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Expenses Policy

 
POLICY:

Vita Community Living Services and Mens Sana Families for Mental Health (VITA) will abide by the Broader Public Sector Expenses Directive issued by the Government of Ontario’s Management Board of Cabinet under the authority of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010, (Part IV – Expense Claims: Allowable Expenses).
 
PURPOSE:
 
The purpose of this policy it to set out the rules where expenses are reimbursed through public funding for travel, meals and hospitality.  The directive provides for accountability and transparency, and to ensure that government funds are used prudently and responsibly.  This policy applies to all employees, board members, consultants, contractors, vendors, students and volunteers.

PROCEDURES:

VITA will reimburse preauthorized costs incurred by employees, board members, consultants, contractors, vendors, students and volunteers while conducting official business or travel for the agency and when appropriate documentation is provided.

The following rules will apply to all individuals outlined in this policy.

Accountability, Approval and Recording Process on Expenses:

  • All employee expense claims for reimbursement must be pre-authorized and pre-approved by a Director or designate.
  • Approvers are accountable for their decisions, which will include:
    • Good judgment and knowledge of the situation.
    • Exercised in appropriate circumstances.
    • Comply with the principles and mandatory requirements set out in this directive and the expenses rules.
  • All original, itemized receipts of expenses incurred must be submitted along with the completed and approved expense claim form to the Finance Department.
  • Any overpayments made to the employee in error must be repaid back to the agency.
  • If an employee is leaving employment, all claims for expenses must be submitted prior to leaving the agency.
  • All paid expense claims will be maintained by the Finance Department for verification and audit purposes for a minimum of 7 years.
  • All employee expense claim reimbursements will be made in a manual cheque format signed and approved by the Executive Director.
  • Under no circumstances will expense reimbursement payments be made through payroll deposit.
  • A Board member authorized by the Board to so do will approve the reimbursements of the expenses of the Executive Director.
  • All approvers are prohibited from approving their own expenses.
  • Approvers will only approve expenses that are necessarily incurred in the performance of organization business and only for claims that include all appropriate documentation.
  • This policy will be posted on VITA’s Website and accessible to the public.

Travel Expenses

  • All travel within Ontario requires prior approval from a Director or designate.
  • Travel outside Ontario, but within Canada, must be approved by both, the Director responsible for the budget being used to fund the travel in order to enable an employee to visit another service provider or to attend training or a conference, and the Executive Director.
  • All International travel (outside Canada) must be pre-approved by the Executive Director.
  • When travel outside Ontario is being considered, the most cost-effective method of travel should be chosen while balancing efficiency in operations.
  • In determining travel mode and accommodation, the least costly alternative shall always be chosen where possible. Economy (coach) class is the standard option.
  • A written rationale to demonstrate that the proposed travel is necessary and that the requested travel arrangement are cost-effective, including a detailed itemization of all expenses that will be incurred, must be documented and presented to the Executive Director for consideration and approval.
  • The use of public transportation, car pools, agency vehicles, seat sales, discount rates, etc., is encouraged when traveling on agency business.
  • When it makes operational sense to do so, consideration should be given to using a company vehicle rather than an employee’s personal car to drive distances of more than 200 km in one day.
  • Whenever practical, local transportation and hotel shuttle services should be used.
  • Taxicabs may be used when other forms of transportation are not available, when weather/baggage/health and safety concerns so warrant, and when group travel by taxicab is cheaper than other forms of transportation.

Overnight Travel/Hotel Accommodation Expenses

  • When employees have obtained pre-approval and require hotel accommodation when carrying out their duties, they should choose a hotel that is reasonably priced in the area and a standard hotel room should be used.
  • Employees choosing an expensive hotel will be expected to pay the additional expense themselves.
  • When attending a pre-approved conference, a conference room rate is sometimes set.  VITA will reimburse up to the full amount of the conference room rate.
  • When attending a meeting and no conference room rate has been set, VITA will pay the full amount of the lowest cost room available.  Reimbursement will be made for single accommodation in a standard room.
  • No reimbursement will be made for suites, executive floors or concierge services.
  • Laundry service will be considered an allowable expense when the trip is greater than one week.
  • VITA will reimburse the cost of Internet usage and personal telephone calls made by an employee staying at a hotel up to an average of $5.00 /per day.
  • Movie rentals, room service costs, Pay-for-view, mini bar purchases etc., are considered personal expenses and shall be absorbed entirely by the employee.

