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Travel Expense and Reimbursement Information for BCTF Members and  Staff

Introduction

This travel information and expense reimbursement guidelines booklet is to provide guidance to BCTF staff and members. The booklet supplements and further clarifies the Members’ Guide to the BCTF (Procedures 10.I.02–10.I.46) as well as all other BCTF expense claim policies and procedures. This booklet also provides information on making travel arrangements, reserving accommodation, renting cars, claiming per diems, and submitting expense vouchers when travelling to attend meetings, workshops, and other BCTF-sponsored events.

A full copy of the Members’ Guide can be found at:
bctf.ca/services-guidance/governance/members-guide-to-the-bctf

In principle, a member or staff person should not be “out-of-pocket” for necessary expenses while on BCTF business (10.I.2—General).

For further information or questions please contact Marianne Dussart, Administrative Assistant to the Treasurer and CFO, at mdussart@bctf.ca, 1-800-663-9163, local 2270, or 604-871-2270.

Booking travel

W.E. Travel contact information

BCTF deals exclusively with W.E. Travel, located in North Vancouver. Staff and members are required to make all air travel arrangements through them.

Hours of operation Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Telephone 604-969-5585 1-800-663-4703

Requests may be emailed to any of the agents and they will respond to the emails within 24 hours (excluding weekends):
Maureen Gorospe, maureen@wetravel.net
Jaime Jensen, jaime@wetravel.net

If, in the event of an emergency or illness, changes need to be made after hours or on the weekend, please call W.E. Travel’s 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-787-6030. Please note that a flight or hotel can be cancelled or changed, but new reservations will not be accepted.

Program code/reason for travel
When staff and members call or email W.E. Travel, the travel agent will ask them to provide the full BCTF program expense code (e.g., 600500−F100–1100) along with their reason for travel (e.g., Finance Committee meeting). To find out the full program code, please contact the staff person representing the program.

Most economical mode of transportation (10.I.04)
As a general rule, staff and members should travel by the fastest and most economical mode of transportation. In many cases, it is more cost-effective to fly than to drive, depending on the travel dates and routing.

Air travel (10.I.04.8.a and b, 10.I.12.2 and 3)

Union vs. non-union airlines

The BCTF supports union airlines (and almost exclusively Air Canada) and only books on non-union airlines when Air Canada or other union airlines are completely unavailable, or if there are extenuating circumstances.

When flying between Vancouver and Nanaimo or Vancouver and Victoria, Harbour Air will be used as it is the most economical union airline that flies between these destinations.

All non-union airline flights must be pre-approved by the Office of the Treasurer and CFO. Staff and members are to provide a detailed explanation to W.E. Travel who will be in contact with the Office of the Treasurer and CFO to receive approval, before booking their travel arrangements.

Advance booking of flights

To help reduce travel costs, staff and members are encouraged to book their flights as early as possible and preferably no later than 14 days before the date of departure. Change fees are expensive, so staff and members should only book flights when they are certain the dates and times will not change.

Changes or cancellations to airline bookings

Once the W.E. Travel agent has booked a staff or member’s trip, the agent will email them an itinerary. Staff and members are to review the itinerary as soon as they receive it since Air Canada, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Central Mountain Air allow changes without fees within 24 hours of booking.

If any corrections to the itinerary are required, and staff or members are not travelling with one of the above airlines, or a travel credit was used when booking, they must call W.E. Travel immediately to secure the lowest possible change fees.

Any changes that will incur fees must be pre-approved by the Office of the Treasurer and CFO. Staff and members are to provide an explanation to the W.E. Travel agent, who will request approval on their behalf from Office of the Treasurer and CFO. Examples of acceptable reasons are cancellation or change of meeting, family emergency, illness (members and staff’s or their immediate family member’s), or inclement weather.

If staff or members are approved to change their itinerary, the airline will charge a change fee and possibly additional fare which will be added to W.E. Travel’s invoice to the BCTF.

