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Travel and Reimbursement Policy

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
62.01 Vice President, College Services and CFO Director, Financial Services Executive Council Pre-2009 May 10, 2021 May 12, 2021 May 2026
  1. Purpose
    1. The purpose of this policy is to provide standards for the reimbursement of travel expenses to employees for reasonable expenses incurred on college business, generally when away from the employee’s regular work location.
  1. Scope
    1. This policy applies to all employees of NSCC unless certain collective agreements state otherwise.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Electronic Expense Reimbursement System (E-claims) E-claims is the system utilized to reimburse employees for eligible travel, entertainment and other expenses.
Executive members President and Vice-Presidents.
Expense report Report submitted by an employee for reimbursement of college expenses through the E-claims system.
Request Authorization Electronic pre-approval request in E-claims for out of province travel and technology purchases.
Senior Leadership Forum (SLF) Directors, Deans, Principals, Associate Vice-Presidents, Vice Presidents and President.
  1. Policy
    1. NSCC will reimburse employees for eligible travel expenses where reasonable judgment and care has been exercised. Travel expenses must be directly related to the operations of the College. Reimbursement for travel expenses shall be claimed using E-claims on Connect.
    2. The College’s Travel and Reimbursement Policy must be applied in a consistent manner regardless of the method of payment (e.g. college credit card, direct bill, etc.) used for the travel expenditures.
    3. Employee Responsibility
      In advance of travel, employees must obtain authorization for travel as noted in this policy and use care in planning travel details. Employees will complete and submit their expense report using E-claims within a reasonable time period following their return (approximately 90 days) and ensure the accuracy of the claim.
    4. Budget Manager/Supervisor Responsibility
      An employee’s budget manager/supervisor must ensure all travel arrangements are made and approved in accordance with this policy before expenditures are incurred and submitted expense reports are verified before payment is made. Budget managers/supervisors are accountable for verifying the reasonableness, accuracy, and completeness of each individual expense item on the expense report. The approving budget manager/supervisor must ensure expenditures are properly supported.
    5. Campus Managers of Administrative Services Responsibility
      For expense reports originating at a campus, with the exception of the Principals, the Manager of Administrative Services must verify the report for compliance to policies, reasonableness, accuracy, and completeness of each individual expense prior to approving the report.
    6. Central Office, Finance Department Responsibility
      It is the responsibility of the Finance Department in Central Office to pay all expense reports for travel, subject to verification and audit procedures ensuring the legitimacy of each report. Upon approval by the Manager of Administrative Services, or a Central Finance Manager, an employee can expect to receive reimbursement within approximately two weeks. This timeline is based on the assumption that the report is accurate, with appropriate approvals.
    7. Safety
      Winter driving is hazardous and driving in poor conditions increases the risk of an accident. All travel plans must include consideration for the driving conditions. If travel conditions are poor, travel should be postponed until conditions improve. Otherwise, use alternate meeting methods.
      1. Please refer to the website 511.novascotia.ca for up-to-date information on road conditions and safety within Nova Scotia.
      2. NSCC Self-Service Conference options
        NSCC offers self-service video and audio-conferencing alternatives. Details can be found at: Adding Audio Conference Functionality to Teams Meeting
    8. Travel Destination Approval
      1. Travel in and around the communities in which the claimant normally works
        When employees are required to attend meetings or run errands near their regular work location, receipted taxis or mileage, parking fees or reasonable meter rates will be reimbursed. The approval of the expense report (or invoice, if the charge is invoiced directly to the College) will be taken to be evidence of pre-approval.
      2. Within Province
        Travel to attend meetings, conferences, conventions, and regular meetings of associations in which the College participates, requires pre-approval of the budget manager/supervisor. The approval of the expense report (or invoice, if the charge is invoiced directly to the College) will be taken to be evidence of pre-approval.
      3. Out of Province (Canada and United States)
        All travel outside the Province (including the United States) must complete a Request Authorization using E-claims, which must be pre-approved by the employee’s budget manager/supervisor and an executive member, prior to any travel arrangements being made.
      4. International (outside Canada and United States)
        Employees travelling outside of Canada and United States must complete a Request Authorization using E-claims which must be pre-approved by the employee’s budget manager/supervisor and an executive member, prior to any travel arrangements being made. Employees travelling outside of Canada and United States must refer to the International Travel Policy available on Connect (PDF 703KB).
    9. Utilization of Travel Agency
      NSCC employees are responsible to make their own travel arrangements. An employee may book their own travel by directly booking with the car rental company, airline or hotel. In some cases, the employee may choose to utilize the services of a travel agency. MARITIME TRAVEL is currently the College’s travel agency. Third party booking agencies may be used only if refunds are available when cancellations are required.
