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Professional Expense Reimbursement Fund for Members of the Ryerson Faculty Association

Purpose

Under the Ryerson Faculty Association Collective Agreement (Article 18), RFA members are entitled to reimbursement (up to an annual limit) for certain expenses related to their professional development. This procedural document defines professional development expenses eligible for reimbursement, confirms the schedule for submission of claims and establishes a process for reimbursement that is in accordance with the Collective Agreement, University policies and Canada Revenue Agency requirements.

Introduction

Faculty members, Professional Librarians and Professional Counsellors who are members of the Ryerson Faculty Association are required to pursue professional development activities in order to maintain academic and/or professional competence and currency. These activities will, from time to time, necessitate the incurring of expenses.  Recognizing that it is the principal beneficiary of such competence and currency, the University has established a Professional Expense Reimbursement Fund (PERF) from which individual members of the Ryerson Faculty Association shall be reimbursed for eligible expenses related to teaching, scholarly, research and creative activities (SRC), and/or related academic and professional activities.

Application

Members of the Ryerson Faculty Association, as defined in the Collective Agreement, are eligible for reimbursement of professional development expenses. The following table summarizes entitlement to PERF fund allocations depending on variations in hire date, leaves of absence and departures from the University.

Member

PERF Timeline

Faculty member hired into tenure stream on January 1

  • Receive full annual entitlement provided to colleagues on preceding July 1
  • After six months of employment also receive next allotment on subsequent July 1

Limited Term Faculty (LTF) member hired on January 1 for a one year appointment

  • Receive full annual entitlement provided to colleagues
  • Only one annual allotment per 12 month appointment
Professional Librarians and Professional Counsellors who are hired and work at least six months prior to July 1
  • Receive an initial annual entitlement and will be eligible for next July 1 allotment

Professional Librarians and Professional Counsellors who are hired and commence work less than six months prior to July 1

  • Receive an annual allotment effective their date of hire
  • Will NOT receive a further annual allotment on July 1

Type of Leave

PERF Entitlement

Faculty member on sabbatical

Entitled to receive annual PERF allotment

Professional Librarian on paid leave

Entitled to receive annual PERF allotment

Member on pregnancy, parental or adoptive leave

Entitled to receive annual PERF allotment

Reduced workload arrangements

Entitled to receive annual PERF allotment

Member on long term disability

NOT entitled to receive annual PERF allotment (however, may be reimbursed for professional expenses incurred during first year of their absence from work)

Member on leave of absence without pay

NOT entitled to receive annual PERF allotment (however, may be reimbursed for professional expenses incurred during first year of their absence from work)

Member ends their employment with the University (e.g. resignation, termination or retirement)

NOT entitled to maintain the PERF account and not entitled to cash out an unused portion of their PERF

Retirements occurring on June 30 or August 31, shall not be entitled to an allowance for the year commencing on July 1 of the year of their retirement (e.g., if an RFA member retires June 30, 2020 or August 31, 2020, they will not receive an annual allotment on July 1, 2020.

Professor Emeritus status does not include entitlement to PERF or ongoing access to remaining balance after retirement.

Members whose employment ends before the beginning of the next academic year may claim reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to their separation or retirement date.  Any unused balance in a member’s professional development entitlement account at the time of retirement or termination as an employee of the University shall revert to the University’s general operating budget.

Ownership of Property

Professional development purchases and activities enable University faculty, librarians and counsellors to keep abreast of developments within their individual fields and enhance their capacities as teachers, researchers, creative professionals, or professional employees for the benefit of their employer.  Therefore, reimbursements for expenses through a University’s professional expense fund have generally been treated as non-taxable in the hands of the recipient.

In order to retain non-taxable status, all non-consumable items purchased through the PERF remain the property of the University.

On departure from the University any goods purchased through the PERF must be returned to the University or purchased by the member at the item’s fair market value if the member wishes to own the item.

Eligible Expenses

The PERF provides reimbursement for expenses related to the performance of teaching, SRC and professional duties.  Due to the inherent risk of contravention of employment policies or regulations, PERF monies cannot be used to cover deficits in other cost-centres including externally funded projects.

Please note that for LTFs these funds should be used during the duration of their appointment and not in the final weeks of their appointment. For example, purchasing a laptop during the final week of a contract is not an appropriate use of funds, as they will be required to return the item on the end of their employment, or pay the full market price to the University in order to keep it as their personal property.Examples of eligible and ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

Eligible

Ineligible

Laboratory equipment and supplies

Items that would normally be provided by the department/unit, unless the member requires a specific quality of equipment not provided by the department/unit

Computers, software, peripheral devices (e.g. printer, scanner, mouse, keyboard) and portable storage (USB, external hard drive)

Furnishings for the home (e.g. desks, chairs, lamps, carpets, etc.)

Office supplies for personal use

Travel and associated expenses related to meetings, conferences, study leave or other similar professional activities, and eligible expenses not covered by or in excess of monies available from other funds for similar purposes.  Per diem would be eligible with the understanding that if meals are provided as part of a conference, the per diem would be adjusted downward (unless the conference food does not comply with dietary restrictions)

Visa or entry fees for University related travel to countries charging such expenses

Personal and living expenses for longer than a temporary/short term visit are not eligible PERF expenses.

