Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation showing Charlottetown elected officials and staff ignored expense policies at the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Quebec City.
“The rules are crystal clear: city officials aren’t supposed to be charging per diems for meals that are already provided and they’re definitely not supposed to stick taxpayers with their bar tabs,” said CTF Interim Atlantic Director Renaud Brossard. “Politicians and bureaucrats shouldn’t be treating work trips like all-inclusive vacations at the taxpayers’ expense.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities confirmed that the conference’s $999 registration fee included breakfast, lunch and snacks.
The city’s Travel and Meal Reimbursement Policy explicitly states “A meal allowance will not be paid to an Employee with respect to a meal that is included in the transportation fare, or in the cost of the conference fees.”
Despite this, the 10 elected officials and staff present at the conference billed taxpayers for per diems covering the full day, for between five and six days each, totalling $6,591.
Asked about this apparent violation of city policy, a spokesperson for the city of Charlottetown responded: “While it may have been past practice based on precedent, per diems should not be claimed if meals are included within the registration fees of a conference.”
According to documents obtained by CTF, there were 15 attendees at the dinner. The bar tab consisted of one glass and four bottles of wine, 11 beers, 20 oz of liquor and three cocktails at a cost of $459.
Yet, the city’s Travel and Meal Reimbursement Policy explicitly states “Any alcohol included in meal expense claims will not be reimbursed.”
Asked about the alcohol policy, a spokesperson for the city of Charlottetown said: “Alcohol included in meal expense claims are not reimbursed, however if a delegate meal or meeting takes place, the CAO can use discretion to cover this expense if it falls within the guidelines set out in the Procurement Policy.”
Taxpayers reimbursed Charlottetown officials $41,921 for the FCM Conference trip.
Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation are available by clicking here:
Is Canada Off Track?
Canada has problems. You see them at gas station. You see them at the grocery store. You see them on your taxes.
Is anyone listening to you to find out where you think Canada’s off track and what you think we could do to make things better?
You can tell us what you think by filling out the survey
Join now to get the Taxpayer newsletter
You deserve to know the real story about what happens to your tax dollars. We expose funny and infuriating stories about governments wasting money on stupid things. And we hold politicians accountable because taxpayers deserve transparency.