    10. Travel Insurance
      NSCC employees are responsible to ensure they have valid travel, health and life insurance coverage throughout the duration of any college business travel. The following information includes details on additional insurance that may be required.
      1. Within province
        Health insurance is provided through the Provincial MSI (Medical Services Insurance) Program. All employees must be eligible for MSI and be issued a Provincial Health Card - novascotia.ca
      2. Out of province (within Canada)
        1. All provinces have signed an Interprovincial Reciprocal Billing Agreement (except Quebec for physician services). If you show your current Provincial Health Card to the provider for necessary insured services, the claims will be
          paid by the host province. They will then be reimbursed by your home province. If you are required to pay the attending physician, please submit your itemized receipt to MSI for consideration.
      3. International (outside Canada)
        1. It is mandatory for all employees travelling for college business outside Canada to apply for Guard Me International Travel Health and Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance for the duration of the trip. Failure to do so could result in the lack of coverage while out of country. It is important to arrange for this coverage as early as possible after airline tickets are booked and prior to travel. Employees are required to arrange for coverage every time they travel out of country for college business. For step by step details on how to apply for coverage, refer to the travel coverage process on Connect (PDF 228KB). Employees aged 65 and over must contact the Group Benefits consultant in Human Resources in Central Office who will provide assistance in making arrangements for travel coverage.
        2. For more information regarding international travel, refer to International travel insurance for college business on Connect. The additional expense must be submitted using E-claims.
    11. Travel Advances
      1. Travel advances may be available to employees who do not have the benefit of using college sponsored credit cards, personal credit cards or direct billing arrangements. Travel advance requests must be submitted to the Finance Department at least three weeks in advance of travel to allow for processing.
      2. Travel advances must only be used to offset reasonable and necessary costs that are incurred for the business operation of the College.
      3. The authorization of a travel advance must be supported with a signed cheque requisition accompanied by a copy of the Request Authorization completed using E-claims with the appropriate approvals. All requests must include information regarding the program number, funding agency (if applicable) and project account number.
      4. Travel advances will be issued for an amount that does not exceed the estimated outof-pocket costs. A travel advance will not be issued for amounts less than $100 and will not be issued more than 15 calendar days prior to the commencement of travel.
      5. The travel advance is a direct loan to the employee. The employee is personally responsible for repaying the entire advance. Repayment of the travel advance is not contingent on the employee receiving the entire travel reimbursement. The employee is personally responsible for any cash that is lost or stolen.
      6. The employee must repay the unused portion of the travel advance within thirty (30) days after the completion of their travel. If the travel expense exceeds the advance, a reimbursement may be claimed for the difference. To clear the travel advance, an expense report must be submitted using E-claims.
      7. Any unpaid balance will be collected through the College’s debt collection process. The College reserves the right to deduct the unpaid balance from the employee’s pay. An employee with an outstanding balance is automatically ineligible for future advances and their supervisor will be notified of the outstanding balance.
    12. Mode of Travel
      Claimants must ensure that the most economical route and mode of transportation and accommodation is used, having regard for the purpose and urgency of the journey.
      1. Rental vehicles:
        1. The College encourages the use of rental vehicles when appropriate (e.g. when return travel in a single day is more than 300 kilometers). When renting a vehicle, the employee must use the Preferred Vendor when possible, designating themselves as the primary driver. Preferred Vendors usually bill the College directly.
        2. When renting a vehicle used outside of Nova Scotia, insurance must be purchased. Rental vehicles are covered by the College’s Self Insurance Policy when travelling in Nova Scotia. However, the collision damage coverage is always required if the College is renting a vehicle for use by a non-employee or a student under the age of 25.
        3. Unless circumstances warrant, compact or mid-size vehicles must be rented. In the event a full-size vehicle is rented, documented justification must be provided.
        4. Whenever possible, employees must make every effort to carpool.
        5. Necessary purchases of gasoline, oil, and windshield washer fluid will be reimbursed according to receipts submitted using E-claims. Regular grade gasoline will be used in rental vehicles designed to operate using gasoline. Premium grade gasoline is only to be used where premium grade is required in the owner’s manual.
        6. Whenever possible the employee is to make every effort to refuel the rental vehicle prior to returning to the rental company. In the event refueling is not completed, documented justification must be provided.
      2. Privately owned vehicles
        1. Employees may use their own vehicle for travel when it is appropriate to do so. The employee should travel by the shortest direct route whenever possible. An employee should not claim travel reimbursements f combining personal travel with college business and the use of the privately owned vehicle results in additional costs.
