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 approved activities in line with Wikimedia Canada’s mission.
To ensure appropriate financial controls and approvals are in place, all reimbursements made by Wikimedia Canada to volunteers will follow this Policy.
This Policy applies to all reimbursements made from all sources of funding administered by Wikimedia Canada. When funding agency guidelines, or the terms of a specific award, impose greater restrictions, the more stringent requirements will apply.
Wikimedia Canada will reimburse reasonable, necessary and out-of-pocket expenses incurred while conducting approved activities furthering the mission of Wikimedia Canada by volunteers, subject to budget availability and limitations imposed from funding agencies.
Purpose and principles
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 approved activities to further our mission.
Wikimedia Canada’s Reimbursement Policy is guided by the following principles:
- Transparency. Ensure the consistent, fair and equitable application of the Policy and its practices. All reimbursement requests, budgets and financial reports from Wikimedia Canada are made public.
- Good faith. All claims must be made in good faith and only for out-of-pocket expenses incurred for activities furthering the mission of Wikimedia Canada.
- Respect. The Policy is fair to everybody and aims at creating a sensitive and supportive environment and processes that respect all.
- 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 claimants are responsible to ensure that the expenses for which a reimbursement is requested are:
- Appropriate use of funds
- For purpose furthering the mission of Wikimedia Canada only
- In accordance with Wikimedia Canada's policies, regulations and procedures
- Not claimed to another organization
- Allowance (indemnité). An authorized amount that is claimed in lieu of actual expenditures for specific items at predetermined fixed rate, such as mileage and meals.
- Approval (approbation). Approval is the act from the Board of Directors to accept a reimbursement request and authorize the payment. All reimbursement requests must be approved before any payment can be made.
- 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.
- Claimant (demandeur or demandeuse). Volunteer who is claiming a reimbursement from Wikimedia Canada.
- Commercial accomodation (logement commercial). Lodging facilities such as hotels, motels, corporate residences or apartments that provide lodging at an established daily rate.
- 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.
- Economy class (classe économique). The standard class of air travel, including special discount fares. It excludes first class and business class or equivalents.
- 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. All claimed expenses must be directly or indirectly related to the mission of Wikimedia Canada.
- 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.
- Pre-approval (pré-approbation). Pre-approval is done prior to the expenses being incurred in order to guarantee that they will be approved and that budget is available.
- Point of contact (personne assignée). Person assigned, generally a Board Member or a member of the Programs Committee, to be the single point of contact on behalf of Wikimedia Canada for a specific reimbursement request.
- Private non-commercial accommodation (logement particulier non commercial). Private dwelling or non-commercial facilities where the traveler does not normally reside.
- 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.
The Reimbursement Process of Wikimedia Canada is divided into three phases: Pre-Approval, Approval, and Payment. Expenses for a single activity should not be split into different requests.
A single Point of Contact, generally a Board Member or a member of the Programs Committee, will be assigned for each reimbursement request to serve as the link between the claimant and Wikimedia Canada.
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 claimants that they will be reimbursed before they incur expenses.
All reimbursements should be pre-approved by the Board 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 claimant responsibility to obtain pre-approval from Wikimedia Canada before committing funds. If a claimant initiate a reimbursement request after he/she already incurred the expenses, he/she is taking the risk of not being reimbursed or being only partially reimbursed.
Pre-approval requests must include an appropriate description of the purpose of the activity and its intended outcomes. The Board may require that quotes or other justifications be provided before the budget is pre-approved.
The pre-approved budget amounts are the maximum that are guaranteed to be reimbursed for each item of the reimbursement request. It is the responsibility of each claimant to track their pre-approved budget.
Pre-approval requests are assessed by the Programs Committee who makes recommendations to the Board. The following table describes the pre-approval authority levels.
|Total budget up to 2,000 CAD||Two (2) Board Members|
|Total budget more than 2,000 CAD||Resolution of the Board|
The goal of the approval process is to confirm that the expenses incurred were in line with the pre-approved budget and that all necessary documentation, such as receipts and activity reports, are submitted before payments are made. No payment will be made before the activity report is accepted by Wikimedia Canada and the reimbursement request is approved, as per this Policy.
