FAQs on the Interpretation of the Policy on Employee Related Expenses and Reimbursements

This tool is not intended to cover every potential scenario an employee may face, but to provide examples for employees to use to help them interpret the Policy and its related Rules, Procedures and Directives. If the situation that you are considering is not included in the examples below and you require interpretation assistance, please contact the office of the Controller at politique.finance.policy@cbc.ca.

TRAVEL

1. Do I need written pre-approval before travelling?

MAYBE. CBC/Radio-Canada’s policy requires written pre-approval of all non- programming travel.

  • When you make travel reservations with HRG, your reservation is automatically routed to your manager for approval (TripPASS Guide).

  • In the rare circumstance that your travel doesn’t require reservations with HRG (e.g., travel by personal vehicle with no hotel stay) a written request must be submitted to and pre-approved by your manager, using the The Travel, Conferences and Events Pre-Approval form (which must be attached to your expense claim for reimbursement).

2. Do I need written travel pre-approval if I’m using a personal vehicle?

MAYBE. If you are travelling locally (see definition of local travel in Policy), no written pre-approval is required; verbal approval from your manager is sufficient.

If you are on business travel, and it is not related to programming, a written request must be submitted to, and pre-approved by your manager, using the Travel, Conferences, and Events Pre-Approval Form (which must be attached to your expense claim for reimbursement).

3.

Can I submit a Blanket Travel Authority (BTA) request instead of individual requests?

MAYBE. BTAs are designed for individuals who are required to travel within a specific region on a frequent (semimonthly or more) basis. All BTAs must be approved by the Component Vice-President and the Corporate Controller using the Blanket Travel Authority Form. Examples of individuals eligible for BTA:

  • A sales representative located in Vancouver who is responsible for all of British Columbia and Alberta, who travels on a daily/weekly basis within his/her sales region.
  • A regional manager located in Halifax who is responsible for the entire Atlantic region, who travels to various Atlantic locations every other week.
4.

As a camera operator scheduled to work on a sporting event in a city to which I must travel, do I have to complete a travel pre- approval request?

NO. Travel which is associated with a specific program is pre-approved as part of the existing program budget approval process; therefore employees whose travel is directly linked to programming (production of TV, Radio or digital programs) are not required to have a separate pre- approval request.

5. Can I add personal travel to a business trip?

YES. Personal travel is fine, provided that there are no additional costs charged to CBC/Radio-Canada for the additional day (e.g., no additional hotel nights or per diems) and it is pre-approved by your manager.

6. Can I bring my spouse on business travel?

YES. Employees are allowed to travel with their spouses provided that no additional costs are charged to CBC/Radio-Canada, including travel agency fees (only the employee’s travel may be booked through HRG)

7.

Can I claim the mileage to and from the airport or train station if my spouse drops me off for business travel?

MAYBE. If the return cost of mileage is less than the cost of a taxi ride or the cost of mileage and parking for the time of travel, and if, in the opinion of your manager this solution is economical and/or practical, you are allowed to claim mileage to and from the airport.

8.

Can I use a ride sharing service for business travel instead of a taxi?

Yes. However, travellers are only reimbursed for expenses from licensed taxi companies or services. Be careful. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are not getting into a non-licensed taxi.

9.

Am I on travel status if I am commuting between work and home?

NO. Commuting between work and home is considered personal time, therefore it is not subject to the Rules and Procedures on Business Travel.

10.

In Montreal there is a Car-2-Go station in the parking lot. Can I
use these cars for business travel?

NO. The Car-2-Go service is for personal use only.
11.

Can I upgrade my flight to business class, premium economy, or go to the airport lounge?

NO. This is only permitted if there are no additional costs to CBC/Radio-Canada (e.g., where an employee uses free upgrade/lounge access coupons) or for members of the SET who are permitted to use business class for all travel in excess of 850km (one way).
12.

Can I reserve an Air Canada Latitude fare so that it’s easier to
use my upgrade coupons?

NO. Employees are not permitted to select an Air Canada Latitude fare.

13.

What does “the lowest logical airfare available” mean?

