Effective date: September 30, 2011

Revised January 2018

Relevant Legislation:

The Broader Public Sector Act, 2011

Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Guidelines and procedures


LOFT Community Services is a charitable not-for-profit corporation.  It is the policy of LOFT that the funds it receives must be used prudently and reasonably and it is expected that these costs will be kept to a minimum and will include nothing that is not for the benefit or purposes of the work of LOFT Community Services.  It is therefore important that expense items, their contents and related approval procedures follow clear and strict guidelines.  The following is a description of the policy and approved procedures relating to various areas of expenditure in doing the work of LOFT.

It is the policy of LOFT Community Services to reimburse individuals for reasonable out-of-pocket and travelling expenses while conducting business on behalf of the Corporation. It is the intention that staff should neither gain nor lose income as a result of expenses incurred while conducting business. However, reasonable charges are to be adhered to by those submitting expense accounts, and travelling expenses are expected to be at a moderate level.

Application and Scope of this policy:

This policy applies to

  • Board Members
  • Staff
  • Volunteers
  • Consultants and Contractors


Not applicable to this policy.


1.Mandatory requirements

  • General
  • Claimant’s Responsibility
  • Approver’s responsibility
  • Accounting Department’s responsibility
  • CEO expenses
  • Timeframe for reimbursements


  • Approval Requirements
  • Before Traveling
  • Transportation
  • Traffic Violations
  • Reimbursement for Travel






9.Gift Certificates

10.Membership fees

11.Employee Gifts

12.Educational Reimbursements

13.Employee Advances





1.    Expenses must be considered on the basis of what is reasonable under the circumstances in which they were incurred.

2.    No individual should approve his or her own expenses, or that of a subordinate who has paid for travel, meals, etc., expensed for the supervisor’s sole benefit.

3.    Expenses for a group can only be claimed by the most senior person present for the group event – expenses cannot be claimed by an individual that are incurred by his/her approver (e.g. an individual who reports to the CEO cannot submit a claim that includes the cost of the CEO’s lunch even if they were at the same event, with the result that the CEO would thereby approve his/her own expense).

4.    If a receipt is lost or misplaced, the claimant will take every step necessary to obtain a copy of the invoice. A photocopy is accepted only in unusual circumstances and a written explanation is required with the CEO’s approval.  If that is not possible, the CEO may approve the expense if the materiality of the invoice is not significant and the nature of the expense is typical of the program.

5.    No employee of LOFT is authorized to directly order computer hardware, peripherals or software for purchase or rental.  All requests must be directed to Information Technology Services.  Purchases of computer hardware or software made without approval of Information Technology Services Department will not be reimbursed.

6.    Good record keeping practices must be maintained for verification and audit purposes.

Claimant’s responsibility:

·         Claimants should aim to make the most practical, economical and reasonable arrangement for travel, meals, hospitality and corporate expenses.

·         A claimant must complete and sign the Expense Claim Form or Petty Cash Claim Form, indicating the expenses allocations, brief description and business purpose for the expenditure (i.e. description of who, what, where, when and why).

·         Original itemized receipts (credit card slips are not sufficient) must be submitted with all expense claim forms.  A photocopy is accepted only in unusual circumstances and a written explanation is required which he CEO must approve.

·         Submit claims for expenses before leaving their employment with LOFT.

Approver’s responsibility:

·         Provide approval only for expenses that were necessary in the performance of LOFT business

·         Approve only claims that include all appropriate documentation (e.g. original itemized receipts).

·         The approver of the expense report is responsible to ensure that the report and all claims are in compliance with these guidelines and where no clear interpretation exists, approval should be considered on the basis of what is reasonable and actual, and supported by receipts.

Accounting Department’s responsibility

·         The Accountant will validate the Expense Report before processing it for payment to ensure compliance with policies and guidelines.

·         The Accountant will seek clarification for what appear to be minor items of non-compliance on an expense report verbally with the claimant or their supervisor.  However, on more significant items, the claim will be returned to the approving officer.

CEO expenses

The CEO of LOFT Community Services must have all their expenses approved by the Director of Finance.  These expenses are also reviewed and approved by the chair of the Board of Directors on a quarterly basis

Timeframe for Reimbursement

Expense Forms or Petty Cash Claim Forms must be submitted for approval within 30 days (approximately 1 month) of the expense date, so that they may be processed and reimbursed within the proper accounting period.    If expenses are incurred in the month of March (the fiscal year end) all claims must be submitted before the prescribed submission deadline for closing of the financial year.



