Frequently Asked Questions for Hiring Departments

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The University of British Columbia’s Policy #82 for the relocation of faculty members and senior management staff was revised on June 30, 2016.  The current policy is available on the University Counsel’s website.

The following questions and answers provide additional information about how to apply the policy.

Eligibility
Relocation Process
Relocation Allowance Limit
Taxable Benefits
Other Issues

Eligibility

Who is eligible for the relocation expense allowance?

Individuals (“designated professionals” in the policy), who are tenure-stream faculty members, prospective tenure-stream faculty members, senior management staff, professional librarians, and Program Director in Continuing Studies.

Hiring department administrators must advise these individuals in writing (i.e., in the offer letter) that they are eligible to claim these expenses.

Please refer to Eligibility for Relocation Policy for more information on eligibility.

How is “senior management” defined; in other words, which staff positions are eligible under the current relocation policy?

The Associate Vice President (AVP) level and higher.  Additional staff, who may have equivalent level of responsibilities to an AVP and higher, may be eligible under the policy with the approval of the Vice President, Human Resources. Please contact Natasha Malloff or Joyce Wei in Human Resources to initiate review.

Is there a minimum length of employment that relocating faculty and senior management must be hired for in order to be eligible under the relocation policy?

Yes. The position must be a “full-time” position and for a minimum period of 2 years.  Even with the minimum of 2 years, departments must have the intention of renewing the appointment.

For faculty appointments, which include Librarians and Program Director, these positions must be on tenure-stream.

Positions that are temporary, visiting, or sessional are not eligible under this policy.

If an individual voluntarily leaves the service of UBC before completing 24 months of paid service, then they must re-pay a pro-rated portion of relocation expenses paid earlier by UBC.

For individuals relocating to the UBC Vancouver and already residing in the Metro Vancouver area or to the Okanagan campus already residing in the Kelowna area, will their moving expenses be covered under the relocation policy?

No.  If the individual already lives within 75 km of the workplace, then they aren’t eligible for reimbursement from the Central Relocation Fund (the UBC fund that supports the policy).

Is it mandatory that the relocation and moving company designated by UBC be used?

  • Relocating faculty and senior management who want to use a moving company and be reimbursed from the Central Relocation Fund must use the moving company designated by UBC, Quality Move Management (QMM). If any other moving company is used, they won’t be eligible for reimbursement from the Central Relocation Fund.
  • Relocating faculty and senior management who choose to relocate themselves without a moving company are eligible for reimbursement from the Central Relocation Fund (the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy).

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Relocation Process

What is the process for obtaining relocation assistance for eligible faculty and senior management?

Please see our Relocation Process page for a step-by-step guide.

How do the relocation expenses get paid?

  • The hiring department initially pays for most relocation expenses using Purchase Orders, Requisition for Payments, or Travel Requisitions.
  • In cases where the relocating faculty or senior management staff pays for some approved expenses first, they should submit invoices/receipts to the hiring department administrator for reimbursement of their expenses.
  • Then, the hiring department administrator applies to Financial Operations in Vancouver or Finance Operations, UBC Okanagan in Kelowna for reimbursement from the Central Relocation Fund, the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy. Instructions for Requisitions are available on the Financial Operations website.

How is a Purchase Order for relocation expenses set up?

The hiring department submits to Financial Operations in Vancouver:

  • The quote from our designated moving company, Quality Move Management (QMM); and
  • Any other documentation to support the quote, such as email correspondence.

What if the quote exceeds the relocation allowance (the allowance being the maximum limit available from the Central Relocation Fund, the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy, and any additional allowance negotiated with the hiring department and included in the offer letter)?

  • If the relocating faculty member or senior management staff and is able to pay for the amount that exceeds the relocation allowance and accepts the quote, the hiring department can set up the Purchase Order for the full quote.
  • Then the hiring department asks the new hire to reimburse the department for the amount that exceeds the relocation allowance.

How does the hiring department get reimbursed for relocation expenses from the Central Relocation Fund?

The hiring department needs to submit a claim for reimbursement of eligible expenses to the central Finance department, via Financial Operations in Vancouver or Financial Operations, UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, (one claim per relocating faculty member or senior management staff, i.e., “designated professional” in the policy).  Relocation claims must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • A copy of the General Ledger and all backup documents (e.g., receipts).

