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Per diems

Employee and Non-employee Travel Allowances

All allowances described below are referred to in the IDRC Employee and Non-employee Travel policies. 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 in the latter case. IDRC reviews its travel allowances on a quarterly basis to make sure that they are adjusted to the changing cost of living and that they remain aligned with the sources described above.

Allowance rate tables 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 – Employee Travel Policy, 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 – Employee Travel Policy, sub-section 12.10.4 
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 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 – Employee Travel Policy, section 12.1 
An employee lodging in non-commercial accommodation, while on travel status, may claim the amount noted in the table and the amount is exclusive of the meal per diem.

Refer to section 5 below for information on employee incidental allowances in relation to non-commercial lodging.

4. Meal allowance – Employee Travel Policy, 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 allowance was found to be insufficient or non-existing.

5. Incidental allowance – Employee Travel Policy, section 12.9 
The incidental allowance is country or country-city specific. 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. Incidental allowances are meant to cover the costs of laundry, local telephone calls, gratuities, etc.

A lower Incidental allowance is paid to employees using a non-commercial accommodation. 

Meal and incidental per diems and other allowances - Employees (PDF, 164 KB)


1. Mobilization allowance – Non-employee Travel Policy,  sub-section 15.9.3

  • The mobilization allowance is a fixed amount provided to contractors, participants and interviewees whose travel is paid by IDRC. The mobilization allowance covers 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 non-employee may be reimbursed for such expenses upon submission of a claim accompanied by original receipts.

2. Use of Private Vehicles – Non-employee Travel Policy, paragraph 15.9.4 (d)

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 in the all-inclusive meal and incidental per diems and other allowances for non-employees found below. Non-employees under service contracts cannot charge fees to IDRC for travel time when using private vehicles.

The cost of using private vehicles outside of North America will be built into service contract fees or participants’ travel grants, as applicable.

3. Accommodation – Non-employee Travel Policy, sub-section 15.9.1

The standard for accommodation is a single room, in a safe environment, conveniently located and comfortably equipped. Options for accommodation generally include hotels, motels, and other commercial establishments.

Accommodation costs should be within the City Rate Limits for Accommodation of Federal Public Servants. If accommodation costs are more than 25% above the City Rate Limit, the approver of the non-employee travel authorization must explicitly approve the exception.

4. All-inclusive meal and incidental allowance - Non-employee Travel Policy, sub-section 15.9.2 
The all-inclusive meal and incidental allowance is designed to facilitate travel and cover expenses for meals, laundry, local telephone calls, gratuities, etc.

5. Treatment of HST (Canada) 
The all-inclusive meal and incidental 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 meal and incidental per diem rates and other allowances - Non-employees (PDF, 162 KB)