DO: Travel Policy and Procedures

Classification: 
D: Fiscal Management
Code: 
DO

The Vancouver School Board (“The Board”) shall reimburse its business travellers for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by them in the course of carrying out their school district responsibilities.

The Board also supports and encourages Trustees and employees to participate in conferences, seminars, workshops and other programs that contribute to their personal and professional growth as it relates to their roles in the school district. 

Formal approval must be obtained prior to arranging authorized travel as defined in this policy.  

A "business traveller" is defined as any employee, student or visitor who is being reimbursed travel-related expenses by the Vancouver School Board. 

A "reasonable expense" is deemed to be based on sound judgement and moderation. Refer to Eligible Travel Expenses below for further detail on reimbursable expenses.

Scope

This policy applies to all school district travel, regardless of the ultimate source of funding.

If a circumstance arises that is not specifically covered in the procedures below, the traveller or signing authority must adopt the most conservative course within the "spirit" of this policy or consult the Accounting Department.

Responsibility

The Vancouver School Board is responsible for maintaining appropriate internal controls and checks as part of its accountability.

The traveller is responsible for ensuring that claims for reimbursement are accurate, conform with the Board's Travel Policy and Procedures and, where applicable, funding agency rules, and that all expenditures are supported by original receipts as required. The traveller is encouraged to submit reimbursement claims within 15 working days and not later than two months from completion of the trip.

The authorized approving officer is responsible for ensuring that claims are for legitimate school district activities, are within the conditions of the Travel Policy and are being charged to an appropriate account. Outlined below are the authorizations required when claiming travel expenses.

The Accounting Department is responsible for developing and maintaining administrative processes relating to travel, processing travel reimbursements in a timely manner and ensuring that claims for reimbursement are in compliance with the Vancouver School Board Travel Policy and Procedures.

Authorizations

The following authorizations are required to request and report on a travel cash advance and to claim travel expenses:

The signature of the claimant/traveller.

Approval by an authorized approving officer as outlined below.

Traveller

Authorization Required

Trustees

Secretary Treasurer

Superintendent

Secretary Treasurer

Secretary Treasurer

Superintendent

Associate Superintendent

Superintendent

Division Head

Superintendent or Secretary Treasurer

Principal

Travel related to professional development must be approved by the Designated Associate Superintendent.  

All other travel must be approved by the supervising Associate Superintendent.

Vice-Principal

Travel related to professional development must be approved by the Designated Associate Superintendent. 

All other travel must be approved by the supervising Principal.

Other Travellers

The authorized approving officer must be the account signing authority, and must be a minimum one level above the claimant.

Travel costing $1,000 or more must be approved by the Associate Superintendent or Division Head.

PROCEDURES

Making Travel Arrangements

Travel is to be arranged by the most economical and practical mode giving recognition to the effective use of the traveller’s time.  

Expense claims will be submitted recognizing the fundamental principle that expenses paid from public funds have been incurred prudently and meet the test of appropriateness and reasonableness.

Methods of Payment

It is not intended that a traveller use personal funds to finance school district business travel costs. Travel expenses should be paid using the following options:

  • Purchasing cards
  • Personal credit card
  • Travel cash advance

Purchasing Cards


Travellers are encouraged to use a purchasing card for travel-related expenses.

Personal Credit Card


Personal credit cards may be an alternative to the Purchasing Card. The school district does not pay for service charges, interest or annual fees associated with personal credit cards; these are the sole responsibility of the cardholder.

Travel Cash Advance


Travel cash advance will be issued only for full-time employees. Travel cash advances may be requested on the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form. All travel cash advances are to be reported on the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form within 15 days of the completion of the trip. Delinquent advances will be recovered through payroll deduction after 60 days overdue. Travel cash advances will not be issued if the traveller has any unreported, past due advances.

Expense Reporting and Claim Procedures

Travel expenses will be reimbursed providing they are reasonable in nature and amount, are properly supported with documentation as described in Receipts below and have been appropriately approved as described in Authorizations above. In order to claim travel expenses, the traveller must submit a Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form within 15 working days of completion of the travel. Claims for expenses that are older than twelve months will not be reimbursed.

All expense reimbursement claims from all funding sources must be submitted to Accounting for processing with original receipts attached.  

In order to provide timely financial information to departments all claims should be submitted to the Accounting Department within 15 days of completing the travel or incurring the business expenses. 

All Claimants must use the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form and the travel forms posted on the VSB website in the VSB Staff section. . All expenses must be adequately described i.e. point of origin and destination, mode of travel, purpose of the trip, etc. 

In order to speed up processing, the receipts and vouchers should be stapled to the back of the expense claim form in the order in which they appear on the claim. 