If staff or members are approved to cancel their itinerary, an airline credit will be issued in their name in the amount of their original fare. They have one year to use this credit before the BCTF will lose the credit in entirety. If they are able to use this credit, BCTF will be charged a change fee and whatever difference in fare would apply. It is still beneficial to use the credit rather than let it go to waste.

If the staff or member’s request to make a change to their booked flight is not approved, they will be responsible for the costs related to the change, as per Procedure 10.I.04—8.b.
When a member requests a change to an airline booking, the member shall be responsible for the costs related to the change unless W.E. Travel obtains authorization from a program co-ordinator or an acceptable reason is provided.

Paying for flights

Since all flights are to be booked through W.E. Travel, and charged directly to the BCTF, no receipts are necessary. However, for any booking made directly with the airline by a member or staff in emergent circumstances, a receipt for air fare is necessary. Baggage fees are usually extra and may be claimed on their expense voucher.

Baggage

Staff and members may or may not have to pay for checked baggage, depending on the type of fare they are booked on. They may claim baggage fees on their expense voucher. They are required to submit a receipt for one way only (usually the outbound flight) but they may claim baggage fees for the return trip. (This way they can prepare and submit their expense claim prior to the end of a meeting.)

Other transportation (10.I.04)

Taxis, public transit, ride-hailing

In general, staff and members are encouraged to use public transit when possible. From the Vancouver International Airport, they can take the Canada Line to the BCTF building (Olympic Village station), Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre (Broadway station), or to many downtown Vancouver or Richmond hotels.

They may claim the cost of public transportation without providing a receipt. Taxi charges must be paid by the staff or member and claimed on an expense voucher. Taxi receipts are required. The cost of ride-hailing expense claims will not be reimbursed without prior special approval due to lack of local, safe alternatives.

Cycling

The bicycle allowance is 26¢ per kilometre.

Ferries

Staff and members are required to submit a receipt for a one-way ferry fare only, but they may claim fares for the return trip. (This way they can prepare and submit their expense claim prior to the end of a meeting.)

Rental vehicles

Approval by the program co-ordinator must be obtained before renting an automobile.  Arrangements are to be made through W.E. Travel and the least expensive car available is to be rented. Staff and members must retain a copy of the rental agreement and the receipt to submit with their expense claim.

Insurance coverage on rental vehicles

Third-party liability insurance coverage and collision coverage are not provided by the car rental agency as part of the basic rental charge and may be offered at additional cost. The coverage should not be accepted as BCTF maintains a separate third-party liability and collision policy. The Federation will cover the cost for any third-party liability and collision claims. This coverage is only available for vehicles rented in Canada or the United States

The renter may also be offered insurance covering personal injury or other coverages, on payment of an additional premium. Such premiums may not be charged to the BCTF; the Federation maintains a separate travel accident policy covering staff and members travelling on official BCTF business.  

BCTF’s rented vehicle insurance only covers travel related to BCTF business. If any portion of the trip is considered of a personal nature, the member or staff will be responsible to ensure they have the appropriate insurance for that portion of their trip, and they will be responsible for any related charges.

In the case of an accident, they should take down the details of the other driver’s insurance and advise the Office of the Treasurer and CFO in writing as soon as possible of the details of the accident. Do not pay for any repairs.

PSA officers/members are not covered under the BCTF rental-car insurance policy. PSA officers and members should therefore purchase appropriate insurance when renting vehicles.

Rental car rates

Prices for car rentals vary by location. For example, airport locations usually have a surcharge imposed by airport authorities, while taxes are determined by the province. Some locations (mainly in the United States) have daily surcharges. However, there are some locations in Canada where surcharges apply. The W.E. Travel agent will choose the least expensive car rental company for the dates of travel.

Staff and members may take advantage of the BCTF’s rates for personal car rentals but will not be covered under the BCTF’s insurance. These bookings must be made personally by the member in their own name, and that member is liable for any claims and/or damages that may result of car rentals used for personal use.

