Reimbursement Policy

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Reimbursement Policy
Adopted by the Board of Directors of Wikimedia Canada on 11 July 2017 and amended on 21 September 2017.
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Cette page est rédigée en anglais seulement et doit être traduite en français.
This page documents an official Wikimedia Canada policy adopted by a resolution of the board of directors.


This Policy governs and defines the rules, the principles and the processes for reimbursements made by Wikimedia Canada to its members and other volunteers for reasonable personal out-of-pocket expenses that they incurred to conduct pre-approved activities in line with Wikimedia Canada’s mission.

Purpose and principles[edit]

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure all expenses reimbursed by Wikimedia Canada are fair and consistent with our mission and values as well as current laws and good corporate standards. All reimbursements are made for actual and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred while carrying pre-approved activities to further our mission.

Wikimedia Canada’s Reimbursement Policy is guided by the following principles:

  1. Transparency. Ensure the consistent, fair and equitable application of the Policy and its practices. All budget reports from Wikimedia Canada are made public and any member may ask to review any reimbursement forms (with personal information redacted out).
  2. Good faith. All expenses must be made in good faith and only for activities furthering the mission of Wikimedia Canada.
  3. Respect. The Policy is fair to everybody and aims at creating a sensitive and supportive environment and processes that respect all.
  4. Good practices. Expenses shall be made using current good practices and principles, keeping with the travel industry trends and realities. The Policy creates and implements a framework and a structure ensuring an appropriate level of accountability.

The steps of the reimbursement process are identified at the end of this page.


  1. Allowance (indemnité). An authorized amount that is claimed in lieu of actual expenditures for specific items, such as mileage and meals.
  2. Area of residence (zone de résidence). For the purpose of this Policy, an individual’s area of residence spans an area of 16 km from the normal residence of the individual using the most direct, safe and practical road.
  3. Commercial accomodation (logement commercial). Lodging facilities such as hotels, motels, corporate residences or apartments that provide lodging at an established daily rate.
  4. Commercial transportation (transport commercial). All forms of transportation (automobile, air, maritime, rail) for which a fare is paid other than privately owned, rented or chartered vehicles.
  5. Economy class (classe économique). The standard class of air travel, including special discount fares. It excludes first class and business class or equivalents.
  6. Expenses (dépenses). The actual costs incurred, supported by proof of payment, up to the amount judged by the Board to be reasonable, based upon experience of what such costs should be in the circumstances.
  7. Incidental expenses (faux frais). Includes items such as personal supplies and services, such as baggage charges, tips and gratuities not related to meal expenses, the costs of which can be attributed to a period in travel, but for which no other reimbursements or allowance is provided under this Policy.
  8. Point of contact (personne assignée). Person assigned, generally a Board Member or a Project Manager, to be the single point of contact of the Board for a specific activity and requester.
  9. Private non-commercial accomodation (logement particulier non commercial). Private dwelling or non-commercial facilities where the traveller does not normally reside.
  10. Receipt (reçu). An original document or carbon copy showing the date and amount of expenditure paid. Receipts for taxable goods or services of 30 CAD or more received in Canada shall include the GST/HST account number of the supplier.
  11. Reimbursement form (formulaire de remboursement). The form used to seek pre-approval and to submit a statement of expenses claimed for reimbursement by Wikimedia Canada on Google Sheets. A Board Member or a delegate appointed by the Board will create individual Reimbursement Form for every reimbursement request and invite the requester to edit it.
  12. Requester (demandeur ou demandeuse). Volunteer who is seeking reimbursement from Wikimedia Canada.

Reimbursement Process[edit]

The Reimbursement Process of Wikimedia Canada is divided into three phases: Pre-Approval, Approval, and Payment. All three phases are captured into the same Reimbursement Form that must be filled for every project or activity for which there are reimbursements to be made. It is not permissible to split expenses for a same activity or project into different Reimbursement Forms.

A single Point of Contact, generally a Board Member or a Project Manager, will be assigned for each Reimbursement Form to serve as the link between the requester and the Board.


The goal of the pre-approval is to ensure that budget is available for a particular project or activity before expenses are incurred and to confirm to the requesters that they will be reimbursed before they incur expenses. All reimbursements should be pre-approved by the Board using the Reimbursement Form before the expenses are incurred. Reimbursements for non pre-approved expenses are not guaranteed and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Board. It is the responsibility of each requester to track their pre-approved budget.

It is allowed for a requester to initiate a Reimbursement Form after he/she already incurred the expenses. In that case, the Reimbursement Form must still go through the pre-approval process to ensure that the budget for this particular project or activity is available and that it is an approved activity. The requester is taking the risk of not being reimbursed or being only partially reimbursed.

The Pre-Approval section of the Reimbursement Form must include all necessary quotes and the method of payment to be used for the reimbursement before it can be pre-approved. Once the Reimbursement Form is approved, the pre-approved budget amount is the maximum that is guaranteed to be reimbursed for each item.

The following sections of this policy describe what is considered reasonable costs for travel, transportation, meals and lodging. All other expenses for activities, including but not limited to renting equipment, prizes for contests, snacks for participants, will need to be arranged between the organizer and his/her Point of Contact or the Project Manager and will be based on experience for similar expenses in comparable circumstances. Some restrictions, as defined in Section 10, apply and will not be reimbursed in any circumstances.

For Pre-Approval up to 2,000 CAD, the Reimbursement Form must be pre-approved by two (2) Board Members. For Pre-Approval exceeding 2,000 CAD, a resolution of the board is necessary to pre-approve the Reimbursement Form. The Board Members pre-approving the reimbursements shall ensure that the project or activity is supported by Wikimedia Canada and that budget is available through the Projects Committee.


The goal of the approval process is to confirm that the expenses incurred where in line with the pre-approved budget and that all necessary documentation, such as receipts and activity reports, are submitted before the payment is made. No payment will be made before the activity report is accepted by the Point of Contact and the Reimbursement Form is approved, as per this Policy.

Any requester shall submit a finalized Reimbursement Form within ninety (90) days of the completion of the activity. It is the responsibility of the requester to ensure that the Reimbursement Form is complete. It needs to list all the expenses in details that are being reimbursed with receipts, as required. The reimbursement for expenses above the pre-approved budget or for items that were not on the pre-approval is at the discretion of the Board and must come with justifications.

Prior to payment being made, the finalized Reimbursement Form must be approved. If the completed Reimbursement Form is for the exact same items and amounts or less than the pre-approval, the finalized Reimbursement Form may be approved by one (1) Board Member. If there are additional items or the requested amount is over the pre-approved amount, both the amount for each item and the total amount, the finalized Reimbursement Form may be approved by two (2) Board Members, at their discretion based on submitted justifications and the scope of the activity, as long as total increase of budget is twenty percent (20%) or less of the pre-approved budget and no more than 1,000 CAD. If the total budget increase is more than twenty percent (20%) of the pre-approved budget or more than 1,000 CAD, a resolution of the board is necessary to approve the reimbursement.


Payments shall be made through the form of payment that has been pre-approved between the requester and the Board. All payments from Wikimedia Canada will be made by a Board Member, generally the Treasurer.

Generally Wikimedia Canada does not provide advances and only carry out payments for actual expenses that have been made. In special circumstances, Wikimedia Canada may provide advances for specific activities, at the discretion of the Board.

Restrictions for board members[edit]

No Board Member can pre-approve, approve or pay a Reimbursement Form in which he/she is a person being reimbursed.

At least one (1) Board Member pre-approving and approving the Reimbursement Form should not have been involved directly in the activity, unless this is impossible, in which case a resolution of the Board is necessary to authorize the payment(s) to each participant.

If the requester is a Board Member, he/she shall recuse himself/herself from the discussions and the vote on the resolution for pre-approval, approval and payment.

Travel and Transportation[edit]

The selection of the mode of transportation shall be based on cost, duration, convenience, safety and practicality. Reimbursements for travel shall be made for actual expenses based upon receipts for all commercial transportation. All travel shall be pre-approved.

All travel using commercial transportation shall be made using economy class only. A traveller may choose to opt for a higher class. If that is the case, reimbursements will only be made for the equivalent fare using economy class­, as determined by the Board.

An individual may not be reimbursed for taxi where public transport was available unless justifications are provided as to why the public transport was not usable, practical or more economical. Nonetheless, the individual shall only be reimbursed up to the pre-approved amount. If an individual opt to use a taxi where the Board deemed that public transportation was available, practical and more economical, the taxi fare(s) will be his/her own responsibility and shall not be reimbursed.

An individual may choose to use his/her own vehicle even if it is not the preferred mode of transportation according to the above criteria (i.e. if it is not the most economical mode of transportation, even when duration, convenience, safety and practicality are taken into account). When that is the case, the individual shall be reimbursed up to the pre-approved amount for the lesser of the actual kilometric rate for the distances driven and the amount of the preferred mode of transportation (i.e. commercial transport).

In addition to provisions outlined below, pre-approved expenses associated with the selected mode of transportation shall be reimbursed based upon receipts. Such expenses include legitimate mandatory transportation service charges and fees incurred while on travel and not otherwise paid, such as road/bridge tolls, ferries and other transportation services charges/fees.

If more than one individual are travelling to the same activity using a privately owned vehicle or a rental vehicle, it is expected that they travel together where it is practical and economical to do so.

Local public transport[edit]

When using local public transport, the individual shall acquire the most practical and economical passes (i.e. a week pass instead of several individual tickets). Expenses for local public transport shall only be claimed for actual out-of-pockets expenses, based upon receipts, made for the pre-approved activity, using the most direct, economical and practical routes, up to the pre-approved amount. Expenses using local public transport at destination that are not in support of the activity shall not be claimed.

Rental vehicle[edit]

If a rental vehicle is part of travel, the standard is mid-size. Rental vehicles beyond the standard may be authorized, at the discretion of the Board, based upon factors such as, but not limited to, safety, the needs of the traveller and the bulk or weight of goods transported. If the travel is for a group of five (5) or more people, a larger vehicle shall be rented if it is more economical and practical than renting two (2) or more vehicles. All renting of vehicles must be pre-approved in order to be reimbursed and justifications must be provided to outline the reasons public transport cannot be used. Actual and reasonable expenses based upon receipts for gas for rental vehicles will be reimbursed up to the pre-approved amount. If the rental vehicle is used to travel at destination for reasons other than the pre-approved activity, the gas expenses for those distances shall not be included.


When using his/her own vehicle or a rental vehicle to travel to the activity or at the lodging facility, parking charges shall be reimbursed, based upon receipts, where free parking is not available, up to the pre-approved amount.

Parking charges can be reimbursed for actual expenses, based upon receipts, where it is more practical and economical to leave the vehicle at the public carrier’s terminal (for example at the airport) during the period of travel (i.e. if it is more economical compared to taking public transport, when it's available, or taxi, when it is not, to the public carrier’s terminal from the individual’s residence).

Privately owned vehicle[edit]

When using his/her own vehicle, the individual shall use the most direct, safe and practical routes and shall only claim for distances necessarily driven as part of the reimbursed activity. An itinerary of the actual distances driven (for example, using Google Maps) must be provided in order to be reimbursed. The individual shall be reimbursed up to the pre-approved amount at a kilometric rate covering the gas and the wear of the vehicle based on province/territory subject to change as per Annex A. Receipts for gas for travel in a privately owned vehicle are not needed.

In the interests of safe driving, it is not expected that an individual drive more than the following distances and as such he/she may be reimbursed for meals and lodgings while on travel, up to the pre-approved amount, and if commercial transportation was not available, practical or more economical:

  1. 250 km after a full day of activity (8 hours and more);
  2. 350 km after a half-day of activity (4 to 8 hours); and
  3. 500 km on any day without activity or less than half-day of activity (less than 4 hours).

Incidental allowance[edit]

An individual travelling overnight shall be paid a daily incidental expense allowance that covers a number of miscellaneous expenses not otherwise provided for in this Policy for each day or part day during the travel. The amount of this allowance is subject to change.

Travel outside Canada[edit]

Meals and incidental allowances as well as kilometric rates in countries other than Canada need to be pre-approved by the Board on a case by case basis.

Additional expenses that may be reimbursed as part of travel outside Canada include charges and fees for financial transactions, based upon receipts or other proofs of charges/fees, such as Automated Banking Machine (ATM) use, credit/debit card use, financial institution foreign currency transaction commission(s), traveller’s cheque acquisition and cheque-cashing fees. The costs incurred to convert reasonable sums to foreign currencies and/or reconvert any unused balance to Canadian currency shall be reimbursed, based upon receipts, from all transactions and sources, up to the pre-approved amount.


Lodging for travel within the area of residence of an individual shall not normally be authorized. Exceptions can be made, at the discretion of the Board, for cases where overnight accommodations are required if the individual must remain close to the area where the activities are conducted for long hours.

Actual and reasonable lodging expenses for commercial accommodation shall be reimbursed, based upon receipts, up to the pre-approved amount. At the time of pre-approval the Board will set the maximum amount that can be claimed based on the city and the time of the year. An individual may opt to rent a more expensive room, but he/she will only be reimbursed up to the pre-approved amount. In specific circumstances, the Board may require two (2) participants to share a room.

If a requester chooses to use private non-commercial accommodation during travel or during a pre-approved activity where he/she would normally be reimbursed for commercial accommodation, he/she shall be paid the private non-commercial accommodation allowance per night subject to change.


Meals within the individual’s area of residence shall not normally be reimbursed. It is the individual’s responsibility to provide his/her own meal even if an activity within his/her area of residence spans a whole day. An exception to this rule is if the meal is an integral part of the activity, such as a meeting or a conference, where the presence of the individual is required, and that it is not provided.

Pre-approved meals expenses will be reimbursed a specific per diem amount for each meal subject to change. Receipts for meals are not needed.

A meal allowance shall not be paid if meals are provided, for example if it is included in the registration for a conference or if it is provided by the air carrier. In exceptional situations where an individual has incurred out-of-pocket expenses to supplement meals provided, the actual incurred costs may be reimbursed based upon receipts, up to the applicable meal allowance and up to the pre-approved amount.

This section of the Policy does not pertain to snacks purchased for the participants as part of an activity. Those shall be reimbursed for the actual costs, based upon receipts, up to the pre-approved amount.


Detailed receipts must be obtained and submitted to support all expenditures, including transportation ticket stubs, pre-paid transportation and accommodation. When this Policy requires the provision of a receipt to justify an expense, those receipts shall be submitted in an electronic format (i.e. scanned) with the Reimbursement Form, as applicable.

The only expenses for which receipts are not required are as follows:

  1. Parking meters
  2. Taxis utilized on trips for which the cost is 7.00 CAD or less
  3. Meals (covered by per diem allowance)
  4. Incidental expenses (covered by per diem allowance)
  5. Car mileage (covered by fixed kilometric rates)
  6. Private accommodations (covered by non-commercial accommodation allowance)

Debit/credit card transaction records are not acceptable as receipts.

Lost receipts[edit]

In the case of a lost receipt, the individual can certify in writing that the receipt was lost, accidentally destroyed or unobtainable. In that case, the individual must provide a declaration to replace this receipt. This declaration should include other documentation showing the expenses, such as bank or credit card statements, if possible. The approval of such declarations is at the discretion of the Board.

Third party invoices[edit]

Unless pre-approved by the Board, Wikimedia Canada cannot be billed directly by service provider for individual carrying out activities. The individual must pay the service provider and then seek reimbursement.

Wikimedia Canada may itself enter into contracts with service providers or pay for expenses for individuals under specific projects, as approved by the Board.

Friendly space policy[edit]

All activities supported by Wikimedia Canada shall respect the Friendly space policy of the Wikimedia Foundation, which means that the activity must be harassment-free for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, physical appearance, age, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, national origin, or religion, and not limited to these aspects. The Wikimedia Foundation’s friendly space policy is available at the following URL:


Alcohol purchases are deemed to be unreasonable and therefore will not be reimbursed.

Wikimedia Canada does not cover expenses related to additional medical coverage, travel insurances and passports.

Wikimedia Canada does not financially support activities that generate personal profit or revenues.

Annex A: Fixed rates and allowances[edit]

Effective date: 1 July 2017

This Annex presents the fixed rates and allowances for reimbursements under this Policy. All the rates and allowances are subject to change.

The rates and allowances paid shall be the ones effective at the date that the expenses were pre-approved, unless otherwise mentioned by the Board in writing at the time of pre-approval.

The rates and allowances in this Policy are based on the rates and allowances used by the Government of Canada as published by the Treasury Board, but they are decided by the Board and do not have to follow the Treasury Board’s directive.

Kilometric rates[edit]

The rates payable in cents per kilometre for the use of privately owned vehicles driven on pre-approved travel are shown below per province/territory. If the travel spans more than one province/territory or goes into the United States, the rate of the province of departure shall be used. Those rates take into account the gas and the wear of the vehicle.

