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Expense Directive





This Directive applies to all Employees of ICES (corporate, research, contract) and Faculty (core and adjunct scientists). In addition, these rules apply to any person in the organization making an expense claim, including the following:

  • appointees,
  • board members,
  • consultants and contractors engaged by the organization, providing consulting or other services.

It is incumbent upon Employees and Faculty to be familiar with the content of this Directive where it applies to their mandates/responsibilities.


The purpose of the Expense Directive is to:

  • strengthen the expense management processes and create compliance with Broad Public Sector (i.e., receiving more than $10 million/ year in Ministry funding) requirements for the Government of Ontario; and
  • set out the expense rules and procurement processes where allowable expenses can be reimbursed.


Employee and Faculty expenses must be approved according to the ICES Sourcing and Procurement Policy Authorization Levels. Authorized claims are to be submitted to Finance using an ICES Expense Reimbursement Form.

  • All claims must be supported by original and itemized receipts, which are to be attached to the report. Loss of receipts must be documented and approved according to Authorization Levels
  • All claims must be submitted on a timely basis (recommended monthly). Failure to submit expenses within three months of the date incurred may result in the disallowance of the expense claim.

Expenses for the President/CEO will be approved by the Director of Finance and reviewed by the Chairman of the Board annually.


  1. Employees will choose the most economical and direct form of transportation while travelling on ICES business and ensure that travel is necessary by exploring other cost-effective options (i.e., tele/video conferencing).
  2. Where possible, the use of local transit (TTC), ICES shuttle service or personal vehicle is encouraged.
  3. Taxi services are acceptable when deemed to be the most economical mode of transport.
  4. Any travel expenses over $200.00 must be pre-approved according to Sourcing and Procurement Policy Authorization Levels.

Written pre-approval is required for travel over $200.00 or outside Ontario, within North America and internationally.

Employee Meals

  1. Employees are expected to make reasonable selections and minimize meal expenses:
    • For business meetings where normal departmental business promoting the research, corporate or service activities of ICES is conducted over a meal period. Pre-approval is required for group meals exceeding $100.00;
    • During business travel; and
    • When working approved overtime
  2. Meal Allowance (in Canada) - Maximum Amount*
    • Breakfast --> $8.75 
    • Lunch --> $11.25
    • Dinner --> $20.00
      *Note: A meal allowance cannot be claimed when a meal is supplied as part of the business meeting. The rates provided above are not an allowance-you must have eaten the meal to be able to submit a claim for reimbursement. When more than one meal is claimed for any day, you may allocate the combined maximum rates between the meals. For example, if you will be eating both breakfast and lunch, the combined rate is $20.00. This now becomes the maximum rate for the two meals, regardless of what you spend on each meal. It is not permitted to use a combined maximum rate and not claim for each of the meals.
  3. No alcohol may be claimed (this includes any business meal including those with external representatives). Meal expenses must be supported by original, itemized receipts.
  4. When an employee is authorized to pay meal expenses for guests and the group also includes other ICES employees, the most senior employee present must pay for the meals of both the guests and fellow employees and claim the cost. Other employees must not submit separate expense claims. The expense report must show a brief explanation of the circumstances and the names of all people present, and a number count of the number of people that expenses are covering (to allow a “per person reasonability test” by the approver)
  5. Reimbursement is for restaurant/prepared food only. Reimbursement for groceries must be pre-approved and confirmation must be submitted with the claim.
  6. Room service meals ordered during a hotel stay require an itemized receipt to be submitted with the expense reimbursement.

Rental Car

  1. When considering the need for a rental vehicle, a compact or mid-sized car that fits an appropriate number of people is considered to be the ICES standard.
  2. Employees are responsible for ensuring adequate insurance coverage is obtained. If a credit card is not available, collision and loss damage insurance can be purchased.
  3. Refueling should be done before returning the vehicle and original receipts for gasoline purchases should be attached to expense reports.
  4. The rental agreement and original proof of payment must be attached to the expense report.

Personal Vehicle

  1. If convenient and necessary, employees may use their own vehicles for business on ICES behalf. Eligible kilometres are calculated as the distance from ICES to the function or meeting attended for which the use of a personal automobile is required. When travelling from home, eligible kilometres are the lesser of the distance from ICES to the event vs. the distance from home.
  2. Reimbursement will be in accordance with the approved Kilometre Allowance which covers the cost of fuel, depreciation, maintenance and insurance.
  3. Employees are solely responsible for ensuring adequate insurance coverage.
  4. Parking lot and toll charges will be reimbursed subject to the provision of original receipts. Charges incurred from parking on ICES property or overnight parking in the area of the employee's residence will not be reimbursed.

