Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures

1. Effective date

  • 1.1This directive takes effect on .
  • 1.2This directive replaces the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures dated .

2. Authorities

3. Objectives and expected results

  • 3.1The objectives indicated in section 3 of the Policy on Financial Management apply to this directive.
  • 3.2The expected results indicated in section 3 of the Policy on Financial Management apply to this directive.

4. Requirements

  • 4.1The chief financial officer (CFO) is responsible for the following:
    • 4.1.1Approving the departmental total annual budgets for travel, hospitality and conferences;
    • 4.1.2Disclosing on a quarterly basis all departmental travel and hospitality expenses for senior level employees at the deputy head, associate deputy minister, assistant deputy minister, and equivalent levels, through its website. Further:
      • 4.1.2.1Individuals who act in these senior level positions are also subject to this disclosure requirement;
      • 4.1.2.2Travel disclosure for each senior level employee must include the period covered by the trip, places visited, transportation expenses, other expenses (such as accommodation and meals), and the total amount incurred;
      • 4.1.2.3Receipts, supporting travel claims, will be available upon request and in accordance with the Access to Information and Privacy legislation;
      • 4.1.2.4Hospitality disclosure for each senior level employee must include the date(s), a description of the purpose and form of the hospitality, the attendees (such as number of public servants and non-public servants), the location, and the total amount incurred; and
      • 4.1.2.5The travel and hospitality expense disclosure must be published within 30 days of the end of each quarter;
    • 4.1.3Disclosing the total annual expenditures for each of travel, hospitality, and conference fees for the department, through its website, including the main variances from the previous fiscal year’s actual expenditures. This disclosure is to coincide with the tabling of the Departmental Performance Report; and
    • 4.1.4Ensuring that the standards for travel, hospitality, conferences and events, set out in Appendix A to Appendix D, are clearly communicated to departmental staff.
  • 4.2Senior departmental managers and delegated managers are responsible for the following within their areas of responsibility:
    • 4.2.1Considering in the approval process the means to avoid or minimize travel, hospitality, conference and event costs;
    • 4.2.2Ensuring that travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures are necessary to support the departmental mandate, operational activities, objectives or priorities; and
    • 4.2.3Ensuring that standards for travel, hospitality, conferences and events, set out in Appendix A to Appendix D, are applied.

5. Roles of other government organizations

  • 5.1Not applicable.

6. Application

  • 6.1This directive applies to the organizations listed in section 6 of the Policy on Financial Management.
  • 6.2With respect to the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, the deputy heads of these organizations can exercise the ministerial approval authorities in this Directive, including the delegation of approval authorities to the appropriate managers.
  • 6.3Appendix B of this directive does not apply to hospitality governed by the Official Hospitality Outside Canada (OHOC) policy established by Global Affairs Canada and the Heads of Post and Foreign Service Official Hospitality directives.

7. References

8. Enquiries


Appendix A: Standard on Travel

A.1 Effective date

  • A.1.1This standard takes effect on .
  • A.1.2This standard replaces the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, Appendix 1 dated .

A.2 Standards

  • A.2.1This standard provides details on the requirements set out in sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.
  • A.2.2The CFO is responsible for the following standards:

    Planning

    • A.2.2.1Ensuring that travel for both public servants and non-public servants is avoided where appropriate and that travel is cost efficient including:
      • A.2.2.1.1Limiting the number of departmental travellers to the minimum necessary to deliver the business of the government; and
      • A.2.2.1.2Selecting the most economical means of travel when booking transportation, accommodations and meeting facilities;
    • A.2.2.2Ensuring that the travel entitlements under provisions in the National Joint Council Foreign Service Directives, the National Joint Council Relocation Directive or the National Joint Council Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive are not subject to travel expenditure initiation under this Appendix. Travel costs authorized by these directives are to be coded in the Government-wide Chart of Accounts solely to those items;
    • A.2.2.3Advising Ministers and their exempt staff that that their travel undertaken in support of departmental business is not subject to travel expenditure initiation under this Appendix;

    Travel Authorization (Approval authority required for expenditure initiation)

