Directive on the Pre-approval of Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures
June 16, 2020
This directive is available in multiple formats upon request (email PA Multiple Media).
Table of contents
- Effective date
- Related corporate policy instruments
- Objectives and outcomes
- Roles and responsibilities
- Review and assessment
- Version history
- Appendix A – Exceptional hospitality components
- Appendix B – Maximum food and beverage cost per person
- Appendix C – Trip authorization elements and travel categories
The Directive on the Pre-approval of Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures received Board of Management approval and came into effect on June 16, 2020 (Board Resolution #2020-2021-06).
This directive replaces the 2017 Directive on the Management of Expenditures on Events and Hospitality.
For the version history of this document, see section 11.
This directive applies to employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and to any other individuals required to follow CRA policy, and is mandatory to follow.
The Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct (Code) highlights the rules, and describes the values, that guide CRA employees in their work. The Code, along with the CRA Foundation Framework for Corporate Policy, sets out the requirement to follow CPIs.
Consequences of non-compliance: failure to comply with CPIs may result in corrective measures, including disciplinary action.
To help interpret and implement this directive, key terms are defined in the Definitions section.
This directive flows from the Policy on Financial Management and Financial Administration.
This directive should be read in conjunction with the Travel Directive.
In support of the Policy on Financial Management and Financial Administration, this directive sets out the financial administration requirements for the pre-approval of expenditures related to travel, hospitality, conferences and events, as well as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Assistant Commissioner, FAB’s responsibilities for establishing associated processes, procedures and controls.
The Canada Revenue Agency Act (CRA Act) provides the authority for the Agency to set its own policy instruments for certain financial administration activities. These activities are listed in the Policy on Financial Management and Financial Administration in Appendix A: CRA specific activities under financial administration. This authority is reflected in this directive.
Travel entitlements under the provisions of the Relocation Policy are not subject to travel expenditure initiation under this directive.
Travel approval authorities under this directive do not apply to the Minister and exempt staff.
Provisions outlined in this directive pertaining to conferences and events do not apply to training and operational activities conducted by the CRA or attended by CRA employees.
5.1.1 The financial resources of the CRA are well managed in the delivery of programs to Canadians. This includes determining the added value to the CRA of individuals undertaking travel, attending conferences, holding or attending events and/or offering hospitality.
5.1.2 To ensure that expenditures associated with travel, hospitality, conferences and events are cost effective and well managed in a manner that maximizes effectiveness in meeting organizational mandates, while demonstrating integrity, value for money and transparency.
5.2.1 The CRA provides effective governance and oversight over the financial administration of travel, hospitality, conferences and events.
5.2.2 Travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures are managed in a disciplined and rigorous manner with a focus on cost minimization and value for money that withstands audit and public scrutiny.
6.1.1 All travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures are authorized, incurred and reported in compliance with relevant legislation, this directive and other applicable CRA financial management and financial administration CPIs.
6.1.2 Management processes and practices, risk-based controls, and oversight procedures for all travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures are established to ensure expenses are properly authorized, recorded and managed in compliance with this directive.
6.1.3 The most economical and efficient alternatives for travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures are considered in support of the CRA’s mandate, operational activities, objectives or priorities.
6.1.4 CRA funds are not to be used to provide hospitality or gifts to celebrate social events such as a wedding, birth or adoption of a child, birthday, promotion, transfer or retirement, or seasonal occasions such as Christmas, or for any other expenditure not related to CRA’s mandate, operational activities, objectives or priorities.
Hospitality and Events
7.1.1 Reviews and recommends requests for hospitality and events to the Minister for appropriate approval, as per the limits specified in the Delegation of Spending and Financial Authorities Matrix for Agency Activities (DSFA Matrix) or when Ministerial approval is required as per Appendix A – Exceptional hospitality components and Appendix B – Maximum food and beverage cost per person of this directive.
7.1.2 Authorizes non-taxpayer specific events that occur outside of Canada and are attended by the Assistant Commissioners or the Deputy Assistant Commissioners.
7.2 Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Commissioner, Finance and Administration Branch
7.2.1 Approves the CRA’s total annual budgets for travel, hospitality and conference expenditures.
7.2.2 Ensures that travel in support of CRA business objectives of CRA employees and of any other individuals required to follow this directive is avoided where appropriate and is cost effective.
