Rules Governing the Expenses of Cabinet Ministers, Opposition Leaders and other persons

 

PART 1: GENERAL

Authority

1. These rules are made by Order-in-Council under section 5 of the Cabinet Ministers' and Opposition Leaders' Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 (the Act) and are effective from January 1, 2003.

Application

2. These rules apply to:

a. Ministers of the Crown, including associate ministers and ministers without portfolio, parliamentary assistants and to persons employed in their respective offices, and

b. Leaders of a recognised opposition party and to persons employed in their respective offices.

In these rules, if the context so requires, the persons in clause (a) will be referred to as "Ministers and other persons" and the persons in clause (b) as "Opposition leaders and other persons". Where the rules are intended to apply to the persons named in both clauses (a) and (b), the phrase "designated persons" will be used.

Purpose

3. The purpose of these rules is to establish a framework that will govern the reimbursement of claims for expenses incurred by designated persons while carrying out their duties or functions in accordance with sections 2 and 3 of the Act. In these rules, the phrase "official duties or functions" has the following meaning:

a. For ministers, associate ministers and ministers without portfolio, it includes those activities and responsibilities that are reasonably related to a minister's portfolio assignment and/or as a member of the Executive Council;

b. For parliamentary assistants, it includes those activities and responsibilities that are reasonably related to the furtherance of a minister's portfolio assignment or the role of a parliamentary assistant;

c. For leaders of a recognized opposition party, it includes those activities and responsibilities that are reasonably related to the role of an opposition leader (as distinct from that as a member of the Assembly);

d. For persons employed in the office of persons named in clauses (a) to (c), it includes those activities and responsibilities that flow from acting on direction from or taking action on behalf of a minister, parliamentary assistant, or opposition leader, as the case may be.

Scope

4. These rules govern the reimbursement of claims for expenses relating to meals, hospitality, travel, hotel (and similar types of accommodation). Where the claim is for an expense that is not specifically addressed in these rules, the appropriateness of the expense will be determined in accordance with the governing principle set out in these rules.

Governing Principle

5. Designated persons are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses that are incurred for an official duty or function and which are reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances in which the expenses are incurred.

PART 2: RULES GOVERNING REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES

General

6. Designated persons will be reimbursed for claims relating to expenses covered by these rules where the expenses are incurred while carrying out official duties or functions. Expenses may be incurred in the following situations:

a. While working during or through normal meal periods.

b. As a result of extending hospitality to an external party.

c. While travelling both within and outside Ontario.

In these rules, "hospitality" refers to the provision of food and beverages, including alcohol, accommodation, transportation and similar amenities, while "external party" refers,

i. in the case of Ministers and other persons, to persons who are not members of the government caucus or employed by the Ontario government and includes persons who are appointed to a provincial agency, board or commission; and

ii. in the case of Opposition leaders and other persons, to persons who are not employed by or are members of an opposition caucus.

Working During or Through Normal Meal Periods

7. Designated persons will be reimbursed for expenses that are incurred while working during or through normal meal periods, provided the expenses are reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances. Reasonable and appropriate expenses are expenses that:

a. Are incurred for an official duty or function.

b. Are modest, representing a prudent use of public funds.

c. Do not involve alcoholic beverages.

8. In general, working meals are to be provided in-house.

Extending Hospitality to an External Party

9. As representatives of the government, Ministers and other persons will be expected or required to extend hospitality to external parties as part of their official duties and functions. Examples of situations where the extension of hospitality would be appropriate include:

a. Engaging representatives of other governments, the broader public sector, industry, public interest groups or unions in discussions on official matters.

b. Providing persons from national or international organizations and charitable organizations with an understanding and appreciation of Ontario or the workings of its government.

c. Sponsoring formal conferences for representatives of other governments or for business or labour groups.

d. Honouring distinguished persons from Ontario in recognition of exceptional public service.

e. Conducting prestigious ceremonies that are attended by heads of state or government, distinguished persons from the private sector, or both.

10. Opposition leaders and other persons may also extend hospitality to external parties as part of their official duties and functions. Examples of situations where the extension of hospitality would be appropriate include:

a. Engaging representatives of governments, the broader public sector, industry, public interest groups or unions in discussions on official matters.

b. Providing persons from national or international organizations and charitable organizations with an understanding and appreciation of Ontario or the workings of its government.

11. Designated persons will be reimbursed for expenses that are incurred while extending hospitality to an external party, including hospitality that takes place in the course of travelling on an official duty or function, provided the expenses are reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances. Reasonable and appropriate expenses are expenses that:

a. Strike a balance between economy (the expenses represent a prudent use of public funds) and proportionality (the expenses reflect what is customary for such functions);

b. For any alcoholic beverages, are not extravagant and generally do not exceed the total cost of food. On occasions where wine is provided, the policy is to provide Ontario wine;

c. Do not involve alcohol drinks-only meetings.

12. The number of designated persons and other attendees, whether the function is sponsored by Ministers and other persons, or by Opposition leaders and other persons, should be limited to those necessary for the function and should be kept to a minimum.

13. Expenses for hospitality may also include the expenses of the spouse (or companion) of a designated person, provided the person is an officially invited guest or because protocol requires his or her attendance.

14. Whenever possible, Ministers and other persons should utilize government owned facilities and resources that are appropriate to the function before resorting to private sector alternatives.

Travelling within and outside Ontario

15. Designated persons will be reimbursed for (meal, hotel and transportation) expenses that are incurred in the course of travelling on official duties or functions, within and outside Ontario, provided the expenses are reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.