    • A.2.2.4Ensuring that the travel approval authorities that are delegated below the senior departmental manager level are supported by the following operational needs:
      • A.2.2.4.1The program’s operations are regionally or globally dispersed and there is no senior departmental manager present in certain offices;
      • A.2.2.4.2The operational requirements for travel are frequent, may involve a significant number of travellers and concentrating approvals with one position would create potential delays; or
      • A.2.2.4.3The potential for delay in obtaining approval could be injurious to the public interest or the timely delivery of departmental services or operations;
    • A.2.2.5Ensuring that travel authorization is exercised in either of the followings ways:
      • A.2.2.5.1Approval by the delegated manager for a trip; or
      • A.2.2.5.2Approval by the delegated manager of a travel plan that reasonably covers the authorization elements of Table 1;
        • A.2.2.5.2.1Significant changes to trips within the travel plan are to be reapproved by the delegated manager;
    • A.2.2.6Ensuring that travel approval authorities under this Directive do not apply to:
      • A.2.2.6.1Local travel within the normal office location and surrounding working area of a public servant; or
      • A.2.2.6.2Travel required to respond rapidly to urgent and unforeseeable events that require a public servant to provide expertise or delivery of departmental programs or services to safeguard health, safety and security;
        • A.2.2.6.2.1Expenditure initiation approval for such emergency travel can be authorized by the appropriate fund centre manager with subsequent disclosure of the travel costs to the appropriate senior departmental manager;
    • A.2.2.7Ensuring that the following categories of travel are identified as part of the travel authorization for each proposed trip:
      • A.2.2.7.1Operational activities - Travel required to support the department’s operational activities (other than the following categories), legislative or legal requirements;
      • A.2.2.7.2Key stakeholders - Travel necessary to engage key stakeholders in relation to such matters as policy, program or regulatory development or renewal;
      • A.2.2.7.3Internal governance - Travel necessary to support sound internal departmental governance;
      • A.2.2.7.4Training - Travel to enable the training of public servants; and
      • A.2.2.7.5Other travel;
    • A.2.2.8The trip data elements of Table 1 are to be included, at a minimum, in the travel authorization form for expenditure initiation purposes.
      Table 1 Checklist of Trip Authorization Elements
      ElementDescription
      A. ObjectiveSummarize the objective of the travel.
      B. CategoryInclude the applicable category from A.2.2.7. Provide a detailed explanation of the purpose of the travel if the “Other travel” category is selected.
      C. Traveller as public servant or non-public servantIdentify whether a public servant or non-public servant.
      D. Virtual presence or other remote meeting solutionsRationale why virtual presence or other remote meeting solutions were not applied.
      E. Number of travellersRationale for the number of travellers as it relates to the suitability of the named traveller for the stated objective.
      F. Mode of transportationIdentify the estimated cost and rationale for the use of each of the applicable modes of transport: air, rail, taxi, personal motor vehicle, rental motor vehicle, and other modes.
      G. AccommodationsIdentify the estimated cost and rationale for the accommodation selected.
      H. Meals Identify the estimated cost of the meals based on the meal allowances set out in the National Joint Council Travel Directive, excluding those meals that are paid as part of the event or the mode of transportation.
      I. Incidentals and other costsIdentify the estimated cost of the incidentals and other costs based on the allowances set out in the National Joint Council Travel Directive.
    • A.2.2.9Acting as the delegated travel approval authority in situations where the traveller is the deputy head;
    • A.2.2.10Ensuring that a blanket travel authority (BTA), as specified under the National Joint Council Travel Directive, will include all Table 1 information and reflect the best cost estimates available;

    Additional Reporting

    • A.2.2.11 Ensuring that the department collects and retains the following in its departmental financial management or related systems:
      • A.2.2.11.1The travel category (element B) for authorized travel; and
      • A.2.2.11.2Both authorized and actual data for elements F to I specified in Table 1; and
    • A.2.2.12Disclosing the aggregate of actual annual expenditures of the travel categories, as part of 4.1.3, on the departmental website.

Appendix B: Standard on Hospitality

B.1 Effective date

  • B.1.1This standard takes effect on .
  • B.1.2This standard replaces the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, Appendix 2 dated .

