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Proactive Disclosure Development Support Site

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Guidance document: Proactive disclosure of travel and hospitality expenses,

Background

On December 12, 2003, the government released the Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State and Guidelines for Ministers' Offices, which stipulate that all travel and hospitality expenses for Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries, and their exempt staff will be provided on institutional web sites. In line with this commitment, the requirement also extends to senior level Government of Canada employees.

This document is intended to provide guidance to institutions to help ensure that expense information is collected and presented consistently across government and in a manner that promotes transparency and facilitates public access.

Effective date and scope

This requirement is effective December 12, 2003 and applies to all Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries, and their exempt staff. It also applies to senior Government of Canada employees at the Deputy Minister, Associate Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Minister, and equivalent levels within institutions listed under Schedules I, I.1, and II of the Financial Administration Act. Individuals who act in these positions and incur travel or hospitality expenses in that capacity are also subject to this requirement. Institutions must determine their designated senior level employees.

Expense information must be posted on-line within thirty days of the end of each reporting period, as indicated below.

Reporting period

Information posted on web site by:

December 12, 2003 - March 1, 2004

March 31, 2004

March 2 - June 1, 2004

July 1, 2004

June 2 - September 1, 2004

October 1, 2004

September 2 - December 1, 2004

December 31, 2004

December 2, 2004 - March 1, 2005

March 31, 2005

Notes

  • When the above dates for posting fall on a weekend or statutory holiday, institutions must post information by the last business day before the weekend or holiday in question.
  • In the event that posted information requires correction, institutions may wait until the next posting period to update the necessary information.

1. Information fields: travel

Institutions listed under Schedules I, I.1, and II of the Financial Administration Act should consult Treasury Board's Travel Directive, Special Travel Authorities, and Guidelines for Ministers' Offices for information on travel rates and allowances. For travel expenses, institutions must capture and post the following information under the names and titles of Ministers, Ministers of State, and Parliamentary Secretaries, and under the names and job titles of exempt staff and designated senior Government of Canada employees.

  • Purpose of travel: A description of the reason for the government trip in question. The description should be succinct (one line if possible) and provide users with a general sense of the trip's purpose. Use of acronyms should be avoided.

Examples:

"Attend North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trade mission"

"Presentation - Indian and Northern Affairs Information Management workshop"

"Attend Government of Canada Leadership Conference"

"Meetings - Team Canada trade mission"

  • Date(s): To cover the full period between departure and return.
  • Destination(s): To include names of all places visited to conduct government business during the trip in question.
  • Air fare: Total cost of the airline ticket, if applicable.

Note: If the individual travelled on an aircraft owned or operated by the Government of Canada, charges may not be levied in some cases; use of this aircraft, however, should be indicated. In cases where charges are levied for use of Government of Canada owned or operated aircraft, those charges should be indicated. Please refer to section 6.3 and Appendix D of the Guidelines for Ministers' Offices.

  • Other transportation: Total cost of all other forms of transportation (e.g. train, bus, vehicle rental, private vehicle, taxis, etc), if applicable.
  • Accommodation: Total cost of accommodation.
  • Meals and incidentals: Total cost of meals and incidentals.
  • Other expenses: All other expenses incurred that are not reflected in the information fields above (e.g. cost of a special passport, visas, and associated photos, calls to the office or home, dependant care where applicable, etc.).
  • Total amount: The total cost incurred for the trip in question.

