Rescinded [2011-01-01] - Hospitality Policy

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Policy objective

To ensure that economy and consistency in offering hospitality are maintained throughout the Public Service.

Policy statement

It is government policy to extend hospitality in an economical, consistent, and appropriate way when it will facilitate government business or is considered desirable as a matter of courtesy.

Deputy heads may delegate their authority within the limits set out in Appendix C of this policy.

Application

This policy applies to all departments and agencies listed in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Armed Forces. It does not cover hospitality governed by the "Foreign Service Hospitality Directive" and the "Heads of Posts Directive".

Policy requirements

  1. Departments and agencies must use government-owned facilities when these are appropriate and available.
  2. Hospitality in private residences or less formal or recreational settings must have the prior approval of the deputy head.
  3. The government's commitment to equity for all Canadians, regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex or disability, should be taken into account when selecting an establishment for hospitality.

Functions should minimize costs but be consistent with the following:

  • the status or rank of the guest(s);
  • the number of persons attending; and
  • the circumstances.
  1. Appendix B (Meal Allowance for Hospitality) sets out average and maximum annual per person limits which must be used in planning all hospitality functions, particularly the following:
    1. All meal-related hospitality expenses incurred over the fiscal year must average out to the average per person cost specified in Appendix B.
    2. The maximum per person cost limits for any form of hospitality may only be exceeded in unusual and non-recurring circumstances and must have the prior approval of the deputy or assistant deputy head. This includes hospitality at the international level.
  2. Appendix C (Approval Authority and Cost Matrix) sets out the approval authority required for hospitality functions and corresponding cost matrix.
  3. When considering financial support for non-government conferences or other outside activities of interest to the government, sponsoring departments must identify the cost of the planned hospitality in their proposals.

Departments must ensure that hospitality expenses are recorded under economic object 0482 and that departmental records contain the following information for each function:

  • the circumstances, including any requiring special authority (i.e. that deviate from the norm);
    the form of hospitality:
    • breakfast
    • lunch
    • dinner
    • reception
    • refreshments,

      or

    • serving beverages (with or without food);
  • the cost;
  • the location (i.e. in a government facility, commercial or other establishment);
  • the number of attendees listed by category (i.e. guests, government employees); and
  • approvals by the appropriate delegated officials (see Appendix C).

5.1 Employees

The following limitations in regard to hospitality to government employees must be respected.

  1. Hospitality such as beverages, meals, tours or other entertainment is only to be provided to employees who have been identified by prior approval to act as hosts to guests of the Government of Canada. Employees of the Government of Canada are not considered to be guests;
  2. Non-alcoholic beverages may be offered to employees required to work through "breaks" otherwise called "coffee breaks", when justified by management. 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 and in ensuring that hospitality is not offered during meetings of close colleagues working together on a regular basis;
  3. Refreshments, meals, or both may be offered to employees who participate in work sessions extending over meal hours or beyond normal working hours;
  4. Hospitality may be extended on behalf of the government when employees participate in departmental meetings to plan program-oriented work, in technical advisory committee meetings, or in departmental conferences; or
  5. When employees attend functions at public expense at which there are guests who are not employees, the number of employees must not exceed the number needed to conduct government business.

5.2 Spouse (Accompanying person)

Hospitality extended to the spouse of a person officially attending a function must be restricted to situations where the presence of the spouse enhances the conduct of the function because of protocol and is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Expenses such as travel, theatre tickets or tours may be paid only when the deputy head has authorized them;
  2. Travel expenses of spouses must be reimbursed to the employees concerned.

5.3 Other persons/Events

Hospitality may be extended on behalf of the government on the following occasions:

  1. when discussions on official matters are held with persons who are not government employees, including interviews with persons who are being considered for recruitment into the Public Service, members of other governments, industry, public interest groups, unions, seminars, or during special events such as public openings;
  2. when persons visiting Canada as members of national or international organizations are involved in activities relating to those of the government, or wish to obtain an understanding and an appreciation of Canadian life and development or an understanding of the work of the government;
  3. when the government sponsors formal conferences (as defined in Policy on "Conferences"), and other governments or business groups are represented;
  4. when the government honours a distinguished Canadian in recognition of exceptional service to Canada;
  5. when a person who is not a government employee renders a service without remuneration; or
  6. when a prestigious ceremony (e.g. sod-breaking, laying of a cornerstone, inauguration or opening of a Government of Canada capital project) takes place attended by foreign dignitaries, distinguished persons from the private sector, or both.

Note:

In some circumstances with the authorization of the minister or deputy head, official hospitality may take other forms such as tickets to theatre or sporting events, or tours of the National Capital area or other places of interest.