B.2 Standards

  • B.2.1This standard provides details on the requirements set out in sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.
  • B.2.2The CFO is responsible for the following standards:

    Planning

    • B.2.2.1Ensuring that decisions to offer hospitality are carefully considered and necessary based on courtesy, diplomacy, protocol or to facilitate the achievement of the business of the government.
    • B.2.2.2Ensuring that the provision of food and beverages is in accordance with the cost limits in Table 2 where:
      • B.2.2.2.1The Standard Cost per Person is the expected meal cost per person to be applied in normal circumstances;
        Table 2 – Maximum Food and beverage Cost Per Person (based on allowances set out in the National Joint Council Travel Directive)
        Food and beveragesStandard Cost per PersonMaximum Cost per Person
        Breakfast1.5 X Breakfast Allowance1.5 X Standard Cost Per Person
        Refreshment0.5 X Breakfast Allowance
        Lunch2.0 X Lunch Allowance
        Reception2.0 X Breakfast Allowance
        Dinner1.75 X Dinner Allowance
    • B.2.2.3Ensuring that when only public servants are present, hospitality can only be provided in situations where:
      • B.2.2.3.1Participation is required in operational meetings, training or events that extend beyond normal working hours including where:
        • B.2.2.3.1.1There are no nearby or appropriate facilities to obtain refreshments or meals; or
        • B.2.2.3.1.2Staff dispersal is not effective or efficient;
    • B.2.2.4Ensuring that meals provided to public servants in the course of their duties, where a department has no discretion in their provision, are not subject to hospitality authorization under this directive;
    • B.2.2.5Ensuring that hospitality, including with any of the following elements, is only provided to non-public servants and the minimum required number of public servants for reasons of courtesy, diplomacy or protocol:
      • B.2.2.5.1Alcoholic beverages;
      • B.2.2.5.2Entertainment activities;
      • B.2.2.5.3Local transportation to and from an event or activity; and
      • B.2.2.5.4Facility rental and associated items which are directly and inherently for hospitality purposes;

    Hospitality Authorization (Approval authority required for expenditure initiation)

    • B.2.2.6Seeking Ministerial approval when the following hospitality components are present, unless any or all components have been delegated by the Minister to the deputy head:
      • B.2.2.6.1Total hospitality costs associated with an event exceed $10,000;
      • B.2.2.6.2Alcoholic beverages will be provided;
      • B.2.2.6.3Food and beverage costs exceed the standard cost per person, up to the maximum cost per person (Table 2);
      • B.2.2.6.4Food and beverage costs exceed the maximum cost per person (Table 2);
      • B.2.2.6.5Entertainment will be provided;
      • B.2.2.6.6Hospitality or entertainment will be provided to a person accompanying an event participant; or
      • B.2.2.6.7Hospitality paid by the federal government will be extended at the residence of a public servant;
    • B.2.2.7 Seeking deputy head approval for the following:
      • B.2.2.7.1When the total hospitality costs exceed $3,000 but are $10,000 or less and, if delegated to the deputy head, any components listed in B.2.2.6 requiring ministerial approval that are present;
    • B.2.2.8Ensuring that approval of the senior departmental manager, or the delegated manager, is obtained when total hospitality costs associated with the event are $3,000 or less, and none of the elements listed in B.2.2.6 are present;
    • B.2.2.9Ensuring that, with the exception of the Minister, an appropriate alternative approval authority is obtained when the individual who would normally approve the hospitality is also a participant at the hospitality event;
    • B.2.2.10Approving hospitality up to the deputy head limits set out in B.2.2.7 in situations where the deputy head is in attendance at a hospitality event and would normally approve the hospitality;
    • B.2.2.11Ensuring that blanket hospitality authorities (BHA) for expenditure initiation, which do not include any elements requiring ministerial approval as set out in B.2.2.6 or as delegated to the deputy head, are:
      • B.2.2.11.1Approved for use within a particular fiscal year;
      • B.2.2.11.2Supported by sound rationale and proper oversight, accountabilities and controls including:
        • B.2.2.11.2.1Quarterly internal departmental reporting, at a minimum, of planned and actual blanket hospitality authorities expenditures; and
      • B.2.2.11.3Reapproved for individual hospitality prior to its occurrence, if possible, when there are any exceptions to the BHA parameters.

