The Executive Committee of the National Joint Council (NJC) is pleased to announce that it recently accepted the report of the Government Travel Committee in regard to the cyclical review of the Travel Directive.

This Directive was developed in partnership by employer and bargaining agent representatives at the National Joint Council.  Its provisions form part of the collective agreements of the participating parties under the By-Laws of the National Joint Council.

This communiqué highlights the changes to the Travel Directive and provides clarification on specific issues with respect to “Intent” which will assist users in gaining a better understanding of the application of various new and existing provisions of the Travel Directive.

IMPLEMENTATION DATE

The revised Travel Directive is effective July 1, 2017.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CHANGES

General

Application

Although “exempt staff” follow the provisions of the NJC Travel Directive, the term “exempt staff” was removed from the general application statement because their terms and conditions of employment are outlined in the Policies for Ministers’ Officeshttp://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/mg-ldm/2011/pgmo-pldcm06-eng.asp#toc6 .

Definitions

Declaration - A sample declaration was created and is now mentioned in the definition.  The sample itself is found at Appendix F.

Incidental expense allowance – Since the definitions under Canada and Continental U.S.A. and the one under International Travel outside Canada or the Continental U.S.A. are essentially the same, they were combined into one for ease of reference.  It was also clarified that the incidental allowance now applies to employees only.

Receipt - The term “carbon copy” was changed to “electronic/paper copy” to reflect current business realities.

Spouse or common-law partner - The definition was simplified and section b), which refers to spouse or common-law partner for the purpose of the Foreign Service Directive (FSD), was deleted since it can be found in the FSD.  The French version was corrected to reflect the terminology used in the English version (i.e., “voyageur” changed to “fonctionnaire”).

Part 1

Administration

Receipts

1.4.1 – Since reimbursement under several of the Travel Directive provisions are based on receipts, the language in this clause was clarified to emphasize that when the original or a copy of the receipt is lost, accidentally destroyed or unobtainable, a personal declaration shall replace the receipt.

Responsibilities

1.5.1 - A new employer responsibility was added stating that travel claims need to be processed as soon as possible after a claim and supporting document(s) are received.  This addition parallels 1.5.2 (d) under the employee responsibilities.

It should be noted that specific timelines were not included.  However, departments should ensure that processes or systems are in place to effect reimbursements within a reasonable period of time.

Suppliers, services and products

1.6.1 - The wording was changed to reflect that, although the employee’s agreement is still required, the use of an individual designated travel card should be the norm.  Employees who travel on government business should therefore be provided with an individual designated travel card.

1.6.3 - The term “Designated Responsibility Centre Travel Card” was updated to “Departmental Travel Expense Card”.

Travel advances

1.7.1 and 1.7.2 were combined to simplify the language of this clause.

Travel forms

1.8.1 – Since some departments use  automated tools for travel authorizations and claims, the provision was amended to indicate that travel forms or systems shall be used for authorizing travel and processing claims.

Workplace change

1.9.1 and 1.9.2 – Assignments involve a staffing action and/or a change in duties.  The provisions under these clauses were clarified to indicate that a workplace change occurs when an employee is asked to report from a permanent workplace to a temporary workplace to perform the duties of his/her current position, not an “assignment” to a new position.

Note:  A consequential change to the definition of “temporary workplace” was also made to reflect the modified wording.

Part II

Insurance

Vehicle insurance

2.2 - The wording in this section was confusing to many Travel Directive users.  The language was therefore simplified and categorized to bring greater clarity to the provisions.  The insurance requirements now relate to the specific type of vehicle used.

Module 1 – Travel within headquarters area

3.1 - The term “employee” was changed to “traveller” in the opening paragraph to mirror similar provisions in the other modules and to reflect that some of the provisions in Module 1 also apply to “travellers”.

Additional business expenses

3.1.2 - The first paragraph was moved to be consistent with the other modules.  The French version was also modified to better reflect the wording found in the English version.  The translation change also applies in the other modules.

The term “business calls” was added in the second paragraph to mirror similar provisions found in the other modules.

Accommodation

3.3.1 and 3.4.1 – The third paragraph was modified to clarify how government hotel directories are to be used as tools to help travellers find suitable accommodation.

New language has been added stating that the private non commercial accommodation allowance is reduced to 50% after the 120th day in the same location.

Bottled water

3.x.3 All modules - The provision was clarified to specify that bottled water is not reimbursed where it is part of  meal expenses.  Bottled water should only be reimbursed when purchased where potable water is not readily available, based on receipts.

