FAQ's about travel and expense claims for senators

July 22, 2013

The Hon. Senator Lillian E. Dyck

 
   
     
 
 

1. Where are the rules written down?

A.  Senators’ Travel Policy, June 5th, 2012:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/ciba/rep/SenatorsTravelPolicy-e.pdf

B.  Revision, May 9th, 2013:

Twenty-Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/ciba/rep/rep25may13-e.htm

C.  Senators’ Resource Guide

D.  The Senate Administrative Rules

E.  The Research and Office Expenses Guidelines

 F.  The Financial Management and Policy Guide for Parliamentary Associations

 G.  The Taxi Policy

 H.  The Corporate Credit Card Policy

I.   Orientation Guide for New Senators

 

2.  When traveling, what is the definition of regular travel and other travel?

To determine whether a trip is “Regular” or “Other”, departure, destination and the purpose of the trip are taken into account.

A. Regular travel:

·         Regular trip” means all trips to and from the National Capital Region. (Senators’ Travel Policy - 1.5.11)

·         Regular travel - Travel between residence and the National Capital Region (Senators’ Travel Policy - 2.5.3. a)

·          Regular Senate Business Travel: travel between the senator’s province/territory of appointment and the National Capital Region  (25th Report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy - Article 10)

·         Regular travel (expenses) includes expenses incurred while travelling between the Senator’s province/territory and Ottawa (The Quarterly Expenditure Report, Note 2a)

 

B. What is the definition of other travel?

·         Other Senate Business Travel - all other categories of travel: provincial/territorial; regional; national and international (The Quarterly Expenditure Report, Note 2 b)

 

3A.  If a flight from a Senator’s provincial residence to the NCR is indirect, is it considered as Other Travel?

          No.  It is considered Regular Travel. (Confirmed by Senate Finance Directorate)

3B.  If a senator stops over on their way to the NCR to do public business, is that considered as Regular travel?

No.  It is considered Other Travel, because the purpose of that portion of the trip is to do public business; as well as the portion from that stop to NCR will be considered as Other Travel. 

However, if the stop is in the Senator’s province, the portion from that stop to Ottawa will be Regular Travel. (Confirmed by Senate Finance Directorate)

 

3C.   If a senator stops over for personal reasons on their way to the NCR, is that considered Regular travel?

           No.  It's considered as Other Travel and only the portion from that personal stop to Ottawa will be reimbursed. (Confirmed by Senate Finance Directorate)

3D.   If a senator stops over for personal reasons on their way home to their provincial residence from the NCR, is that considered "regular travel"?

           Scenario 1: their provincial residence is in Ontario

           Scenario 2: their provincial residence is not in Ontario

          No. The same rules apply to both scenario 1 and 2. The personal expenses when leaving Ottawa should not be covered by the Senate.

           Senate resources shall not be used to fund travel that is incurred to pursue the private business or personal interests of a senator or alternate. (Senators’ Travel Policy - 2.7.3

           When Senate-related travel is combined with private business or personal travel, any additional expenses incurred as a result of the private business or personal travel must not be claimed (e.g. meal per diems on personal days and additional nights of accommodation). (Senators’ Travel Policy - 2.7.7)

 

4.  Can a senator charge for meals when flying?

No.  Not if a meal is provided when flying on senate business

Travellers may claim for meals incurred while on travel status but shall only claim for those meals for which there was no provision from another source. (Senators’ Travel Policy - 2.10.3.3)

 

5.  Is there a limit on the number of trips a senator can take?

Yes.

Each senator is allowed 64 travel points per fiscal year (Senators’ Travel Policy - 2.5.1).

Amended on May 9th, 2013:  That the 64-point travel system be amended to provide a maximum of 52 points for regular Senate business travel (between a senator's province/territory of appointment and the National Capital Region), and Senate business travel within a senator's province/territory,

and, up to a maximum of 4 points for travel to New York (for United Nations business only) and Washington, D.C.;

and that a limit of 12 points be established for regional and national travel on Senate business.

