listed by city or town on the Business
Travel Accommodation Listings site.
Minister Out-of-province/country Travel
Approval for out-of-province
and out-of-country travel is delegated as follows. A Travel
Authorization Form FIN 99 (government access only) is required:
(out of province)
(out of country)
authority cannot be delegated to a subordinate.
submit a request for approval of their out-of-country travel plans
not less than four weeks in advance of finalizing such plans. The
request for authorization should be directed to Executive Branch,
Office of the Premier.
spouse of a minister may fly at government expense only when formally
representing the government at a protocol related function and a written
invitation has been extended to the spouse by the government or when acting
as a personal attendant where an official has a physical disability. Guests
of ministers may fly at government expense only when the guests are traveling
on government business. Minister allowances are outlined in the Official
Duties Expense Regulation (BC Reg 226/2001 as amended).
Requirements - C.14
Appointees to Crown Agency Boards and Administrative
For policy on travel
expense reimbursement for appointees to Crown agency
boards and administrative tribunals refer to TBDs 2/10 and 1/10. All appointees (including
those receiving no compensation) incurring transportation, accommodation,
meal and out-of-pocket expenses in the course of their duties as members
of a Crown agency board or administrative tribunal
will be reimbursed in accordance with Group II rates. Rates of reimbursement
for travel-related expenses are established by Treasury Board Order #88.
At the discretion of the minister, airline costs incurred by Crown agency boards
or administrative tribunal appointees may be directly billed to the Province.
Requirements - C.20