Travel Policy

Effective Date

This policy is effective as of June 19, 2013


The Institute encourages member participation by paying travel expenses for approved attendance at all authorized meetings and activities. Any and all limitations are outlined in the By-Laws, Regulations and policies of the Institute.


Composite allowance means a per diem compensation for meals and incidental expenses.

Full cost of travel includes all expenses related to that travel, including transportation, accommodation, per diems, and salary replacement.

Incidental expenses includes such items as gratuities (other than those related to meals and taxi use), laundry, dry cleaning, depreciation of luggage, telephone calls, bottled water and other personal supplies and services, the costs of which can be attributed to a period in travel status, but for which no other reimbursement or allowance is provided under this directive.

Local area spans an area of 16 km using the most direct, safe and practical road from the assigned workplace on any work day, and the member's home on any non-work day.

Ordinary workplace is the location at or from which a member, when acting as an employee of their normal employer, ordinarily performs the duties of their position and, in the case of a teleworker or an employee whose duties are of an itinerant nature, the employer's premises to which the employee returns to prepare and/or submit reports, etc., and where other administrative matters pertaining to the employee's employment are conducted.

Travel status occurs when a member is travelling on authorized Institute business.

Work day means any day on which the member receives pay from his employer for rendering labour or for paid time for union activities, but not including any full day of leave without pay for union activities.

Part A – Authorization, Responsibilities, and Administration

1. Guidance

Members travelling on Institute business, shall be afforded transportation and accommodation that are comfortable and of good quality. Allowances, rates and conditions of payment and reimbursement shall be sufficient to meet reasonable, legitimate expenses that are necessarily incurred as a result of the requirement to travel. In exceptional travel situations, when a member is confronted with unusual costs, actual and reasonable expenses may be reimbursed.

It is the prerogative of the Institute to determine whether, when, where, by whom and by what means, travel will be undertaken and to select the mode and class of transportation and the accommodation to be used, subject to the provisions of this policy.

Members authorizing travel and members authorized to travel should be aware that expenses resulting from misinterpretations or mistakes are not a basis for reimbursement. Uncertainties as to entitlements should be referred to the Finance Section.

All claims for travel expenses should be submitted for reimbursement within one hundred and eighty (180) days after the date on which the expenses were incurred. If a claim is not received within the aforementioned time frame, ten percent (10%) of the adjusted and approved amount claimed will be deducted each month thereafter.

Should a member disagree with a reimbursement based on the interpretation of this policy, an appeal shall first be addressed to the Finance Committee. Any further appeal would then be to the Board of Directors.

2. Responsibilities

The member shall:

  1. Obtain prior authorization to travel except where otherwise provided;
  2. Provide all requested information required for the reimbursement of legitimate travel expenses.
  3. Be responsible for the safeguarding of travel advances and funds provided.

3. Receipts

Claims for travel expenses shall be submitted to the Institute in the format specified by the Institute. Supporting documents for travel expense claims (such as original receipts) shall be retained by the member for a period of two (2) years from the date of the claim. At any time within that two (2) year period, the Institute may require a member to submit supporting documents.

The only expenses for which receipts are not required are as follows:

  1. Meal allowances;
  2. Incidental allowances;
  3. Local public transportation;
  4. Taxis or parking fees for which the cost is less than $20.00, and
  5. Kilometric allowance.

When a member or a constituent body is claiming a reimbursement for authorized expenses incurred on behalf of a group of members, the original receipts and a listing of all members attending shall be provided to the Institute prior to the reimbursement being issued.

The Institute may request receipts and supporting documentation from members on a random basis for audit purposes.

The Institute may accept a personal declaration where the member certifies that a receipt was lost, accidentally destroyed or unobtainable.

4. Overpayments

Overpayments, namely amounts reimbursed or paid to members, which are not in accordance with the terms of this policy, shall be recovered from the member.

5. Review and Amendment of the Institute Travel Rates

The Chief Financial Officer is charged with periodically reviewing the travel rates published by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the National Joint Council (NJC) and making recommendations to the Executive Committee on any changes to the travel rates in this policy.

Part B - Travel Arrangements

1. Travel Arrangements

Unless otherwise authorized in advance by the Chief Financial Officer, tickets for travel shall be prepaid and arranged by the Institute. Travel to participate in Institute activities shall be at a rate determined by the Institute. If additional costs are incurred such as cancellation, change or stop-over fees, the member may be responsible for payment of these additional costs.

2. Pre-Authorization

The Institute retains the right to require pre-authorization for particular types of travel or expenses, for travel related to particular types of activities, or travel by specific individuals.

3. Travel Advances

Members travelling on Institute business shall, to the extent feasible, be provided, on request, with a travel advance to cover travel expenses not directly paid by the Institute.