Travel outside the GTA is not usually required however; this policy applies whenever travel is required.  As a general rule, the most economical means of transportation should be used. If more than one person is travelling to the same destination, every effort should be made to determine the most economical and practical means which should be charged to LOFT.

For the purposes of this Policy, travel does not refer to a person’s regular commute to work – expenses related to a person’s regular commute are not reimbursable.

Approval Requirements

All travel and expenses (outside of normal job duties) approvals are to comply with the following framework:

Level of Approval Required
Position Travel in Ontario(outside of normal job duties) Travel in Canada and the USA International Travel
Board Chair Board Board Board
Board Member Board Board Board
CEO No prior approval required Board Board
Director/Manager CEO CEO CEO
Employee CEO CEO CEO
Consultant CEO CEO CEO

Before Travelling

If the travel destination(s) are outside of normal job duties, the following process is to be followed for all people wishing to be reimbursed for travel expenses

  • Obtain prior approval where required (see Travel –Approval Requirements)
  • If there is a change in itinerary, this should be reported to the approver as soon as possible
  • Secure passports, visas, immunizations and medications as appropriate before travel
  • The approver should be consulted to ensure that travel arrangements include accommodations for any special needs.
  • Participation in frequent flyer or other loyalty programs is permitted provided that the most cost-effective accommodations or method of travel is used.  Loyalty points can be redeemed at the user’s discretions; however, they cannot be redeemed for cash by using the points for business purposes and then submitting a claim for reimbursement.

Medical and Health Insurance

Eligible employees are covered under the LOFT’s health insurance plans in the event of illness or injury.  The cost of additional private medical/health insurance will not be reimbursed.  Other individuals should assess their own coverage for medical and health insurance.

Travel Accident Insurance

Eligible employees are covered under the LOFT’s accidental injury or accidental death policies. The cost of additional insurance will not be reimbursed.  Other individuals should assess their own coverage for travel accident insurance.


Employees are expected to use the most economical and practical way to travel whenever possible.

Air, Train and Coach Travel

Every effort must be made to book in advance to take advantage of discounted fares.

The original boarding pass or ticket supporting the cost of the travel must be attached to the expense report. Basic economy/coach fares will be paid by LOFT. Any upgrades would be the responsibility of the claimant. Claimants may participate in frequent flyer programs when flying on LOFT business. Any taxable benefit deemed by Canada Revenue Agency to have occurred in relation to a frequent flyer program is the responsibility of the claimant.

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) or similar bus/subway services

TTC tokens will be provided for occasional business use upon signing off on the token tracking sheet. The Token Tracking Sheet should contain the following – Date, Name of Person, Travel To/From, Purpose of the Trip, number of tokens taken and the signature of the person taking the tokens. If individuals regularly (e.g., twice a week or more) pay for public transportation out-of-pocket, they will be reimbursed upon submission of a Travel and Expense Reimbursement Form.  Please note, staff will only receive a cash reimbursement equivalent to the cost of a token. Those staff who use metro passes for personal travel, may claim up to the cost of a token.

If staff frequently uses the TTC and has a metro pass, LOFT will reimburse the staff member for the cost of the business use of the metro pass.  Staff and their supervisor need to evaluate the percentage being reimbursed to ensure that the amount being reimbursed is still reasonable.  Any taxable benefit deemed by Canada Revenue Agency to have occurred in relation to the reimbursement of a portion of the metro pass is the responsibility of the claimant.


Use of taxis should be reasonable.  If taxis are used, receipts should be obtained and attached to the claim.

Rental Vehicles

The use of rental cars is discouraged except where no other means of transportation is practical. Prior approval is required from the CEO.

When renting a vehicle, consideration may be given for a car rental upgrade based on the number of passengers, weather conditions and for other safety reasons. However, all luxury and sports car rentals are prohibited.

Collision and liability insurance offered by the car rental companies must be purchased. The insurance costs can be claimed as a travel expense. Rental cars must be refueled before returning to avoid extra charges. Receipts for gasoline purchases, parking lot charges and applicable bridge or highway tolls must be submitted with expense reports.

Personal Vehicle

Reimbursement will be in accordance of the approved Kilometer Allowance.  This allowance is to cover all costs, including fuel, depreciation, maintenance and insurance.