Notes

  • Reported amounts must be in Canadian currency.
  • Institutions should post information when the expense claim has been processed. Given the tight timelines under which institutions must post expense information, it is especially important to ensure the timely submission and processing of claims.
  • If a claim for travel undertaken during a reporting period is not processed within 30 days of the period's end, it must nonetheless be included in the report. In the event that posted information requires correction, institutions may wait until the next reporting period to do so.
  • Expense items must appear on web sites in chronological order according to the date(s) in which the travel expenses were incurred.
  • Institutions must indicate whether or not the reported amounts include taxes.
  • Spousal travel: For reasons of official protocol, spouses of designated officials may accompany them on government business. The travel expenses incurred by the spouse must be included on the travel expense claims of the designated official and should be disclosed.
  • Dependant travel: Under the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities and the Travel Directive, travel expenses for dependants are allowed under very specific circumstances. Dependant travel expenses are also included on travel claims and should be disclosed (e.g. could be an official on government business travel status for an extended period of time). As an alternative to weekend travel home by the official, a spouse/dependant may be authorized to travel to the official's assigned work location when there is no additional cost to the employer. This travel expense should be disclosed under the official's name.
  • Individuals may indicate spousal or dependant travel in the "purpose" field (e.g. Attend State Funeral - Accompanied by spouse").
  • In some circumstances, Member(s) of Parliament (M.P.) may accompany the Minister as a guest or may travel on the Minister's behalf. If the incurred travel expenses are charged to the Minister's budget, they should be disclosed. M.P. travel charged to a Minister's budget should be indicated in the "purpose" field (e.g. "Infrastructure Canada announcement - Accompanied by Joe Smith, M.P."; "Infrastructure Canada announcement - Joe Smith, M.P., on behalf of Minister Jones")
  • Relocation: Expenses incurred for the purposes of relocation are not subject to disclosure.

2. Information fields: hospitality

Institutions listed under Schedules I, I.1, and II of the Financial Administration Act should consult Treasury Board's Hospitality Policy and Guidelines for Ministers' Offices for additional direction on hospitality rates and allowances. For hospitality expenses, institutions must capture and post the following information under the names and titles of Ministers, Ministers of State, and Parliamentary Secretaries, and under the names and job titles of exempt staff and of designated senior level Government of Canada employees. All hospitality expenditures charged to the budget of a designated official must be disclosed, whether or not he or she was in attendance.

  • Description: To cover both the form (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, reception, refreshments, coffee and muffins, theatre tickets) and circumstances (i.e. the purpose) of the hospitality.

Examples:

"Coffee and muffins - Information Management and Policies Committee meeting"

"Reception - Maltese delegation"

"Dinner - Trade discussions with United States and Mexican officials"

"Refreshments - Award ceremony for Treasury Board Secretariat employees"

"Meals and refreshments - Treasury Board Secretariat Senior Management Committee retreat."

  • Date(s): The date(s) during which hospitality was provided.
  • Attendee(s): The total number of attendees, and the breakdown according to the number of Government of Canada officials and the number of guests. There is no requirement under the Treasury Board Hospitality Policy to collect the names of attendees.
  • Location: Must include the city where hospitality was provided and the name of the commercial establishment (i.e. restaurant or other location) and/or caterer (for in-house hospitality) that provided it.
  • Total amount: The total cost incurred for the hospitality in question.

Notes

  • Reported amounts must be in Canadian currency.
  • Institutions should post information only when the expense claim has been processed. Given the tight timelines under which institutions must post expense information, it is especially important to ensure the timely submission and processing of claims.
  • If a claim for hospitality extended during a reporting period is not processed within the 30 days of the period's end, it must nonetheless be included in the report. In the event that posted information requires correction, institutions may wait until the next reporting period to do so.
  • Expense items must appear on web sites in chronological order according to the date(s) in which the hospitality expenses were incurred.
  • Institutions must indicate whether or not the reported amounts include taxes.

3. Exemptions

Some circumstances may preclude the posting of government travel and hospitality information on institutional web sites (e.g. if details would compromise national security, public safety, ongoing criminal investigations, etc). In these cases, institutions should consult with their Access to Information co-ordinators for advice on invoking appropriate exemptions under the Access to Information Act.

4. Posting on institutional web sites

Travel and hospitality expense information must be provided on institutional web sites in accordance with Treasury Board Common Look and Feel Standards. In order to facilitate navigation and ensure consistency, institutions should adopt the approach for posting required information outlined in the following demonstration web site: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pd-cp/index_e.asp

A) Institutional home page

The institutional home should provide a clear link to travel and hospitality expense information (see demonstration).