Kilometric rates per province/territory
Province/Territory Cents/km (taxes included)
Alberta 45.0
British Columbia 49.5
Manitoba 47.5
New Brunswick 50.5
Newfoundland and Labrador 55.5
Northwest Territories 60.0
Nova Scotia 50.5
Nunavut 59.0
Ontario 55.5
Prince Edward Island 49.5
Quebec 50.5
Saskatchewan 46.5
Yukon 60.5

If a travel by a privately owned vehicle departs in a country other than Canada, the kilometric rate used must be pre-approved by the Board.

Private non-commercial accomodation allowance[edit]

For every night where a requester chooses to stay in private non-commercial accommodation in Canada or the United States where he/she would normally be authorized to be reimbursed for commercial accommodation, he/she shall be paid the following allowance per night.

Private non-commercial accommodation allowance: 50.00 CAD.

Meals allowances[edit]

Per diem meals allowances shall be paid for every meal that incurred out-of-pocket expenses during the travel or during an activity outside the requester’s area of residence.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the meal allowances shall be paid starting on the thirty first consecutive calendar day of travel away from the requester’s area of residence as part of a pre-approved activity.

The table below shows the meals allowances in CAD (taxes included) for each meal based on the province/territory.

Per diem meals allowances
Meal All provinces Yukon Northwest Territories Nunavut
Breakfast 17.15 15.95 23.85 25.95
Lunch 18.05 19.80 26.60 33.65
Dinner 45.95 55.50 57.10 78.70
Daily total 81.15 91.25 107.55 138.30

If meals allowances are paid outside Canada, the amount of the allowances for each meal must be pre-approved by the Board.

Incidental allowance[edit]

If the travel and/or the activity include overnight stay, the following daily incidental allowance shall be paid.

Daily incidental allowance: 17.30 CAD.

Reimbursement process[edit]

  1. Familiarize yourself with this “Reimbursement Policy”. Ensure that your intended activity falls within the scope of the chapter. If you are unsure, ask a Board Member (see the Contacts page on Wikimedia Canada’s website). Develop a summary of your activity including the intended objectives.
  2. If your reimbursement is not part of an approved activity or project, send an email to a Board Member (see the Contacts page on Wikimedia Canada’s website) outlining your intent, the description of the activity, and, if possible, the approximate budget. A Point of Contact, generally a Board Member or a Project Manager, will be assigned to you for your activity. This Point of Contact will serve as your single point of communication with the Board. He/she may require you to provide further information on your plan, including metrics to evaluate the outcomes of your activity.
  3. Once your activity is approved by the Point of Contact, a Board Member will create and invite you to edit a Reimbursement Form on Google Sheets.
  4. Fill the "Activity" and "Participants List" tables of the Reimbursement Form. Fill the "Expense Identification" and the first column of "Pre-Approval" sections of the "List of Expenses" table of the Reimbursement Form.
  5. Notify your Point of Contact by email that your “Pre-Approval” is ready for review. He/she may ask you for further information or justification, such as quotes, or more details regarding your plan. Once he/she is satisfied with your plan and your “Pre-Approval” form, he/she will submit it for pre-approval.
  6. Once you get confirmation that your form is pre-approved, carry out your activity. Keep all the receipts for every expenses that will be claimed, except for meals, incidentals and mileage which are covered by fixed rates (see Annex A). Make sure to record all the metrics as per your approved plan by your Point of Contact.
  7. Prepare an activity report for your activity, including the results and the metrics as per your approved plan by your Point of Contact, as well as a summary of the expenses. Submit this activity report for review to your Point of Contact.
  8. Fill the first column of the "Approval" section of the Reimbursement Form. Scan all receipts and provide them, with itineraries and other documents, as required, to your Point of Contact. When it is completed, send an email to notify your Point of Contact. He/she will review it and may ask you for further informations.
  9. Once your activity report is approved by your Point of Contact and that he/she is satisfied with your Reimbursement Form, he/she will submit it for approval. Note that the Reimbursement Form cannot be approved before you have submitted an activity report.
  10. Once your Reimbursement Form is approved, a Board Member, generally the Treasurer, will carry out the payment to reimburse you via PayPal to the email address provided in the form, unless otherwise arranged for another form of payment in advance.