Employee Related Business Expense Procedure

Purpose statement

This procedure defines the conditions, criteria and process for claiming and approving business expenses for staff such as: recognition, bereavements, illness, special celebrations, entertainment and the purchase of tokens of appreciation for staff, clients and/or volunteers. This procedure ensures that all business related expenses are reasonable, appropriate, in accordance with the Employee Code of Conduct, and provided in the town’s budget.


This procedure applies to all employees.


Employee recognition and special events

  • Through the CAO’s office, a floral arrangement is sent, or a charitable donation made, in the event of the death of:
    • An elected official of the Town of Oakville
    • A permanent full time employee, permanent part time employee or contract employee of the Town of Oakville
    • The spouse/partner, parent or child (including step-parent/child) of a permanent full time employee, a permanent part time employee, contract employee or an elected official of the Town of Oakville
  • Through the CAO’s office, employees are recognized corporately through employee appreciation day, long term service awards and the CAO awards
  • Each department may claim up to a maximum of $15 per employee per year for recognition (use object code 5430)
  • Expenses charged to the town that exceed the $15 per employee threshold must be reimbursed to the town
  • Departments may claim expenses of up to $100 for the purpose of recognizing retirements. Departments are to fund from within existing budgets (use object code 5430)
  • Celebrations are to be combined where possible.
  • The following business expenses are excluded:
    • expressions of sympathy for illness or hospitalization
    • expressions of condolences on the passing of an employee
    • acknowledgement of birthdays or weddings
    • the purchase of alcohol, or
    • the cost of attendance of relatives or guests of the employee(s) being recognized.

Departmental coffee service

  • Departments may provide coffee service to employees on a full cost recovery basis.
  • Departments must ensure on an annual basis that that the full cost of the service is recovered from the users.

Town hosted and internal meeting expenses

  • From time to time it may be appropriate during long duration interdepartmental and/or external client meetings, to provide meeting refreshments.
  • Town hall staff must use the in-house cafeteria for meeting refreshments.
  • Staff in satellite locations should use in-house resources for meeting refreshments.
  • Tips should be kept to a minimal amount on deliveries if required <10%.


  • There may be at times the need to entertain clients or peers as part normal business operations. Should this be necessary the costs must be reasonable, and only in rare circumstances would alcoholic beverages be required.
  • The most senior town employee in attendance is responsible for payment of the event.
  • Expenses must be reasonable - participants and rationale for expenses must be detailed on the receipt.
  • Under normal circumstances alcohol may not be purchased by the Town.
  • Tips on meals should be kept to a standard 15%.

Late meetings

  • Meal allowances will be submitted on a payroll timesheet, and will be reimbursed on the next payroll cycle.
  • In the case of emergency overtime or special circumstances, management may use discretion to provide meals in lieu of the meal allowance if cost efficient to do so. Rationale must be detailed, along with participants, on the receipt.

Reimbursement/payment of expenses

  • The object code for meeting expenses is 5713
  • Detailed receipts showing the purchases must have the information of who attended the event and the reason/purpose for the event.  The receipt must show the HST paid.
  • For purchases incurred using a PCOS, the PCOS procedure is followed.
  • All other expenses must be substantiated by original receipts and attached to an employee reimbursement form; and will be reimbursed through payroll.
  • Submitted forms must be signed by the employee and approved by management attesting to the appropriateness of the expenditure.
  • Expenses will not be reimbursed through petty cash.


Town employee

  • Ensure business expense claims are appropriate
  • Do not duplicate the corporate recognition program
  • Ensure cost recovery is in place for expenses outside this procedure
  • Submit detailed receipts, with required documentation, which includes rationale and participants in attendance
  • Attest to the appropriateness of the expenditure


  • Make staff aware of the business expense policy and procedure.
  • Ensure that departmental funds are utilized appropriately for business expenses
  • Attest to the appropriateness of the business expenses.


  • Review the employee reimbursement form for compliance to the procedure
  • Refer employee reimbursement forms, which do not appear to comply with the procedure, to the director, commissioner or CAO, appropriate for clarification
  • Ensure that a full audit trail is available for internal and external auditor review

Accounting services

  • Review the employee PCOS package for compliance to the procedure
  • Refer employee reimbursement forms, which do not appear to comply with the procedure, to the director, Commissioner or CAO, appropriate for clarification
  • Ensure HST rebates are recovered and credited to the town.

Procedure details

Procedure Number: F-FOC-001-007
Parent Policy: F-FOC-001
Section: Finance
Sub-Section: Financial Operations
Author: Financial Operations Department
Authority: CAO
Effective Date: 2016 Feb 29
Review by Date: 2021
Last Modified: 2016 Jun 27


Appendix 1 - Employee Code of Conduct
Appendix 2 - Employee Reimbursement Form