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Highlights of Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive

Archived Backgrounder

Highlights of Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive

Office of the Premier

The Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive sets out the rules for claiming reimbursement for work-related travel, meal and hospitality expenses.

What you need to know

- Make sure that travel is necessary and economical - always explore other options (e.g. teleconferences, video conferencing).

- Always get appropriate approvals before making travel arrangements.

- The rules apply to all ministry employees, employees and appointees of the classified agencies and other persons under contract to ministries and agencies travelling on government business.

- No alcohol may be claimed as part of a travel or meal expense. In very limited circumstances, alcohol may be allowed as part of a hospitality event.

- There are specific rules about the methods of transportation allowed, including the use of personal vehicles.

- Always use approved travel suppliers for booking travel.

- Always refer to the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive for the complete rules.


Before making any plans, ensure that travel is necessary and get appropriate pre approvals for travel within Ontario, within North America and outside North America (e.g. for travel outside North America Government of Ontario staff require Deputy Minister, Minister and Secretary of the Cabinet approval. Classified agency employees require the approval of the Chair and the Minister to travel outside North America).

By Car

Generally, where driving is the most practical and economical way to travel for business:

- First, see if a government vehicle is available
- If not, use a rental vehicle, unless it is more economical to use your personal vehicle

The use of rental vehicles is encouraged over the use of a personal vehicle when the total distance driven in one day exceeds 200 kilometres as it generally more economical.

Rental Car

When renting a car for government business, always choose the smallest size that fits the number of people travelling, business task, and weather conditions.

Vehicle Insurance

Only Ministry staff and staff of agencies where employees are part of the OPS should rent vehicles for government travel in the name of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario. In the rental contract, name the renter of the vehicle as "Her Majesty the Queen", followed by the name of your ministry or agency and list yourself as the licensed operator.

Agencies which are staffed by non OPS employees should follow their own rules regarding how the rental contract should be entered into.

Personal Vehicle

Each bargaining unit has its own per kilometre reimbursement rate. Please refer to your collective agreement for the appropriate rates. Rates for employees outside of bargaining units can be found in the Directive. Please note that there are different rates for travelling in southern and northern Ontario and for the accumulated distance travelled.

Government Corporate Travel Card

When using a travel card, decline the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) offered by the rental agency. If you don't have a corporate travel card, purchase the CDW and LDW from the rental agency. You may claim these costs.

By Air or Rail

Use air and rail sparingly. Always make sure travel is necessary and explore other options such as teleconferences and video conferencing.

If air or rail travel is required and approved, always make your reservations using the approved travel suppliers.

Air and rail tickets purchased with a travel card and booked through the government travel management company are paid centrally. Do not submit an expense claim for these tickets. However, if you book directly with a carrier using the travel card, you must submit the expense claim for air/rail travel in order to be reimbursed.


For those with access to MyOPS, you can make your hotel reservations using the accommodation directory found on the Travel Online site. Book a single occupancy room in a moderate range hotel or motel and ask for the government rate.

If the agency does not have this access to MyOPS, the hotel directory can be found at the following link: http://rehelv-acrd.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/rechercher-search-eng.aspx

Other Travel Expenses

While expenses such as business calls and internet access may be claimed, make sure the items are necessary and appropriate before making the charges.

Recreational items such as video rentals and mini-bars will not be reimbursed.


Reasonable meal expenses may be reimbursed for business meetings over a meal period, for employees working approved overtime or if staff are away from the office on government business. No alcohol may be claimed.

Meal expenses MUST be supported by an original, itemized receipt.

Hospitality Expenses

Hospitality is the provision of food, beverages, accommodation, transportation or other amenities at public expense to persons who are not engaged in work for the Ontario government (e.g. representatives from other governments). Hospitality should be economical and appropriate and should facilitate government business or be considered desirable as a matter of courtesy

There are limited circumstances where alcohol may be claimed as part of a hospitality event. The cost of the alcohol cannot exceed the cost of the food and the use of Ontario products is encouraged.

Hospitality expenses are never appropriate for functions involving only Ontario government or Agency employees.