        2. Privately owned vehicles may be used on college business, however the College will not, under any circumstances, accept any liability for claims arising from the operation of privately owned vehicles on college business or otherwise. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner for maintaining adequate insurance coverage and paying all costs relating to the operation of the vehicle.
        3. The rate of reimbursement will be 47 cents per kilometer for privately owned vehicles.
        4. An employee can claim the round-trip distance between their home and the airport to drop-off and pick-up the traveler if the cost does not exceed the total of kilometers travelled and parking costs that would have been incurred otherwise.
        5. When an employee travels on college business to a work/meeting site other than their regular work location, they will be reimbursed for the distance between their home (when starting or ending the travel from home) and the work/meeting site or the distance from their regular work location to the work/meeting site, whichever is less.
        6. When an employee is requested by their budget manager/supervisor to travel on a weekend or previously scheduled vacation (excluding weekday campus closures) to return to a work/meeting site or regular work location, they will be reimbursed for the return distance between their current location at the time of the request and the work/meeting site or regular work location.
      3. College-owned/leased vehicles
        1. A vehicle owned or leased by the College, shall be driven only by an employee of the College. All persons authorized to drive such vehicles must have a positive driving record and a valid driver’s license, of the appropriate class for the vehicle.
        2. Passengers, who are not employees of the College, shall not be carried in college vehicles unless written authorization from the College has been obtained.
        3. College-owned vehicles are used strictly for college business and cannot be loaned for personal use. Employees traveling between work and home using college vehicles are required to report a taxable benefit on their personal income tax return. This benefit includes two components including a standby charge to reflect the employee’s personal access to the vehicle and an operating benefit to reflect the personal portion of operating expenses paid by the College. An exception exists for travel between work and home if an employee proceeds to another point of call other than a campus or returns home from such a place as required by their employment with the College.
        4. Taxable benefits must be reported to the Manager, HR Payroll and Benefits so the appropriate remittances can be submitted to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.
        5. College-owned and leased vehicles carry adequate insurance for the employees who use these vehicles for official business.
      4. Air Travel
        1. Documentation supporting air travel must include the Request Authorization, as well as name of traveler, purpose for traveling, departure/return dates, net amount paid for airfare, route of flight and class (e.g. economy).
        2. In Province travel by air may be used if the airline ticket plus other costs (e.g. ground transportation to/from airports, meals and accommodations) are less expensive than mileage and other costs (e.g. meals and accommodations) for the same trip or if documented pre-approval is granted by their budget  manager/supervisor and an executive member.
        3. When an employee has an aversion to air travel, the College shall endeavour to schedule the work so that time will permit the employee to travel by other means. The total claim for mileage, meals and accommodations while in transit to the travel destination must not exceed the cost of an economy class air ticket.
        4. All air travel must be the most economical fare possible. Cancellation insurance will not be reimbursed unless exceptional circumstances warrant such coverage; requiring separate documented approval.
        5. For international travel, charter priced tickets are not recommended because they are non-changeable, non-refundable and could be cancelled. Cancellation and health insurance can be purchased through Guard Me at a very reasonable cost for international travel.
        6. The additional cost for purchasing a business-class or first-class ticket will not be reimbursed unless documented pre-approval is granted under exceptional circumstances by an executive member.
        7. Airline tickets should be purchased as early as possible to improve the likelihood of obtaining the best price.
        8. The amount of airfare claimed for reimbursement must represent the actual amount paid after exchange rates, airport fees, security fees, discounts, change fees, travel agency fees, etc. Partial or complete ticket refunds must be repaid to the College.
        9. Benefits received from voluntary bumping may be retained by an employee as long as the alternative travel does not result in an absence from work or additional travel costs.
      5. Taxi (local usage)
        1. The use of taxis will be confined to college related business trips in situations where it is not suitable or reasonable to use a private vehicle.
        2. Except where governed by specific terms of a collective agreement, when an employee is requested to report to work early, or to remain at work after normal hours, the employee’s supervisor may authorize payment for the use of a taxi to return the employee to their home.
        3. Receipts must be attached, with the date, departure point, destination, other passengers and justification for use of a taxi indicated on the expense report using E-claims.
      6. Taxi (while travelling)
        1. The use of taxis will be confined to college related business.
        2. Transportation to and from an airport or other terminal may be claimed. Where practical, such travel should be by airport bus, shuttle service or fixed fare limousine.
        3. Receipts must be attached, with the date, departure point, destination, other passengers and justification for use of a taxi indicated on the expense report using E-claims.