Employees should always select the lowest logical airfare available that corresponds to their itinerary. The following are some of the factors that ensure maximum savings:

  • Advance booking of at least 7 days (where possible)
  • Selecting a less expensive trip where the flight’s departure or arrival time is within one hour before or after the requested departure or arrival time
  • Considering the cost/benefit of one stop or connecting flights
  • Considering the use of alternate airports, where available

Note: The lowest fare categories for our most frequently used airlines are called: Air Canada – Tango; Porter – Firm; WestJet - Econo. (When booking these fares on Concur, ensure that you also purchase your seats. HRG will do this automatically when reservations are made with agents).

Managers should consider the following: Will changing arrival/departure times result in an increase in per diems? Will changing airports result in more mileage claimed, increased taxis costs, etc.?

14. Can I stay at a hotel that is not on the preferred hotel list?

NO. You must stay at a preferred hotel unless there is a valid business reason not to do so (e.g., the preferred hotel is across town from the meeting facility, resulting in increased taxi fare). The reason for staying at a non-preferred hotel must be included in the comment box of your expense claim.

15.

Can I use an accommodation sharing service instead of staying at a hotel?

NO. The Corporation has judged that there are significant risks associated with accommodation sharing services. In exceptional circumstances, please consult the Corporate Travel Manager for guidance (travel@cbc.ca).

16.

Do I have to use my corporate credit card for business travel and other business expenses I claim for reimbursement?

YES. All employees who travel or incur other business expenses more than 3 times per year MUST apply for a corporate card and are required to use that card for all expenditures, where the card is accepted.

Note: Your corporate card does not impact your personal credit rating.

17.

Because of my position, I have a car allowance. Can I claim mileage to the airport when I travel on business?

NO. Employees with a car allowance are not permitted to also claim mileage to the airport while on travel status.

18

Because of my position, I have a car allowance. Can I claim mileage for business travel if I use my personal vehicle?

YES. The total mileage from the home/office to the destination (and vice versa) can be claimed.

PER DIEMS AND INCIDENTALS

1. Can I charge a full day per diem if I’m out of town at a conference where a meal is provided? NO. The full day per diem must be reduced by the meals which you are provided or you must select only the meal per diems (and the incidental, if applicable) for meals you paid for.
2.

Can I claim the incidental portion of my per diem if I take a long day trip (e.g., 6 am to 8 pm)?

NO. Incidentals are paid for all complete and partial days that an employee is on business travel and the trip includes at least one overnight stay
3.

Can I claim my breakfast per diem if breakfast is provided on my train or if there is a breakfast provided at my hotel?

NO. The full day per diem must be reduced by the meals which you are provided or you must select only the meal per diems (and the incidental, if applicable) for meals you paid for.
4.

Can I claim a breakfast per diem if I leave my house for the airport at 6:30am and arrive at the airport at 7:10am?

YES. The start time of your trip is the time you leave your home or the office, and breakfast per diems may be claimed for all trips started before 7am.

5.

Can I claim a dinner per diem if I arrive home at 6:45pm after a trip?

NO. The end time of your trip is the time you arrive at your home, or the office, and a dinner per diem can only be claimed if your trip ends after 7pm.

6.

I am planning a working meeting (for internal employees only) from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm? We will not have time to break for lunch. Can I provide a lunch?

YES. A meal can be provided at an event for internal employees only if the length of the meeting is over 3 hours and extends through a normal meal period.

7.

Can I provide a lunch if the meeting is planned from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm?

NO. Employees have the opportunity to eat prior to a 12:30 meeting. However refreshments (beverages only) can be provided since the meeting is over 1.5 hours

8.

Can I provide a lunch and refreshments if I organize an all-day meeting (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for the managers of our department?

YES. A lunch and 2 refreshments can be provided during the day. The limit per person must be calculated by meal/ refreshments limits and not for the day’s total.

Note: It might be appropriate to prepare an excel file (or other supporting documentation) to provide details of the limit per person per meal. Don’t forget, pre-approval is required if the cost will exceed $500.

9.

I started my trip on Monday morning, and returned to my office on Wednesday afternoon. TEMS automatically calculated my per diems, and provided me with 3 incidentals . Is that correct?

YES. The incidental portion of the per diem is provided for every complete or partial day of business travel with at least an overnight stay. Therefore, for a 2.5 day trip, TEMS calculates 2 days and 1 partial day of incidental per diems for you.

10. Can I claim tips to the hotel housekeeper or porter?

NO. Hotel and similar tips are included in the incidental portion of your per diem and may not be separately claimed. The only exceptions are tips required for the transportation of luggage containing technical equipment, or a reasonable tip included in your taxi invoice.

