Regulations and Guidelines
Physical Plant Building
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Last Updated: 16 July 2007
The following Expense Reimbursement Regulations and Guidelines were established by the Vice-
President (Finance and Services) and are intended to assist University staff members and approving
authorities with determination of reimbursable expenses, preparation of expense claims and provision
of general guidelines on expense reimbursement related matters.
These regulations and guidelines apply to all University related expenses, including travel,
entertainment and related expenses from all funds administered by the University including operating,
research, trust and restricted accounts. When external granting agency regulations differ from the
University regulations, the agency's regulations shall take precedence.
An overview of Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) and CFI requirements are available below.
Should a discrepancy arise between the overview in this policy and the granting agency’s
requirements, the granting agency’s requirements shall take precedence.
As a publicly funded institution, the University should endeavour to use its resources wisely and
effectively. Staff should exercise care and judgment when incurring expenses. Under no circumstances
are personal expenses, personal travel expenses or personal entertainment expenses to be charged to
any funds that are administered by the University.
Expense Reimbursement Guidelines
Approval and Signing Authority
The intent of this Policy is to decentralize the general review and approval of expense claims to the
Faculty Deans and Department Heads, so that these officers, or their delegates, have the authority to
determine the overall reasonableness of the claims and to make exceptions to the normal guidelines
when circumstances warrant such action.
Without exception, all expense reimbursement claims must be approved by one administrative level
higher than the claimant (one-over approval). No employee can approve his or her own expense
claims. If the signing authority is the person to be reimbursed, then the claimant’s immediate supervisor
must approve the claim. If the signing authority is not the immediate supervisor of the claimant, then the
claimant must obtain his or her immediate supervisor’s approval. As an exception, Professional
Expense Reimbursement (PER) claims are reviewed and approved by Business Operations.
Once approved, original receipts must be remitted to Business Operations with a printed copy of the
expense reimbursement claim.
Expense Reimbursement Claim Requirements
An expense claim may be delayed or rejected (and returned to the claimant) for any of following
• The purpose of the expenditure is not clearly stated.
• For travel, the description does not identify one-way or return flights and contain the dates,
departure location and destination.
• Foreign currency amounts are not converted to Canadian dollars (CAD).
• Cash Advances are not entered.
• Original receipts are not provided (should be in chronological order).
• Credit Card receipts/statements (without detail) are submitted without associated original
receipts (with detail).
• For conferences, a copy of the conference registration form and events schedule is not
• When charged against a Research & Trust Account, the relationship of the claimant to the trust
account is not indicated.
Employees will be reimbursed only after the appropriate requirements have been submitted and
approved online through PeopleSoft Expenses and the original receipts have been reviewed by the
appropriate signing authority. Before processing can commence, all supporting documents (original
receipts, conference events schedules, etc.) must be submitted with a printed copy of the Expense
Reimbursement Claim to Business Operations either by inter-office mail or drop-off at the Physical
Plant main reception.
Payments for all Expense Reimbursement Claims to University employees will be processed via
electronic funds transfer (EFT) directly to the employee’s bank account used for Payroll deposits.
PeopleSoft Expenses allows for an alternate bank account to be set up by the employee specifically for
expense reimbursements. Please allow 2-5 business days following the receipt and approval of the
Claim and supporting documents (receipts, etc.) by Business Operations for the payment to be
All expense reimbursement claims for non-University employees must be properly entered and
approved in the appropriate non-employee expense reimbursement form on the Business Operations
website (www.ucalgary.ca/busops). Before processing can commence, all supporting documents
(original receipts, conference events schedules, etc.) must be submitted with a printed copy of the
Expense Reimbursement Claim to Business Operations either by inter-office mail or drop-off at the
Physical Plant main reception.
Payments for all Expense Reimbursement Claims to non-University employees in Canadian (CAD) or
US (USD) funds will be processed on the next regular cheque run following the receipt and approval of
the Claim and supporting documents (receipts, etc.) by Business Operations. Payments in other
currencies will be processed by wire-transfer or bank draft. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing.
Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) Requirements
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
of Canada (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
have the following specific requirements relating to travel reimbursements, approvals and
• The trustholders must approve all expense claims for those other than themselves. This
authority cannot be delegated. All expense claims for the trustholder and any visiting
researchers must be approved by the trustholder’s department head or dean. If a department
head is submitting a claim as a trustholder, then the Dean must approve the claim.
• For travel reimbursement, the purpose of the trip must be stated clearly and in detail. Single
word explanations such as “research” or “conference” are not sufficient. Descriptors such as
conference name, date and location, field trip to (location), meeting with research collaborator
(with collaborator’s name and institution, etc.) should be included.
• If the traveler is someone other than the trustholder, then the relationship of the traveler to the
trustholder must be indicated on the claim.
• The event schedule or materials with details and dates of the event or conference must be
submitted to the approver of the claim.
• All receipts, including meal receipts greater than the University’s per-diem allowances, must be
substantiated with original itemized receipts that show all items purchased. Credit card slips
by themselves are not acceptable, because they do not provide a detailed listing of charges.
• Reimbursement for any kind of alcoholic beverage is not permitted.
• The number of travel days reimbursed within any 12-month period shall not exceed 125 days
per person. It is the trustholder’s responsibility to ensure that this maximum is not exceeded.
CFI operates on the principle that its funds must be used effectively, economically, and in
Canada’s best interest, including its research enterprise. CFI funding is based on an approved
budget that is specific for each project. CFI strongly encourages funded institutions to seek the
best possible prices for all cash expenditures.
If travel has been approved as part of the original budget for a project, then travel expenses will
be reimbursable, and generally, the standards of the University will be followed. However, where
CFI regulations differ from University regulations, CFI regulations shall take precedence.
In order to reduce the need for advances for trips of short duration, employees are expected to cover
travel expenses with the use of credit cards, and to submit an expense claim for reimbursement
through PeopleSoft Expenses immediately upon their return.
An advance, for a reasonable amount that is consistent with the nature and duration of the trip, will be
issued upon submission of an advance request in PeopleSoft Expenses that has been appropriately
approved to Accounts Payable. Requests for early payment of advances (more than 6 weeks prior to
the date of commencement of travel) are to be explained (e.g., advance registration fee payment,
airfare booked and payable well in advance of trip, etc.).
Advances processed through PeopleSoft Expenses will be remitted to the employee via electronic
funds transfer (EFT).
Advances are to be accounted for by the submission of the expense claim through PeopleSoft
Expenses, along with the provision of a personal cheque (not cash) for repayment of any remaining
portion of the advance, to the signing authority within two weeks of journey completion. Where this
requirement is not complied with, the Director of Business Operations may authorize deduction of the
outstanding advance from the individual's salary entitlement and/or a withholding of subsequent
Travel and Entertainment Regulations
Contracted Travel Agencies
Business Operations manages the airline and travel agency contracts for the University of Calgary.
The University has negotiated contracts that include preferred corporate rates for air, car rental and
hotel bookings. In order to benefit from the terms of these contracts, University travelers are
encouraged to book their travel through the contracted agencies. Please visit the Business Operations
website for more information (http://www.ucalgary.ca/busops/).
Transaction or user fees charged by travel agencies may be claimed by attaching the agency invoice.
Whenever possible, employees are expected to take advantage of advanced purchase excursion
fares, seat sales, etc. and are encouraged to use the University's contracted travel agencies. The
maximum level of reimbursement should not exceed the equivalent of economy airfare by the most
direct route. Staff members who have arranged fares at less than economy, e.g. excursion fares, which
necessitate staying over a Saturday night or longer than the event or meeting require, may claim the
additional accommodation and meal costs, provided that there are overall cost savings when compared
to flying on preferred dates at economy rates. These savings should be clearly outlined on an
attachment that is provided to the signing authority. Additional airfare for stopovers and other costs that
are not related to university business, or do not result in cost savings to the University, are considered
to be personal expenses of the claimant.