      7. Other ground transportation fares
        1. Charges for bridge, ferry, causeway and parking tolls incurred on college business may be claimed. Whenever it is possible to do so, a receipt must be collected and submitted with the expense report using E-claims. Current exceptions include; Halifax bridge tolls and the Cobequid Pass tolls.
    13. Other Travel Costs
      1. International Travel Costs
        When an employee is required to travel outside Canada, arrangements for obtaining a passport or visa, inoculations, vaccinations, x-rays and certificates of health (if required by visited country) will be reimbursed.
      2. Baggage
        An employee will be reimbursed costs incurred in transporting one personal checked bag and if applicable, baggage associated with college related equipment or supplies. An employee will be reimbursed for necessary purchases as a result of lost luggage provided the authorizing budget manager/supervisor deems it was a reasonable purchase.
      3. Parking
        Parking charges are not reimbursable when an employee is on duty at their regular work location. Parking expenses may be claimed with receipts for:
        1. Short-term parking when the employee is away from their regular work location and when free or metered parking is either not available or impractical for the location or duration of the meeting.
        2. Overnight parking when not provided with accommodations.
        3. Parking at an airport or other transportation terminal if it is less costly than access by limousine or taxi.
      4. Telephone calls
        An employee will be reimbursed for reasonable costs incurred to make local and long distance telephone calls while traveling on college business.
      5. Incidental
        An overnight incidental allowance of $5.00 per night to cover miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses shall be claimable where overnight accommodations are required. This allowance includes items such as laundry and gratuities (other than meals), etc. No receipts are required.
      6. Extended travel status

        Except as otherwise provided for in employee Collective Agreements
        If an employee is required to spend more than three weeks in travel status at one location, the College will attempt to make special arrangements for lodging and meals at the most economical rates. When extended business travel is over a weekend, the employee may return to their home for the weekend and be reimbursed for the lesser cost; either the cost of reasonable transportation travelling home and back, or the cost of meals and accommodations at the travel location if they choose to stay.
      7. Combining business and personal travel
        Where circumstances warrant, a budget manager/supervisor may authorize an employee to combine college business travel with vacation or other personal reasons. The allowable travel expense claimed by the employee is limited to the costs associated with college business only.
    14. Claiming Meals and Accommodations
      1. Meals within Atlantic Canada
        1. Employees will be reimbursed the per-diem rate only (no receipts accepted) for meals while travelling “within the four Atlantic Canadian provinces” on college business. Travel status begins at the time of the employee’s departure on college business, from their home or regular work location, and ends with the employee’s return to their home or regular work location. When travel status begins at least one hour or more before the beginning of a normal workday, breakfast per diem may be claimed. When travel status ends after 6:30pm, a supper per diem may be claimed.
        2. The following per-diem meal rates (including taxes and gratuities) are claimable for all travel within Atlantic Canada.
          Breakfast $10.00
          Mid-day (Lunch) $15.00
          Evening (Supper) $25.00
          Maximum daily per-diem $50.00
        3. Per-diem expenses will not be reimbursed for the following:
          1. Employees visiting another NSCC location within the community of their regular work location (e.g. Central Office and Metro Campus employees visiting another Metro Campus or Central Office).
          2. Meals provided as part of a conference registration paid for by the College, unless for documented reasons i.e. health or work commitments, the individual cannot consume the provided meal.
          3. Meals provided during a business meeting, unless for documented reasons i.e. health limitations, the employee cannot consume the provided meal.
          4. Complimentary meals provided by an airline or at the location where overnight accommodations have been reserved, unless for documented reasons i.e. health limitations or work commitments, the employee cannot consume the provided meal.
      2. Meals outside of Atlantic Canada (within Canada or United States)
        1. Employees will be reimbursed the per-diem rate only (no receipts accepted) for meals while travelling “outside the four Atlantic Canadian provinces” on college business.
        2. The following per-diem meal rates (including taxes and gratuities) are claimable for all travel outside Atlantic Canada (in currency of travel location).
          Breakfast $15.00
          Mid-day (Lunch) $20.00
          Evening (Supper) $30.00
          Maximum daily per-diem $65.00
        3. Per-diem expenses will not be reimbursed for the following:
          1. Meals provided as part of a conference registration paid for by the College, unless for documented reasons i.e. health or work commitments, the employee cannot consume the provided meal.
          2. Meals provided during a business meeting, unless for documented reasons i.e. health limitations, the employee cannot consume the provided meal.
          3. Complimentary meals provided by an airline or at the location where overnight accommodations have been reserved, unless for documented reasons i.e. health limitations or work commitments, the employee cannot consume the provided meal.