Employee Vehicle Reimbursement - 43.0 cents/kilometre


  1. Air and Rail travel must be booked through the ICES Preferred Supplier of Travel Services and purchased with the Corporate Credit Card. The ticket and boarding pass must be submitted to the Finance Department to align with the Corporate Credit Card.
  2. Air and Rail travel must have written pre-approval.
  3. Air and Rail arrangements should be made as early as reasonably possible to obtain the most economical fares.
  4. Any changes to bookings prior to the trip must be pre-approved
  5. Coach and economy class travel should be booked for Air and Rail travel; Business class maybe permitted for international flights with written pre-approval.
  6. In any booking class and within reason, the lowest fare option must be taken.

Written pre-approval required


  1. The most economical accommodation of a standard quality should be the criteria used for reserving rooms for business travel.
  2. If available, single standard room reservations should be booked.
  3. The original, itemized bill must be attached to the expense claim for reimbursement to be obtained.
  4. ICES will not reimburse for other changes such as entertainment, alcohol or special facility charges.
  5. Private stays with family or friends is encouraged (maximum reimbursement of $30 per night for gratuitous lodging).

May be booked through Preferred Supplier or Expense Claim Process

Other Travel Expenses

  1. Business calls and internet access will be reimbursed. Consideration should be made to the most economical way of making long distance calls.
  2. Personal long distance calls home for each night away will be reimbursed. Discretion should be used in the frequency and length of long distance calls.
  3. Reasonable gratuities (up to 15 percent) for meals, bellhop, room service and taxis will be reimbursed. Include on the receipt whenever possible.
  4. Bridge, ferry, highway tolls, and parking will be reimbursed subject to the provision of original receipts.
  5. Foreign currency exchange will be reimbursed subject to the provision of original receipts
  6. Dependent care expenses and home maintenance will not be reimbursed.
  7. If while travelling on approved ICES business, an employee elects to travel on personal business, the additional costs incurred will not be reimbursed.
  8. Traffic and parking violations will not be reimbursed.


  1. Hospitality is defined as the provision of food, beverage, accommodation, transportation and other amenities paid out of public funds. Hospitality expenses are NOT permitted when:
    • Functions include people who work for designated Broader Public Sector organizations (ie ICES)
    • Functions include any of the Ontario government ministries, agencies and public entities covered by the Ontario Public Service Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.
  2. Functions involving only those people in the organizations listed above are not considered Hospitality and cannot be reimbursed. This means that Hospitality may never be offered solely for the benefit of those individuals. Examples of such expenses would be office social events and holiday lunches.
  3. Expenses incurred when engaging representatives of private sector organizations on business matters and the recruitment of new employees (on a case-by-case basis) will be reimbursed. All expenses must be itemized in detail (including the names of individuals and which company they represent) when submitting the expense report.
  4. Entertainment of fellow employees, consultants or contractors hired by ICES is not permitted except in circumstances where they are required to attend the allowable Hospitality event for the specific business purpose.
  5. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages for hospitality events is permitted in limited circumstances. Pre-approved authorization is required and the cost of the alcohol must not exceed the cost of the food.
  6. The use of Ontario products is encouraged when hosting external representatives.
  • Pre-approval required
  • Quotes required depending upon Value as per Sourcing and Procurement Policy

Team Development

Defined as the expense for the purpose of developing and reinforcing ICES values around teamwork and a performance culture.

  1. Must follow in form and in substance a legitimate business expense (ie cannot be for the entertainment of the employee. See Hospitality above)
  2. Must be in support of the overall development of the Team and their performance
  3. Examples of appropriate expenditures could include but are not limited to:
    • Team lunch to celebrate achievement of a department milestone
    • Gift cards to acknowledge and celebrate team demonstration of ICES values
    • Publications, training manuals or other materials designed to aid managers in developing and reinforcing desired team values and behaviors relevant to their specific teams.
    • Allowable expense is calculated as $100 per person
  4. Number of people is the authorized number of positions within each group as outlined in departmental staffing budgets
  5. Number of people includes long-term contract positions (e.g. greater than 3 months) but not short term temporary contract help
  6. $100 per position is not prorated for part time employees
  7. There is no requirement to spend the $100 amount evenly by person/position
  8. Unused portions of the allowance may not be carried forward to the following year
  9. Pre-approval of a team development expense is required.

Pre-approval required


  1. In no circumstances can hospitality, incidental or food expenses be considered allowable expenses for consultants and contractors under the rules or in any contract between an organization and a consultant or contractor.
  2. Reimbursement for allowable expenses can be claimed and reimbursed only when the contract specifically provides for it.

Requisition, Quote and Contract requirements


* Effective date for this directive to be determined

  1. Wireless charges are not reimbursable through expense claims.
  2. If an employee is required to use a wireless device because of their job function, they must be on an ICES standard plan that is billed directly to ICES.
  3. Charges exceeding the ICES Preferred Plan not related to ICES business will require personal reimbursement.
  4. Wireless device is the property of ICES and disposal and refresh of asset will be directed by IT Standards.

ICES Preferred Plan Pre-approval required