Business or First Class, or other amounts in excess of economy airfare, are considered to be personal
expenses of the employee and are not reimbursable. Exceptions may be allowed only if they involve a
longer continuous time-in-the-air (5 or more hours), and the traveler is expected to begin work at the
destination soon after arrival, with no time for adequate preparation or rest. Approval in advance is
required for these exceptional cases from the appropriate Dean, Director, Vice-President, President or
Travelers who use e-tickets normally receive a fax or email that contains a “Passenger
Itinerary/Receipt” as confirmation of their reservations that outlines the itinerary, cost and applicable
taxes and fees from either the airline or travel agency. This “Passenger Itinerary/Receipt” should be
submitted for reimbursement. For hardcopy tickets the original passenger copy of the ticket is required.
If the “Passenger Itinerary/Receipt” or original passenger copy is unavailable, a written explanation for
the absence of a ticket/receipt should be submitted to the signing authority, along with a travel agency
invoice, credit card statement or other documentation that indicates the cost of the ticket. Where
consolidator fares have been booked and the shown amount on the original passenger copy of the
ticket or invoice is not the amount paid, only the actual out-of-pocket expense may be claimed.
Trip cancellation insurance (for illness) is a reimbursable airfare travel expense that may be claimed
through PeopleSoft Expenses. The University's extended health care plan is sufficient to cover most
out-of-country medical emergencies. For questions on the University's health coverage, call Alberta
Blue Cross customer service at (403) 234-9666. Additional out-of-country medical insurance, flight
insurance (life, accident, etc.) and other similar insurance coverage are normally considered to be
personal expenses of the claimant. However, complimentary air flight accident insurance coverage can
be provided when a University of Calgary American Express Corporate Travel Card (contact 1-800-
243-0198) is used for payment of the airfare.
Private Automobile Requirements
Reimbursement for the use of private automobiles while on University business is based upon the
number of kilometers driven, multiplied by the current rate of 39 cents per kilometer. For conversion of
miles to kilometers, multiply the number of miles by 1.6 (one mile = 1.6 kilometers). Note: Under the
terms and conditions of the University's Relocation Policy, incoming new faculty are reimbursed at the
rate of 22 cents per kilometer. Where a private automobile is used, only one person may claim
reimbursement of the rate per kilometer. Additional passengers traveling in the automobile may not
claim a reimbursement per kilometer or the cost of equivalent public transportation.
In general, where a claimant travels by private automobile outside the province of Alberta, the expense
claim is to be prepared on the basis of the lower of:
i) What it would have cost by equivalent economy airfare by the most direct route.
ii) The automobile rate per kilometer plus accommodation and meals en route.
However, the Department Head, Dean or delegated signing authority, may approve exceptions.
Automobile Rental Requirements
Automobile rentals, when necessary or cost-justifiable, are a reimbursable expense. Rented
automobiles should normally be non-luxury and of standard, compact or sub-compact size. The
claimant's original automobile rental and related gas receipts are to be submitted to the signing
Where possible, staff members are encouraged to rent an automobile through the University's
contracted travel and vehicle rental agencies in order to take advantage of corporate or other reduced
rates. The University's contracted travel agencies have negotiated corporate discount rates with certain
Canadian and U.S. rental agencies. CAUBO/AUCC (Canadian Association of University Business
Officers/Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) has also negotiated preferred rates for
university staff members (http://www.ucalgary.ca/busops).
Vehicle Insurance Requirements
Although employees may use their personal automobiles while on University business, the University's
insurance policies do not provide coverage. Compensation is deemed to be within the current
reimbursement rate per kilometer, and therefore, the cost of additional endorsements is the personal
expense of the car owner. In advance of the travel, car owners are advised to check with their own
insurance agents in order to secure appropriate endorsements to their policies if necessary.
While on University business, the insurance cost of rented vehicles is a reimbursable expense, and
staff members must ensure that rented automobiles are properly insured. If there is any doubt
concerning insurance coverage on a rental vehicle, the traveler should take the coverage provided by
the rental agency. When renting vehicles outside of Canada and the United States, staff members
should purchase the maximum liability, collision and accident insurance that the rental company offers.