EVENTS

1. If I hold a quarterly departmental planning meeting where my regional managers travel for the meeting, and hospitality may be provided, is that considered an event?

YES. Any gathering of employees and non-employees that is not for the purpose of delivering programming is considered an event and the total costs must be estimated and submitted for pre-approval using the Travel, Conferences, and Events Pre-Approval Form, in accordance with the pre-approval matrix in the Rules and Procedures on Events.

2. Is the travel and hospitality required for the coverage of the Olympic Games considered an event that requires written pre- approval?

NO. Events directly linked to programming are excluded from the pre-approval process.

3. As a department leader, can I use corporate funds for an annual pizza lunch for my department to thank them for their hard work?

YES. As long as the Rules and Procedures on Events, including pre-approval requirements (Travel, Conferences, and Events Pre-Approval Form), are adhered to and the function is held only once a year.

4. Can I use corporate funds to hold a weekly pizza lunch for my department?

NO. That frequency would not respect the spirit and intent of the Policy with respect to minimizing expenditures, and ensuring that expenditures demonstrate prudent judgment and can withstand public scrutiny.

5. Can I hold a meeting or ‘lunch and learn’ over the lunch hour and order lunch for the attendees?

NO. Food for events may only be paid for/reimbursed by CBC/Radio-Canada for internal events/meetings where the event exceeds 3 hours and is during the normal meal period.

6.

Can I go to lunch with a colleague, or a few colleagues, and charge the meal to the Corporation because we discussed business issues?

NO. Each employee must pay for their own meal.

7. Can I have a lunch meeting with a 3rd party regulator at a restaurant to discuss important regulatory issues facing CBC/Radio-Canada and charge the meal to the Corporation? Can we have a glass of wine?

YES, as long as you comply with the Rules and Procedures on Events, which provides the hospitality limit of 3x the relevant meal per diem, per person, for events which involve external guests. Modest alcohol is permitted (1-2 glasses). (As the purpose of the meeting is not to generate revenue, it does not meet the definition of Duty Entertainment).

8.

Do I need written event pre-approval for a business meeting where out of town employees will be travelling to participate in the meeting, if there are no other costs than their travel?

NO. Pre-approval for events where the ONLY costs are travel can be managed through individual travel pre-approvals via TripPASS.

However, please note that all employees have a duty to use funds prudently; therefore the meeting organizer should limit the amount of people who need to travel to participate in the meeting and, wherever possible, use alternatives, such as video conferences.

9.

Do I need a pre-approval for an event for which the total costs (travel, hospitality, etc.) will be less than $500?

NO. Events under $500 do not need pre-approval. After the event has been completed, submit your expense claim in TEMS or submit your invoice to Shared Services. There are no restrictions on who can incur the costs, however the claim must be approved by a manager (with DFA) who did not attend the event.

If you are a manager and you have participated in the event that has been submitted to you for approval, a new button is available in TEMS which allows you to forward the claim one level up for additional approval (see TEMS guide).

10.

Do I need pre-approval for an event where the total costs (including travel, hospitality, etc.) will exceed $500?

YES. All events costing $500 or more must be pre-approved in accordance with the pre-approval matrix in the Rules and Procedures on Events, using the Travel, Conferences, and Events Pre-Approval Form. Where possible, the event costs should be invoiced to CBC/Radio-Canada, with the event pre- approval form attached in VIM/SAP when the invoice is approved for payment. Where expenses are reimbursed, the TEMS expense claim must include the event pre-approval form that has been approved by a manager with DFA (event amount doesn’t impact TEMS approval).

However, to comply with the Delegation of Financial Authorities (DFA) Policy, the claim must be approved by a manager (with DFA) who did not attend the event. If you are a manager and you have participated in the event that has been submitted to you for approval, a new button is available in TEMS which allows you to forward the claim one level up for additional approval (see TEMS guide).

Note: Invoices and TEMS claims over $5K can be approved for payment by an individual who attended the event as long as his/her personal benefit is small compared to the total event costs.

11.

We are planning a retirement party for an employee who’s been with CBC/Radio-Canada for 15 years. Can we use corporate funds?

YES. Corporate funds may be used to celebrate retirement. Refreshments may be provided and the limit is 0.5x the breakfast per diem per person.
12.

I organized an event where we are allowed to order the lunch from a caterer. Should I use my corporate credit card to pay the caterer?