      3. Accommodations
        1. Actual and reasonable expenses for accommodations in an establishment which is conveniently located and comfortably equipped shall be reimbursed to the employee requiring overnight accommodations while on college business. It is the responsibility of the employee to request a preferred rate upon registering. The use of luxury accommodations will not be reimbursed.
        2. When employees are attending meetings or events in and around their regular work location (within 50 km) they will not use accommodations unless extenuating circumstances exist, there is documented justification and documented pre-approval is granted by an executive member.
        3. When an employee is traveling away from their regular work location and requires accommodations which are located within 125 kilometers of their regular work location, a documented reason is required to support the reimbursement. Safety concerns due to poor driving conditions (e.g. an unexpected major snowstorm) and meetings going late into the evening are examples of reasonable explanations to support the reimbursement.
        4. The College will reimburse the employee only for the room cost and related taxes as supported by submission of the receipt. Meals, bar services, movies, etc. are the responsibility of the traveler and must be paid upon checking out of the hotel.
        5. Travelers are expected to review their invoice for accuracy before checking out.
        6. Employees may make private arrangements for overnight accommodations with friends or relatives where such arrangements are not inconvenient for the purposes of the trip. Where private accommodations are used, the employee may be reimbursed to a maximum of $25.00 per night, and may claim such without a receipt, provided no other accommodations are claimed for the same time.
        7. Travel outside Canada and United States
          In many developing countries it is extremely difficult to obtain receipts for meals and incidentals. As such, the College will accept the guidelines issued by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Travel Directive, Appendix D for claiming per-diem rates for travel outside Canada and United States.

          Actual meal receipts can still be claimed for this travel using the exchange rate for that day.
    15. Non-Reimbursable Expenses
      A listing of non-reimbursable travel expenditures has been prepared as a guideline for employees claiming reimbursements. This list does not include every non-reimbursable item. Employees must use reasonable judgment and care when they claim travel expenditures. For more detail on entertainment and other expenses, employees should refer to the Entertainment and Other Expenses Policy available on Connect.

      Exceptions to this list may be made with documented pre-approval from an executive member.
      1. Accommodation charges for someone who is unconnected to the College who is accompanying the traveler
      2. Alcohol
      3. Child-care expenses
      4. Club dues (see Entertainment and Other Expenses Policy)
      5. Corporate reward fees
      6. Credit card interest and fees (see Entertainment and Other Expenses Policy)
      7. Donations (see Entertainment and Other Expenses Policy)
      8. Excess personal baggage fees (more than one personal checked bag)
      9. Golf fees/ski passes (see Entertainment and Other Expenses Policy)
      10. Insurance (non-compulsory)
      11. MacPass in personal vehicles
      12. Magazines, books, newspapers, or other personal reading materials
      13. Membership – airline clubs
      14. Movies
      15. Parking tickets and traffic violations
      16. Personal cellular monthly fee
      17. Pet care
      18. Stopovers which are unrelated to college business. Personal portion cannot be claimed
      19. Toiletries
      20. Travel or baggage insurance (optional) except where required by the NSCC International Mobility Programs Policy. Such expense should be submitted in an expense report using E-claims with proof of purchase.
      21. Receipted of per diem meals when meals are provided free of charge by accommodations or conference providers (documented reason is required).
    16. Reimbursement of Expenses
      1. Employees must complete and submit an expense report using E-claims to be reimbursed for travel expenses. E-claims and resource materials can be found on Connect.
      2. With respect to mileage, the employee must include details in the description field for each expense item listed in the expense report. The approximate distance between each campus has been listed on Connect.
      3. The expense report must be approved by the employee’s budget manager/ supervisor, and then it will automatically flow to the Manager of Administrative Services or a Central Finance Manager for review and approval.
      4. Copies of detailed receipts and proof of payment must be submitted with the expense report. Credit card receipts alone will not provide adequate support.
      5. For all expense items submitted, employees must include details in the description field for each expense item listed in the expense report. Substantiation should include the purpose of the expenditure (e.g. why was the taxi taken? what was the airline ticket for? what was the hotel for? what was the purpose of the meal?), names of participants, timeline, etc.
      6. Paper claims will be on an exception basis only and must be pre-approved by the Finance Department prior to submission.
    17. Fraud Policy and Procedures
      The College’s Fraud Policy, on Connect, emphasizes that fraudulent activity includes the inaccurate reporting of financial information for personal advantage. The College retains the right to audit travel expenses. The payment of travel and expense reports does not represent final approval.
  1. Policy Supports

43.05 International Travel Policy
62.51 Entertainment & Other Expenses Policy
62.61 College Purchase Card Policy
62.71 College Travel Card Policy
76.21 Fraud Policy

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