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Per diems

Employee and Non-employee Travel Allowances

All allowances described below are referred to in the IDRC Corporate Travel Policy. The allowances reflect current economic conditions and are calculated based on the standards and oversight that are applicable to departments and other entities of the Government of Canada subject to the Treasury Board policy instruments, in both spirit and intent, and in manners that are consistent with IDRC’s operations and obligations. 

The primary source of information for establishing the IDRC’s travel allowances is the appendices of the travel directive of the National Joint Council of Canada (NJC). Where NJC calls for actual and reasonable costs of meals, IDRC prefers to use allowances in order to more efficiently control its expenses; consequently, IDRC refers to the rates established by the UN’s International Civil Service Commission. IDRC reviews its travel allowances on a quarterly basis to make sure they are adjusted to the changing cost of living and they remain aligned with the sources described above.

Rate tables by quarter are available below for both employees and non-employees. The rates are applicable to all travel commencing on or after the effective date indicated in each table.


1. Dependant care allowance - Policy Sub-section 12.4 
An eligible employee is entitled to the reimbursement of incremental dependent care expenses, supported by receipts, up to the rate noted in the table.

2. Use of private vehicle - Policy Paragraph 12.10(d) 
Where employees are authorized to travel by private vehicle on Centre business, they shall be reimbursed at a rate noted in the table (taxes included). Normally, reimbursement for the use of personal vehicles happens at IDRC’s head office in Ottawa and exceptionally in the regional offices (as per paragraph 8.8.5(b) of Chapter 8 on Overseas Staff - Ottawa-hired of MPM Volume I). In both cases, IDRC uses the same flat rate allowance per kilometre that is applied for the use of private vehicles in Ontario as published by the NJC. 

3. Non-commercial accommodation - Policy Sub-section 12.1 
An employee lodging in non-commercial accommodation, while on travel status, may claim the amount noted in the tables and the amount is exclusive of the meal per diem.

Refer to section 5 below for information on employee Incidental allowances as it relates to non-commercial lodging.

4. Meal allowance - Policy Sub-section 12.9

  • The table includes IDRC rates for 160+ countries where meal allowances are denominated in CAD.
  • If any amount indicated is insufficient for a given location, or no amount is indicated for a given location, employees can claim meal expenses on the basis of actual costs supported by receipts. If actual costs are claimed, they should be claimed for the entire duration of the stay at the said location where the per diem was found to be insufficient or not indicated.

5. Incidental allowance - Policy Sub-section 12.9 
The incidental allowance is country or country-city specific and is equal to 32% of the meal allowance per diem for the location. There is no general amount covering all locations. The incidental allowance is payable to the traveller for round-trip, same day travel provided that the duration of the official travel is at least 7.5 hours. 

A lower Incidental allowance is paid to employees using a non-commercial accommodation. This amount is equal to 20% of the meal allowance per diem for the location rather than the 32% mentioned above.

Meal and incidental per diem allowances for employees (PDF, 191 KB)


1. Mobilization allowance - Policy Sub-section 14.2

  • The mobilization allowance is a fixed amount provided to participants, consultants and other non-employees whose travel is paid by IDRC to cover the cost of airport taxes, visas, and ground transportation (taxis, shuttle service, etc.) to and from the airport.
  • Two rates are provided based on domestic travel (where a visa is not required) versus international travel where a visa is required.
  • In cases where the cost of visas largely exceeds the allowance, the participant may be reimbursed for such expenses upon submission of a claim accompanied by original receipts.

2. Use of Private Vehicles – Policy Paragraph 14.3(c)

For distances greater than 40 km, in North America only, the use of private vehicles will be allowed but reimbursement of the associated costs shall not exceed the cost of the least expensive train or air transportation fare for the most direct route. Travel by private vehicle owned by non-employees will be reimbursed at the rate per kilometre indicated on the all-inclusive per diem allowances for non-employees below. Non-employees under service contracts cannot charge fees to IDRC for travel time when using private vehicles.

Travel by private vehicle outside of North America is not reimbursable; the cost of using private vehicles outside of North America will be built into service contract fees or participants’ travel grants, as applicable.

3. All-inclusive per diem allowances - Policy Sub-section 14.1 
The all-inclusive per-diem allowance is designed to facilitate travel and cover expenses for accommodation, meals, laundry, local telephone calls, and gratuities.

4. Treatment of HST (Canada) 
The all-inclusive per diem allowance for Canada includes the harmonized sales tax (HST). As such, contractors working in Canada must not claim HST on top of the allowance for Canada provided in the table below. 

All-inclusive per diem allowances for non-employees (PDF, 153 KB)