Functions that are exceptions to the policy outlined above must have the prior approval of the minister or deputy head.

Monitoring

The Treasury Board Secretariat will evaluate the administration of this policy in departments and agencies by conducting periodic reviews of audit results.

References

This policy incorporates Administrative Policy Manual, Chapter 360 (December 1978), amendments in Treasury Board Circular 1984-66, and revisions approved by the Treasury Board on July 26, 1989.

This chapter replaces chapter 360 of PMM volume 13.

Inquiries

All inquiries regarding this policy should be routed through departmental headquarters. For interpretation of specific policy statements contained in this directive, designated members of the departmental headquarters should contact the:

>Financial Management Policy Division
Financial Management and Analysis Sector
Office of the Comptroller General
Treasury Board Secretariat
Ottawa ON K1A 0R5

Email: fin.www@tbs-sct.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-957-7233
Fax: 613-952-9613


Appendix A - Definitions

Forms of hospitality (formes d'accueil) -

  1. Hospitality normally consists of:
    • breakfast
    • lunch
    • dinner
    • reception
    • refreshments, or
    • serving beverages (with or without food)
  2. Official hospitality may exceptionally consist of:
    • tickets to theatre or sporting events
    • tours of the NCR area or other places of interest
    • local transportation to and from the function
    • room rental
    • incidentals such as flowers;

function (fonction) - is the total cost of all forms of hospitality sponsored by the government, associated with an event. An event may cover a single meal or, such as in the case of a conference, may include various forms of hospitality over a number of days;

government employee (fonctionnaire fédéral) - means any person employed in a department or agency and anyone paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (e.g. receives a fee, honorarium or per diem allowance);

hospitality (accueil) - is the provision of a reception offering refreshments, meals and sometimes entertainment to guests of government departments or agencies. (Refreshments refer to beverages and light snacks);

protocol (protocole) - is a set of conventions governing correct etiquette and precedence.

Appendix B - Meal Allowance for Hospitality

Forms of Hospitality Average Per Person Cost Maximum Per Person Cost
Breakfast 1.5 X Breakfast Allowance* 1.5 X Average per person cost
Lunch 2 X Lunch Allowance* 1.5 X Average per person cost
Dinner 1.75 X Dinner Allowance* 1.5 X Average per person cost
Reception 2 X Breakfast Allowance* 1.5 X Average per person cost
Refreshments The costs for beverages or food shall not exceed the usual local prices per serving.
* For current meal allowances, see the Travel Directive, Appendix C.

Note:

All meal-related hospitality expenses incurred over the fiscal year must average out to the average per person cost.

Appendix C - Approval Authority and Cost Matrix

Function

Political Endorsement
(1)*

Minister

Deputy
Head

1. Honouring a distinguished Canadian x    
2. Cost for any single function Over $5,000(1)   x  
  Up to $5,000   x x
  Up to $1,500   x x
3. Expenses such as travel costs for spouse or accompanying person, entertainment or tours   x x
4. Hospitality at employee's private residence   x x
5. Where attendees are all employees of the government   x x
6. Non-government conferences   x x
7. Costs exceeding maximum per person cost limits   x x
8. Inclusion of spouse (or other accompanying person)   x x
9. Non-alcoholic beverages only   x x
* (1) Political endorsement i.e. - Prime Minister
- Cabinet
- Treasury Board
** (2) Functions, which assistant deputy heads or their equivalents have authority to approve, may be delegated to the most senior manager in a region.
*** (3) Individuals as may be authorized in writing by the deputy head through the departmental delegation of signing authority document.

 

Appendix C - Approval Authority and Cost Matrix (cont'd)

Function

Associate/
Assistant
Deputy
Head
Most Senior
Manager in a
Region
(2)**

Delegates
(3)***

1. Honouring a distinguished Canadian      
2. Cost for any single function Over $5,000      
  Up to $5,000      
  Up to $1,500 x x x
3. Expenses such as travel costs for spouse or accompanying person, entertainment or tours      
4. Hospitality at employee's private residence      
5. Where attendees are all employees of the government x x  
6. Non-government conferences x x  
7. Costs exceeding maximum per person cost limits x x  
8. Inclusion of spouse (or other accompanying person) x x  
9. Non-alcoholic beverages only x x x
* (1) Political endorsement i.e. - Prime Minister
- Cabinet
- Treasury Board
** (2) Functions, which assistant deputy heads or their equivalents have authority to approve, may be delegated to the most senior manager in a region.
*** (3) Individuals as may be authorized in writing by the deputy head through the departmental delegation of signing authority document.
Date Modified: