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Internal Audit and Evaluation Documents

Internal Audit of Financial and Administrative Processes Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit

Final Report

March, 2015

Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation

Report submitted to the Parks Canada Audit Committee: March 27, 2015
Approved by the Agency CEO: April 20, 2015

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The overall objective of this compliance audit is to provide assurance to senior management at Parks Canada Agency (the Agency) that financial and administrative practices in place at the business units demonstrate due diligence and respect relevant policies, directives, guidelines and/or agreements. Five key processes at the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit were chosen for audit examination to satisfy the overall objective. These five processes are: Contracting, Acquisition Card purchases, Business Travel, Isolated Post Allowance, and Overtime and Shift Work (including Standby and Call Back). The audit examination period covered the entire 2013-14 fiscal year.

The examination phase included interviews with process owners and users to understand the governance and internal controls in place, and a testing of documents against established criteria to ensure that internal controls are working as intended.

This audit complies with the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program.

The audit examination revealed that the process of travel authorization and reporting is considered well-controlled with instances of increased due diligence and a best practice. The process of managing and reporting overtime and/or shift work reflected clear accountability and transparency.

Increased due diligence is required in the use of acquisition cards to ensure that purchases are strictly business-related, respect mandatory standing offers established for the procurement of goods and services, and are appropriately approved by the responsible managers.

The contracting process should be further strengthened and properly aligned to ensure appropriate accountabilities and mitigation of risks. The in-house contracting team should be adequately trained to develop the right knowledge and equipped with the proper tools to effectively carry out contracting activities within the Field Unit.

For Isolated Post Allowance, some inconsistencies were observed in the allowances and benefits disbursed. The current model of management is decentralized to the functional managers. A process should be put in place to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Table 1: Audit Report Rating
Section # Name of Section Rating
8.1 Procurement - Contracting YELLOW – Moderate Improvements Required
8.2 Procurement - Acquisition Cards BLUE – Minor improvements required
8.3 Business Travel GREEN - Controlled
8.4 Supplementary Pay - Isolated Post Allowance (IPA) BLUE – Minor improvements required
8.5 Supplementary Pay and/or Compensatory Leave with Pay - Overtime, Shift Premium, and Standby and Call Back GREEN - Controlled

Below is the list of recommendations from the audit ranked in order of priority based on the rating system presented in Appendix A.

Table 2: Summary of internal audit recommendations
  High priority - Management should initiate immediate action to address the comment.
1 The Field Unit Superintendent should ensure that the in-house contracting function is properly trained and equipped to carry out all contracting activities within the Field Unit efficiently and effectively.
  Moderate priority - Management should initiate timely action to address the comment.
2 The Field Unit Superintendent should ensure that contract performance is improved in the following manner:
  1. Service contracts are established using the right mechanism, and contain adequate and clear description of the services and the rates agreed upon;
  2. Procurement of goods using standing offer, and goods below $5,000 in value are executed using timely fund commitment in the financial system and the timely establishment of contracts with suppliers;
  3. The S.32 and S.34 authorities should consistently date their signatures to maintain proper records of the validity of the authority with respect to funds committed and expensed.
3 The Field Unit Superintendent should ensure purchases made using acquisition cards respect purchase restrictions set out in the Directive on Acquisition Cards and the mandatory standing offers.
4 For Isolated Post Allowance, the Field Unit Superintendent should improve the overall governance and monitoring by:
  1. Preparing a comprehensive information package for employees explaining all the allowances and benefits to which an employee is eligible (based on the isolated post), the most common questions and answers, and the employees' responsibilities to report whenever their personal situation changes, which may have an impact on their allowances and benefits.
  2. Ensuring that all Isolated Post and Government Housing (IPGH) Forms are complete and accurate to assure the accuracy of the allowances. In addition, all current IPGH forms should be centrally documented at the Field Unit for validation purposes.
  3. Ensuring that all Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA) applications are complete and accurate prior to the disbursement of funds. In addition, the VTA applications should be cross-validated with the most current IPGH forms to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  Best practice with business travel:
  The expense reports show a clear trail of travel activities by additional description that were included in the comments section of the electronic reports, such as the time of departure, the reason for specific choices made with travel plans and the mode of transportation used. This allows for a consistent and transparent practice of reporting and claiming of travel expenses.

1 Introduction

Parks Canada’s multi-year Internal Audit Plan 2014-15 to 2016-17 includes audits of key financial and administrative processes at the local business unit level.

Between 2004 and 2011, all field units and directorates were audited on various aspects of their financial and administrative processes. Based on the current Internal Audit Plan, audits will be conducted, on a needs-based schedule, to provide an updated assurance of the internal controls of various financial and administrative processes in the business units.

2 Background

To assess the financial and administrative processes in the business units, certain processes were selected as key lines of evidence for audit examination. The results of the evaluation of such processes will inform the Agency on the effectiveness of the internal controls in place. For fiscal year 2014-15, the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit has been selected for audit examination.

3 Objectives and Scope

The overall objective of this compliance audit is to provide assurance to senior management that financial and administrative practices in place demonstrate due diligence and respect relevant policies, directives, guidelines and/or agreements.

The following key lines of evidence were examined:

  • Procurement - Contracting
  • Procurement - Acquisition Cards
  • Business Travel
  • Supplementary Pay - Isolated Post Allowance (IPA)
  • Supplementary Pay and/or Compensatory Leave with Pay - Overtime, Shift Premium, and Standby and Call Back

The audit examination period covered the entire 2013-14 fiscal year.

4 Legislative and Policy Framework

For the purpose of this audit the following polices and directives were reviewed:

  • Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Contracting Policy,
  • Treasury Board Secretariat Directive on Acquisition Cards,
  • National Joint Council’s and Parks Canada’s Travel Directive,
  • Parks Canada’s Collective Agreement with PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada), and
  • National Joint Council’s and Parks Canada’s Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive.

Appendix B contains additional information in regard to the policies and directives used in this audit.

5 Methodology

The audit program was based on a set of criteria and sub-criteria built for each of the key lines of evidence, as provided in Appendix C.

The audit methodology included the following activities:

  1. Planning
    • Approval of audit criteria by Parks Canada’s Chief Financial and Chief Human Resource Officers
    • In-depth review of the documents that constitute the legal framework
    • Analysis of SAP financial data
    • Assessment of risks associated with the finance and administrative processes
    • Interviews with key stakeholders to understand processes
  2. Examination
    • Transaction testing of documents
    • Interviews with various stakeholders involved with different stages of the processes
    • Documentation that reflects the governance and internal controls at the business unit level.
  3. Reporting
    • Debrief with key clients, i.e., the Field Unit and/or National Office on relevant issues
    • Preparation of draft report
    • Review of draft report with key clients responsible for any applicable management response and action plan
    • Final report updated with management response and action plan
    • Final report tabled at the Internal Audit Committee meeting
    • Report published following the approval of the Chief Executive Officer; and,
    • Follow-up on implementation of action plans, where applicable

Sampling Methodology

Different factors influencing sampling, such as representativeness, risk factors, alignment of the processes within the Agency, geographical dispersion of the activities, audit timing and budget, and the level of effort required were considered in the determination of a sampling approach. A preliminary analysis of data housed in SAP was completed to study trends and the nature of activities recorded for the 5 key processes in fiscal year 2013–2014.

All audit examination took place at National Office between October and December 2014.

Observations and recommendations included in this report are in accordance with the Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation (OIAE) Rating System described in Table 1:

Table 1: Audit Reporting Rating System
Red Unsatisfactory The current controls are not functioning or are nonexistent. Management measures must be taken immediately to rectify the situation.
Orange Significant improvements required Controls in place are weak. Several major issues have been noted that could jeopardize the accomplishment of program/operational objectives. Management measures must be taken immediately to correct the deficiencies related to the controls.
Yellow Moderate improvements required Some controls in place are functioning. However, significant problems, which require attention, were noted. These problems could jeopardize the achievement of program goals or operational objectives.
Blue Minor improvements required Many of the controls are functioning as intended. However, some minor changes are necessary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the control environment.
Green Controlled Controls are functioning as intended and no further action is necessary at this time.

6 Statement of Assurance

This audit complies with the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program.



Brian Evans
Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive, Parks Canada Agency

7 Audit Opinion

The audit examination revealed that the process of travel authorization and reporting is considered well-controlled with instances of increased due diligence and a best practice. The process of managing and reporting overtime and/or shift work reflected clear accountability and transparency.

Increased due diligence is required in the use of acquisition cards to ensure that purchases are strictly business-related, respect mandatory standing offers established for the procurement of goods and services, and are appropriately approved by the responsible managers.

The contracting process should be further strengthened and properly aligned to ensure appropriate accountabilities and mitigation of risks. The in-house contracting team should be adequately trained to develop the right knowledge and equipped with the proper tools to effectively carry out contracting activities within the Field Unit.

For Isolated Post Allowance, some inconsistencies were observed in the allowances and benefits disbursed. The current model of management should be reassess to ensure consistency and accuracy.

8 Observations and Recommendations

8.1 Procurement – Contracting

Yellow Moderate improvements required Some controls in place are functioning. However, significant problems, which require attention, were noted. These problems could jeopardize the achievement of program goals or operational objectives.

Context

A total of 1,047 contracts were established by the Field Unit, with a total contract value of $2,959,926.59. For the purposes of this audit examination, a contract is defined as any document that was entered in the Material Management Module of the SAP system as procurement of goods and/or services. Of the 1,047 contracts, 677 (65%) were coded as non-competitive and the rest were competitive (competitive includes ACAN (Advance Contract Award Notice), Open Bidding and Traditional Competitive). Of the 677 non-competitive contracts, 93% (630) were established to procure goods valued at less than $25,000 and the remaining 7% (47) were to contract professional services under $100,000, which respect section 10.2.1 of TBS Contracting Policy. As a general rule, documented justification needs to be on file to support the application of exemption from that Policy. Although achieving 80% of total contracts through competitive contracts is considered a best practice at PCA, the audit team recognize that it may be difficult to meet this goal in remote locations where the availability of competing vendors may be limited.

A breakdown of solicitation procedure and contract type values and counts can be found in Appendix D.

Overall,

  • there were 19 contracts with value over $25,000 (including 1 with value over $100,000), with a total contract value of $1,045,755.27 (35% of contract value and 2% of contract volume);
  • 119 contracts with value between $5,000 and $25,000, with a total contract value of $1,175,172.34 (40% of contract value and 11% of contract volume); and,
  • 909 contracts with value below $5K, with a total contract value of $714,449.73 (24% of contract value and 87% of contract volume).

It is to be noted that the Torngat Mountains National Park that is part of this Field Unit is subject to contracting obligations under the two Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements - the Labrador Inuit and the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreements. Under these agreements, the Government of Canada commits to provide all reasonable opportunities for Aboriginal Enterprises to submit competitive bids. Projects that qualify under these two Land Claim Agreements require knowledge of appropriate contracting process to avoid potential risk of non-compliance.

The sampling unit is an established contract. In the sampling plan, 30 contracts with a total value of $406,323.37, which represented 13.7% of the total contract value for the Field Unit, were selected. A combination of solicitation procedures and contract types was selected to ensure a heterogeneous sample.

Of the 30 selected contracts,

  • 17 were non-competitive, and 13 were competitive;
  • 12 were over $5,000 in contract value and 18 were under $5,000.

Observation

Contract Performance:

Among the 30 sampled contracts, 2 contracts did not use the right mechanism. One was a marketing partnership that was issued using a purchase order instead of a service contract. The other was a single advertising contract that was erroneously recorded as two separate contracts. The processing of both contracts reflected a lack of knowledge of contract initiation and processing.

All contracts reflected a fair contract award process and were within the authority thresholds. Two contracts (contract value $59,494.50 and $48,447.00) lacked an adequate description of services and/or rates of services to reflect clear requirements and responsibilities for the suppliers. These are higher value service contracts for the Field Unit that should have been established in a clear manner to avoid undue liability to the Agency. All sampled contracts had clear and adequate payment terms, based on the nature of services and goods to be procured. Payment for all sampled contracts was supported by adequate and correct documentation from the suppliers. Justification for sole source contracting was provided for all revised contracts. 28 out of 30 invoices were appropriately authorized by the S.34 authority. One invoice was issued by the supplier and authorized for payment before the completion. The other invoice was signed by a manager who did not have authority over the specified cost centre.

Signing Authority and the Procurement Process:

There are two layers of signing authority for contracts – the fund commitment authority (S.32 of the Financial Administration Act) and the contracting authority (S.41 of the Financial Administration Act). The fund commitment authority completes a Request for Contract Action form, based on which the contracting authority proceeds with the initiation of the contracting process. Once a contract is established, the contract is signed by the contracting authority. For lower value contracts, the S.32 authority is the contracting authority as well.

During the audit examination, it was noted that signatures for S.32 authorities were often not appended with a date to confirm when the authority was exercised. This was a phenomenon that was seen in Acquisition Cards purchases as well. In such cases, the validity of the authority could only be determined from the context and/or the supporting documentation. The Financial Administration Act (section 32 (2)) specifies the necessity of establishing procedures and maintaining records to respect the control of financial commitments. The Directive on Account Verification further reinforces the responsibility of individuals with delegated authority in: “Ensuring that there is auditable evidence of verification; that is, ensuring that the process identifies individuals who performed the account verification or ensures there is an electronic audit trail.”

Of the 30 contracts, one contract was signed by a manager who did not have the appropriate S.32 authority for the associated cost centre. The remaining 29 had S.32 signed by the appropriate authority who had valid specimen signature cards during the examination period. However, 14 out of the 29 signatures were not dated. There should be reinforcement within the field unit, of complete authority establishment through a valid date associated with the signature to ensure proper accountability and a clear audit trail.

The S.32 authorities for procurement of goods is usually established through a paper based internal requisition form. However, it is observed from the audit examination that a purchase order for the procurement is often not sent to the supplier. Neither was there an electronic commitment in the financial system of funds approved on the internal requisition form. The funds were recorded in the material management module only after the receipt of the invoice from the supplier and an ensuing S.34 authorization. Of the 30 contracts, 18 of them (all for procurement of goods) did not have funds committed into the financial system in a timely manner, and purchase orders were not issued to suppliers. Of the 18 contracts mentioned, 4 of them were over $5,000 in value. With the removal of the usage of Local Purchase Order Authority (paper based purchase order provided to suppliers for procurement of goods under $5,000), there was an absence of a formal commitment between the Field Unit and the supplier. This exposes the Agency to the risk of contract failure, undue liability, and not meeting operational requirements. The Field Unit should ensure that the contracting process is properly aligned to establish appropriate accountability and adequately manage risk.

The Contracting Function:

The Field Unit manages all contracts through its in-house contracting team. The contracting function within the Chief Financial Officer Directorate provide a supportive role when requests are initiated by the Field Unit. It was noted during the audit examination that gaps exist with the contracting capacity at the Field Unit when compared to central contracting capacity in the Chief Financial Officer Directorate. Some of the gaps identified are the lack of knowledge of applicable Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements, inaccurate coding of contracts in the financial system, and inadequate contract initiation and processing capacity. The contracting capacity at the Field Unit needs to be strengthened in order to ensure better consistency in the contracting process within the Agency.

Currently, procurements lower than $5,000 (87% of contract volume) in value are established by the project managers themselves. However, there is a delay in digital fund commitment and an absence of official contracts to suppliers for these low value contracts, as mentioned above. Improvements to the contracting process is required such that timely fund commitment and establishment of contracts are carried out. The contracting resources of the Field Unit should be planned adequately and contracting responsibilities should be clearly established to allow for contracting to be conducted in a rigorous and accountable manner.

Currently, contracts that are subjected to Land Claim Agreements (applies to Torngat Mountains National Park) are largely managed by the project managers themselves. This increases the risk that these contractual activities do not comply with established rules and are not conducted in a consistent and efficient manner. The Field Unit should equip its contracting function, through appropriate training and tools to enable it to deliver on its responsibilities in an effective manner.

Conclusion

The contracting process should be further strengthened and properly aligned to ensure appropriate accountabilities and mitigation of risks. There is room for improvement in ensuring that the correct contracting mechanism is applied, that clear description and terms of references are established for services contracts, and that the lower dollar value procurement of goods does not bypass the timely fund commitment and the formal establishment of contracts with suppliers. The in-house contracting team should be adequately trained and equipped with the right knowledge and tools to effectively carry out contracting activities within the Field Unit in a manner consistent with the overall contracting capacity of the Agency.

Recommendation

1. The Field Unit Superintendent should ensure that the in-house contracting function is properly trained and equipped to carry out all contracting activities within the Field Unit efficiently and effectively.

Management Response

Agree: Contact with the Chief of Procurement, Contracting and Contributions within the CFO Directorate has been made requesting a list of training tools and courses.

The In-house contracting function will take Webinar courses in procurement as they become available.

The contract officer is currently enrolled in the Canada School of Public Service course for the Procurement Function in Gatineau. The first training session took place in February 2015. Other training session will occur as they become available.

In-house contracting function recently completed online training for procurement to support Northern operations.

Contracting Capacity at the Field Unit is currently under review and will address some of the consistency issues raised in the audit

2. The Field Unit Superintendent should ensure that contract performance is improved in the following manner:
  1. Service contracts are established using the right mechanism, and contain adequate and clear description of the services and the rates agreed upon;
  2. Procurement of goods using standing offer, and goods below $5,000 in value are executed using timely fund commitment in the financial system and the timely establishment of contracts with suppliers;
  3. The S.32 and S.34 authorities should consistently date their signatures to maintain proper records of the validity of the authority with respect to funds committed and expensed.

Management Response

  1. Agree: Action plan proposed for recommendation 1 related to training will address this situation.
  2. Agree: The Finance team is developing a training package to be delivered to all staff who purchase goods or services. The training will cover the proper use of standing offers, acquisition cards, VTA process and importance of dates to ensure auditability. This training will be delivered by the end of June 2015.
  3. Agree: The training package to be delivered by the end of June 2015 will address this issue.

8.2 Procurement - Acquisition Cards

Blue Minor improvements required Many of the controls are functioning as intended. However, some minor changes are necessary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the control environment.

Context

The sampling unit is an acquisition card statement that is issued to the cardholder on a monthly basis. Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit had 49 active account numbers for acquisition cards in 2013-14. The total value of purchases made with acquisition cards during the audit examination period was $320,380.48 (statements from April 3, 2013 to March 3, 2014), amounting to a total of 338 acquisition cards statements issued. A breakdown of acquisition card monthly expenditures can be seen in Appendix E.

In the sampling plan, a total of 47 account numbers representing 67 monthly card statements were chosen. This was a total value of $96,936.01, accounting for 30% of the total value during the examination period.

Observation

The Review, Issuance, Renewal and Cancellation Process for Acquisition Cards

The regional acquisition card coordinator of the Field Unit is responsible for coordinating the process of review, issuance, renewal and cancellation of cards.

The acquisition card database reflected current cardholder limits ranging from $1,000 to $7,500, except for 11 cardholders who had a higher limit between $10,000 and $20,000.

With less than 3% of monthly statements equaling a purchase amount greater than $3000, the Field Unit should consider a card limit review on an annual basis to adjust limits to a relevant amount based on operational requirements.

For issuance of cards, the coordinator transfers the request to the bank and receives the new card. The cardholder signs a form to acknowledge his/her responsibilities in the usage of the acquisition card. The Field Unit had updated the inventory of signed acknowledgement forms for all cardholders, with 2 exceptions. Both exceptions has been addressed in the course of the audit.

The renewal of existing cards is done automatically by the bank, unless otherwise informed. Cards are cancelled when the cardholder leaves the Agency, or when they are stolen, lost or compromised. The audit examination found evidence of proactive cancellation of cards for employees leaving the Agency by the coordinator to mitigate risk of the misuse of cards.

When cardholders transfer from one business unit to another within the Agency, they are permitted to take the card with them. When there is a transfer out of the Field Unit, the regional coordinator ensures that the account information is updated to reflect the new business unit.

Acquisition Card Usage and Payment

From an analysis of transaction data, all transactions at the Field Unit in fiscal year 2013-14 were within $5,000. In the audit examination of the 67 selected statements, 5 statements had transactions for non-business related purchases (total of 6 transactions), and 8 statements (total of 9 transactions) had transactions of office supplies and peripheral IT accessories which did not respect the use of mandatory standing offers. The value of these transactions is not material. Funds committed and expensed should be strictly business-related and tied to a specific business justification. In addition, the Field Unit should also reinforce the use of standing offers to benefit from reduced costs, increased efficiency in the procurement process, and greater control over the quality of goods and services.

The audit examination found that all monthly statements were adequately reconciled using a standard log. All statements were consistently certified by an S.34 authority, except for one that was missing S.34 certification. For 5 statements, the S.34 authority that certified the expenses did not have authority over the cost centres specified. The cost centre managers must ensure that they are authorizing expenses only for those cost centres for which they have the delegation of authority. It is a common practice within the Field Unit to have one cost centre purchase goods for another cost centre using the same acquisition card for convenience, especially when the purchases are made out of town. This has led to the necessity of multiple S.34 certifications for one single reconciliation log as the purchases appertained to multiple cost centre managers. Where multiple S.34 certifications were required, a gap was observed in attaining all appropriate S.34 signatures. In the audit examination, 4 such statements requiring multiple S.34 signatures did not have the complete set of S.34 certifications required.

As already observed under the Contracting section above, the S.34 signatures were sometimes not appended with a date for proper delegation of authority and fund validation. In the audit examination, 18 of the S.34 signatures did not have a date appended to the signature.

Conclusion

The process of review, issuance and cancellation of cards is considered well controlled. Some gaps were observed in the proper usage of acquisition cards which need to be addressed.

Recommendation

3. The Field Unit Superintendent should ensure purchases made using acquisition cards respect purchase restrictions set out in the Directive on Acquisition Cards and the mandatory standing offers.

Management Response

Agree: The training package proposed at recommendation 2 will address this issue.

8.3 Business Travel

Green Controlled Controls are functioning as intended and no further action is necessary at this time.

Context

The scope of audit examination of this process excludes business travel by non-public servants, and non-business travel conducted by employees as part of the non-elective travel based on the Isolated Post Allowance and Government Housing Directive. Travel by non-public servants, if applicable, would have been included under the Contracting section, and non-elective travel by employees in Isolated Post is covered under the Isolated Post Allowance section.

At the Field Unit, a total of 221 travel expense reports were submitted for 78 travelers in fiscal year 2013-14, totaling a value of $242,119.30 (this includes pre-paid expenses for travel). The sampling unit is a travel expense report. A total of 30 expense reports for 26 travellers, representing total approved expenses of $70,387.72 (29% of total value) were included in the sampling. It is to be noted that in the electronic system, an extended business trip is associated with one travel request, but multiple expense reports.

Of note, the EMT system that was the electronic system used government-wide for travel request and travel reporting was retired at the end of fiscal year 2013-14. A new STS (Shared Travel Services) system was implemented at the beginning of fiscal year 2014-15. The audit examination period covered the period when the EMT system was used for travel planning and reporting.

Observation

Travel planning

All travel was associated with a clear business objective and evidence of due diligence was found. The review of 30 travel expense reports revealed that business travel was reported through the EMT system, whenever possible, except for 3 expense reports. These exceptions had justifiable reasons for using paper travel requests, such as year-end reporting when the EMT system was due to retire, and claiming of an additional expense left out of an earlier report.

From the audit examination, it could not be determined if all travel expenses stayed within budget. Of the 30 travel expense reports, 8 were associated with a travel request for a blanket travel authority that did not have a travel budget associated. It is important to have a budget associated with travel in order to track actual expense against budgeted expense for travel related purposes. Travel requests should be approved with a reasonably planned travel budget as an approval constitutes of both the approval to travel to a particular destination for a specific business purpose, as well as the approval to expense a planned amount in the course of travel.

Upon discussion, the Field Unit has reported, and supporting documentation has confirmed, that the travel requests for 2014-15 that were requested through the new STS system have an associated budget, and that the practice of zero budget, as seen in the blanket travel authority for 2013-14, is no longer repeated.

All travel requests were approved by the appropriate authority. However, the timeliness of 8 expense reports is called into question. Of the 8 exceptions, 2 of the signatures, that were paper-based, were not dated. It is to be noted that all approval in the EMT system is automatically appended with a date stamp, as part of the application control. The remaining 6 reports were approved in the EMT system after the initiation of the trips. These trips are associated with the blanket travel authority that authorized trips within the Field Unit for operational purposes till the end of fiscal year. Some of the travel requests were made very close to the trip dates. While some business travel could be ad hoc in nature, adequate advance travel planning is necessary, whenever possible, to allow adequate time for appropriate approval.

Travel Expense Reporting

Overall, travel expenses were found to be in conformance with the various guidelines set in the travel modules of the Travel Directive, with the exception of a one expense report, which did not conform to the guidelines for meal allowances in the Travel Directive. This was an error in understanding the application of rates, and the manager had already been advised to follow the meal rates in the Travel Directive.

All travel expenses were appropriately authorized by S.34 authorities before reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, most of the electronic expense reports were additionally reviewed by a financial supervisor, which reflects a good practice to increase consistency and accuracy in the reporting process.

All travel reports were well supported by receipts and associated documentation, where applicable. There was a particular trip where the traveler had to make sudden changes to plans due to unavoidable circumstances. There was evidence of timely consultation with subject matter experts and due diligence in ensuring compliance with regulations and fairness for employees.

Conclusion

The Field Unit is seen to have proactively used the EMT system for travel request and travel reporting, which speaks well of their ability to adopt the new STS system for travel request and travel reporting. There were some notable instances in the approval and expenditure reporting process which have been described in the observation section. There is also a best practice that is shared in the section below.

Best Practice

The expense reports show a clear trail of travel activities by additional description that were included in the comments section of the electronic reports, such as the time of departure, the reason for specific choices made with travel plans and the mode of transportation used. This allows for a consistent and transparent practice of reporting and claiming of travel expenses.

8.4 Supplementary Pay - Isolated Post Allowance (IPA)

Blue Minor improvements required Many of the controls are functioning as intended. However, some minor changes are necessary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the control environment.

Context

The Field Unit spent a total of $270,619.69 on Isolated Post Allowance (IPA), and an additional $4,193.03 on IPA non-elective travel, in fiscal year 2013-14. Only certain sites within the Field Unit fall within the isolated posts categories as per Directive. As such, only a portion of the employees working for the Field Unit are eligible for IPA allowances and benefits. A total of 38 employees were reimbursed with Isolated Post allowances and/or benefits. In fiscal year 2013-14, there were six isolated posts within the Western Newfoundland and Labrador – Nain, Red Bay, L’Anse aux Meadows, Port aux Choix, Cow Head and Kuujjuaq (in Quebec).

A breakdown of the different allowances and benefits is reflected in Appendix F.

The sampling unit is an employee who received some form of Isolated Post allowances and/or benefits in fiscal year 2013-14. A total of 21 employees tied to a total allowance and benefit of $183,249.61 (not including IPA non-elective travel) were selected for sampling. Three IPA non-elective travel associated with the samples were included for audit examination.

Various aspects of Isolated Post allowances and benefits were included for examination, as applicable. These are:

  • Environment Allowance (EA)
  • Living Cost Differential (LCD)
  • Fuel and Utilities Differential (F&UD)
  • Non-accountable Fixed Rate Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA)
  • IPA non-elective travel

Appendix G gives a description of each allowances and benefits.

The allowances for EA, LCD, and/or F&UD are pro-rated and paid to employees through their biweekly pay cheques. Based on whether the employee is single or have dependants, he/she is eligible to a lower single rate or a higher dependant rate respectively.

VTA is established on a per occurrence basis through the Request for Payment of Non-accountable VTA Form (VTA forms). Employees are eligible for VTA once or twice a year depending on the Isolated Posts. There is no requirement to travel, or take leave, or lieu time off to receive VTA. VTA is based on a fixed rate, on a per person basis, which applies to the employee and all dependants over 2 years of age. VTAs are established based on the airfare rate to the specified point of departure for the particular isolated post. For some isolated posts, there is a mileage component as well to account for the driving distance from the isolated post to the nearest airport.

All reported expenses for IPA non-elective travel are reimbursed based on receipts, and should follow the guidelines set in the Travel Directive.

Among the samples, all 21 employees were eligible for EA; 9 were eligible for LCD; 20 were eligible for F&UD; 17 were eligible for VTA; and, 3 employees took IPA non-elective travel.

Observation

IPA Eligibility[1]:

Information is well documented on the IPGH form when the employee first joins the Isolated Post. The information on the IPGH form initiates the payment of allowances and benefits. The IPGH form is completed by the employee and approved by the functional manager. The employee usually completes the section on dependants, and the manager completes the section on eligible allowance.

  • There were two forms which had the wrong lower hourly rates applied to the allowances, which resulted in underpayment of the allowances for the employees.

To ensure consistency and accuracy, all IPGH forms should be reviewed by the Human Resource Manager at the Field Unit before they are forwarded to Compensation.

Employees who join an Isolated Post are given a copy of the Policy. The functional manager is in charge of explaining the IPA entitlements to the employees. This practice increases the risk that the information shared with employees regarding their entitlements, as well as their corresponding responsibilities, could vary from one functional manager to another. The information package provided to employees should be provided centrally by the Human Resource Manager of the Field Unit. Parks Canada has a customized version of National Joint Council’s Directive in that some of responsibilities are vested with the Field Units located at Isolated Posts to reflect the decentralized nature of operations. Parks Canada’s Directive states: “Field Units shall provide comprehensive information packages on the Isolated Posts Policy that shall include a copy of the policy and an explanation of all the allowances and benefits to which an employee is eligible. Further, the information package shall provide the eligibility criteria for each of the allowances and benefits as well as a list of the most common questions and answers. The information package shall clearly describe employees' responsibilities whenever their personal situation changes, which may have an impact on their allowances and benefits.” Such a comprehensive information package, as prescribed in the Directive, should be made available to employees who newly join an Isolated Post to enable them to clearly understand the applicable allowances and benefits, as well as their corresponding responsibilities.

Updates to IPA Eligibility:

Updates to IPA eligibility arise, either when there is a change to the classification level and/or rates for Isolated Posts based on National Joint Council’s Isolated Post and Government Housing Directive (the Directive), or when there is a change to the employee’s personal situation, such as the addition and/or deletion of dependants.

· Of the 21 IPGH forms provided, there was one form where the number of dependants was not updated to reflect the employee’s family status as reported on his VTA. This has resulted in the lower single rate allowances being disbursed to the employee instead of the family rate. The Directive states: “It is the employee's responsibility to notify their manager and their departmental administrator as soon as possible where changes to their circumstances have an impact on housing, allowances, and benefits they receive under this directive.” The other IPGH forms reflected that an addition and/or deletion of dependants were duly reported by employees with the completion of a new IPGH form.

· The Labour Relations team at Parks Canada usually sends out an email to the concerned business units and the Compensation team whenever there is a change to the Directive. Any increase in allowances is adjusted by the Compensation team. Any decrease in allowances based on a decrease in classification levels, which allows for a specified waiting period after notifying the employee of the change, is to be initiated by the Field Unit through an updated IPGH form that is transferred to the Compensation team. There was no decrease in classification levels and/or rates for the various allowances applicable to the relevant isolated posts during the examination period. It is observed that increases in the rates of allowances were made to applicable employees during the examination period.

Accuracy of the Disbursement of Allowances and Benefits:
Non-accountable Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA)

Employees are entitled to 2 VTAs in a year for 4 of the isolated posts, and to 1 VTA in a year for the remaining two isolated posts (on a pro-rated basis for part-time employees, and employees who joined later in the fiscal year (except for those who moved from another isolated post).

  • 15 employees applied for VTA in fiscal year 2013-14, and were correspondingly disbursed VTA benefits.
  • Of the 15 who applied for VTA, only 4 were completely accurate in the calculation and pro-rating. The remaining 11 reflected inconsistencies in calculation as follows:
    • VTAs for 3 employees reflected use of expired kilometric rates for claiming mileage;
    • VTAs for 3 employees did not reflect a corresponding pro-rating of mileage when the air-fare component of the VTA was pro-rated;
    • VTAs for 2 employees reflected calculation errors when the calculation was done manually;
    • VTAs for 3 employees reflected both calculation errors (such as not including applicable taxes) and non-prorating of mileage.
  • Such inconsistencies, though minor in terms of financial impact, call for added due diligence in the process of completing and reviewing the VTA applications. The VTA applications for employees are approved by the functional managers and sometimes additionally reviewed by the Finance team in the Field Unit. It is recommended that the process of additional review be made consistent throughout the Field Unit so that all VTA applications are reviewed and complete. Finally, cross-validation of number of dependants listed on the VTA application with the IPGH form is needed to ensure accuracy and timely updates of IPGH forms.
Environmental Allowance (EA)

Of the 21 EA, 3 of them were disbursed at inaccurate rates.

  • One was for an employee whose IPGH form was not updated to reflect the addition of dependants, and hence was given the single rate instead of the family rate (already mentioned under Updates to IPA eligibility above).
  • Two employees’ allowances were specified at the lower hourly rate on the IPGH forms (already mentioned under IPA eligibility above).
Living Cost Differential (LCD)

All 9 employees eligible for LCD were disbursed the correct rates as per the specifications on their IPGH form.

Fuel & Utilities Differential (F&UD)

Of the 20 employees that were eligible for F&UD, 3 of the F&UD were not disbursed correctly.

  • 1 employee was reimbursed the single rate F&UD instead of the family rate as the IPGH form was not updated (already mentioned under Updates to IPA eligibility above).
  • Two employees’ allowances were specified at the lower hourly rate on the IPGH forms (already mentioned under IPA eligibility above).
IPA Non-elective Travel:

Three employees out of 21 took non-elective travel in fiscal year 2013-14. Each of the non-elective travel was for medical reasons, and was appropriately supported by a medical certificate. However, there was no indication that the travel was acknowledged by the manager before the travel took place. There should be a formal process of travel request and authorization, given adequate timing, before travel takes place. The reimbursement of travel expenses were supported by adequate documentation.

Conclusion

There is opportunity for improvement in the governance and the process of reviewing IPA allowances and benefits at the Field Unit. The approval of the IPGH forms and VTA applications are currently decentralized to the functional managers. Lack of appropriate segregation of duty reduces the challenging roles provided by monitoring activities. This situation could potentially lead to inappropriate claims going unnoticed. The inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the completion of the forms that have been observed, possibly originating from the varying degree of knowledge and review conducted on the application of rates and calculation by the managers.

Recommendation

4. The Field Unit Superintendent should improve the overall governance and monitoring for Isolated Post Allowance by:
  1. Preparing a comprehensive information package for employees explaining all the allowances and benefits to which an employee is eligible (based on the isolated post), the most common questions and answers, and the employees' responsibilities to report whenever their personal situation changes, which may have an impact on their allowances and benefits.
  2. Ensuring that all Isolated Post and Government Housing (IPGH) Forms are complete and accurate to assure the accuracy of the allowances. In addition, all current IPGH forms should be centrally documented at the Field Unit for validation purposes.
  3. Ensuring that all Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA) applications are complete and accurate prior to the disbursement of funds. In addition, the VTA applications should be cross-validated with the most current IPGH forms to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Management Response

  1. Agree: The information package has been assembled. We are currently waiting for a response from Labour Relations regarding the use of a current form and verification that the Q & A information is accurate. The expecting date of completion is June 30th 2015.
  2. Agree: Stating for now, the In-house HR team will ensure that all IPGH forms are up to date. Finance will assure accuracy and document centrally
  3. Agree: Starting from now, All VTA forms will be sent to Finance for review of consistency, accuracy and cross-validation with current IPGH forms before funds are disbursed.

8.5 Supplementary Pay and/or Compensatory Leave with Pay - Overtime, Shift Premium, and Standby and Call Back

Green Controlled Controls are functioning as intended and no further action is necessary at this time.

Context

At the Field Unit, a total value of $152,639.19 was spent, in fiscal year 2013-14, on supplementary pay for overtime and shift work and/or compensation leave with pay, which was paid to 108 employees.

  • For overtime worked beyond the regular scheduled hours, the Field Unit spent a total of $73,377.78, which is 48% of total associated pay.
  • For premium payment due to work on a statutory holiday, the Field Unit spent a total of $34,989.19, which is 23% of total associated pay.
  • For premium shift pay associated with shift work (evening shift premium and weekend shift premium), the Field Unit spent a total of $17,714.50, which is 12% of total associated pay.
  • The remaining 17% was spent on cash-out of accumulated compensatory leave or vacation pay for short-term employees.

A breakdown of supplementary pay by Economic Code and General Ledger Account is provided in Appendix H.

The sampling unit is a Time Worked and Extra Duty Report (EDR) prepared by the employee, and/or a pay-out of unused compensatory leave. A total of 36 EDRs and 2 pay-outs of compensatory leave with pay, belonging to 12 employees were selected for sampling. A combination of different types of pay (shift premium, overtime and standby) and different functions within the Field Unit was included in the sample.

All 36 EDRs selected for audit examination were for full-time work (vs. part-time work); for employees working regular schedule (vs. compressed schedule); for the total number of hours of work being a mix of 37.5 hours and 40 hours in the sample, and the number of days worked per week being 5. Of the 36 EDRS, 25 EDRs included shift schedules. The remaining 11 were exclusively for non-shift overtime.

Observation

Shift Work Scheduling and Overtime

Reasonable distribution of overtime work and/or premium pay was reflected by the data on overtime and premium pay disbursed to employees. Shift work was supported by pre-arranged shift schedules, and was provided for audit examination for the relevant samples.

Shift Work and Overtime Reporting

Any shift work calling for a shift premium and/or any overtime work conducted beyond the regular scheduled hours are to be recorded on a Time Worked and Extra Duty Report (EDR) by the employee. Such a report was seen to be filled out by employees usually on a two-week cycle. On the EDR, employees filled their start and end time for extra duty and/or shift work, the rates to be applied for extra duty, and choose between payment in cash or compensatory leave. From the 36 EDRs examined, all of them reflected a choice of cash payment over compensatory leave with pay for overtime worked.

All 36 EDRs examined were seen to be duly signed by the supervisors and managers. Once completed, the report is approved by the supervisor, and then by the manager. A copy of the approved EDR was then sent to the Compensation team in Halifax for subsequent reimbursement. Employees were compensated based on the hours recorded on the EDRs and the applicable rates of compensation. Data shows that compensatory leave with pay is managed electronically and payout of accumulated leave is made after September 30, based on the balance reflected in the Leave System.

Conclusion

Based on the audit examination, the management of overtime and shift work is seen to be conducted in an accountable manner conducive to meeting operational efficiency and effectiveness, as well as ensuring reasonable distribution and/or adequate notice to employees, as applicable. Reporting on the extra-duty sheet has shown some inconsistencies, which appear to stem for mechanical error rather than an incomplete understanding of the framework in which shift work and overtime are compensated. These inconsistencies should be largely reduced with the application controls in the electronic reporting system going forward. According to National Office Compensation Office, the use of this new system will be mandatory starting in February 2015.

Appendix A. Recommendation Prioritization System

Priority   Condition
High   Management should initiate immediate action to address the comment.
  1 Major internal control weakness
  2 Major policy or procedure exceptions
  3 Significant risk exposure
  4 Major financial exceptions – loss, misstatement, errors, fraud
  5 Significant law or regulatory violations
  6 Significant potential opportunity – revenue, savings, efficiencies, improvements
Moderate   Management should initiate timely action to address the comment.
  1 Substantial internal control weakness
  2 Substantial policy or procedure exceptions
  3 Substantial risk exposure
  4 Substantial financial exceptions – loss, misstatement, errors, fraud
  5 Substantial law or regulatory violations
  6 Substantial potential opportunity – revenue, savings, efficiencies, improvements
Low   Management should initiate reasonable action to incorporate a plan to address the comment in the normal course of business.
  1 Minor internal control weakness
  2 Minor policy or procedure exceptions
  3 Limited risk exposure
  4 Minor financial exceptions – loss, misstatement, errors, fraud
  5 Minor law or regulatory violations
  6 Limited potential opportunity – revenue, savings, efficiencies, improvements

Appendix B. Relevant Policies, Directives, Guidelines and/or Agreements

Procurement - Contracting

Procurement – Acquisition Cards

Business Travel

Supplementary Pay - Isolated Post Allowance (IPA)

Supplementary Pay and/or Compensatory Leave with Pay - Overtime, Shift Premium, and Standby and Call Back

Appendix C. Criteria and Sub-Criteria

1. Procurement - Contracting
C1 The contract initiation process is fair and transparent.
C1.1 The appropriate mechanism is used to establish the contract.
C1.2 The contract award process is fair.
C1.3 The contract value and/or amendment value is within authorized threshold.
C2 Contract management reflects due diligence.
C2.1 The contract is appropriately signed before the initiation of services or the delivery of goods.
C2.2 The description of goods or services to be delivered is clear and complete.
C2.3 Payment terms are clearly stated in the contract.
C3 Appropriate financial controls are in place.
C3.1 Fund commitment is appropriately signed by the S.32 authority.
C3.2 Payment is supported by adequate and correct documentation.
C3.3 Payment is appropriately authorized by the S.34 authority.


2. Procurement - Acquisition Cards
C1 Acquisition card usage respect guidelines and are within authorized thresholds.
C1.1 Acquisition cards are issued, renewed and/or cancelled according to approved practices.
C1.2 Acquisition cardholders provide a written acknowledgement of responsibilities and obligations prior to receiving an acquisition card from the acquisition card coordinator.
C1.3 The nature of purchases respect the restrictions set in the Directive.
C1.4 Individual transactions are within prescribed limits.
C1.5 Acquisition card usage is conducted in a secure manner.
C2 Appropriate financial controls are in place.
C2.1 There is a valid Sec 34 Certification signed by the authorized person other than the cardholder.
C2.2 Acquisition cardholders perform reconciliation of purchases with the Acquisition card statements.
C2.3 The payment of Acquisition card statements is made on a timely basis.
C2.4 All purchases are supported by receipts and/or invoices.
C2.5 The Acquisition card limit is reasonably based on planned use of the cardholder.


3. Business Travel
C1 Work-related travel is managed with due diligence.
C1.1 The objective of travel is well-defined.
C1.2 Travel expenses are within planning estimates or reasonably adjusted based on the circumstances of travel.
C1.3 Travel expenses respect the guidelines set out in the various travel modules.
C1.4 Travel reporting is done electronically and if not, a reasonable explanation exists.
C2 Appropriate financial controls are in place.
C2.1 Travel is appropriately authorized before it takes place.
C2.2 Travel expenses are appropriately approved before payment is made.
C2.3 Travel reimbursement is supported by adequate documentation.


4. Supplementary Pay - Isolated Post Allowance (IPA)
C1 Eligibility and entitlement of employees are determined as per criteria.
C1.1 The employee's nature of employment and place of work is well-documented to determine eligibility for IPA.
C1.2 The employee's familial situation and living arrangements are well-documented to determine the appropriate entitlements for IPA.
C2 The disbursement of allowances is appropriate.
C2.1 The calculation of the various components of IPA is accurate.
C2.2 Additional travel expenses and leave associated with Isolated Posts are implemented appropriately.
C2.3 Changes to allowances based on changes to employment for employees, and/or changes to the employee's personal situation, and/or changes to the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive are implemented appropriately.


5. Supplementary Pay and/or Compensatory Leave with Pay - Overtime, Shift Premium, and Standby and Call Back
C1 Overtime, Shift Premium, and Standby and Call Back are managed with due diligence.
C1.1 Allocation of overtime and standby is equitable amongst available and qualified employees.
C1.2 Overtime, standby and call back reporting are preapproved by the appropriate authorities.
C1.3 Adequate advance notice is given for shift work scheduling and/or changes to schedule.
C1.4 All overtime, standby, call back and reporting pay shall be compensated in cash except where, upon request of an employee and with the approval of the Agency, it may be compensated in equivalent leave with pay.
C2 Appropriate reporting and accountability exist for disbursement of pay and/or the administration of compensatory leave with pay.
C2.1 Payments for overtime, shift work, standby and call back are adequately supported by documentation completed by employees.
C2.2 Overtime, shift work, standby and call back reports are appropriately approved by the delegated manager.
C2.3 Pay associated with overtime, shift work, standby and call back are disbursed in a timely manner once the finalized reports are submitted.
C2.4 Compensatory leave with pay associated with overtime, standby and call back is managed in an accountable manner.

Appendix D. Contract Type and Solicitation Procedure, Counts and Values – Fiscal Year 2013-14, Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit

Contract Type Advanced Contract Award Notice (ACAN) Open Bidding Traditional Competitive Traditional Non-Competitive Grand Total
Grand Total 1 176 193 677 1,047
PWGSC Purchase order (9200)   2 4   6
Call up against standing offer (942)   173 85 1 259
Standard purchase order (PO)   1 62 630 693
Professional services > $10K (PS1) 1   17 13 31
Professional services < $10K (PS2)     25 33 58


Contract Type Advanced Contract Award Notice (ACAN) Open Bidding Traditional Competitive Traditional Non-
Competitive
Grand Total
Grand Total $59,494.50 $968,365.87 $1,265,347.97 $666,718.25 $2,959,926.59
PWGSC Purchase order (9200)   $137,275.80 $220,852.04   $358,127.84
Call up against standing offer (942)   $830,346.53 $227,612.87 $6,725.77 $1,064,685.17
Standard purchase order (PO)   $743.54 $371,871.64 $404,081.23 $776,696.41
Professional services > $10K (PS1) $59,494.50   $375,331.04 $190,671.63 $625,497.17
Professional services < $10K (PS2)     $69,680.38 $65,239.62 $134,920.00

Appendix E. Acquisition Card Monthly Expenditures, Fiscal Year 2013-14, Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit

Card Statements in Fiscal Year 2013-14 Amount
Total $320,380.48
April 2013 $18,883.02
May 2013 $17,518.61
June 2013 $27,040.63
July 2013 $35,841.67
August 2013 $49,202.54
September 2013 $21,986.86
October 2013 $38,224.77
November 2013 $33,604.23
December 2013 $16,050.33
January 2014 $13,057.81
February 2014 $21,480.14
March 2014 $27,489.87

Appendix F. Isolated Post Allowances and Benefits (IPA), Fiscal Year 2013-14, Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit

G/L # G/L Description Sum of Amount
21205 IPA - Non-accountable Vacation Travel Assistance $76,509.08
21206 IPA - Environmental Allowance (EA) $106,993.01
21207 IPA - Living Cost Differential (LCD) $52,789.05
21208 IPA - Fuel and Utilities Differential (F&UD) $33,191.41
21210 IPA - Environmental Allowance (EA) - Students $991.73
21212 IPA - Fuel and Utilities Differential (F&UD) - Students $145.36
  Total IPA Allowances $270,619.64
     
22002 Travel - Medical IPA $4,193.03

Appendix G. Definition of IPA Allowances and Benefits in the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive

Environmental Allowance (EA) The EA is assessed according to five classification levels by allocating points for the population, climate and availability of commercial transportation or access by all-weather roads. Employees are paid an EA, at the rate set out in Appendix B of the Directive that is appropriate to the environment classification of their isolated post, as set out in Appendix A of the Directive.
Living Cost Differential (LCD) A LCD is payable at an isolated post where prices for food and other goods and services are abnormally high relative to the location identified as its point of comparison and is intended to assist employees to meet those higher costs. The amount of LCD depends on the price differentials, as measured by Statistics Canada, between an isolated post and its point of comparison. Employees are paid a LCD, at the rate set out in Appendix C of the Directive that is appropriate to the living cost classification of their isolated post, as set out in Appendix A of the Directive.
Fuel and Utilities Differential (F&UD) A F&UD is payable at designated isolated posts where prices for fuel and utilities are abnormally high due to higher transportation costs and consumption rates imposed by the geographical location. The F&UD is intended to supplement employees' incomes and help them offset those higher costs. Employees are paid an F&UD, at the rate set out in Appendix D of the Directive, that is appropriate for the fuel and utilities classification of their headquarters as set out in Appendix A of the Directive, provided they are paying fuel and utility charges directly to the supplier.
Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) A SCD is payable at designated isolated posts where shelter costs are abnormally high in comparison with the national average rents in Southern Canada for the benchmark model. A SCD is payable, at the rates set out in Appendices K-1 and K-2 of the Directive, to employees in private accommodation and in government housing at qualifying isolated posts to help offset the higher shelter charges experienced there.
Non-accountable Fixed Rate Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA) The fixed rate VTA is payable to the employee, for the employee and for each dependant, as applicable. Employees are reimbursed based on the Fixed Rate Vacation Travel Assistance published on the Treasury Board Secretariat’s website. Employees must apply for VTA in writing. VTA payments are limited to once in each fiscal year for employees in isolated posts of EA classification 1, 2, or 3, and twice in each fiscal year for employees in isolated posts of EA classification 4 or 5.
IPA Non-Elective Travel This includes travel for non-elective medical or dental treatment, compassionate travel and bereavement travel. Employees, who travel from their isolated post to another location and back, on the basis of the above reasons, are eligible for reimbursement of certain travel expenses, based on the Directive.

Appendix H. Premium Pay, Holiday Pay in Lieu of Leave, and Overtime Pay - Fiscal Year 2013-14, Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit

Econ # Econ Description G/L # G/L Description Amount $
      Total $152,639.19
0103 Civilian Premium Pay for Work During Non-standard Hours or Other Reasons 21251 Shift Premium, excluding students $4,625.50
21252 Shift Premium, excluding students $13,089.00
21253 Premium Pay for Statutory Holidays, excluding students $31,293.89
21270 Premium Pay for Statutory Holidays, students $3,695.30
0104 Civilian Holiday Pay in Lieu of Leave 21153 Cash out of leave, active employees $22,252.11
21156 Vacation Pay of 4%, excluding students $1,402.39
21158 Vacation Pay of 4%, students $2,903.22
0105 Civilian Overtime (for Additional Hours) 21101 Overtime Regular, excluding students $61,696.55
21102 Overtime on a designated holiday, excluding students $541.91
21103 Standby and Other Overtime, excluding students $8,805.98
21105 Overtime, Students $2,333.34

[1] Eligibility, in the context of this audit examination, is comprehensive to include the definition of eligibility for each of the specific allowances and benefits, and the establishment of the rates tied to eligibility levels, based on the number of hours of work and the personal situation of the employees. Along the same lines, updates to eligibility means any updates to the classification and/or rates of the various allowances in the Directive, and/or updates to the personal situation of the employee that impacts the allowances and/or benefits received.