B) Expense information page

Users should be taken to a page (see demonstration) that provides links to expense information sorted according to:

Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries, and exempt staff; and

Senior Government of Canada employees.

This page will provide contextual information and important notices, with appropriate hyperlinks, as follows:

"On December 12, 2003, the Prime Minister announced a new policy on the mandatory publication of travel and hospitality expenses for selected government officials.

This web site provides information on the travel and hospitality expenses incurred within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat by the Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, and their exempt staff, and by senior employees at the Deputy Minister, Associate Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Minister, and equivalent levels.

The rules and principles governing travel are outlined in the Guidelines for Ministers' Offices and in Treasury Board's Travel Directive and Special Travel Authorities. The purpose of these directives is to provide for the reimbursement of reasonable expenses necessarily incurred during travel on government business.

The Government of Canada extends hospitality in accordance with the rules and principles outlined in the Guidelines for Ministers' Offices and the Treasury Board Hospitality Policy. The objective of the policy is to ensure that hospitality is extended in an economical and affordable way when it facilitates government business or is considered desirable as a matter of courtesy and protocol.

The information on this web site will be updated every three months, beginning on March 31, 2004."

Notes

  • In cases where institutions have their own travel or hospitality policies (e.g. DFAIT's Foreign Service Hospitality Directive and Heads of Post Directive), they should provide reference to these from this page with appropriate links.
  • In order to facilitate public access to travel and hospitality expense reports government-wide, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will provide links from its web page to the travel and hospitality URLs for each institution. Institutions should send this URL to Corporate Communications at TBS at: tbsweb@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

C) Page for Ministers' Offices/senior Government of Canada employees

The page should then list titles and name of Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries, and their exempt staff, or the names and job titles of senior Government of Canada employees (see demonstration). Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries, and their exempt staff should be listed separately from senior Government of Canada employees.

D) Pages for individual Ministers/senior Government of Canada employees

Expenses should be sorted by calendar year (see demonstration).

E) Page for summary expenses by calendar year

This page will provide a summary of expenses incurred by the individual during a selected calendar year and sorted according to travel and hospitality. The following information fields are displayed on this page for each posted expense claim:

For travel: Date(s); Purpose; Total cost

For hospitality: Date(s); Event description; Total cost

A roll up of the total cost of travel and hospitality respectively for the calendar year will also be provided (see demonstration).

For more detailed information on each claim, users can click on the "purpose" field of the desired item and be taken to the next page.

F) Page for detailed information on individual claims

This page will provide a detailed breakdown of individual travel and hospitality expense claims (see demonstration).

Monitoring

Institutions are responsible for ensuring that expense information is accurate and up-to-date, and is posted in accordance with these guidelines.

References

Access to Information Act: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/a-1/text.html

Common Look and Feel Standards: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/clf-nsi/index_e.asp

Demonstration web site: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pd-cp/index_e.asp

Financial Administration Act: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/f-11/text.html

Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State: http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/default.asp?Language=E&Page=Publications&doc=guidemin/guidemin_toc_e.htm

Guidelines for Ministers' Offices: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/mg-ldm/gfmo_e.asp

Hospitality Policy: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/TBM_113/HOSP_e.asp

Special Travel Authorities: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/Pubs_pol/hrpubs/TBM_113/STA_e.asp

Travel Directive: http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/hr-rh/gtla-vgcl/index_e.asp

Contacts for more information

Questions regarding the application of the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities, Travel Directive (rates and allowances), and Hospitality Policy should be directed to the appropriate responsibility centres within institutions.

For more information on the mandatory publication of travel and hospitality expenses, contact Jean Plamondon (613-946-3047, Plamondon.Jean@tbs-sct.gc.ca) of the Information, Privacy, and Security Policy Division at TBS.

For more information on the Guidelines for Ministers' Offices, contact Michel Haddad (613-946-4674, Haddad.Michel@tbs-sct.gc.ca) of the Human Resources Management Office at TBS.


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