Appendix C: Standard on Conferences

C.1 Effective date

  • C.1.1This standard takes effect on .
  • C.1.2This standard replaces the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, Appendix 3 dated .

C.2 Standards

  • C.2.1This standard provides details on the requirements set out in sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.
  • C.2.2The CFO is responsible for the following standards:

    Planning

    • C.2.2.1Ensuring that the objective of attending a conference is specified in the applicable conference approval document. Where travel is involved, the travel authorization elements of Table 1 in Appendix A will apply;
    • C.2.2.2Limiting the number of public servants attending a conference from a department to the minimum necessary to achieve the departmental objective;

    Conference Authorization (Approval authority required for expenditure initiation)

    • C.2.2.3Ensuring that the conference approval authority set out in the departmental delegation of financial and spending authorities chart is at the senior departmental manager level; and
    • C.2.2.4Ensuring that when multiple public servants attend the same conference, event approval is obtained for the total planned conference costs as set out in Appendix D.

Appendix D: Standard on Events

D.1 Effective date

  • D.1.1This standard takes effect on .
  • D.1.2This standard replaces the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, Appendix 4 dated .

D.2 Standards

  • D.2.1This standard provides details on the requirements set out in sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.
  • D.2.2The CFO is responsible for the following standards:

    Planning

    • D.2.2.1Ensuring that the appropriate number of public servants attend an event when the total event costs are submitted for approval, as specified in D.2.2.3 to D.2.2.6;
    • D.2.2.2Ensuring that training activities are not considered as an event and are approved as part of an individual’s training plan by the appropriate manager as set out in the departmental delegation of financial and spending authorities chart;

    Event Authorization (Approval authority required for expenditure initiation)

    • D.2.2.3Seeking Ministerial approval when total departmental costs associated with an event exceed $50,000;
    • D.2.2.4Ensuring that the minister is provided with the total estimated federal cost for all participating departments, including the total estimated travel costs, for information purposes, when their approval is required for an event hosted by the department;
    • D.2.2.5Seeking deputy head approval of an event when total departmental costs associated with the event exceed $25,000 but are $50,000 or less; and
    • D.2.2.6Ensuring that approval of the senior departmental manager or the delegated manager of an event is obtained when the total departmental costs associated with the event are $25,000 or less.

Appendix E: Definitions

blanket hospitality authority (autorisation générale pour l’accueil)
Authorization for hospitality which is continuous or repetitive in nature and where it is not practical or administratively efficient to obtain prior approval for each individual hospitality occurrence.
conferences (conférences)
Are events and refer to a congress, convention, seminar, symposium or other formal gathering, which are usually organized by a third party external to government, where participants debate or are informed of the status of a discipline (e.g. sciences, economics, technology, management). (This definition is based on the object of expenditure 0823 Conference Fees of the Government-wide Chart of Accounts).
entertainment activities (activités de divertissement)
The action of being provided with amusement or enjoyment and includes, but is not limited to tickets to musical, theatre, sporting or similar events, tours of local or other places of interest, and other similar activities for reasons of courtesy, diplomacy and protocol.
events (événements)

Involve gatherings of individuals (both public and/or non-public servants) engaged in activities other than operational activities of the department. Examples of events include, but are not limited to:

  • Management and staff retreats;
  • Participation in conferences;
  • Awards and recognition ceremonies; and
  • Departmental celebrations.
hospitality (accueil)
Consists of the provision of meals, beverages or refreshments in events which are necessary for the effective conduct of government business and for courtesy, diplomacy or protocol purposes.
operational activities (activités opérationnelles)

Are those activities undertaken to deliver departmental programs and services including departmental internal services.

For individuals, operational activities are those activities undertaken in the performance of their assigned tasks, as set out in position descriptions, terms of reference, statements of work or other like documents.

Any gathering of individuals, the purpose of which is not to conduct operational activities, shall be defined as an “event”.

reception (réception)
A function over a prolonged period of time, where food may be served for the purpose of sustaining attendees and where a meal may or may not be served afterward.
refreshments (rafraîchissements)
Include beverages or food (e.g. light snacks) or both, served between meals.
training (formation)
Fees paid for formal learning activities, which include a curriculum and established learning objectives, and where the primary purpose is to enable participants to maintain or acquire skills or knowledge.