How long will it take to receive reimbursement from UBC’s central Finance department?

Once the hiring department submits the forms (Requisitions for Payments, Travel Requisitions or Relocation Reimbursement Claim forms) with the backup documentation, it may take up to 4-6 weeks to receive reimbursement.

Note to Administrators: To avoid a lengthy delay in processing, please don’t wait to submit all of your claims at fiscal year end (March).

If the relocating faculty member or senior management staff isn’t paid using the GPO fund, and there is a project grant, should the grant pay for the relocation?

Yes.  The form that hiring departments submit to the central Finance department for reimbursement (see attached) includes a question about whether a project grant will pay for relocation.  If the new hire isn’t paid using the GPO fund, the project grant is the “first payer” of relocation expenses.

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Relocation Allowance Limit

What is the relocation expense allowance/overall limit for relocating faculty or senior management?

The allowance varies depending on a few different factors such as where the individual is moving from and whether they have dependants. Please see the Central Relocation Fund Table.

Effective June 30, 2016, there are new and separate allowances for travel expenses and for tax and financial advising services related to relocation.

Can the hiring department agree to pay for expenses that are not eligible under the policy?

Yes, provided that the hiring department pays for these expenses, and doesn’t seek reimbursement from the Central Relocation Fund, the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy.  The Central Relocation Fund will only reimburse for expenses that are eligible under the policy, up to the total limit outlined in the Central Relocation Fund Table.  Note that these expenses might give rise to a taxable benefit to the individual and should be identified as such.

If exceptions beyond the relocation allowance of the Central Relocation Fund are made by a department, will the Central Relocation Fund still reimburse?

No. Departments are able to make exceptions only if they pay for the cost of these exceptions.

What is the overall limit when a faculty member or senior management staff and their spouse are both recruited and relocating to UBC (i.e., two eligible new hires, but only one household)?

Each spouse is eligible for reimbursement by the Central Relocation Fund, the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy, as a “designated professional” defined in the relocation policy; however, only one spouse may receive the additional amount for shared dependants.

In this situation, each spouse could receive up to $6,000 for an overall allowance of $12,000.

There are a number of individual items that have expense limits on them, as outlined in the Rates Table (e.g., up to $3,000 for customs and immigration).  There is also an overall expense limit for central reimbursement, for the entire move, as outlined in the Central Relocation Fund Table

How do these two tables work together?  Does the hiring department get reimbursed for the overall limit, plus the individual limits, over and above the overall limit?

The Central Relocation Fund Table outlines the maximum amount (or overall “limit”) that the Central Relocation Fund will reimburse the hiring department for the relocation, inclusive of all individual items, regardless of their individual limits. (The Central Relocation Fund is the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy.)

The Rates Table is a guideline for hiring departments when negotiating terms of relocation with the relocating faculty member or senior management staff. They can negotiate to go beyond the individual limits of some items provided that:

  • They don’t go beyond the overall limit of the Central Relocation Fund, or
  • If they do go beyond the overall limit of the Central Relocation Fund, the hiring department pays for the additional expenses.

What happens if a relocating faculty member or senior management staff exceeds one of the individual category expense limits, but is still within the overall limit of the Central Relocation Fund, the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy? 

For example, a new hire spends $3,500 on immigration-related expenses when the limit is $3,000; however, this individual’s total relocation expenses come in below the overall Central Relocation Fund limit of $9,000 (for designated professional and spouse relocating from outside of Canada).  Is the total amount of  immigration-related expenses reimbursable from the Central Relocation Fund?

As long as the expenses are eligible under the relocation policy, the total amount would be reimbursed by the Central Relocation Fund up to the amount outlined in the Central Relocation Fund Table.

The policy provides individual limits as guidelines, and hiring departments can strictly adhere to these guidelines when negotiating terms of relocation; however, hiring departments also have the ability to allow relocating faculty and senior management to exceed the limit in an individual category.

Does the overall limit that the Central Relocation Fund reimburses include travel expenses under Policy #83?

Yes.  For more information on eligible travel and related expenses, please see Policy #83 and Policy #83 Administrative Directive on the University Counsel’s website.

Is the weight of “Tools of the Trade” included in the overall weight limit?

No, the weight of Tools of the Trade isn’t a factor. However, the cost of moving Tools of the Trade is a factor. The cost is included in the overall limit that the Central Relocation Fund reimburses. Please see the Central Relocation Fund Table to calculate overall limits.

