For the National Joint Council Executive Committee
for Fiscal Year 2015-2016
At the September 10, 2009 National Joint Council (NJC) Executive Committee meeting, the Committee requested to receive, once a year or as required, a report on trends on the NJC Travel Directive, Appendix D – Meals and Allowances – International. The report provides an overview of quarterly updates for awareness purposes.
- The NJC Travel Directive includes several rates and allowances, which are reflected in its appendices. Appendix D, International Meal and Incidental Allowances for public service employees and other persons travelling on government business, is updated on a quarterly basis (January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1).
- The updates to the international meal rates are based on actual meal surveys completed by Canadian High Commissions and Canadian Embassies abroad and/or via tracking by Statistics Canada which includes information such as but not limited to: consumer price index (CPI), exchange rates, foreign currency values, inflation, as well as menu samples. The NJC “Guide to NJC Rates and Allowances” further outlines the methodology used to that effect (refer to Annex A).
- The NJC Travel Directive – Appendix D currently lists 225 countries:
- In 192 listed countries, 250 specific cities are surveyed approximately every 3 to 4 years. All other cities not listed in Appendix D for these countries, are allocated 80 per cent of the country’s capital or seat of government location meal allowances and captured as “Other” under the city/location name. In other instances, it is also possible that only one rate for the country was established. In addition, meals may be denoted by an asterisk (*) under the “breakfast, lunch and/or dinner” columns of the Appendix due to hotels/restaurants menus not being available. In those circumstances, employees may be reimbursed for reasonable and justifiable expenses supported by a receipt (or where receipts are unavailable or lost, a signed declaration).
- 32 listed countries are not surveyed due to not having a Canadian presence on site, political instability, wars, lack of available transportation to reach destinations and/or poor weather conditions (tropical storm, hurricanes), very small countries/islands, etc. In those instances, all three (3) meals are denoted by an asterisk – for example: Antarctica, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Somalia, etc.
- The final listing country is the USA (Outside the Continental USA Only: Guam, Hawaii, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands) meal and incidental allowances reflect the amounts published in Appendix C, under Canada & USA, which are paid in US dollars (USD), and are updated twice a year (April 1st and October 1st).
- In situations where travellers encounter higher meal costs than the provided for meal allowances, actual and reasonable expenses are reimbursed, based on receipts (reference - NJC TD, section 3.4.9).
Overview for the Period of April 1st, 2015 – March 31st, 2016
- Inflation - Examples of overall grand total increases greater than 25% – For the most part, increases were impacted by CPI, unemployment, unstable currency, higher costs of supplies and energy and decline in the agriculture sector and the addition of breakfast rates to certain cities. The rates for Tajikistan saw a substantial difference since the last survey in 2011; they increased in April based on the receipt of actual sample menus whereas in the past, translated menus were obtained, then in October the rates decreased by 24% due to CPI movement and currency exchange factors.
|+ 25% Germany (Dusseldorf)||+ 25% Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)|
|+ 27% Mexico||+ 27% Russia (Moscow)||+ 27% Lebanon|
|+ 30% Taiwan||+ 34% Laos||+39% Bulgaria|
|+ 45% Malawi||+ 48% Rwanda||+ 67% Tajikistan|
- Deflation - Examples of overall grand total decreases greater than 25% – the decreases (in general) are chiefly due to previous variable CPI, political instability, civil unrest, unfavourable trade deficit and erratic currency.
|- 29% Macedonia||- 31% Mongolia|
|- 42% Zambia||- 46% Timor-Leste|
- New locations –One new location was added to the listing for Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Mission completed a survey for Montego Bay, and submitted it for consideration. The reason given to add this location was that Embassy staff travel there often and the amounts were above the 80% threshold for “Other” locations.
- Removed locations/rates – Syria was the only location which had the rates removed. The rates were removed because the Consulate has been closed, the last survey was done in 2008, and there are no plans to conduct a survey in the near future due to security and safety concerns. Therefore, meal expenses will be reimbursed based on receipts.
- New Breakfast rates were added to the following locations:
Bulgaria (Sophia), Moldova (Chisinau), Lebanon (Beirut), Rwanda (Kigali), Uzbekistan (Tashkent), Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), Venezuela (Caracas), Laos (Vientiane), Serbia (Belgrade) and Taiwan (Taipei).
- Currency changes – There were two locations that changed the currency for publication: Latvia which changed from local currency of Lats to Euros; and Venezuela* which changed from Boliver Fuerte to CAD Dollars. Venezuela* NOTE: Due to severe fluctuations in currency, the introduction of new exchange rates for the country as well as political and financial instability, the Mission requested that the listing for Venezuela be changed from the Boliver Fuerte to the Canadian Dollar.
- Special Events – There were no special events monitored during the April 2015 to April 2016 timeframe.
- Natural disasters – There were no events that were monitored during the time period of April 2015 to April 2016, however, the following disasters occurred during this time frame which may impact costs in the future and as such have been noted: Earthquakes in Nepal and Afghanistan; volcanic eruptions in Chile and Costa Rica; cyclones and typhoons in Vanuatu and Vietnam.
- Grievances – There have been no grievances against the NJC Travel Directive international meal and incidental allowances during this period.
- The revised International Meal and Incidental Allowances are normally published on the NJC Web site approximately one week prior to the effective date, on a quarterly basis.
- There is no NJC Communiqué accompanying these standard updates. All travel information is located on both the:
- NJC Web Site: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/travel-voyage/index-eng.php; and,
- TBS Travel Web page: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/TBM_113/menu-travel-voyage_e.asp.
National Joint Council Travel Directive – Appendix “D”
Rate / Allowance: Meals and allowances – International
References: Appendix D (http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/app_d.php?lang=eng)
Appendix D of the Travel Directive establishes the rates and allowances for Module 4 of the Directive for private non-commercial accommodation, meals and incidental expenses at locations abroad, established by country/city (excluding the USA). The currency used for the reimbursement depends on the travel location.
The meal rates are calculated by Statistics Canada based on a survey methodology established by the Treasury Board. Surveys are sent to Canadian High Commissions, Embassies and Consulates abroad for completion and resulting data is compiled by Statistics Canada for the Meal Rate Committee (comprised of Treasury Board, Statistics Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and the Department of National Defense) for review. The rates for breakfast, lunch and dinner result from the collection of two data sources: (1) a meal survey where meal costs in multiple hotels, cafeterias and restaurants are collected and (2) tracking the international Consumer Price Index (CPI) and foreign currency values. The meal rates include an amount to cover taxes and tips.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of the meal and incidental allowances are paid starting on the thirty-first (31st) consecutive calendar day of travel status (while at the same location) when corporate residences and or apartment hotels are available to a traveler in the area surrounding the workplace, or the traveler chooses to stay in private non-commercial accommodation.
The Government Travel Committee determines the private non-commercial accommodation allowance. The allowance is based on "best practices" benchmark and was put in place as an incentive to encourage travelers to use private non-commercial accommodation rather than more expensive hotels.
The different percentages for the incidental expense allowances are adjusted by the Government Travel Committee to reflect changes in the overall market.
The Government Travel Committee also determines the weekend travel home and weekend travel‑alternative allowances. It is a global allowance based on the most economical return airfare, the necessary return ground transportation to and from the carrier's terminal, and meals en route. Refer to section 3.4.12 of the Travel Directive.
Numerous meal rates are reviewed every quarter and resulting revisions, if any, are effective January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1. Private non-commercial accommodation, incidental expense, weekend travel home and weekend travel – alternative allowances are reviewed during triennial review of the Directive.
Adjustments, if any, to the private non-commercial accommodation, incidental expense, weekend travel home and weekend travel – alternative allowances become recommendations as a result of triennial review for the Executive Committee's approval.