Every advance shall be accounted for by filling out a Travel Expense Claim. No additional advances shall be granted to an individual where a previous advance has been outstanding for a period of more than sixty (60) days. Advances shall not be granted with respect to compensatory salary replacement.

Part C - Commercial Transportation

1. Criteria

The selection of the mode of transportation shall be made by the Institute on the basis of cost, convenience, safety and practicality.

2. Air

Where air transportation is authorized and used, the member shall be provided with the necessary prepaid tickets by the Institute.

When a member does not wish to travel by air, the Institute shall endeavour to permit the member to travel by other means, except that the full cost of travel to be reimbursed shall not exceed the maximum rate allowed for driving to Institute meetings specified in Schedule A.

Itineraries should be arranged to provide for an overnight stop after continuous travel time of at least nine (9) hours, or within itineraries that would involve continuous travel time in excess of twelve (12) hours.

3. Train

Rail trips of three (3) continuous hours or less shall be most economic class. For longer trips, a higher standard is permitted, taking into account the cost and additional services or comfort provided, with roomette or equivalent accommodation for overnight travel as authorized by the Chief Financial Officer. Train travel in Business Class will be authorized within the Quebec-Windsor corridor.

4. Taxi

Members may claim reasonable taxi expenses incurred while on Institute business.

5. Ferries

Members may claim reasonable ferry expenses incurred while on Institute business.

6. Watercraft

In view of time and cost, transportation by watercraft, other than ferries, should not normally be authorized for Institute business travel. In those few instances where this mode of transportation is authorized by the Institute and overnight travel is involved, single accommodation shall be provided where available.

Part D - Member-Driven Vehicles

1. Criteria

Member–driven vehicle includes automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and motor homes.

2. Claims and distance limits

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the full cost of travel that shall be reimbursed for travel by car shall be the lesser of the number of kilometres driven times the applicable kilometric rate or the maximum rate allowed for driving to Institute meetings specified in Schedule A.

3. Rental Vehicles

Rental vehicles must be pre-authorized by the Institute and may be used where, in the opinion of the Institute; this mode of travel is economical and practical.

All rental vehicles must be reserved through the Institute's travel agent.

Insurance is provided directly by the Institute. Additional Insurance offered by the rental car agency shall be declined.

Drop-off charges shall not be reimbursed unless pre-authorized by the Institute and may be authorized only where this is cost beneficial.

Mid-sized vehicles shall be rented. Larger vehicles may be authorized only when the number of members to be carried, the bulk or weight of the goods to be transported, or an extenuating circumstance warrants the authorization of a larger vehicle.

4. Insurance – Privately Owned Vehicles

The Institute assumes no financial responsibility for privately owned vehicles other than paying the authorized kilometric rate. To ensure that members are adequately protected, privately owned vehicles used on Institute business shall, as a minimum, have basic insurance coverage. Members who intend to carry passengers are advised to confirm with their insurance agent that they are adequately insured.

The cost of this insurance is provided for in the kilometric rates. Any additional premium costs necessary to increase private vehicle insurance coverage are not reimbursable, including the lowering of deductibles. The Institute is not responsible for reimbursing deductible amounts related to insurance coverage.

5. Kilometric Rates

The kilometric rates payable for the use of privately owned vehicles driven on authorized Institute business are prescribed in Schedule A. Members shall use only the most direct, safe and practical routes and shall claim only for distances necessarily driven on Institute business travel during the period claimed.

The kilometric rate payable when a Canadian registered vehicle is driven on Institute business travel in more than one province or in the USA is the rate applicable to the province or territory of registration of the vehicle.

When a member is authorized to proceed on Institute business, travel between home and a carrier's terminal shall, taking into consideration the necessary luggage involved, be by the most economical, safe and practical means.

Use of private vehicles shall be reimbursed, plus parking charges where it is cost effective to leave a private vehicle at the public carrier's terminal during the period of absence.

6. Member as a Passenger in a Private Vehicle

When one or more members are authorized to travel as passengers in a private vehicle, the driver of which is not eligible to claim a kilometric rate, the driver may designate a member who is a passenger to be reimbursed as if they had been driving.

7. Private Aircraft

The use of a private aircraft, privately owned or rented, may be authorized by the Institute when this mode of transportation is considered economical, safe and practical.

Members authorized to use privately owned aircraft on Institute business shall satisfy the Institute that they carry adequate private insurance coverage and a valid pilot's licence.

Members using private aircraft on Institute business shall be reimbursed at the applicable rate in Schedule A for privately owned vehicles, based on direct, safe and practical routes.