7.2.3 Establishes processes, procedures and controls to ensure that travel plans are approved by Senior Agency Managers:
126.96.36.199 Travel is authorized in advance to ensure all travel arrangements are in compliance with the provisions of this directive and the Travel Directive;
188.8.131.52 Prior approval of all travel is exercised in accordance with the DSFA Matrix;
184.108.40.206 Changes made to the travel plans are to be reapproved by the Senior Agency Managers; and
220.127.116.11 Acts as the delegated travel approval authority in situations where the traveller is the Commissioner.
Hospitality and Events
7.2.4 Establishes processes, procedures and controls to ensure that decisions to offer hospitality are carefully considered and necessary based on courtesy, diplomacy or protocol, or to facilitate the achievement of the business objectives of the CRA.
7.2.5 Approves hospitality, as per the limits specified in the DSFA Matrix, for an area where the Senior Agency Manager, who would normally approve the expenditure, is a recipient of the hospitality offered.
7.2.6 Reviews and recommends requests submitted by Senior Agency Managers for Ministerial or Commissioner approval as specified in the DSFA Matrix or when:
18.104.22.168 Exceptional hospitality components (Ministerial approval) as specified in Appendix A – Exceptional hospitality components are present; or
22.214.171.124 Food and beverage costs exceed the standard cost per person but up to the maximum cost per person (Commissioner approval) as specified in Appendix B – Maximum food and beverage cost per person.
7.2.7 Establishes processes, procedures and controls to ensure that total hospitality or event costs are approved by the appropriate delegated managers with expenditure initiation authority as per the approval limits specified in the DSFA Matrix.
7.2.8 Establishes processes, procedures and controls to ensure that, with the exception of the Minister, an appropriate alternative approval authority is obtained when the delegated manager with expenditure initiation authority, who would normally approve the hospitality, is also a recipient of the hospitality.
7.2.9 Approves hospitality, up to the Commissioner’s limit, in situations where the Commissioner would normally approve but is in attendance at an activity where hospitality is provided.
7.2.10 When Minister approval is required for an event hosted by the CRA, ensures that the Minister is provided with the total estimated federal government cost for all participating departments and agencies, including the total estimated travel costs, for information purposes.
7.2.11 Establishes processes, procedures and controls to ensure that conference costs are approved as per the DSFA Matrix.
7.2.12 Ensures that the CRA collects and retains the following in its financial management or related systems:
126.96.36.199 The travel category (element B specified in Appendix C – Trip authorization elements and travel categories) for authorized travel; and
188.8.131.52 Both authorized and actual data for elements F to I specified in the Appendix C – Trip authorization elements and travel categories.
7.2.13 Discloses, on a monthly basis, CRA travel and hospitality expenses for the Minister, Parliamentary Secretaries and their exempt staff, the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Taxpayer’s Ombudsman, Assistant Commissioners, Deputy Assistant Commissioners, Board of Management members, equivalent levels and employees acting in these positions on the Open Government website.
7.2.14 Discloses the total annual expenditures for each of travel, hospitality and conference fees for the CRA on the Open Government website, including the main variances from the previous fiscal year’s actual expenditures. This disclosure is to coincide with the tabling of the Departmental Results Report.
7.3 Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch
7.3.1 Authorizes non-taxpayer specific travel and events outside of Canada with the exception of international events attended by the Assistant Commissioners and the Deputy Assistant Commissioners.
7.4 Senior Agency Managers
7.4.1 Approve travel plans within their area of responsibility that reasonably cover the trip authorization elements outlined in the Appendix C - Trip authorization elements and travel categories and that reflect the best cost estimates available within their area, and ensure that all travel arrangements are in compliance with the provisions of this directive and the Travel Directive.
7.4.2 Establish processes, procedures and controls, within their area of responsibility, to ensure that authorization for emergency travel is obtained from the highest possible level of authority available at the time of the emergency, with subsequent disclosure of the travel costs to the appropriate Senior Agency Manager.
7.4.3 Pre-approve ad-hoc travel requests submitted during the year that are not part of the travel plan. These requests are to be discouraged and minimized.
7.4.4 Approve foreign travel as per the limit threshold specified in the DSFA Matrix. Operational authorization must also be obtained for foreign travel as outlined in the Appendix B: Delegation of Spending and Financial Authorities Matrix Supplementary Notes.
7.4.5 Ensure that the trip authorization elements outlined in the Appendix C – Trip authorization elements and travel categories are reasonably covered in all standing travel authorities (STA) and reflect the best cost estimates available.
7.4.6 Obtain CFO approval as per the limits specified in the DSFA Matrix, when a Senior Agency Manager, who would normally approve the hospitality for its area, is a recipient of the hospitality.
7.4.7 Approve conference costs within their area of responsibility as outlined in the DSFA Matrix.
7.4.8 Ensure the timely and accurate reporting of the Proactive Disclosure of the Travel and Hospitality Expenses for their area of responsibility.
7.5 Delegated managers with expenditure initiation authority
7.5.1 Ensure that travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures are necessary to support the CRA’s mandate, operational activities, objectives or priorities.
7.5.2 Consider, during the approval process, the number of participants and any means to avoid or minimize travel, hospitality, conference and event costs for their area of authority.
7.5.3 Ensure compliance with all requirements for travel, hospitality, conferences and events set out in this directive.
7.5.4 Consider alternatives that are cost effective, to be used at government meetings, conferences and events held by the CRA.
7.5.5 Consider environmentally-preferred alternatives to support the Sustainable Development Policy and the outlined goals, targets and activities in the CRA’s Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.
7.5.6 Ensure the appropriate level of approval is requested and obtained for travel, hospitality, conference and event expenditures according to the provisions of this directive and the DSFA Matrix.
7.5.7 Ensure that the number of CRA travellers is limited to the minimum necessary and the most economical means of travel is selected.
7.5.8 Ensure that when only public servants are present, hospitality is only provided in situations where:
184.108.40.206 Participation is required in operational meetings, training or events that extend beyond normal working hours including where:
220.127.116.11.1 There are no nearby or appropriate facilities to obtain refreshments or meals; or
18.104.22.168.2 Participant dispersal is not effective or efficient.
7.5.9 Ensure that hospitality, which includes any of the following elements, is only provided to non-public servants and the minimum required number of public servants, for reasons of courtesy, diplomacy, or protocol:
22.214.171.124 Alcoholic beverages;
126.96.36.199 Entertainment activities;
188.8.131.52 Local transportation to and from an event or activity; and
184.108.40.206 Facility rental and associated items which are directly and inherently for hospitality purposes.
7.5.10 Ensure that hospitality included in all-inclusive packages is approved as per the appropriate delegated authority levels outlined in the DSFA Matrix.
7.5.11 Limit the number of participants attending a conference from the CRA to the minimum necessary to achieve the CRA’s business objective.
7.5.12 Ensure conferences determined to be for training purposes are authorized as part of the employee’s Individual Learning Plan.
7.5.13 Ensure that when multiple participants attend the same conference, event approval is obtained for the total planned conference costs as per the event provisions outlined in this directive.
7.5.14 Ensure that only the appropriate number of participants attend an event.
7.6 Director General, Resource Management Directorate, Finance and Administration Branch
7.6.1 Seeks approval from the CFO to establish the CRA’s total annual budgets for travel, hospitality and conference expenditures.
7.6.2 Ensures the in-year monitoring of actual and forecasted expenditures is performed, including the variance analysis for the total annual expenditures for travel, hospitality and conferences, as part of the projections exercises.
7.7 Director, Financial Reporting and Accounting Division, Finance and Administration Branch
7.7.1 Provides advice and guidance when there is uncertainty as to whether an activity requires travel, hospitality, conference and/or event approval, including where discretion could be applied.
7.7.2 Determines the appropriate approval level required in cases where a trip or event comprises multiple functions (for example: operational activity, training).
7.8 Designated Director, Compliance Programs Branch
7.8.1 Authorizes taxpayer specific travel outside of Canada.
The Director of the Systems, Policy and Controls Division (SPCD), FAB is responsible for the scheduled review of this directive every five years, as well as any unscheduled reviews when necessary.
To support the review process, FAB will identify and undertake any monitoring and assessment activities to help it determine if the directive is effective and being followed.