Please note that car rental rates are for base rental only, and do not include applicable taxes, fees, or surcharges and are subject to change.

For reference, when booking car rentals for personal use, the following are contact information for the rental agencies BCTF has negotiated discounts for members or BCTF staff. 

Discounts are available to BCTF staff and members through the Advantage program.
bctf.ca/services-guidance/benefits/view-member-discounts-bctf-advantage

Avis

5% off the best available rate
Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number C620300
Telephone number 1-800-879-2847

Link to the BCTF dedicated Avis webpage is as follows:
avis.com/car-rental/profile/go.ac?C620300.

Budget

Best promotional rate, or else daily rates are capped at: Compact (B)    $47*
Mid-size (C)    $48*
Budget Customer Discount (BCD) code A030400
Telephone number 1-800-268-8900

The link to the BCTF Budget webpage is as follows: budget.com/budgetWeb/html/bridge/fastbreak/index.html?A030400

Enterprise and National

Enterprise Rent-A-Car 5% off local retail rates.
National Car Rental
The program with National is also “Best Rated”—if the local retail rate is lower than the negotiated rate at time of booking, the lower rate will be selected if the contract ID number is used to book the rental.
Economy              $43.00*
Compact              $43.00*
Intermediate        $47.00*
Additional driver fee for both brands This fee is waived for co-worker or spouse of BCTF renter.
ID number for both National and Enterprise XVC4024
Telephone numbers 1-800-227-7368 National
1-800-736-8222 Enterprise
Online reservations
(local branch direct contact numbers can also be located through these websites)
nationalcar.ca
enterprise.ca

*rates subject to change

Use of personal vehicle while on BCTF business

While on BCTF business, staff and members are encouraged to use the least expensive mode of travel and to use public transportation rather than personal vehicles. Staff and members may use their own vehicle and claim allowable expenses as outlined below if it is not practical, possible, safe, or cost-effective to use public transportation.

Vehicle Insurance

Staff and members must carry their own automobile insurance. The BCTF will not reimburse anyone for losses incurred from accidents, parking, or traffic violations. No one will be entitled to any personal gain or profit arising out of the use of an automobile on BCTF business.

Mileage reimbursement

When attending a meeting in the local area
While attending meetings in their local area, staff and members needing to drive their own vehicle may claim $0.54 per kilometre for the return trip. If two or more people drive together, only the driver can claim the reimbursement. Staff mileage reimbursement rates are subject to contractual provisions.

When attending AGMs, RAs, Summer Conference, or other BCTF meetings
In advance of each AGM, RA, Summer Conference of other major event, the BCTF staff prepare a mileage reimbursement chart which shows return air fares between most BC cities and the meeting venue, compared to the pre-calculated cost of driving (including mileage at $0.54 per km and any applicable ferry fares). This chart is provided in advance of the meeting and will be referred to by program co-ordinators and accounting staff when approving expense claims. If a staff or member chooses to drive when flying would be more economical, they will receive reimbursement only up to the value of air fare shown on the chart, rather than the actual kilometres driven.

When attending other events out of the local area
If staff or members choose to drive outside their local area when flying would be the more cost-effective option, they will receive reimbursement only up to the value of air fare rather than the actual kilometres driven. Please contact Marianne Dussart, mdussart@bctf.ca or call 604-871-2270, with travel details to find out how much money will be reimbursed.

Other allowable expenses while driving your own vehicle

When travelling to a BCTF event, staff and members will be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses that they would not have otherwise incurred. If they choose to drive when flying would be more economical, they may only claim expenses for accommodation and meals that they would incur if they had flown.
Staff and members may claim highway or bridge tolls.

Staff and members may claim parking expenses at their home airport, at their hotel, or at the event. Receipts are required for amounts over $25. They may claim parking at Vancouver International Airport.

