Purchasing Card Manual


The Purchasing Card (PCard) is a tool that allows VIU employees to make purchases on behalf of VIU, and for which VIU is liable.

It is expected that cardholders will exercise sound judgment and act responsibly when using their PCards.  As a publicly funded institution VIU is accountable for using funds responsibly. As such, this program and your PCard are monitored regularly by Financial Services, and PCard usage is subject to audit. 

Contact Numbers

Procurement and Contract Services

Phone Number

           Karmen Yee


          Arshad Ashraf


US Bank Canada Customer Service (all inquiries)


How the Program Works

The Purchasing Card is a convenient and efficient method of acquiring and paying for low value goods and services directly from vendors.  VIU has implemented a variety of controls for PCard usage, such as:

  • single-purchase dollar limit,
  • monthly limit,
  • merchant category code (MCC) restrictions
  • travel

Authority to Purchase

  • Department Responsibility — This delegation of authority comes with the responsibility for departments to observe all University policies and procedures relating to Purchases.
  • Cardholder Responsibilities 
  • Cardholders are responsible for the reconciliation process of their PCards.
  • Cardholders are to keep their PCards secure and the PCard number confidential. 
  • PCards are not transferrable. Only the person whose name appears on the PCard is authorized to use the PCard.
  • PCards are not to be used for personal purchases.
  • Lost or stolen PCards must be immediately reported to 1) US Bank 1-800-588-8065 (accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and 2) Procurement and Contract Services 250-740-6233 (or 6230). 

Criteria for Use

  • PCardholders — PCardholders are VIU employees authorized by their departmental Dean, Director, or Campus Principal (or Senior Executive) to make PCard purchases on behalf of the department.
  • Activation:
  • Complete and sign Agreement to accept a Purchasing Card.
  • Complete a brief training session on policies and procedures.
  • Agree to comply with all Purchasing Card Program policies and procedures.
  • Managing your PCard:
  • Obtain the original sales receipt at point of sale, online, and telephone orders
  • Verify each transaction for accuracy and validity
  • Reconcile your PCard, attach original itemized sales receipts (note that the credit card slip from a restaurant is not sufficient as details are not included) to the reconciliation statement, submit for signature, and deliver to Procurement and Contract Services within the specified timeline.
  • Call US Bank Canada directly 1-800-588-8065 to settle any fraudulent activity or to dispute a transaction posted on your PCard statement. 
  • Notify Procurement and Contract Services of any changes to your name, telephone number, or department.
  • Return the PCard to the Dean, Director, or Campus Principal upon transfer, leave of absence, termination, or retirement, or at the request of the University.

PCard Controls and Restrictions

Adjustments to Controls and Restrictions can only be made with authorization from the department’s Dean, Director, or Campus Principal (or Senior Executive) and is subject to further approval by the  Manager of Procurement Operations.

  • Monthly Transaction Limit — The monthly credit limit ($5000) is the maximum dollar amount authorized for a PCardholder within the 30-day billing cycle. 
  • Single-transaction limit — The standard single-transaction limit is $1,000. per day, per vendor and is inclusive of applicable taxes, shipping, and exchange.  The splitting of transactions in order to circumvent these limits is not allowed—it is a misuse of the purchasing card and will result in cancellation of the PCard.
  • Travel Use — PCards that are authorized for travel may be used at travel related vendors such as transportation and travel companies, restaurants, hotels, etc.  Original itemized receipts are required for all purchases. 

Purchasing of these goods and services must conform to the Policy 42.08 Reimbursement of Travel and Other Expenses.

International travel requires written Executive pre-approval which must be attached to your PCard report.

Examples of Purchasing Card Usage

  • Subscriptions, seminars, single books (as per University policy 52.01, not for resale or other course-related materials), video tapes/DVDs, except where paid from Faculty contractual Professional Development funds (recall that Faculty PD funds cannot be spent with the PCard).
  • Catering and food items
  • Retreat bookings
  • Department specific, one-off purchases of small dollar value
  • Miscellaneous Department supplies except stationery supplies (stationery is to be ordered through the institutional contract)
  • Miscellaneous equipment maintenance and/or repair requirements
  • Maintenance expenses not provided by University departments
  • Short term rentals
  • Motor fuel for University vehicles, and emergency repair with prior authorization from budget holder

Purchasing Card Uses Not Allowed

  • PCards are not to be used for purchases on campus. e.g. Bookstore, Campus Recreation, