Ontario Updating Travel Expense Rules for Government Staff
Province Making System More Efficient While Maintaining Accountability
Starting January 1, 2017, Ontario will update travel expense rules to improve efficiency while maintaining strong accountability and transparency provisions.
Ontario already has some of the lowest reimbursement rates for meal-related expenses in Canada. Following recommendations by the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario and the Auditor General of Ontario, the province is implementing an allowance-based reimbursement system for meals - where staff will be reimbursed a standard amount for business-related meal expenses. This will increase efficiency in the claims process and result in administrative savings. Expenses will continue to be reviewed and approved to make sure claims comply with the rules before any payments are made.
As part of the government's commitment to transparency and accountability, travel, meal and hospitality expenses for Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, political staff and senior government employees will continue to be publicly posted online, as well as the rules for government travel.
- To address inflation and rising food costs, reimbursement rates for meals will rise from the current $40 per day to $45 per day. Ontario’s reimbursement rate is, and will continue to be below the Canadian average.
- The changes apply to Ontario Public Service employees as well as Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Opposition leaders and their respective staff. Changes are also being made to the Broader Public Sector (BPS) Expenses Directive to allow designated BPS organizations to adopt an allowance-based reimbursement system for meals.
- In 2017, the government will undertake a comprehensive review of the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive for Ontario Public Service staff and the Allowable Expense Rules for political staff. The review will examine kilometric reimbursement rates and approval levels for international travel. It will also look at emerging travel practices such as sharing economy platforms (e.g. ride sharing) and environmental considerations (e.g. promoting the use of greener travel options and accommodations).
“Updating Ontario’s travel rules balances the need for efficient, effective processes with Ontario’s commitment to strong accountability measures for the use of taxpayer dollars.”