Hospitality Policy

Category:  Finance

Approval: Vice-Principals’ Operations Committee

Effective Date: April 1, 2012

Responsibility: Financial Services

Table of Contents

  1. Policy
  2. Scope
  3. Business Entertainment
  4. Internal Meetings/Staff/Student Events
  5. Responsibility and Authorizations
  6. Procedures
  7. Ineligible Expenses
  8. Exceptions to Policy


Queen’s University recognizes that expenditures for business entertainment are incurred in carrying out University responsibilities. The University shall reimburse reasonable and necessary expenses relating to and in support of University activities.

As a Broader Public Sector (BPS) organization, Queen’s is guided by the BPS Expenses Directive. The full BPS Expenses directive can be found at:

In no circumstances are hospitality, incidental or food expenses allowable expenses for consultants and contractors or in any contract between Queen’s University and a consultant or contractor.


This policy applies to the reimbursement of all entertainment expenses from all funding sources including operating, research, ancillary, capital or trust. (Note: In cases where funds provided by external sponsors require more restrictive terms and conditions related to business entertainment expenses, the more restrictive policies and procedures will apply. If the terms and conditions are less restrictive, Queen’s University policies and procedures apply.) The hospitality policy does not apply when reception or event costs are included in the student or participant conference or program fees.


Business entertainment is deemed to be any activity that supports the educational, research or service activities of Queen’s University, and includes individuals who are not Queen’s employees or students. Business entertainment includes receptions or meals whether conducted under normal departmental business or as part of a travel expense claim. A reasonable expense is deemed to be based on sound judgement and moderation, and may include alcohol.

There must be clear documentation as to the business purpose of the meeting/event, the date and place of the entertainment, the names of attendees and the business relationship of the persons entertained.

The issues of effective fund management and stewardship are prominent with respect to business entertainment because of the potential for personal benefit and the general perception in that regard.


In-house staff meetings and events involving only Queen’s University employees and students are not considered business entertainment. Provision of coffee or other refreshments at departmental meetings or education sessions can be approved at the department/Faculty level in accordance with regular department/Faculty operations.

It is recognised that in limited circumstances meetings involving only Queen’s University employees will occur over restaurant/University Club meals. These expenditures will only be reimbursed if pre-approved by a Department Head, Dean or Vice-Principal. Alcohol expenses will not be reimbursed.

Holiday receptions, retirement gatherings or other social events involving only Queen’s students and/or Queen’s employees or their spouses will only be reimbursed if pre-approved by any of a Dean, Vice-Principal or Principal. If alcohol is available at such events, it will normally be by means of a cash bar. If alcohol is served and paid for with University funds, this must be included in the written pre-approval by any of the Dean, Vice-Principal or Principal, along with the purpose of the event. Decisions to host these events should be made with due consideration for the prudent and responsible use of public funds, and in accordance with government direction on accountability and transparency.


The Claimant is responsible for ensuring that claims for reimbursement are accurate, conform with University policy and, where applicable, research funding agency rules, contain any required written pre-approvals, and that all expenditures are supported by original receipts.

The Approver is an individual at least one administrative level above the claimant (e.g. A department Head’s expenses must be approved the Dean). The Approver is responsible for ensuring that all claims are for University related activities, are within the conditions of University policy, and include all required supporting documentation.


  1. Reimbursement

    Hospitality expenses will be reimbursed providing they are:

    Hospitality expenses must be paid by the most senior Faculty or Department member hosting the event. For example, in cases where a supervisor (an individual one level above) and a subordinate attend the same event/meal, the supervisor must incur the expense.

    Hospitality expenses can be reimbursed only by submitting a properly completed and approved expense claim form. This form, accompanied by original documents, should be submitted to the Financial Services Main Office within sixty days after the expense was incurred, or sixty days after the claimant returns to Kingston if the expense was incurred while the claimant was travelling on university business. It would be unreasonable to expect reimbursement more than one year after related expenses have been incurred.

    • reasonable in nature and amount;
    • supported with documentation as described in "Receipts" below;
    • approved as described in "Authorizations" above;
    • supported by a detailed business purpose and include the number of individuals entertained and the names and affiliation of the individuals or group involved; and
    • supported by written pre-approval if required under this policy.
  2. Receipts

    Original receipts and/or invoices are required for reimbursement of all entertainment expenses. Credit card receipts, debit card slips, and cancelled cheques are not acceptable original receipts as they do not provide sufficient details on amounts expended.


Inclusive but not restricted to:

  • Personal membership to the University Club
  • Memberships deemed to be social in nature
  • Non-business related or personal expenses
  • Interest charges levied on overdue invoices or credit card statements
  • Meals included in another reimbursable item (e.g. conference, accommodation, transportation, travel expense claim)
  • Expenses related to accompanying companion(s)
  • Social events deemed to be personal in nature


At times, special circumstances may arise that warrant exceptions to this policy. Any exceptions must be pre-approved in writing by the appropriate Dean or Vice-Principal.