The BCTF staff and members receive a 25% parking discount off the regular rate for business and personal travel at Park’n Fly. Park’n Fly shuttle service to and from the terminal leaves every four to five minutes. Go to parknfly.ca/Corporate-Program.aspx and enter the code 59168 in the “Corporate Discount #” box, then click “Submit.” to receive a discount.

Aeroplan miles can also be earned. For more details, please see: parknfly.ca/ParkN-Fly-Rewards.aspx#RewardsBenefits.

Accommodation and meals (10.I.06)

Booking hotels for business use

Staff and members are encouraged to use W.E. Travel to book their accommodation. Most of the hotels in the BCTF’s Accommodation Guide are unionized and offer direct billing arrangements (see explanation below). The W.E. Travel agent will first try to book staff and members into a unionized hotel if one is available, at W.E. Travel or the BCTF rate, whichever is lower. If a unionized hotel is not available (or there isn’t a hotel on the list in the town a staff or member are travelling to), the agent will find other suitable accommodation.

Airbnb should not be used because it hinders our ability to support unionized hotels.

If staff and members are making their own hotel reservation, please read the note under the chosen hotel in the guide to get the BCTF or W.E. Travel rate, as indicated.

*Note this exception:
If staff and members are attending an advisory committee meeting at the BCTF building, an RA, an AGM, etc., a block of rooms for their group will most likely have been reserved by staff. These rooms are available at a pre-negotiated rate, and they are expected to stay there. Do not book these rooms through the travel agent. Please confirm check-in and check-out dates with applicable staff.

Single vs. double occupancy

The BCTF pays for room and taxes only for a standard room, unless prior approval for an upgrade has been given by the program co-ordinator. Any other room charges will be your responsibility. Rates listed do not include taxes, are subject to availability, and are based on single occupancy. If you are sharing a room, you will need to advise your program co-ordinator and/or W.E. Travel in order to get a double room.

If staff or members are sharing a room with another staff or member, each of them may claim $20.00 per night. If they are bringing someone who is not a staff or member, they will be personally responsible for the difference between single and double occupancy rates.

Staying with friends or relatives

Staff and members who stay with friends or relatives instead of staying at a hotel during BCTF business may claim $30.00 per night.

Direct billing vs. using your own credit card

There are typically only two methods of paying for the hotel—direct billing to the BCTF or a personal credit card. If a hotel is on BCTF’s preferred list, it is highly likely that we have a direct billing arrangement. This means that the hotel agrees to invoice the BCTF for room and taxes for the duration of their stay. The travel agent will ask the staff person for their program to send a “direct billing authorization” to the hotel to guarantee payment and provide an expense code.

Please note, however, when checking in, most hotels will ask to provide own credit card for any additional charges related to their stay (e.g., meals, parking). Staff and members will pay for these charges upon check-out and claim them on their expense voucher where acceptable.

If staff and members are reserving a hotel for business purposes that does not offer direct billing, they will need to provide their personal credit card to (a) the travel agent to secure the reservation, and (b) the hotel upon check-in to guarantee payment for all expenses relating to their stay. Upon check-out, they may use credit, cash, or debit to settle their account, but they will be reimbursed by the BCTF upon submission of their expense claim.

Booking hotels for personal use

Most hotels on our preferred list allow staff and members to use BCTF rates for personal stays. although rates may be subject to availability. They may be asked to supply some form of company and/or personal identification (e.g., business card, BCTF membership card and/or piece of government issued ID).

Discounts are available to BCTF staff and members through the Advantage program.
bctf.ca/services-guidance/benefits/view-member-discounts-bctf-advantage

Meal reimbursement (per diems) (10.I.06—3.)

The current meal reimbursement rates while on BCTF business are as follows:
Breakfast—$16.00
Lunch—$18.00
Dinner—$29.00

Staff and members may claim these amounts without receipts. They may not claim any meals that were provided by their hotel (e.g., breakfast) or as part of any BCTF or BCTF-sponsored event where a meal is provided.