In order for the school or department to receive all the GST rebate to which it is entitled and speed processing through Accounting, it is requested that all GST amounts be clearly identified by the claimant on the claim form. 

All claims must be signed by the claimant and approved as described in Authorizations above. 

Accounting will only process claims that are fully completed and properly approved. Incomplete forms will be returned to the claimant. 

Accounting is responsible for the administration of this procedure and is authorized to question any claim and obtain further information if necessary.  

When expenses are not properly supported or not adequately explained Accounting may deduct the amount in question when paying the claim so that payment of the remaining expenses is not delayed. The claimant will be informed of the discrepancy and the expense item can be re-submitted on another expense claim when the matter is resolved. 

The rate of exchange used to convert to Canadian currency will be the rate supported by an exchange slip provided by the bank or an exchange bureau at the time the currency was bought by the claimant. If such a document is unavailable the claim will be converted at the rate set by the School District’s Accounting Department on the day the School District processes the claim. When an item is purchased in a foreign currency on a credit card the School District will use the exchange rate used by the credit card company.

Receipts

Original receipts are required for reimbursement of all expenses with the exception of the per diems and gratuitous accommodation. When a receipt is required neither credit card statements nor credit card slips are acceptable substitutes for original itemized receipts unless approved by the authorized approving officer. In instances where an original receipt is not issued or has been lost, submit a copy of the credit card statement or credit card slip together with an explanatory note signed by the traveller.

When a receipt for meals or incidental expenses is unavailable, a per diem may be claimed. An itemized list, signed by the traveller, must be provided with the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form to support this claim. Current per diem rates can be found in Appendix A.

In cases where the cost of a trip is partially funded by an outside source which requires original receipts, the original receipts must first be submitted to Accounting with the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form along with a copy of the funding agreement. The Accounting department will invoice the third party and attach the original receipts.

Eligible Travel Expenses

Accommodation

Hotel Expenses


Reimbursement is limited to a single room rate per traveller.

Travellers are expected to book accommodation at government rates when applicable. When booking travel within BC please refer to the provincial Business Travel Accommodation Listing available online at: http://www.pss.gov.bc.ca/csa/csa.html

The Vancouver Board of Education is an approved user of Provincial Corporate Supply Arrangements. VBE employees travelling for business purposes have access to government rates negotiated as part of Provincial Corporate Supply Arrangements.

If reservations must be cancelled, it is the responsibility of the traveller to make sure that cancellation is made in advance so that "no show" charges will not be incurred.

Gratuitous Accommodations


The Board recognizes that gratuitous accommodation assists the traveller and the Board in maintaining low travel expenses. The intent of this allowance is to reduce hotel costs by encouraging the traveller to lodge with family or friends when possible. The maximum reimbursable rate, when travelling on approved school district business, is found in Appendix A. Receipts are not required. This allowance is payable to the traveller only, not to the lodging host.

Local Functions


Reimbursement for accommodation for local functions (within Metro Vancouver) will not be approved, as it is expected that attendees will arrange to travel from home each day.

Air Travel

Airfare


The cost of coach class airfare is eligible for reimbursement. Travellers are encouraged to obtain the lowest available fare; this can often result in a charge that is lower than the Economy rate. Claims for First Class and Business Class travel will be reimbursed at the coach rate unless special circumstances so warrant (e.g. a medical certificate). Financial penalties which apply to changes and cancellations of non-refundable tickets are reimbursed if the change is made for school district business, rather than for personal reasons.

Unused tickets


Unused tickets or any portion thereof must be returned to your travel agency as soon as possible for proper credit and processing. It is the responsibility of the traveller to pursue credit for any unused refundable tickets.

Flight Cancellation Insurance


Flight cancellation insurance is an allowable expense.

Frequent Flyer Points


Travellers are not permitted to collect or use frequent flyer points with respect to airline travel reimbursed by the Board.

Ground Travel

Airport Limousine/Transportation


For transportation to and from airports, an air porter or bus is recommended.

Car Rental


Car rentals should be used only when it is the most economical alternative.

When making car rental bookings, the traveller is encouraged to obtain the most cost-effective, practical vehicle and to take advantage of corporate and other discounts. When travelling on school district business, daily vehicle insurance coverage must be acquired

Please remember to refuel your rental car prior to its return and save the gas receipts for reimbursement.

Privately Owned Vehicles


Use of a private automobile should be limited to those trips where no suitable public transportation is available or where a private automobile is more time and/or cost effective. Please refer to the DLC Mileage Reimbursement policy for the kilometer rate.