Reasonable and appropriate expenses are expenses that:

For Meals

a. Are modest, representing a prudent use of public funds.

b. Are suitable for the time of day and locale in which they are incurred.

c. Do not involve alcoholic beverages, except if such expenses are incurred in connection with a hospitality-related function, in which case these and other expenses are governed by the hospitality provisions of these rules.

For Hotels

d. Strike a balance between economy and

i. the level of accommodation and functionality necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of a designated person, and

ii. accommodation that is conveniently located and situated in a safe environment.

e. Include the expenses of the spouse (or companion) of a designated person, where that person is specifically required to attend the scheduled event.

f. Do not involve the use of mini-bars, video rentals, in-room movies, or other entertainment-related activities not associated with official duties and functions.

For Travel

g. Reflect the most practical and economical form of travel (air, rail, or road) given the destination, timing of the trip or any other relevant consideration.

h. Where air travel represents the most appropriate option, generally reflect economy class, unless the trip is longer than five hours, in which case designated persons may travel business class.

i. Where rail travel represents the most appropriate option, reflect the level of accommodation provided to members of the Assembly under the Legislative Assembly Act.

j. (j) Where road transportation represents the most appropriate option, and there is no access to a vehicle provided by the government, represent the cost of renting a vehicle or of using a personal vehicle, whichever is more economical:

i. Where the use of a rental vehicle is the most economical option, expenses will be reimbursed based on the size of the vehicle that is the most appropriate for the number of vehicle occupants.

ii. Where the use of a personal vehicle is the most economical option, expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the applicable reimbursement rates for kilometres travelled.

Most Economical Means

16. Except as provided for in these rules, when booking ticketed travel (air and rail), hotel accommodation, or renting vehicles, designated persons should select the most economical and practical option.

Government Services and Designated Providers

17. Wherever possible, Ministers and other persons should:

a. use the government's teleconferencing and videoconferencing facilities to reduce the need to travel,

b. use the government's designated service providers, that is, the governments designated travel agent, accommodation directory and rental car program, and

c. adjust their travel itinerary to obtain the most economical rate from the designated service provider.

PART 3: RULES GOVERNING NON-REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES

Non-reimbursable Expenses

18. In addition to the exceptions referred to in Part 2 , designated persons are not entitled to be reimbursed for expenses of a personal nature, except where they are necessarily incurred as a result of performing an official duty or function. Such expenses include but are not limited to expenses for:

a. Personal items.

b. traffic and parking violations.

c. Social events that do not constitute hospitality under Part 2.

Caucus-related Expenses

19. Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants and Opposition Leaders in their role as Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP), and their staff, are not entitled to be reimbursed for caucus related and constituency expenses under these rules.

20. Designated persons may be entitled to be reimbursed for caucus-related and constituency expenses under the rules established by the Board of Internal Economy under the authority of the Legislative Assembly Act.

PART 4: PROCEDURAL RULES

Charging of Expenses

21. Wherever possible, designated persons should ensure that all expenses incurred while carrying out official duties and functions are charged to their corporate card, if they have been issued a corporate card for that purpose.

22. Where it is not feasible in particular circumstances to charge an expense to the corporate card, or where a designated person has not been issued a corporate card, all claims for reimbursement must be supported by appropriate receipts.

23. 23. Personal expenses should not be charged to a designated person's corporate card.

Claiming Expenses

24. All expense claims will be submitted for reimbursement by designated persons in a uniform and consistent manner, with appropriate receipts and other documents supplied or kept in support of the expense claim.

25. In order for the Integrity Commissioner to assess whether an expense is reasonable and appropriate, every claim submitted for reimbursement will identify as accurately as possible the nature of the expense and the circumstances under which it was incurred.

26. Designated persons will keep two copies of all expense claims submitted for reimbursement, along with supporting documents and a record of the items and amounts reimbursed, and will:

a. provide one copy to the Chair of Management Board of Cabinet, or the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, as the case may be, at such intervals as they may require in order for them to comply with their obligations under the Act, and

b. retain the other copy in their respective offices in the event that it may be required for audit or for such other legitimate purpose.

PART 5: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Role of Minister

27. The Minister is responsible for approving the expense claims of the Executive Assistant (and the other persons referred to in section 28, where that responsibility has not been delegated to the Executive Assistant) and for ensuring overall adherence to these rules.

Role of Executive Assistant

28. The Executive Assistant of a Minister, where designated by the Minister, is responsible

for:

a. approving the expense claims of the Minister, the Parliamentary Assistant and the persons employed in their respective offices,

b. ensuring that persons employed in the offices of the Minister and the Parliamentary Assistant are informed of and comply with these rules,

c. ensuring that expense claims are filed in accordance with these rules and any procedures established to support these rules, and

d. (d) ensuring that copies of the expense claims and supporting documents are retained and provided in accordance with these rules.

Designated Senior Person

29. Opposition leaders will designate a senior person in their respective offices to perform the functions identified in section 28.

Role of Opposition leaders

30. Each of the Opposition leaders is responsible for approving the expense claims of the person designated under section 29 and for ensuring overall adherence to these rules

Retention of Records

31. Expense claims and supporting documents must be retained in accordance with the Retention Schedule established by the Archivist of Ontario pursuant to the Archives Act. The person named in section 28 and designated in section 29 should, respectively, consult the Chief Administrative Officer of the ministry or that person's counterpart in the Legislative Offices for more information on records retention.

A PDF copy of the rules is available below.

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