Part E - Travel within the Local Area

1. General

For clarity, transportation to or from a member's home and workplace will not ordinarily be reimbursed. Exceptions may include travel on a day which is not a work day (e.g., on a compressed day off), transporting significant quantities of material to be used in Institute activities, or other exceptional cases.

2. Travel Beginning or Ending at Workplace

When a period of long distance or overnight travel begins or ends at the workplace, the member may incur extra travel costs on the first and/or last day because the regular workplace/home commuting pattern is disrupted. Accordingly, the member shall be reimbursed for reasonable and justifiable transportation costs necessarily incurred between the residence and the workplace.

3. Travel between Home and another Destination

When a member is authorized to proceed on Institute business travel from home to a destination within the local area other than the workplace, or from a point of call to the home, transportation shall be provided or a kilometric rate paid for the distance between the home and the point of call, or the workplace and the point of call, whichever is less.

4. Reimbursement for Infrequently Used Private Vehicles

When the Institute business requires a member to bring a private motor vehicle to the workplace, or to travel to a destination within the local area, other than the workplace, and the member has clearly demonstrated to the Institute that a private motor vehicle is not the member's normal mode of travel to the workplace, the member shall be reimbursed the kilometric rate for the most direct road route between the residence and the destination up to a maximum of sixteen (16) kilometres each way, offset by the member's transit costs. Necessary parking charges may also be reimbursed. Where a private motor vehicle is the member’s normal mode of travel to the workplace, Section 3 applies.

5. Parking

Parking charges are normally not payable when the member is on duty at the workplace. Therefore, in respect of any day on which a member is authorized to use, and does use, a private vehicle on Institute business travel from the workplace to a point of call, or from a point of call to the workplace, the member shall be reimbursed the actual costs of parking the vehicle for that day only. Where such parking is charged on a weekly or monthly basis, reimbursement shall be on the basis of 1/5 of the weekly, or 1/20 of the monthly charge, based on receipts.

Part F - Accommodations

1. Standard for Accommodation

The standard for accommodation is a single room, in a safe environment, conveniently located and comfortably equipped. A variety of options for accommodation are available for travel. Generally these include hotels, motels, corporate residences, apartments, and private non-commercial accommodation.

2. Criteria

Members attending a meeting will be entitled to accommodations the night before the meeting if that member cannot arrive at the meeting location on time without leaving their home before 7 am. This applies whether the member is driving or flying to the meeting and is predicated on the member traveling in the most direct manner without a meal stop.

Members attending a meeting occurring on two (2) or more consecutive days are entitled to accommodations, upon request, on the nights between the meeting days.

Members attending a meeting will be entitled to accommodations the night of the meeting if that member cannot arrive home by 8pm (meeting location time zone). This applies whether the member is driving or flying from the meeting and is predicated on the member traveling in the most direct manner including a one hour meal stop.

3. Exceptions are listed below:

Branch or Sub-Group meetings will not normally qualify for accommodations.

Where a member would not normally be entitled to accommodations because of the above-noted guidelines, the meeting is a full day and the total distance round trip to and from the meeting exceeds 250 km, the member is entitled to accommodations the evening before the meeting, at their request.

All delegates attending the PIPSC AGM or a Group AGM are entitled to accommodations on the night prior to the start of the AGM, upon request.

Where a member deems that it is unsafe to travel home as scheduled, accommodation may be authorized.

4. Hotel Accommodation Reservations

It is the prerogative of the Institute to select accommodations for members. The Institute has national preferred agreements with certain hotels. Members travelling on Institute business are encouraged to use these preferred hotels. The Institute will advise members annually of the preferred hotels.

Hotel accommodations will normally be handled by the staff resource assigned to coordinate a specific activity. Hotel reservations are to be made through the staff resource. For individual member travel for which no staff resource has been assigned, reservations are to be made through the Institute's authorized travel agent.

The applicable rate for private non-commercial accommodations can be found in Schedule A.

Special needs or circumstances should be addressed to the Institute in advance.

5. Hotel Accommodations Cancellations

When travel plans change and the accommodations will not be required, the member shall ensure that reservations are cancelled either through the Institute staff resource, the Institute travel agent or directly with the commercial establishment(s) as appropriate. Proof of cancellation shall be obtained (i.e., cancellation number and agent's name).

In cases where a charge is incurred due to the member's negligence, (e.g., failure to cancel a guaranteed reservation), the Institute shall recover the cost from the member. Where members are billed directly, they shall be responsible for making such payments.

Part G - Meals, Incidentals and Other Expenses

1. Meals

When a meal is provided, no claim may be made in respect of that meal, except in respect of:

Meals provided by the Institute, in conjunction with an authorized activity, if the member gave adequate advance notification that the member did not want such a meal. This exception is not allowed if the effective operation of the function requires keeping the participants together during the meal;

Meals which are lighter than that which is normal such as a continental breakfast at a hotel.

