Out-of-Province Travel

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Members may on occasion be required to travel outside the province on official business, such as attending Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and other Speaker-approved conferences. Any travel outside the province requires prior written approval, using the Assembly’s pre-approval form, by the Speaker to be eligible for reimbursement.

Members can claim reasonable, out-of-pocket expenses relating to travel, including: airfare; ferry costs; mileage when using a private vehicle consistent with allowable rates (see In-Province Travel guidelines); car rentals; bus or transit fare; accommodation; parking; and taxis. For out-of-province accommodation, a reasonable amount must be established considering business requirements and federal accommodation rates. For out-of-country or U.S. accommodation, Members will be reimbursed for actual commercial accommodation expenses for the travel location up to those rates established by the federal government through their standing offer arrangements for accommodation. Refer to this federal accommodation site for rate information.

The most economical airfare for air travel considering operational requirements is required. Members are permitted airfare upgrades to executive or business class where the in-flight travel is four hours or more, and the travel is required to fulfil their parliamentary duties.

Travel loyalty program benefits, such as airline frequent flyer points that are accumulated by Members while travelling at public expense, must not be used for personal benefit. Such benefits or discounts should be applied only against future business travel or donated to charities associated with the program. Benefits accumulated while travelling at public expense should not be used beyond a Member’s term in office.

Members may also claim reasonable laundry and dry-cleaning costs provided the travel is in excess of seven consecutive days. Claims for business telephone calls and work-related Internet charges are also covered. To limit roaming charges, Members are reminded to contact the Information Technology Department Service Desk (servicedesk@leg.bc.ca) to purchase international roaming packages before their trip, and to use Wi-Fi whenever possible.

In addition to the normal expenses, Members travelling out of the country may be reimbursed for visas and passports, inoculations, preventative medicine (such as malaria tablets), car rental and/or baggage insurance and additional medical insurance. The Speaker may also approve actual meeting, conference, and function expenses, as well as hospitality and entertainment expenses. These additional expenditures will be reimbursed provided the Member has not been, nor will be, reimbursed by any other parties.

For travel in Canada and the United States, a per diem reimbursement of up to $61 per day is used to cover the cost of meals and incidental expenses. In the United States, Members are paid the equivalent in U.S. funds, including claims for partial day travel. Meals received without charge or paid for from public funds cannot be claimed. For international travel, foreign currency rates apply. Members travelling abroad receive a per diem rate for meals and incidentals based on the “Meal Total” rates contained in Appendix D of the Travel Directive established by the federal National Joint Council. For partial days or for situations where meals are received without charge or paid with other public funds, the related individual meals (using the federal National Joint Council rates) must be deducted from the full day rates calculated above. Where the individual meal rates are not published, the following percentages of the full day “Meal Total” must be deducted from the full day/per diem rate: Breakfast (20%); Lunch (20%); Dinner (35%).

If Members combine personal and business travel, reimbursement is based on the lesser of actual transportation expenses or the most economical transportation expenses that would have been incurred had personal travel not taken place. Per diems will not be paid and expenses incurred will not be reimbursed except to the extent that they would have been paid and/or reimbursed had the personal travel not taken place.

A personal attendant who is required to travel with a Member with mobility restrictions in the discharge of duties assigned by the Speaker may have their expenses reimbursed. Specifically, a personal attendant will be reimbursed for travel expenses not to exceed those set by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee. The spouse of a Member with mobility restrictions may be considered a personal attendant.

Expenses incurred for a Member’s spouse or family member other than acting in a capacity of a personal attendant to a Member with mobility restrictions, are not reimbursable.