Costs of "sojourning" in a location are considered of a semi-permanent nature (longer duration), in which a person would establish a semi-permanent home away from their permanent home and these costs are not reimbursable but are considered ''living expenses'' (e.g., lodging/rent, meals, etc.).

Passport renewal fees

Parking or speeding fines related to conference or other University travel

Registration fees and other expenses for conferences, meetings of learned societies, other professional organizations, workshops, seminars and similar activities incurred for the attendance of the RFA member

Conference activities that are  non-academic social activities (e.g. golfing or non-academic sightseeing tours)

Payment of registration fees for other individuals (e.g. graduate students, post-doctoral fellows)

Books, journals, subscriptions (including those that are online/electronic) and other similar professional publications

Textbooks for graduate students

Library fines

Membership fees in learned societies and professional organizations

RAC or other recreational memberships

Services rendered by a Ryerson unit (e.g., CCS).  These may be processed via a chargeback.  **please ensure your PERF cost centre is included on the chargeback form**

Ryerson parking pass and Ryerson or off-campus parking lot expenses (to attend campus)

Research Assistant hired by the Department/School on a member’s behalf, with the salary and benefit expenses of the research assistant transferred from the faculty member’s PERF cost centre to the Department/School

PERF monies used to pay a research assistant directly

Gift cards to reward students or others for assisting the faculty member

Where home internet usage is required for university business, no more than fifty percent of home internet services

Home cable television or satellite TV charges

Where Cellular/Smart phones and use of tablet type devices is required for university business, no more than 50% of data plans on these items are eligible reimbursement expenses.  If the service provider does not separate out the data costs from the voice fees on the monthly bill, then nor more than 50% of the combined monthly data/voice plan are eligible reimbursement expenses

Phones or tablets for use by others, such as graduate students, research assistants or research collaborators

Purchase or rental of academic robes

Purchase of formal apparel (tuxedos, suits, gowns/dresses)

Food, beverages, restaurant bills incurred for University related business meetings/events, subject to the University Reimbursement of Business Meals, Travel and Expenses Policy and Reimbursement of Alcoholic Beverage Expenses Policy (as updated periodically).

Food and beverages for regular working sessions or meetings with students or research collaborators, eg., claiming such expenses on a weekly basis is excessive – occasional expenses (a handful of times per year) of this nature is allowable

Events that have no external individuals present

If the same expense is inadvertently claimed more than once, the member will be required to repay the duplicate expense(s).

Annual Maximum Reimbursement

The limit placed on reimbursement to each member, as of July 1 in each year, is set out in Article 18 of the collective agreement.  For members whose employment at Ryerson is continuing, any unused portion is carried forward to the following year.  Members who retire on June 30 or August 31 are not entitled to an allowance for the year beginning July 1 of the year of their retirement. If the retirement date is December 31, the annual allotment will be provided, keeping in mind that any equipment purchased is University property and would have to be returned or purchased at a fair market value. The maximum cumulative amount in an individual’s account shall not exceed $7,050 at any point (including members on unpaid leave of absence or Long Term Disability). These terms are subject to collective bargaining.

Schedule For Submission of Claims

All PERF reimbursement claims for a given contract year must be submitted by October 31 following the end of the contract year (e.g., expenses incurred between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 must be submitted by October 31, 2021).

If a member’s expenses exceed the balance of her/his PERF account in any given contract year because of a single substantial purchase, the unreimbursed portion of such expense may be claimed in the subsequent contract year, provided that documentation is maintained demonstrating the differential between the amount reimbursed for the purchase and the amount unreimbursed that is being carried forward to the next PERF year, and provided that the member has funds in their account.

If an item is purchased using PERF funds and the item is returned to the vendor, any refunded monies must be returned to the University to credit the member’s PERF account.

Methods of Payment

With the goal of improving administrative efficiency, the University has implemented a University paid Visa card. The P-Card is a corporate credit card that can be used to purchase goods and services, including business travel and business meals up to but not exceeding $5,000 per transaction (subject to exception if advance approval is obtained). This new card integrates with the existing iExpense module in RUFIS (Ryerson University Financial Information System).  Please contact the Manager, Payment Services for further details.

There are two methods of paying for professional development expenses:

  1. Members can pay for the professional expense and seek reimbursement via iExpense (online). Original receipts are to be sent to Financial Services. The process for expense reimbursement can be found on the  Financial Services, Faculty & Staff Reimbursement website;
  2. Members can use their Ryerson P-Card to pay for professional development expenses. Information on how to use the P-Card for this purpose can be found on the Financial Services, Purchasing Card website.

If there are questions about whether the expense qualifies as an eligible expense as described above, the matter shall be referred to the Vice-Provost, Faculty Affairs for a decision.

Authority

The Vice-Provost, Faculty Affairs is responsible for these procedures.

Revised:  September 2021