YES. Whenever possible, all expenses, including catering, must be charged to an employee’s corporate credit card and claimed in TEMS. In some situations, the caterer might be paid with a multiple-to-one credit card. For companies that do not accept AMEX (e.g., Laliberté), alternate payment methods can be used.

DUTY ENTERTAINMENT

1.

Can I use corporate funds to entertain a client where there is the potential to bring additional revenues to CBC/Radio-Canada?

YES. As long as the entertainment is related to revenue generation and business development and the Directive on Duty Entertainment is followed
2. Can I use corporate funds to buy a client a gift? YES. As long as the gift is related to revenue generation and business development, and the Directive on Duty Entertainment is followed.

DONATIONS

1. Can I make a charitable cash donation with corporate funds? NO. Corporate funds must not be used to directly donate to charitable organizations, unless it is a donation (max. $75) in lieu of flowers related to the death of an employee, and follows the Rules and Procedures on Gifts, Donations and Awards.
2. Can I buy tickets or a table at a charitable event? MAYBE. If the purpose of the purchase is directly linked to revenue generation and business development, and the Directive on Duty Entertainment is followed.

MEMBERSHIPS/PROFESSIONAL DUES

1.

Can I claim the dues for the professional association(s) where I am a member?

MAYBE. If the professional dues are directly related to your employment and is pre-approved by you manager. You must follow the Policy on Employee Related Expenses and Reimbursements,obtain pre-approval and claim the reimbursement via MySource, as it is a taxable benefit in certain jurisdictions.

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS ORGANIZED BY EXTERNAL PARTIES

1.

Can I attend a conference where issues relevant to my profession will be discussed, but does not constitute training?

YES. If the attendance and conference fees are pre-approved by your Component Executive Director/ General Manager (or VP), in accordance with the Rules and Procedures on Attending Conferences and other Events Organized by External Parties (Travel, Conferences, and Events Pre-Approval Form).

2. Can I stay at the conference hotel? YES. If the conference facility is more economical and practical than a preferred hotel, when all other costs are considered.
3. Can I attend an award ceremony with a business partner? YES. As long as your participation and the event costs are pre-approved by your Component Executive Director / General Manager (or your Component VP if no Exec. Dir /Gen. Manager). If you are invited by the partner, you must consult 2.2.3: Conflict of Interest and Ethics Policy and 1.1.12: Free Travel Policy prior to accepting the invitation.

GIFTS FROM A VENDOR/BUSINESS PARTNER

1.

Can I accept free travel to a conference or tickets to an event with a value greater than $200 from a business partner?

NO. If the gift value exceeds $200 or the gift is offered during an active or impending RFP, it must not be accepted. A gift could be a real or perceived conflict of interest, therefore always consult your manager and policies prior to accepting a gift.

PREPARATION OF EXPENSE REPORTS

1.

Can I have my administrative assistant prepare my expense report and submit it for approval without reviewing it myself?

NO. Each employee is responsible for the expenses they are claiming for reimbursement, and must review expense claims for accuracy prior to submission.
2. Do I need to attach documents to my expense claim?

YES. You must attach a scanned copy (or photograph) of a legible and complete invoice supporting each item in your expense claim (except per diems and mileage). You should also attach a copy of your HRG invoice and boarding pass for information.

3.

Should I include the air or rail fare from my HRG invoice in my
TEMS expense claim so that I can be reimbursed?

NO. If you have made your travel reservations with HRG, as required by policy, then the air or rail fare is charged directly to CBC/Radio-Canada, not to your credit card. The invoice that HRG provides to you serves as a record of the amount which will be charged to your cost centre/WBS. You should attach a copy of your HRG invoice and boarding pass for information only. The manager approving your trip should be aware of the total cost of the trip, not just the total amount being reimbursed to the employee.

4.

I am the manager of a large department. Can I have my administrative assistant review and approve my employees’ expense reports so that I can focus my time on more productive matters?

NO. You are responsible for your employees’ expense reimbursements. Functionalities in TEMS can help you. First, you can assign your administrative assistant as your validator. Your administrative assistant may perform a preliminary review on your behalf to validate that all of the receipts are attached and legible. Second, you may also request access to the “bulk approval” option to be able to approve claims in batches. Even if you use these new functionalities, you are still responsible for being aware of all of your employees’ expense claims and approving them.

Search highlight tool