Meal Expenses

  • Where employees are conducting business while traveling for the agency, the following meal allowances  (including taxes and gratuities if validated on the receipt), subject to the conditions outlined below are set out:
    • Breakfast         $7.50
    • Snacks/coffee  $3.50
    • Lunch              $11.00
    • Dinner             $18.00*
  • All original receipts for meal expenses must be submitted and attached to the Expense Claim Form.
  • An employee opting to purchase a meal that exceeds the allowances listed above may submit the receipt(s) but will only be reimbursed up to the level of the allowances stated.
  • Reimbursement of meal cost must not include the reimbursement for any costs associated with alcoholic beverages, and alcohol must not be consumed when employees are on duty except as explicitly approved by the Executive Director or designate.
  • When attending a conference, workshop, training session, seminar etc. VITA will not reimburse any meal expenses.
  • VITA employees who are supporting members on an outing to create a dining experience for the supported individuals, will be reimbursed for meal expenses as outlined below:
    • Breakfast         $7.50
    • Snacks/coffee  $3.50
    • Lunch              $11.00
    • Dinner             $18.00*
  • It is VITA’s policy to ensure that all member outings per program are monitored as well as the frequency of the outings, the destinations chosen and the staff supporting the members.

Personal Vehicle Mileage Expenses

  • Employees eligible to use their personal vehicle on approved agency business shall complete an Expense Claim Form, have their immediate Director approve and submit to the Finance Department at the end of each month end period.
  • All mileage expenses will be reimbursed at the rate approved by the Executive Director, which is subject to change over time.
  • VITA will not reimburse mileage expenses to and from work.
  • If VITA employees use their personal vehicles in the course of work duty, the employee’s first and last travel destinations will not be reimbursed, as these mileages are considered to and from work mileage calculations.  However, if an employee makes multiple travel destinations during the course of their work duties for example travels from one VITA program to another etc, the mileage accrued throughout the day minus the first and last travel destinations will be reimbursed.
  • VITA will not reimburse expenses associated with repairs or damages to personal vehicles, oil changes, routine maintenance, traffic violations, parking tickets, personal automobile insurance etc., during travel or while on duty.
  • At the discretion of the Executive Director or designate, an employee may be reimbursed for expenses incurred for road, ferry, or bridge tolls if there was no reasonable alternative route that an employee could have taken or there was a need to get from one location to another in the shortest time possible.
  • Employee may incur parking fee when using their personal vehicles in the course of work.  VITA will reimburse the parking fee only if an explanation of the parking is provided on the Expense Claim Form, along with the original parking receipt attached and approved by a Director or designate.
  • In order to be eligible for mileage expense reimbursement as outlined in this policy, an employee must complete an Expense Claim Form and clearly indicate the number of kilometers traveled, the destination(s), and the purpose for the travel.  Incomplete Expense Claim Forms will not be processed.

Cash Advances

Employees may request a cash advance from the Finance Department in order to pay for expenses in advance of purchasing them. All cash advances must be accompanied with a PO (Purchase Order) and must be pre-approved by a Director or Executive Director. Itemized original receipts of expenses must be submitted to the Finance Department to clear the cash advance. In the event that the cash advance is not reconciled with the Finance Department  within (10) business days, the outstanding cash advance payment made to the employee will be deducted from payroll.

Hospitality

“Hospitality” is defined as the provision of food, beverages (including alcoholic beverages), accommodation, transportation, or other amenities at public expense to persons who are not engaged in work for VITA where there is benefit to VITA for such hospitality.
 

  • VITA will ensure that hospitality is provided in an economical, consistent and appropriate manner that facilitates the agency’s business or is desirable as a matter of courtesy.
  • Hospitality may be extended to cover the expenses of professionals coming to VITA from a distance, to cover the expenses of guests visiting VITA in an official capacity, to cover the cost of hosting conferences and interagency functions and to facilitate interactions with or reward volunteers, donors and business partners (business partners from either public or private sector).
  • VITA will ensure that hospitality expenditures are kept modest and will be consistent with the status of the guest(s), the number of persons attending, and the business purpose to be achieved.
  • All hospitality expenses will be recorded, documented and maintained in the Finance Department for a minimum of 7 years.
  • VITA will ensure to record and document the information pertaining to the purpose of the hospitality, the form of hospitality, the cost, name and location of the establishment, number of attendees, names of the individuals entertained and their titles/company name, and the name of the member of VITA management approving the expenditures.
  • Only under the discretion and approval of the Executive Director will alcoholic beverages be provided.
  • VITA will ensure that whenever alcohol is provided, it will be provided in a responsible manner, e.g. food will be severed when alcohol is available and that taxi chits will be made available.

Expenses for Consultants and Other Contractors

VITA will abide to the Broader Public Sector Expenses Directive issued by the Government of Ontario’s Management Board of Cabinet, and ensure that the following expenses for consultants and other contractors are not reimbursed under any circumstances:
 

  • Meals, snacks and beverages.
  • Gratuities.
  • Laundry or dry cleaning.
  • Valet services.
  • Dependant care.
  • Home management.
  • Personal telephone calls.

VITA will ensure that consultants and other contractor’s reimbursements for allowable expenses can be claimed and reimbursed only when the contract specifically provides for it.

EVALUATION:
 
This policy will be evaluated and reviewed annually by management.

APPENDIX
 
VITA’s Expense Claim & Mileage Form.

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Vita Community Services/Mens Sana
4301 Weston Rd.
Toronto, ON
M9L 2Y3
416 749 6234 (Telephone)
416 749 1456 (Facsimile)