The Directive on the Pre-approval of Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures is based on the authorities set out in the legislation listed below.
Related instruments and information
- Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct
- Conflict of Interest, Gifts and Hospitality, and Post-employment, Directive on
- CRA Foundation Framework for Corporate Policy
- Delegation of Spending and Financial Authorities for Agency Activities, Directive on
- Discipline, Directive on
- Financial Management and Financial Administration, Policy Framework for
- Financial Management and Financial Administration, Policy on
- Sustainable Development Policy
- Sustainable Development Strategies
- Treasury Board Proactive Disclosure
- Travel Directive
|If you are located in:||Please contact:|
|Branches or Regions||Financial Management Advisory Services / Regional Finance Office|
|Financial Management Advisory Services / Regional Finance Office||Financial Reporting and Accounting Division (FRAD)|
|FRAD||Financial Policy Section, SPCD|
|Version #||Change(s)||Reason for change(s)||Area responsible||Major change - Approved by:
Minor change- Sign-off by:
(name and title)
|Approval date||Effective date|
|1.0||New CPI that replaces the former Directive on the Management of Expenditures on Events and Hospitality and includes TB’s financial management requirements.||To develop a more principle-based policy suite that is also simpler, clearer and more streamlined||FAB||Board of Management Resolution #2020-2021-06||June 16, 2020||June 16, 2020|
The following key terms, found in this directive, are defined in the FAD Lexicon:
- All-inclusive package
- Entertainment activities
- Internal governance
- Key stakeholders
- Non-public servants
- Operational activities
- Other travel
- Public servants
- Senior Agency Managers
- Standing travel authority (STA)
- Travel plan
Ministerial approval is required for the following exceptional hospitality components:
- Alcoholic beverages will be provided;
- Food and beverage costs exceed the maximum cost per person as outlined in Appendix B - Maximum food and beverage cost per person;
- Entertainment will be provided;
- Hospitality will be provided to a person accompanying an event participant;
- Hospitality paid by the CRA will be extended at the residence of a public servant; or
- Other exceptional forms of hospitality such as gifts to participants or offerings to Indigenous elders, when related to CRA’s mandate, operational activities, objectives or priorities.
|Maximum food and beverage cost per person (based on allowances set out in the Travel Directive)||Standard cost per person Footnote 1||Maximum cost per person Footnote 2|
|Breakfast||1.5 X Breakfast Allowance||1.5 X Standard Cost Per Person|
|Refreshment||0.5 X Breakfast Allowance|
|Lunch||2.0 X Lunch Allowance|
|Reception||2.0 X Breakfast Allowance|
|Dinner||1.75 X Dinner Allowance|
|A. Objective||Summarize the objective of the travel.|
|B. Category||Include the applicable travel category outlined in this appendix. Provide a detailed explanation of the purpose of the travel if the “Other travel” category is selected.|
|C. Traveller as public servant or non-public servant||Identify whether a public servant or non-public servant.|
|D. Virtual presence or other remote meeting solutions||Rationale why virtual presence or other remote meeting solutions were not applied.|
|E. Number of travellers||Rationale for the number of travellers as it relates to the suitability of the named traveller for the stated objective.|
|F. Mode of transportation||Identify the estimated cost and rationale for the use of each of the applicable modes of transport: air, rail, taxi, personal motor vehicle, rental motor vehicle, and other modes.|
|G. Accommodations||Identify the estimated cost and rationale for the accommodation selected.|
|H. Meals||Identify the estimated cost of the meals based on the meal allowances set out in the Travel Directive, excluding those meals that are paid as part of the event or the mode of transportation.|
|I. Incidentals and other costs||Identify the estimated cost of the incidentals and other costs based on the allowances set out in the Travel Directive.|
- Operational activities
Travel required to support CRA operational activities (other than the following four categories) or legislative or legal requirements.
- Key stakeholders
Travel necessary to engage key stakeholders in relation to such matters as policy, program or regulatory development or renewal.
- Internal governance
Travel necessary to support sound internal governance within the CRA.
Travel to enable the training of public servants. Training is defined as formal learning activities, which include a curriculum and established learning objectives, and where the primary purpose is to enable participants to maintain or acquire skills or knowledge.
- Other travel
Any travel that does not meet any of the other categories.
- Date modified: