The following principles were developed jointly by the bargaining agent representatives and the employer representatives on the National Joint Council. These principles are the cornerstone for the management of government travel and shall guide all employees and managers in achieving fair, reasonable and modern travel practices across the public service.

Trust - increase the amount of discretion and latitude for employees and managers to act in a fair and reasonable manner.

Flexibility - create an environment where management decisions respect the duty to accommodate, best respond to employee needs and interests, and consider operational requirements in the determination of travel arrangements.

Respect - create a sensitive, supportive travel environment and processes that respect employee needs.

Valuing people - recognize employees in a professional manner while supporting employees, their families, their health and safety in the travel context.

Transparency - ensure the consistent, fair and equitable application of the policy and its practices.

Modern travel practices - introduce travel management practices that support the principles and are in keeping with travel industry trends and realities; develop and implement an appropriate travel accountability framework and structure.


Collective agreement

This directive is deemed to be part of collective agreements between the parties represented on the National Joint Council, and employees are to be afforded ready access to this directive.

Grievance procedure

In cases of alleged misinterpretation or misapplication arising out of this directive, the grievance procedure, for all represented employees within the meaning of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, will be in accordance with Section 15.0 of the National Joint Council By-Laws. For unrepresented employees, the departmental grievance procedure applies.

Effective date

This directive is effective on July 1, 2017.

Purpose and scope

The purpose of this directive is to ensure fair treatment of employees required to travel on government business consistent with the principles above. The provisions contained in this directive are mandatory and provide for the reimbursement of reasonable expenses necessarily incurred while travelling on government business and to ensure employees are not out of pocket. These provisions do not constitute income or other compensation that would open the way for personal gain.


This directive applies to public service employees and other persons travelling on government business, including training. It does not apply to those persons whose travel is governed by other authorities.


Accommodation (logement)

Commercial accommodation (logement commercial) - lodging facilities such as hotels, motels, corporate residences or apartments.

Government and institutional accommodation (locaux d'hébergement du gouvernement et d'une institution) - federal government training centres, universities, colleges, Canadian or foreign military establishments, Veterans Affairs Canada hospitals, trailers, tents and other facilities owned, controlled, authorized or arranged by the Crown, including other educational institutions that provide sleeping accommodation. (revised January 15, 2009)

Private non-commercial accommodation (logement particulier non commercial) - private dwelling or non-commercial facilities where the traveller does not normally reside.

Blanket travel authority (autorisation générale de voyager) - authorization for travel which is continuous or repetitive in nature, with no variation in the specific terms and conditions of trips and where it is not practical or administratively efficient to obtain prior approval from the employer for each individual trip. Any exceptions to the blanket travel authority (BTA) parameters shall require that the individual trip be specifically approved, prior to travel status, where possible. BTA does not apply to groups of employees. Employees may have more than one BTA simultaneously.

Comprehensive allowance (indemnité globale) - a daily allowance that may include some or all meal costs, incidental expenses, transportation costs and accommodation expenses.

Declaration (déclaration) – a written statement signed by the traveller attesting to and listing the expenses for payment without receipt. See Appendix F.

Dependant (personne à charge) - a person who resides full time with the employee at the employee's residence and is

  1. the spouse of that employee, or
  2. the biological child, stepchild, adopted child including a child adopted by Aboriginal people under the Custom Adoption practice, or legal ward of that employee or of the employee's spouse, who is both dependent on the employee for support and is:
    1. under 18 years of age; or
    2. dependent on the employee by reason of mental or physical disability; or
    3. in full-time attendance at a school or other education institution that provides training or instruction of an educational, professional, vocational or technical nature; or
  3. the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew or grandchild of that employee or of the employee's spouse who is both dependent on the employee for support and is:
    1. under 18 years of age; or
    2. dependent on the employee by reason of mental or physical disability; or
    3. in full-time attendance at a school or other education institution that provides training or instruction of an educational, professional, vocational or technical nature.

Economy class (classe économique) - the standard class of air travel, including special discount fares. It excludes first class and business class or equivalents.

Employee (fonctionnaire) - a person employed in the public service.

Employer (employeur) - Her Majesty in Right of Canada as represented by the Treasury Board, and includes persons authorized to exercise the authority of the Treasury Board.

Government travel (voyage en service commandé) - all travel authorized by the employer and is used in reference to the circumstances under which the expenses prescribed in this directive may be paid or reimbursed from public funds.

Headquarters area (zone d'affectation) - for the purposes of this directive, spans an area of 16 kms from the assigned workplace using the most direct, safe and practical road.

Incidental expense allowance (faux frais) - an allowance to cover the costs of items that can be attributed to a period in travel, but for which no other reimbursement or allowance is provided under this directive, and which helps offset some of the expenses incurred as a result of having to travel. It includes but is not limited to such items as gratuities (except for taxis), laundry, dry cleaning, phone calls home (except as specified under 3.4.6), grass cutting, snow removal, home security checks, plant watering, mail services, pet care, telecommunications hook-ups and service, and shipping of some personal effects.

International incidental allowances are based on a formula that takes into account the breakfast, lunch and/or dinner allowance for the applicable country/location.

In situations where there are no meal allowances from which to compute the incidental allowance for a particular country/location, the employee will be reimbursed the equivalent of the applicable incidental allowance published in Appendix C, in Canadian dollars.

Public service (fonction publique) - for the purposes of this directive, "public service" shall include the same parties and persons outlined in Article 1 of the National Joint Council By-Laws.

Receipt (reçu– an original document or electronic/paper copy showing the date and amount of expenditure paid by the traveller. Where expenses are incurred in currency other than Canadian, receipts shall indicate currency and may be annotated by the traveller to do so.

Spouse or common-law partner (conjoint ou conjoint de fait) – a person living in a conjugal relationship with an employee for a continuous period of at least one year. The term "spouse" refers to the person married to the employee.

Travel status (déplacement) - occurs when an employee or traveller is on authorized government travel.

Traveller (voyageur) - a person who is authorized to travel on federal government business.

Workplace (lieu de travail)

Permanent/Regular (permanent/régulier) - the single permanent location determined by the employer at or from which an employee ordinarily performs the work of his or her position or reports to.

Temporary(temporaire) – the single location within the headquarters area to which an employee is temporarily asked to report or to perform the work of his or her position.