If you intend to rent a vehicle for longer than 30 days, you must contact the University Risk
Management department before entering into any rental agreement. For details related to insuring
rented vehicles please refer to the University’s Risk Management department website:
Other than an automobile or minivan, other forms of transportation may not be covered by the
University's insurance policies. Please ensure that you contact the University Risk Management
department prior to undertaking these types of rentals to determine if coverage is available through the
It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that he or she understands the car rental agreement. Most
rental agreements state that only authorized drivers may drive the vehicle. They also state where you
may not drive the vehicle (i.e., off-road, even for SUV’s), that the vehicle must be locked at all times,
that you cannot drive illegally (i.e., under the influence of alcohol or over the speed limit), etc. Driving
rental vehicles in violation of any of the terms and conditions of the rental contract voids the insurance
Additional theft and collision damage insurance is available at no additional cost for automobiles, sport
utility vehicles, or 8-or-less-passenger minivans, if an employee uses his/her University American
Express Corporate Travel Card to rent a passenger vehicle, and declines the rental company's damage
waiver at the time of rental. The insurance provided by the American Express Corporate card will
provide coverage during the rental period regardless of whether the vehicle is being used for business
The University will reimburse employees for actual out-of-pocket meal expenses, provided that such
expenses are reasonable and appropriate for the location and purpose of the travel.
For travel within Canada actual out-of-pocket meal expenses (including gratuities) may be claimed
without receipts for amounts not exceeding the following:
• Breakfast $10.00
• Lunch $12.00 … or $45.00 for a full day
• Dinner $23.00
For travel outside Canada actual out-of-pocket meal expenses (including gratuities) may be claimed
without receipts for amounts not exceeding the following Canadian dollar equivalents:
• Breakfast $14.00
• Lunch $17.00 … or $63.00 for a full day
• Dinner $32.00
Itemized receipts that show actual meal and beverage amounts must be submitted with the expense
claim for meal expenses in excess of the University’s daily allowances. Credit card receipts are not
acceptable because they do not provide the details of the expense.
Reimbursement of any form of alcoholic beverage costs is not permitted when funded by outside
Normally, standard hotel room accommodation costs are reimbursable. The Canadian Association of
University Business Officers/Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (CAUBO/AUCC), the
State Universities of America (SUA) and the University's contracted travel agencies have listings of
hotels at which University travelers receive corporate rates or discounts. When not staying at
conference designated hotels, employees would normally be expected to stay at hotels where lower
negotiated room rates are available or other equivalent accommodations can be provided.
The Business Operations Home Page (http://www.ucalgary.ca/busops) lists CAUBO/AUCC rates for
When traveling to conferences, it is recognized that staff members normally stay in the conference
designated hotels at conference negotiated preferred rates, and that reservations may be made directly
by the staff member with the selected hotel/conference organizers.
Accommodation expenses are to be listed separately and in detail by day. The original receipts for
accommodation (i.e., detailed hotel bill) must be submitted to the signing authority. Credit card slips
cannot be used alone for reimbursement, as they do not provide a detailed listing of charges.
Accommodation receipts must indicate that payment has been made and/or that no outstanding
When an employee is provided free accommodation by a relative or friend, a token of appreciation (e.g.
hosting a dinner, a gift, etc.) may be claimed in lieu of hotel accommodation, provided that such costs
are reasonable, and described in detail. Original receipts must be submitted to the appropriate signing
Employee Spousal/Partner Travel
Expenses of a spouse, partner or family member who accompanies a staff member are not
The University of Calgary will reimburse employees for childcare or dependent adult care expenses up
to a maximum of $50.00 per day (minimum of 4 hours) under the following conditions:
• When employees are required by the University to travel outside normal hours for purposes
related to the performance of their duties and they incur child care or dependent adult care
expenses as a direct result, such expenses shall be accepted as reimbursable and may be
included in the expense claim.
• When the University requires employees to attend full-day or part-day meetings on days which
are not normal working days for purposes that are related to the performance of their duties,
and they incur child or dependent adult care expenses as a direct result of the meetings, such
expenses may be accepted as reimbursable and can be included in the expense claim.
• The Department Head or Dean must provide approval for such expenses in advance of the
• Submissions for childcare or dependent adult care expenses must be submitted with
appropriate receipts. The receipt should contain the caregiver’s name, address and phone
number, the amount paid, and the caregiver’s signature to acknowledge receipt of the funds.
• Ordinarily, paid amounts to spouses, partners or relatives would not be regarded as claimable
Miscellaneous Travel Expense Reimbursements
Taxi, Bus, or Train
Taxi fares are a reimbursable expense. However, other less expensive forms of transportation should
also be considered (e.g. airport/hotel shuttle service, bus, automobile rentals, etc). Original taxi receipts
should be submitted to the signing authority. In cases where taxi receipts are not available (e.g. remote
areas, foreign countries etc.) an explanation for the absence of receipts should be submitted to the
Necessary and reasonable, business-related excess baggage is a reimbursable expense. The
Department Head or Dean must provide approval in advance of the travel. Excess personal baggage is
not normally a reimbursable expense but may be reimbursed under certain circumstances with the pre-
approval of the Department Head or Dean. A detailed explanation will also be required in the
PeopleSoft Expense module.
Hotel, airport and public parking expenses are reimbursable. Original receipts (where applicable) are to
be submitted to the signing authority.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning
Reasonable laundry and valet charges are reimbursable expenses and would normally apply to trips in
excess of four consecutive days. Original receipts and/or hotel bills are to be submitted to the signing
Telephone, Cellular Phone, Fax and Computer Connections
Actual costs of necessary and reasonable business telephone or cell phone calls, faxes and computer
connections are a reimbursable expense. Personal long distance telephone calls may be reimbursed
depending on the length of travel, family situation, etc. Where applicable, the original receipts and/or
hotel bills are to be submitted to the signing authority.
Gratuities for meals are to be included in the cost of meals. Other tips and gratuities are reimbursable, if
reasonable, and if explained in detail. Where applicable, the original receipts are to be submitted to the
Conference Registration Fees
Conference registration fees are a reimbursable expense. Registration form and events schedule, are
to be submitted to the signing authority, along with the original receipts.
Travel Field Trips
For field trip reimbursement, the nature of the travel and names of the participants must be provided.
Corporate Travel Card Program
The University has a no-cost Corporate Travel Card Program with American Express to assist
employees with travel expenditures. Employees may obtain an application for an American Express
Corporate Travel Card by calling Accounts Payable at 220-3108. Under the terms of the Travel Card
Program, American Express allows an individual 45 days from statement date before interest charges
are levied on a charge.
When a University of Calgary American Express Corporate Travel Card is used for payment of airfare,
air flight accident insurance coverage can be provided at no additional cost. Also, additional theft and
collision damage insurance coverage is available at no additional cost for rental of automobiles, sport
utility vehicles, or 8-or-less-passenger minivans, if an employee uses his/her University American
Express Corporate Travel Card to rent the vehicle, and declines the rental company's damage waiver
at the time of rental. The insurance provided by the American Express Corporate card will provide
coverage during the rental period regardless of whether the vehicle is being used for business or
recreation. For complete information or questions on insurance coverage provided by the American
Express Corporate Travel Card call 1-800-243-0198.
The University recognizes that entertainment expenses may be incurred in carrying out its teaching,
research and service activities. However, staff should exercise care and judgment when incurring these
expenses. In general, these expenses would be for the provision of food, beverages, social and
recreational activities for the purpose of entertaining University guests, prospective staff, students,
benefactors or stakeholders. As a publicly funded institution, the University should endeavour to use its
resources wisely and effectively. Entertainment expenses should be reasonable in relation to the
number of people that are involved in the event. This policy applies to entertainment expenses from all
sources of funding including research and trust accounts, although entertainment costs pertaining to
research, trust and restricted funds may be incurred only if they are permitted by the terms and
conditions of the grant, award or contract.
Purchases of food and refreshments may be reimbursed for entertainment at a University employee's
home in cases where it is deemed more desirable and less costly than entertainment at a public facility.
Entertainment expenses will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $60.00 per person for meals and
beverages for events that are held in public places or up to a maximum of $30.00 per person for
entertainment in a University employee’s home. Entertainment amounts in excess of these maximums
will be the personal expense of the University employee and/or the other persons in attendance.
