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Minister Ramsay reimburses GNWT
Review found $192 of expenses did not meet ministerial travel criteria; Department of Finance changes review process

Meagan Leonard
Northern News Services
Friday, August 21, 2015

Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay has paid back a portion of the costs expensed to the territorial government during a trip to Montebello Que., in February.

Ramsay reimbursed $192.97 of the $1,093.06 claimed to cover accommodation at a five-star resort in Montebello Que., rental of an Audi A4 and cost of meals during his stay.

Ramsay had been in Ottawa for the national roundtable on murdered and missing indigenous women and afterward went to Quebec to attend a wedding at the resort.

After an examination of Ramsay's expense reports was published in News/North Aug. 10, claims from Feb. 26 to March 7, 2015 were reviewed by comptroller general Bill Merklinger.

He determined a small amount of the expenses did not meet criteria outlined in the government's duty travel policy.

Cabinet spokesperson Andrew Livingstone said the money will cover meals and offset the extra expense of renting a luxury vehicle.

"The amount is compensating meals, the difference between the cost of a full-size car rental, which was the approved car type for the trip ... and the cost of cab fares," he told Yellowknifer in an e-mail.

Due to the oversights, the Department of Finance has said it will conduct more "rigorous review" of ministerial travel claims in the future. New standards were put in place Aug. 14, said Livingstone.

"The prior approach to reviewing travel claims was to have a financial shared services clerk review and process a travel claim by a minister," he explained. "The more rigorous review ... is a second level quality assurance review of ministerial travel claims."

He said the second look for quality assurance will ideally reduce the chance of administrative errors.

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