Dependant care

3.x.5 All modules - The provision was rewritten to clarify when dependant care expenses are reimbursable.  The provision now lists who potential caregivers are, the reimbursable amounts, and the conditions under which a reimbursement may be made.  The conditions for reimbursement have been expanded to cover additional circumstances that may cause an employee required to travel on government business to be out-of-pocket for dependant care expenses, including the absence of another caregiver for work related, medical or educational reasons.

Home communication

3.3.6, and 3.4.6 – For the sake of consistency, the wording was modified to reflect similar wording under 4.2.8.

Incidentals

3.x.7 All modules – The language was modified to specify that the provisions now apply to employees only.  Non public servant travellers will no longer be reimbursed for incidental expenses.

Meals

3.x.9 All modules - The provisions now specify that alcohol related expenses are excluded from meal expense reimbursements.  Travellers who choose to purchase alcoholic beverages as part of their meals must do so at their own expense.

The language regarding the reimbursement of expenses when meals provided are not sufficient has also been modified.  Travellers should note that it is important to ensure receipts are obtained when a meal is being purchased to supplement or replace a meal that is provided as part of the accommodation or travel package to ensure proper reimbursement.

3.3.9 and 3.4.9 - New language has been added stating that the meal allowance is reduced to 50% starting on the 121st consecutive calendar day of travel status at the same location when corporate residences or apartment hotels are available to a traveller in the area surrounding the workplace, or when the traveller chooses to stay in private accommodation.

Rest periods

3.3.10 and 3.4.10 - The language was modified to specify that the provision applies to employees only.

Transportation

3.x.11 All modules – The non accountable amount for taxi receipts was increased from $10 to $12.  Several similar provisions related to, parking, tolls, ferries, docking fees, and other transportation service charges/fees were also clarified to indicate that receipts are only required for expenses in excess of $12.

3.x.11 (c) - The term “mid-size” was changed to “intermediate” to reflect rental car industry terminology.  The provision was also clarified to specify that expenses related to the rental of GPS devices and the provision of winter tires on rental vehicles are reimbursable.

3.3.11 (a) - The English version of the paragraph regarding pre-paid tickets was corrected to reflect that it applies to a traveller, as it does in the French version.

3.3.11 and 3.4.11 (c) – a new provision was added to specify that:

Where essential services such as groceries, restaurants, pharmacies, or dry cleaners are not available in the immediate vicinity of the employee’s accommodation, employees shall be reimbursed the applicable kilometric rate for the reasonable use of their personal vehicle to access the required services.

The provision was added to clarify that, should an employee need to use their personal vehicle to drive to a restaurant or grocery store, for example, while on travel status, they will be reimbursed for mileage expenses incurred.

Weekend travel home

3.3.12 and 3.4.12 – The first paragraph was modified to remove the words “or its alternatives”.  Consequently, an introductory paragraph was added to 3.2.13 and 3.4.13.

3.3.12 and 3.4.12 – In order to better reflect current travel industry practices (e.g. the discontinuation of the “Saturday-night stay over” condition), the last paragraph was modified to reflect that the lowest available airfares appropriate to particular itineraries shall be sought and bookings shall be made as far in advance as possible.

Weekend travel – alternatives

3.3.13 and 3.4.13 – as noted above and introductory paragraph was added.

Module 4

A paragraph was added to the introductory section to specify that:

In the event of extraordinary conditions arising out of active hostilities and/or natural disasters, employees on foreign travel may be entitled to an additional allowance under the Foreign Services Directives.

Employees who are required to travel to precarious foreign locations should consult section 58.5 of the FSD to see if they might qualify for an additional allowance.

3.4.11(a) – The language was modified to clarify what constitutes continuous air travel, as follows:

Continuous air travel starts at the scheduled flight departure time, and ends with the arrival at destination terminal or with an overnight stop or layover equivalent to an overnight stop.

Examples can be found at - http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/doc.php?did=398&lang=eng

Appendix C and D

Language was modified to reflect the reduction to the meal allowance to 50% starting on the 121st consecutive calendar day of travel status, as noted above.

Appendix F

A sample declaration was added as Appendix F.

INFORMATION

The revised Travel Directive is available at the following link: https://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/d10/v238/en .

A series of Questions and Answers has been developed and is posted on the NJC Website.

CONCLUSION

The NJC Executive Committee acknowledges and thanks the bargaining agent side and the employer side members of the NJC Government Travel Committee for their commitment and their outstanding work involved in the review of this directive.

ENQUIRIES

Enquiries about the Travel Directive should be referred to the respective Bargaining Agent or Designated Departmental Travel Coordinator(s).