Members shall be paid a meal allowance for each breakfast, lunch and dinner when applicable, if the meal was not provided by the Institute. The rates can be found in Schedule A. Where members incur meal costs that are higher than the established meal allowances in situations outside of their control, the actual and reasonable expenses shall be reimbursed based on receipts.

On the day of departure, members would ordinarily be entitled to breakfast if they leave home before 8:00 a.m., to lunch if they leave before noon, and to dinner if they leave before 6:00 p.m.

On the day of return, members would ordinarily be entitled to breakfast if they return after 8:00 a.m., to lunch if they return after noon and to dinner if they return after 6:00 p.m.

Members whose beliefs or medical requirements prohibit them from consuming certain foods should be aware that appropriate meals can normally be obtained from caterers, provided that adequate advance notice of the special requirement is given.

2. Incidentals

When accommodations are provided, members shall be entitled to an incidental expense allowance for each day or part day in travel status. The rate can be found in Schedule A.

For the day of departure from home, the incidental expense allowance is based on the coming night's lodging; for the day that the member arrives home, it is based on the previous night's lodging.

3. Other Expenses

Members shall be reimbursed costs incurred in transporting personal effects or Institute owned equipment at excess luggage rates, if the Institute determines that it is necessary for the effects or equipment to be taken on the journey.

Internet expenses incurred while on travel status will be the members’ responsibility unless authorized by the Institute for carrying out Institute business.

Part H - Special Travel Situations

1. Special circumstances

Members who are required to travel overseas, to remote areas, or other exceptional circumstances may require variation of the provisions of this policy. Such variations must be approved in advance by the President or, in the case of the President, by the Board of Directors.

2. Family Care Services

Members in travel status shall be reimbursed reasonable costs related to the care of a family member as per the Policy on Family Care.

(BOD – April 2019)

3. Members with Disabilities

The Institute shall reimburse members with disabilities those additional reasonable costs that may be incurred to enable such members to participate in approved activities. Such members shall identify these costs in advance.

4. Emergencies, Illnesses and Injuries While in Travel Status

Payment for the use of a suitable conveyance, such as an ambulance or taxi, shall be authorized where a member becomes ill or is injured while in travel status when, in the opinion of the Institute, the member or the attending medical practitioner, the nature of the illness or injury requires that the member be transported to a medical treatment facility, to the accommodation occupied while in travel status, or home.

A member shall be reimbursed the necessary expenses incurred as a result of illness or accident occurring while in travel status, to the extent that the Institute is satisfied the expenses were additional to those which might have been incurred had the member not been absent from home, and which were not otherwise payable to the member under an insurance policy, or other authority.

When, in the opinion of the attending physician, a member’s condition resulting from illness or injury warrants the presence of the next-of-kin or a representative of the family, actual and reasonable travel expenses may be reimbursed.

A member may be authorized to return home earlier than scheduled as a result of personal illness or accident or in the event of emergency situations at home (e.g. serious illness or injury of a family member, fire, flood, ice storm).

When a trip home for reasons specified in this section is not warranted, actual and reasonable expenses incurred for long distance telephone calls home shall be reimbursed.

5. Death While in Travel Status

  1. If a member dies while in travel status, the Institute shall authorize the payment of necessary expenses that are additional to those which might have been incurred had the death occurred in the local area.
  2. Included in the expenses payable under this article are:
    • at the place where death occurred: ambulance, hearse, embalming, cremation, outside crate/container (but not the cost of a coffin/urn) and any other services or items required by local health laws, and
    • transportation of the remains to the local area or, if desired by the survivors, to another location, up to the cost of transportation to the local area. Costs for an escort over and above the costs included in transporting the remains are payable only when the attendance of an escort is required by law;
    • reimbursement of costs incurred under this policy shall be reduced by any amount payable under some travel insurance;
    • where the remains are not transported, travel for next of kin or a representative of the family to the place of burial shall be reimbursed in accordance with this policy as though that person were a member.

7. Other Expenses

Any expenses not covered in this policy must be pre-approved by the Chief Financial Officer.

Schedule A

Travel Policy Schedule A

Questions & Answers

Q1: If a local delegate to the Institute AGM or a Group AGM attends an official function the evening before the AGM and is not using overnight accommodation, is the local delegate eligible to claim a meal expense in accordance with this policy?

A1: Yes.

Q2: If a local delegate to the Institute AGM or a Group AGM attends an official function the evening before the AGM and is not using overnight accommodation, is the local delegate eligible to claim a kilometric allowance in accordance with this policy?

A1: Yes.