Claimants must finalize their reimbursement requests within ninety (90) days of the completion of the project or activity, except at year-end when all expenses for the year must be submitted no later than January 9th of the succeeding year. Requests that are not completed within this timeline will not be reimbursed, except under special circumstances at the discretion of the Board.
It is the responsibility of the claimant to ensure that the reimbursement request is complete. It needs to list all the expenses in details that are being claimed with receipts, as required.
Reimbursements for expenses above the pre-approved budget or for items that were not part of the pre-approval are at the discretion of the Board and must come with justifications.
Prior to payment being made, the finalized reimbursement request must be approved. Finalized reimbursement requests are assessed by the Programs Committee who makes recommendations to the Board. The following table describes the approval authority levels.
|Pre-approved reimbursement requests|
|Exact same items and amounts or less than the pre-approval||One (1) Board Member|
|Additional items or amounts over the pre-approval, and total budget no more than 2,000 CAD||Two (2) Board Members|
|Additional items or amounts over the pre-approval, and total budget increase is twenty percent (20%) or less of the pre-approved budget and no more than 1,000 CAD||Two (2) Board Members|
|Additional items or amounts over the pre-approval, and total budget increase is more than twenty percent (20%) or more than 1,000 CAD and the total budget is more than 2,000 CAD||Resolution of the Board|
|Non pre-approved reimbursement requests|
|Total budget up to 2,000 CAD||Two (2) Board Members|
|Total budget more than 2,000 CAD||Resolution of the Board|
Payments from Wikimedia Canada are usually made through Interac by email, but a different form of payment may be arranged between the claimant and his/her Point of Contact.
Generally Wikimedia Canada does not provide advances and only carry out payments for actual expenses that have already been made. In special circumstances, Wikimedia Canada may provide advances for specific projects or activities, at the discretion of the Board.
All payments will be made by a Board Member, generally the Treasurer, and must be authorized through the approval process, as per this Policy, before being made.
Restrictions for board members
No Board Member can pre-approve, approve or pay a reimbursement request in which he/she is a person being reimbursed.
At least one (1) Board Member pre-approving and approving the reimbursement request must 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 payments to each participant.
If the claimant is a Board Member, he/she shall recuse himself/herself from the discussions and the vote on the resolution for pre-approval and approval.
Travel and Transportation
Claimants are responsible for making travel arrangements that provide adequate standards of comfort, convenience, safety and efficiency, and is the most economical option under the circumstances. Is it the responsibility of the claimant to maintain documentation to justify the cost effectiveness of their travel arrangements. Claimants are expected to obtain the lowest logical fare.
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 using commercial transportation shall be made using economy class only. A traveler 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.
Wikimedia Canada does not reimburse fare purchased with loyalty program points, such as frequent flyer points. Only out-of-pocket expenses are reimbursable. Claimants may use personal loyalty program points to upgrade tickets, provided that there is no cost to Wikimedia Canada.
For air travel, because significant savings can be realized by making reservations in advance, all claimants should plan their travel at least fourteen (14) days prior to departure, if possible.
An individual shall 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. If an individual opt to use a taxi where the Board deemed that public transportation was available, practical and more economical, the taxi fares 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 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, a claimant may claim a reimbursement for expenses associated with the selected mode of transportation based upon receipts. Such expenses include legitimate mandatory transportation service charges and fees incurred while on travel and not otherwise reimbursed, such as road/bridge tolls, ferries and other transportation services charges/fees.
If more than one individual are traveling 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
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-pocket expenses, based upon receipts, incurred for the execution of the approved activity, using the most direct, economical, safe and practical routes.
Expenses using local public transport at destination that are not in support of the approved activity shall not be claimed.
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 traveler 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 may be claimed. The predetermined kilometric rates are not used for rental vehicles.
If the rental vehicle is used to travel at destination for reasons other than the approved activity, the gas expenses for those distances shall not be included in the reimbursement request.
When using his/her own vehicle or a rental vehicle to travel to the approved activity or at the lodging facility, an individual may claim parking charges, based upon receipts, where free parking is not available.
Parking charges may be claimed 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
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 approved activity.