Parking and toll charges will be reimbursed subject to submission of original receipts. LOFT will not reimburse costs of collision and liability coverages.

LOFT assumes no financial responsibility for privately owned vehicles other than paying the kilometric rate when used for LOFT business. Those driving a personal vehicle on LOFT business cannot make claims to the LOFT for damages as a result of a collision. Individual automobile insurance is the responsibility of the automobile owner.  All staff that use their vehicle for LOFT business – whether it is an occasional use or required for employment – must carry personal motor vehicle liability insurance. The coverage should be equal to, or greater than, the minimum liability as specified by the Insurance Act of Ontario.

It is not legitimate to claim for trips between the staff person’s home and primary location of work. If staff begin or end the working day at a location farther away than their primary location, they may charge the kilometre difference between this location and their primary location.

Traffic Violations

It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that they obey the traffic laws and regulations.  Any traffic violations/tickets are not to be paid by the organization.

Reimbursement for Travel

Staff or Board Members travelling for LOFT purposes will compare available options and choose the most economical option whenever it is possible. Economy (coach) class is the standard option.  A manager’s approval is required if a more expensive means of transportation is justified.
Trip logs will be maintained by the individual to track business use of staff vehicles or public transportation.  These logs should be attached to the claimant’s expense claim.



When staff members are required to stay away from home overnight on LOFT business, the accommodations chosen should be the most economical and advantageous. LOFT will pay for adequate and comfortable accommodations in mid-class hotels. These expenses must be approved as detailed in the approval requirements. The Expense Claim Form must indicate the reason for overnight stay.

Standard tips and gratuities are reimbursable but should be documented on the expense report.

Reasonable laundry expenses will be reimbursed where a staff member has been away from home for more that five days on LOFT business or where the stay is longer than anticipated.

LOFT will not accept charges for personal phone calls, unless a justifiable case can be made for such acceptance.  Justifiable cases would be, for example, a change of travel plans or extension of trip at the request of LOFT.  LOFT will accept charges for calls made or received on its behalf.

LOFT expects discretion to be applied with any expenses incurred and reserves the right to limit reimbursement to reasonable costs.  Original copies of hotel bills are required.  Although copies of credit/charge card receipts are accepted as proof of payment, they are not acceptable as receipts for the charges incurred since they provide insufficient details/descriptions.



Hospitality expenses is the provision of food, beverages, accommodation, transportation or other amenities at LOFT’s expense to persons who are not staff, engaged in work for LOFT or any of the Ontario government ministries, agencies and public entities.

Receipts and explanations are required to support all expenditures for hospitality.  The quality of the explanation must be such as to fully explain the circumstances in which the cost is deemed to be eligible for payment.


5.   MEALS

LOFT Community Services will reimburse a reasonable and appropriate amount for meals associated with approved business.

All expenses must be supported in detail (i.e. description of who, what, where, when and why) with matching itemized receipts when submitting the expense report.

Individual meal expenses will be reimbursed as follows with a supporting receipt:

Maximum amounts – includes taxes and tip

Breakfast        $ 10.00

Lunch              $ 25.00

Dinner             $ 35.00

Any alcoholic beverage purchased will not be reimbursed to the employee. Claimants are required to ask the restaurant for a separate invoice when having alcohol with their meals.

1.    Meal costs for employees attending ½ day seminars or conferences will not be reimbursed by LOFT Community Services unless they are included in the registration cost for the conference or seminar.

When staff members are required to stay away from home overnight on LOFT Community Services business meals will be paid (with detailed receipts).

2.    Meals for in-house staff seminars longer than 4 hours will be reimbursed by LOFT. Cost should be kept at a minimum ($6.00 – $10.00 per person), please see the section titled Catering.

3.    Business related meals, with individuals not employed by LOFT and who have arms-length relationships with LOFT, will be reimbursed provided:

      • the business transacted is clearly beneficial to the program objectives,
      • prior approval of the appropriate Director or equivalent is obtained,
      • detailed receipts and explanations of the meeting are provided to support the expenditures, and
      • does not include alcoholic beverages

4.    To encourage clients to meet with staff, the staff member may purchase a coffee or muffin for the client. The client’s coffee and muffin will be reimbursed.

5.    Coffee from outside coffee shops (Tim Horton, Starbucks, etc…), muffins, cookies etc. will not be reimbursed for regular monthly/bi-monthly/weekly staff meetings.

6.    Meals with fellow staff members will not be reimbursed except for the scenarios listed above. Any exceptions are to be approved by the CEO.

7.    LOFT Community Services will not pay for alcoholic beverages purchased for a meal or meeting and care should be taken to ensure this type of charge is not included on expense accounts. Any exceptions are to be approved by the CEO.

8.    Tips should not exceed 15% before taxes



LOFT will not reimburse a claimant for the purchase of alcohol except in the following circumstances:

  • Fundraising event and in this case the expense is not charge to government funding,
  • Specific client event (client social events) where the alcohol is for clients and not staff.

In circumstances where alcohol is approved, appropriate measures should be taken to ensure a reasonable limit is placed on the quantity and cost of alcohol to be provided in advance of the event.

The approval of the CEO is required.



Catering will be reimbursed if the event is longer than 4 hours (exceptions are board meetings and special fundraising events or meetings).  Catering costs are capped at $6.00 – $10.00 per person for each attendee listed on the detailed invoice.  Any exceptions must be approved by the CEO



Gift Certificates or Gift Cards are considered cash.

a)    LOFT will not reimburse for the purchase of a gift certificate that is intended for Staff

b)    Most government ministries will not allow the purchase of gift certificates or gift cards.   Due to the nature of our programs (for example, outreach programs) there are clients/residents that appreciate gift certificates to Tim Horton’s, Coffee Time or No Frills in order to get food or coffee.

Unless explicitly provided for by a government agency, monies for these expenses can only come from charitable funds and must be accounted for and monitored.

c)    Gift certificates that are donated or monies donated where the donor had requested that the monies are to be used for the purchase of gift certificates must be accounted for and monitored.

If the gift certificate is purchased a detailed receipt of the purchase and a copy of the gift receipts must be provided to the finance department.  If the gift certificates are donated a copy of the gift certificate should be sent to finance.  Please note, the copy of the gift certificate should be of the front and back of the gift certificate so as to record any gift certificate serial number.

In addition, when distributing the gift receipts, clients must sign a “Gift Certificate Acceptance Sheet” indicating that they have received the gift certificate.  This “acceptance sheet” should be submitted to Finance.  The “acceptance sheet” should contain the following information: date, gift certificate name, gift certificate serial number, signature and notes (i.e. cheque number or donation from XX, 2011).



Unless stated in an employee’s contract, employee’s membership fees to an association are not to be paid by the organization.



No purchases should be made on behalf of an employee, other than the allowable expenses listed and approved in the HR Manual.  Please note, any lunches, dinners or breakfasts where staff members are meeting to recognize another employee are not to be paid by the organization.

There are 3 exceptions:

1.    A maximum of $75.00 (including taxes) is allowed for the purchase of flowers for the death of a staff member and the untimely death of a spouse or child.

2.    If a lunch is organized for a staff member who has resigned or retired from LOFT, a program director can pay for the departing staff member’s lunch.  Please see the section on titled Meals.

3.    LOFT will pay for the meal of the staff member who is celebrating a significant service recognition anniversary.  The amount paid is not to exceed the allowable expense.  Please see the section on titled Meals.



Staff Development costs are expenses pertaining to staff training and courses. In order to be reimbursed a receipt must be submitted in a timely manner.   All expenses must be supported in detail (i.e. description of who, what, where, when and why) with matching itemized receipts and proof of successful completion of the course (s) when submitting the expense report.

Tuition reimbursements must be approved by the HR department in order for the invoice to be paid.

If hotel accommodations need to be arranged for a conference, the expense must be approved by both a Senior Director and the CEO.



LOFT Community Services does not provide staff members with a payroll or travel advance, any exceptions are approved by the CEO.



Consultants are not considered staff and therefore are not eligible for reimbursement of expenses under this policy.

The contract between LOFT and a consultant must clearly specify any and all reimbursable expenses. Consultants should seek reimbursement only for expenses explicitly agreed to by the consultant and LOFT and as detailed in the consultant’s contract.

In no circumstances can hospitality, incidental or food expenses be considered allowable expenses for consultants and contractors under these Expense Reimbursement Rules or in any contract between LOFT and a consultant or contractor. Therefore, a consultant cannot claim or be reimbursed for such expenses, including: meals, snacks and beverages; gratuities; laundry or dry cleaning; valet services; dependant care; home management; and personal telephone calls.



See program manual.