Entertainment During Travel
The cost of entertaining while traveling may be claimed, provided that the entertainment function was
necessarily incurred and the nature or purpose of the travel was directly related to University business.
Entertainment costs should be clearly identified with sufficient detail to identify the person, persons or
group being entertained, including names, university or organizational affiliation and the purpose of the
Entertainment for Staff Recruitment
Travel and entertainment expenses related to recruiting of prospective staff are allowable charges to
faculty and department budgets. Normally, the entertainment expenses would be for the provision of
food, beverages, social and recreational activities. Travel expenses for prospective staff are allowable
in accordance with the provisions in the Travel section of the Regulations and Guidelines. Travel
expenses for the spouse or partner of a prospective staff member may be allowable at the discretion of
the Dean, Director or Department Head.
Miscellaneous Expense Regulations
Professional Dues and Membership Fees
• Staff with Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) accounts are to claim professional
dues and membership fees on a PER claim. Original receipts that show the period for which
the funds apply, and where applicable, a copy of the Membership form, are to be submitted to
the signing authority.
• Management and Professional staff must submit claims for professional dues and
membership fees using PeopleSoft Expenses (requires Human Resources approval). Original
receipts that show the period for which the funds apply, and where applicable, a copy of the
Membership form, are to be submitted to the signing authority.
• All other staff must submit claims for previously approved professional dues and membership
fees using PeopleSoft Expenses. Original receipts that show the period for which the funds
apply, and where applicable, a copy of the Membership form, are to be submitted to the
Books, Materials & Supplies
Purchase of rare books and business-related books are reimbursable expenses. Materials and
supplies less than $250 are also reimbursable, if reasonable for the circumstances and explained in
detail. The original receipts are to be submitted to the signing authority.
Flowers, Cards and Gifts
Purchase of flowers, cards and modest gifts are reimbursable expenses, if reasonable, and if explained
in detail. The recipient and the occasion must be identified. The original receipts are to be submitted to
the signing authority.
The title and function of the software (less than $250) must be identified. The original receipts are to be
submitted to the signing authority.
Proof of payment for training must be submitted to the signing authority and a description of the training
is required for reimbursement.
Clinical trial reimbursements require a description of the study and nature of the expense.
A description of the nature of the expense is required for reimbursement.
Non-employee Reimbursement Regulations
Please refer to the Expense Reimbursement Claim Requirements section of this document for
information on required details and approvals.
Non-employee Travel Reimbursement
Travel expenses for prospective staff, visiting lecturers and research associates are allowable in
accordance with the provisions in the Travel Regulations section. Visiting scientists or researchers
must be identified by their names and the nature of their travel.
Non-employee Spousal/Partner Travel Reimbursement
Travel expenses for the spouse or partner of a prospective staff member may be allowable at the
discretion of the Dean, Director or Department Head.
Non- Employee Relocation Expense Reimbursement
Relocation expenses for prospective staff are allowable in accordance with the provisions in the Travel
Regulations section. The start and end locations must be denoted on the claim. Mileage, if provided,
will be compared to the University’s standard distance report to ensure accuracy.
The following expenses are not permitted on employee or non-employee expense reimbursement:
• Passport expense
• Interest charges on outstanding credit card balances
• Traffic and parking fines
• Expenses for failing to cancel transportation or hotel reservations
• Excess personal baggage or loss or damage to personal possessions of the traveler
• Laundry expenses prior to leaving Calgary or for trips of less than 4 days
• Equivalent dollar reimbursement for non-out-of-pocket costs such as use of airline reward
points or other rewards programs
• Hotel pay movies
• Rental of formal wear (tuxedos and gowns)
• Expenses for family members of traveling staff unless pre-authorization has been granted
• House cleaning expenses for entertainment events in employees’ homes
• Annual Parks Canada Passes
• Individual memberships in the University Club
• Tickets to University events including staff farewell dinners
• Alcoholic beverage cost when funding is by outside granting agencies
• Any other personal or excessive amounts