Payment Requests Policy


There are situations when a payment is required but no standard process can be applied. For example, it is not possible to submit a Purchase Order for the transaction in question, or no invoice exists to support a payment. The purpose of this Policy is to define the limited instances for which a Payment Request may be used as a method of payment.

Refer to the Procedures for details regarding the implementation and interpretation of the following policies.


P1. General

A Payment Request is used to generate a payment for which no other process (Purchase Requisition, Procurement Card, Payroll, Expense Reimbursement)) is appropriate.
The scenarios for which a Payment Request is appropriate is outlined in the Procedures.

P2. Approvals and Responsibilities

All Payment Requests require the signature of the Fund Financial Manager of each fund charged.
Delegation of approval in certain circumstances is permitted, as specified in the Procedures.
The individual with signing authority is responsible for ensuring that the payment is:
a) Legitimate
b) Appropriate
c) Reasonable
d) For University purposes only
e) In accordance with University policies and guidelines
f) Conforming to granting agency regulations and relate to research for which the grant/contract was awarded (if expenses are charged to a research fund)
g) Charged to the correct FOAPAL(s) and no deficit exists or will exist on the fund(s) charged
The University’s Contracts and Signing Authority Regulations apply.


PR1. Administrative Responsibility

The administration of Payment Requests is under the responsibility of the Accounts Payable Office, in Financial Services. Any issues regarding the application of these guidelines will be resolved by the Manager, Transaction Services.

PR2. Administrative Process

PR2.1. Unauthorized over-expenditures
All Payment Requests must be originated by completing and submitting the Payment Request Form found under the Financial Services website. The following fields must be completed:
  • Payee name (to whom the payment is payable)
  • Payee address (where the payment is sent)
  • Purpose of payment (must be described in sufficient detail to be meaningful to signing officers, reviewers and third parties such as auditors)
  • Mode of Payment (Canadian or US $ cheque, or other as specified such as wire transfer)
  • Requestor contact information (in case follow-up is required)
  • Accounting distribution (FOAPAL or FOAPAL(s) to be charged), along with the amount
  • Identification of sales taxes included in the amount (so that the appropriate rebate may be calculated on the charged FOAPALs).
The Requestor is then prompted to print the form and obtain the appropriate signature(s).

If applicable, original supporting documents must be submitted with the signed paper form.

It is important to remember that the Accounts Payable Office cannot act on a Payment Request until the duly signed paper form and appropriate attachments are received.

PR3. When a Payment Request is Appropriate

There are situations when a payment is required but none of the standard processes outlined above can be applied. The use of a Payment Request is limited to the following scenarios:

PR3.1. Payments to public and health institutions, such as hospitals, universities, granting agencies and government
In many cases, the issuance of a University formal purchase order is not applicable (e.g. lab fees for a research project). In other cases, the payment does not relate to a good or service but rather an institutional advance relating to a joint project or grant.

It should be noted, however, that a University formal purchase order is preferred in certain cases, such as construction services acquired through University teaching hospitals.
PR3.2. Payments to government offices and life insurance companies
These relate to the standard and ongoing payments originated by Human Resources relating to withholding taxes, benefits, pension and insurance premiums.
PR3.3 Payments to McGill student societies from university funds
These relate to contributions from a McGill unit, or the remittance of society fees collected from students by central administration. The letter of agreement should be submitted as supporting documentation or must be on file in Financial Services.
PR3.4. Refunds of amounts originally paid and credited to a University fund (FOAPAL)
Refunds typically originate from units providing services such as Residences, Athletics and the Executive Institute. Proof of the original payment and/or the calculation used to arrive at the refund amount is required as supporting documentation.
PR3.5. Subject Fees
Used when cheque payments are made directly to the subject (i.e. the participant in a research study). Supporting documentation is not required.

Such payments should not exceed $100 per person per day. Any subject fee payments exceeding this limit will be reviewed by Financial Services to ascertain whether they should be treated as employment income.
PR3.6. Living Allowances
Instances when the payment is made directly to the recipient (for which the nature and amount of the allowance is stipulated in granting agency guidelines). In this case, supporting documentation need not be provided.
PR3.7. Payments made on behalf of Trust Funds
Fund codes starting with ‘8’ are owned by affiliated yet legally separate entities, for which the University provides book-keeping services. It is not appropriate for trust funds purchases to be processed through a University formal purchase order or by PCard, therefore Payment Requests are the only means by which these separate entities can initiate payment to another 3rd party. Note: Personal Reimbursements charging a Trust Fund may be processed via Minerva Finance (Fund) Administration /Employee, Advances and Expense Reports menu.

PR4. Signing Authority

Authorization is required from the Fund Financial Manager of each FOAPAL charged. If the payee is the Fund Financial Manager or has a personal relationship with the Fund Financial Manager, their direct superior must sign the Payment Request form.

Authorization is typically provided in the form of a signature on the Payment Request form, but an attached memo providing consent may also accompany the Payment Request form. The correspondence must include the payee, amount and purpose. An email is also adequate if it is sent by the Fund Financial Manager or is acknowledged in a reply by the Fund Financial Manager.

The University’s Contracts and Signing Authority Regulations apply.

PR4.1. Temporary delegation
Delegation of approval is permitted during temporary absences of a person having normal signing authority. The delegate must be one of the following:

a) An academic, researcher or administrative staff member who possesses the necessary skills and knowledge for the effective exercise of signing authority.

b) Not the payee.

c) The superior of the regular signing authority (e.g. Dean for a Chair), in which case no written notification is required.

d) Named in an “acting” capacity for the position held by the normal signing authority (e.g. “acting” Chair or “acting” Director). This need not be a formal academic appointment as long as the “acting” individual is granted the equivalent status of the regular incumbent and will be performing all related duties.

The “acting” individual’s name must be provided in written form including a specimen of their signature, and the period of time for which the signature is valid (including start and end dates). The memo must be approved by the position’s superior (e.g. the Dean for an “acting” Chair). To avoid unnecessary delays, a copy of the written notification should be attached to each Payment Request.

e) In the case of research grants: Delegating grant holder authority to individuals for administrative convenience is not acceptable.

PR4.2. Permanent delegation
Permanent delegation of signing authority on Payment Requests is not permitted.

PR5. Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Finance Terms available in the Financial Services Knowledge Base

Payment Request form

Overview of Payment Methods (Knowledge Base article)

University’s Contracts and Signing Authority Regulations

Purchasing Guidelines

PCard Regulation

Reimbursement of Travel and Other Expenses Policy

Research Administration Roles and Responsibilities

Publication Date: November 29, 2006
Revision Date: February 24, 2017 - V

Related Memorandums, Announcements, and Revision Notes

February 24, 2017 – Version 1.4: Replaced the phrase “academic staff or administrative and support staff” with "academic, researcher, or administrative staff"; Updated policy name reference for the Reimbursement of Travel and Other Expenses Policy.

February 3, 2017 – Version 1.3: Replaced the labeling convention "P1., P2., etc." in the Procedures section to "PR1., PR2., etc.".

March 16, 2016 – Version 1.2: Replaced the phrase “faculty or staff” with “academic staff or administrative and support staff”.

May 9, 2013 - Announcement from Cristiane Tinmouth, Controller, Financial Services about Delegation of Temporary Signing Authority Procedures For All Fund Financial Managers | Channels News.

May 6, 2013 - Memorandum from Rose Goldstein and Michael Di Grappa about Research Administration and Accountability – Tri-Agency Recommendations - NEW DELEGATION MENU | Channels News | PDF version