If a privately owned vehicle is used out of preference, reimbursement will be limited to the cost of the most economical alternative mode of travel.
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 at a predetermined kilometric rate covering the gas as well as the wear and tear 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 claim expenses for meals and lodging while on travel, only if commercial transportation was not available, practical or more economical:
- 250 km after a full day of activity (8 hours and more);
- 350 km after a half-day of activity (4 to 8 hours); and
- 500 km on any day without activity or less than half-day of activity (less than 4 hours).
An individual traveling overnight may claim 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 as per Annex A.
Travel outside Canada
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 claimed 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 commissions, traveller’s cheque acquisitions and cheque-cashing fees. The costs incurred to convert reasonable sums to foreign currencies and/or reconvert any unused balance to Canadian currency may be claimed, based upon receipts, from all transactions and sources.
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 may be claimed, based upon receipts. The amount that is considered reasonable for commercial accommodation is determined by the Board based on the city and the time of the year.
The standard for commercial accommodation is a single room with a private bath in a business class hotel. An individual may opt to rent a more expensive room, but he/she will only be reimbursed up to the amount that is considered reasonable by the Board. In specific circumstances, the Board may require two (2) participants to share a room.
If a claimant chooses to use private non-commercial accommodation during travel or during an activity where he/she would normally be reimbursed for commercial accommodation, he/she may claim a private non-commercial accommodation allowance per night subject to change as per Annex A.
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 the meal is not provided.
Meals expenses will be reimbursed according to a specific per diem amount for each meal subject to change as per Annex A. 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.
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.
Detailed receipts must be obtained and submitted to support all expenditures, including transportation ticket stubs, and prepaid transportation and accommodation. It is the claimant responsibility to retain original documentation to support the reimbursement request.
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) to the Point of Contact, as applicable. The claimant must ensure that the image quality of the submitted receipts is appropriate.
The only expenses for which receipts are not required are as follows:
- Parking meters
- Taxis and local public transportation utilized on trips for which the cost is 7.00 CAD or less
- Meals (covered by per diem allowance)
- Incidental expenses (covered by per diem allowance)
- Car mileage in a privately owned vehicle (covered by fixed kilometric rates)
- Private accommodations (covered by non-commercial accommodation allowance)
Debit/credit card transaction records are not acceptable as receipts.
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
Unless pre-approved by the Board, Wikimedia Canada cannot be billed directly by service provider for an 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
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: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Friendly_space_policy.
Alcohol purchases are deemed to be unreasonable and therefore will not be reimbursed.
Car damage as well as traffic fines, such as parking or speeding tickets, are not allowable expenses.
Wikimedia Canada does not cover expenses related to additional medical coverage, travel insurances, passports and childcare.
Wikimedia Canada does not financially support activities that generate personal profit or revenues.
Exceptions to this Policy may be approved by the President or the Vice President, or a resolution of the Board. The exception approval must be documented and the documentation must be included in the reimbursement request.
The President or the Vice President may not approve an exception for himself/herself.
Any questions related to the content of this Policy or its interpretation should be directed to your Point of Contact for your reimbursement request or the Treasurer by email.
Annex A: Fixed rates and allowances
Effective date: 1st March 2022
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 incurred.
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.
The rates payable by Wikimedia Canada in cents per kilometer for the use of privately owned vehicles driven on travel for approved activities are in accordnace with the "automobile allowance rates" published annually by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at the following link: . Those rates take into account the gas as well as the wear and tear of the vehicle.
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.
Per diem meals allowances may be claimed for every meal that incurred out-of-pocket expenses during a travel or an approved activity outside the claimant’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 claimant’s area of residence as part of an approved activity.
The table below shows the meals allowances in CAD (taxes included) for each meal based on the province/territory.
|Meal||All provinces||Yukon||Northwest Territories||Nunavut|
If a meal is claimed in a country other than Canada, the rate used must be pre-approved by the Board.
Private non-commercial accomodation allowance
For every night where a claimant 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 may claim the following allowance per night.
Private non-commercial accommodation allowance: 50.00 CAD.
If the travel and/or the approved activity include overnight stay outside the area of residence of the claimant, the following daily incidental allowance may be claimed.
Daily incidental allowance: 17.30 CAD.