When an individual travels on School District business but wishes to use his or her own vehicle for personal convenience, the School District will only reimburse actual costs (kilometers driven, meals, accommodation etc.) for normal traveling time, but not exceeding the cost of full economy air fare.

All mileage will be reimbursed according to the DLC Mileage Reimbursement policy.

Parking/Highway Toll/Ferries/Bridge Tolls


Turnpike and highway toll taxes will be paid based on actual receipted costs.  Parking receipts must be obtained for reimbursement purposes where possible.

Rail


The Club Car accommodation for day travel, or standard lower berth or roomette accommodation for overnight travel is acceptable for travelling by rail.

Taxi / Bus


Taxi or bus transit may be used where this represents an economical means of transportation. Receipts should be obtained for reimbursement purposes.

Meals

With Receipts


Individuals will be reimbursed for reasonable amounts incurred for meals when travelling on school district business.

Without Receipts


To simplify processing, no receipts are required when claiming per diem meal allowances. Refer to Appendix A for the Maximum Per Diem Rates.

Only meal costs incurred while on school district business or during travel for school district business should be claimed. For example, a traveller beginning or ending travel midway through a day should not claim the full day's allowance.

Claims for meals for part of the day will be based upon the time away from the district. Meals covered by the conference registration or provided in flight are to be deducted from the meal claim.

Registrations

Registrations should be invoiced and paid by cheque or charged against the traveller's Purchasing Card, whenever possible. An alternative is to requisition a prepayment via a travel cash advance request. Proof of payment from the host organization is required to settle this advance request upon completion of the conference/event.

Out-of-Country Travel

Persons travelling outside of Canada may be reimbursed for expenses if they were specifically incurred and necessary for their travel.

Such expenses include, but are not limited to, the costs of:

  • visas
  • currency exchange
  • airport/departure taxes
  • immunization shots

Receipts are required for reimbursement. When claiming expenses on the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form, state the amount and type of currency used. The exchange rate will be calculated by Accounting unless proof of the exchange is provided. The exchange rate should be the applicable rate on the transaction date. When possible, provide a copy of the cardholder's statement to support exchange rates.

All travel expenses outside of Canada will be reimbursed in Canadian dollars, and adjusted by the current exchange rates to reflect Canadian dollar equivalency. When travel in the United States takes place, allowable per diems are applied in U.S. dollars before conversion to Canadian dollars.

School District staff should regularly check with the Canadian Government Department of Foreign Affairs web site to determine if Canadians should travel to countries where there is a hazard or risk of injury/death due to local conditions.

Other Eligible Travel Expenses

The specific nature of miscellaneous expenses is to be detailed on the Claim for Travel/Conference Expense form and original receipts should be provided.

Incidental expenses without receipt will be reimbursed up to the maximum per diem limit specified in Appendix A - Incidental Expenses Without Receipt.

Group Travel

Accounting requires a list of the individuals comprising the group. The individual overseeing the entire trip is responsible for obtaining and submitting all original receipts.

Ineligible Travel Expenses

Inclusive but not restricted to:

  • Any expenses related to accompanying travel companions
  • Child care expenses
  • Pet care expenses
  • Non-business or personal related expenses (barbers and hairdressers, toiletry articles, movie rental)
  • Parking and other traffic fines
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Insurance coverage for privately owned vehicles
  • Expenses for the repairs and cleaning of privately owned vehicles
  • Expenses related to damages to uninsured rental cars and privately owned vehicles
  • Interest charges levied on overdue invoices or credit card statements
  • Unnecessary stopovers
  • Lost or stolen items
  • Meals included in another reimbursable item (e.g. conference fee, transportation charge, accommodation)
  • In room entertainment
  • Passports and other travel documents
  • Photographs for travel documents
  • Costs resulting from failure to cancel a guaranteed reservation
  • Medical bills, prescriptions, etc., except for immunization costs incurred for foreign business travel as required by Public Health Canada

 Appendix A

Travel Expense Reimbursement Rates
(Reviewed Annually)

Gratuitous Accommodations
The maximum reimbursable rate: $35 CDN per night.  

Meals Without Receipts - maximum per diem rates:
Canada $50.00 CDN ($10 Breakfast, $15 Lunch, $25 Dinner)
United States $50.00 USD ($10 Breakfast, $15 Lunch, $25 Dinner)
Europe 50 euro (10 Breakfast, 15 Lunch, 25 Dinner)
Other Countries $70 CDN ($15, $20, $35)

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.

Incidental Expenses Without Receipts:
The maximum per diem rate for incidental expenses when a receipt is unavailable is up to $10.00 per day. 

DMT Responsability: Accounting

Adopted Date: 
Monday February 18, 2008