(25th Report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy - Article 7)

 

6.  What is the definition of primary residency?

Primary residence” means the residence identified by the senator as his/her main residence and is situated in the province or territory represented by the senator. (Senators’ Travel Policy -1.5.7)

Provincial Residence: A Senator’s residence in the province or territory for which the Senator is appointed.  (Senate Administrative Rules 1:03 [1-10])

 

7.  What is the definition of secondary residency?

A secondary residence is described as a residence in the NCR which is owned, leased or rented by a senator whose primary residence is more than 100 kms from the NCR (Senators' Travel Policy, Appendix E).

National Capital Residence: A residence established by a Senator within 100 km of Parliament Hill that is not the Senator’s provincial residence. (Senate Administrative Rules 1:03 [1-9])

Amended on May 9th, 2013:  National Capital accommodation” means accommodation within 100 kilometres of Parliament Hill that is not a Senator’s provincial residence and that the Senator occupies in order to attend to his or her parliamentary functions in Ottawa.   (25th Report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy – under Definitions)

 

8.   What are the constitutional requirements with respect to living in one's province or territory?

He shall be resident in the Province for which he is appointed (the Constitution Act 1982, Section 23 [5]).

 

9.  What are the constitutional requirements with respect to owning property in one's province or territory?

He shall be legally or equitably seised as of Freehold for his own Use and Benefit of Lands or Tenements held in Free and Common Socage, or seised or possessed for his own Use and Benefit of Lands or Tenements held in Franc-alleu or in Roture, within the Province for which he is appointed, of the Value of Four thousand Dollars, over and above all Rents, Dues, Debts, Charges, Mortgages, and Incumbrances due or payable out of or charged on or affecting the same (Constitution Act 1982, Section 23[3]).

 

In addition, Senators are made aware of their Constitutional requirement to be a resident and own property in the province for which they are appointed.

"The Constitution requires that you meet the following criteria to be eligible for service as a senator:

·         be at least 30 years old;

·         be a Canadian citizen or a subject of the Crown;

·         own $4,000 worth of land in the province or territory you represent;

·         have a personal net worth of $4,000;

·         be resident in the province or territory for which you are appointed; and

·         if you are a Quebec senator, hold real property in the Electoral Division for which you       are appointed, or be resident in that Division.

 

In order to track and document your compliance with the residence requirement, you may wish to keep a log with the number of days per year you spend in the province or territory you represent." (Orientation Guide for New Senators, p. 3)

10.  Are receipts necessary to claim expenses?

Yes .  Supporting documentation  must be submitted with travel expense claims.

 

Unless otherwise indicated in this policy, all expenses shall be supported and receipts must be originals. Debit or credit card slips, post-dated receipts and copies of cheques are not considered a sufficient proof. The following supporting documentation, as appropriate, shall be submitted with the travel expense claim:

 

·         Hotel receipts

·         Car rental receipts

·         Gas receipts when using a rental car

·         Taxi receipts when the fare exceeds the threshold established by the Committee

·         Boarding passes

·         Cancellation and change fees information

·         E-tickets

·         Receipts for VIA Rail upgrades and VIA Rail tickets

·         Receipts for miscellaneous transportation expenses such as parking, tolls, ferries and bus fares

·         Print-out of road travel itinerary using any suitable mapping application (e.g. google maps, map quest, etc)

 

·         Requirements related to usage of flight passes (see section 2.9.1)

                   (Senators’ Travel Policy -2.18.1.3)

 

11.  What was the honor system in claiming expenses?

No definition has been found; however, with respect to receipts, the following applies:

·         In the event of a lost, destroyed, or unobtainable receipt, travellers shall submit a declaration (a written signed statement is available from the Finance division) attesting to and listing the expenses for payment without receipt. The submission of declarations in lieu of receipts should only occur on an exceptional basis. (Senators’ Travel Policy -2.18.3.1)

On May 9, 2013, the honor system was eliminated:

·         That section 4 of Chapter 1:02 of the Senate Administrative Rules which states: “Senators act on their personal honour and Senators are presumed to have acted honourably in carrying out their administrative functions unless and until the Senate or the Internal Economy Committee determines otherwise”, be deleted. (25th Report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy – Article 1)