Dependant care reimbursement (10.I.28)

Due to attendance at BCTF meetings, staff and members incurring dependant* care expenses that would not otherwise have been incurred may claim these expensesReceipts from the provider containing the hours, the amount, the name and address (including postal code) of the caregiver and the caregiver’s signature are required. Receipts written by the member will not be accepted. Allowable rates are $18 per hour to a maximum of $240 in any 24-hour period. For any amounts above these maximums, prior approval from the program co-ordinator must be obtained. Please advise if the provider is a relative as the dependant allowance may be considered a taxable benefit. Deducting taxes owed and reporting to Canada Revenue Agency may be required.

*For definition of “dependant,” please see the Members’ Guide, Procedure 10.I.28—1.

Animal boarding and care reimbursement

Due to attendance at BCTF meetings, staff and members incurring pet boarding and care expenses that would not otherwise have been incurred may claim these expenses. Receipts from the provider containing the hours, the amount, the name and address (including postal code) of the caregiver and the caregiver’s signature are required. Receipts written by the member will not be accepted. Allowable rate is a maximum of $50 in any 24-hour period. For any amounts above these maximums, prior approval from the program co-ordinator must be obtained. Please advise if the provider is a relative as the dependant allowance may be considered a taxable benefit. Deducting taxes owed and reporting to Canada Revenue Agency may be required.

Travel insurance while on BCTF business (10.H.02)

The BCTF maintains business travel accident and emergency out-of-province medical insurance policies that cover staff and members while travelling on Federation business.

In addition, air travel booked by W.E. Travel and charged to the Federation has the following additional insurance coverage:

  • air travel accident insurance up to $300,000
  • excess lost/stolen baggage (over and above airline or personal coverage)
  • flight delay
  • baggage delay.

Expense vouchers (10.I.10)

Approvals

The original expense voucher is to be approved by the program co-ordinator or other authorized support staff. Receipts as shown below must be submitted with the original claim. Anyone submitting claims without the required receipts will be notified to provide them before their claim will be processed.

All expense vouchers must be signed.

Timing/deadlines

Before leaving an event, staff and members are encouraged to complete an expense voucher and submit it to the staff person present. Alternatively, they may drop off or submit their voucher by mail to BCTF Accounting or directly to the program co-ordinator.

Claims will be reimbursed to the staff or member either by cheque or, if they have set up electronic funds transfer, directly into their bank account. Accounting has these applications on the front counter. An EFT set-up form is available at bctf.ca/services-guidance/membership-expenses-and-administration/expenses/apply-for-electronic-fund-transfer

Vouchers must be submitted within three months of the relevant event but within two months after the year-end (June 30).

What do I need receipts for?

Description of expense Receipt required?
TRANSPORTATION
Air fare Not if booked through WE Travel but yes if booked directly and paid for by staff or member
Baggage fees Yes, a receipt for one way is needed but may claim for return
Bicycling No
Car rental and gas for rental vehicle If booked through W.E. Travel, BCTF will be billed directly for the rental but rental agreement must also be submitted; gas receipts required (claim under Other Expenses)
Ferry fares Yes, a receipt for one way is needed but may claim for return
Highway/bridge tolls No
Mileage No, but need to indicate how many kilometres actually driven
Parking Yes, for amounts over $25
Taxis Yes, for both ways
Translink No
ACCOMMODATION
Hotels No, if hotel will bill BCTF directly; yes, if no direct billing available
Sharing hotel room with another member No ($20.00 each per night)
Staying with friends or relatives No ($30.00 per night)
MEALS
Per diems No
DEPENDANT CARE
Dependent (child) care Yes ($18.00 per hour to a maximum of $240/day)
 PET CARE  
 Animal boarding and care
 Yes (up to $50/day)
 OTHER  
Other (allowable) expenses Yes

 

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