Is the cost of moving “Tools of the Trade” included in the overall limit that the Central Relocation Fund reimburses?

Yes.

Is the cost of pre/post move expenses such as a house hunting trip included in the overall limit that the Central Relocation Fund reimburses?

Yes, with limitations. Please see Policy #82 for these limitations.

For house hunting trips, are costs of car rentals or other forms of public transportation (buses and taxis) covered in the overall limit?

Yes, with limitations.  Please see Policy #83 and Policy #83 Administrative Directive for these limitations.

What happens if the Household and Personal Effects weight limits are exceeded?

The policy provides weight limits as a guideline. When negotiating the terms of relocation with faculty or senior management, hiring departments have the choice of either:

  • strictly adhering to these guidelines, or
  • allowing faculty or senior management to exceed the weight limits provided that the extra weight doesn’t result in expenses going beyond the overall cap of the Central Relocation Fund, the UBC fund that supports the relocation policy.

Please see the Central Relocation Fund Table to calculate overall limits.

Is the cost of duties and taxes on personal goods, including vehicles, included in the overall limit?

No. Only expenses related to relocation and moving are covered by the relocation policy.  Expenses regarding ownership of personal goods are not covered by the relocation policy.

Is the cost to purchase furniture eligible under the relocation policy?

No. Only expenses related to relocation and moving are covered by the relocation policy.  Expenses regarding ownership of personal goods are not covered by the relocation policy.

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Taxable Benefits

Are any relocation expenses considered taxable benefits?

Moving expenses are not considered taxable benefits (please see: Canada Revenue Agency).

However, any relocation expenses not listed in the “moving expenses paid by employer that are not a taxable benefit” are considered taxable benefits:

  • Immigration fees include work permit application fees, temporary resident visa fees and permanent resident fees.
  • Tax and financing advising services.
  • UBC Payroll will include any taxable benefits on the T4 slip (the Statement of Remuneration Paid) that the relocating faculty or senior management will submit to the Canadian Revenue Agency when filing their taxes.  Please contact the appropriate payroll representative if there are any questions with the T4.

Note to Administrators: To ensure that taxable benefits are properly calculated for income-tax reporting purposes, please use account code 634001 (Relocation – Taxable Benefit) when reimbursing relocation expenses that are considered taxable benefits.

Is the cost of the English language test, which is a requirement to apply for permanent residency, eligible under the relocation policy?

Yes.

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Other Issues

Does the relocation have to be from the location where the faculty member or senior management staff was living when they signed the employment offer letter?

No.  The relocation can be from the location where they are living at the time of the relocation; however, it must be 75 km outside of work location to be eligible.

Can relocating faculty and senior management use their moving allowance in two parts (e.g., to move themselves at one point in time, and then to move the rest of the family at a later time)?

  • Yes, this is possible, but note that the Central Relocation Fund, the fund that supports the relocation policy, will only reimburse the hiring department up to the overall limit specified in the Central Relocation Fund Table.
  • In addition, if a move happens at more than one time, the hiring department administrator must clearly specify this on the paperwork they submit to Financial Operations in Vancouver or Finance Operations, UBC Okanagan in Kelowna for reimbursement.

The current relocation policy states that if UBC pays the importation or excise taxes or duty on “Tools of the Trade” that are imported into Canada, then those specific “Tools of the Trade” will become the property of UBC.  Is there any flexibility on this?

  • Yes, but hiring departments and relocating faculty or senior management must negotiate the terms of moving the “Tools of the Trade” in advance of the move. Negotiating in advance will avoid financial complications later on.
  • It is up to the hiring department representative who is authorizing the move to ensure that the terms are clear.
  • In some cases, hiring departments are interested in purchasing the “Tools of the Trade” and in other cases they aren’t.
  • The policy is meant to be flexible, with protections for both the hiring department and the University.

Does the dependant care allowance have to be spent in Canada?

No. If dependants are living outside of Canada, it can be spent where they are living.

For the dependant care allowance, can this include day camps or sports schools?

Yes, dependant care includes:

  • Eligible child care provider.
  • Day nursery school or day care centre.
  • Day camp or day sports school.
  • Boarding school or camp.
  • Educational institution for the purpose of providing child care services.

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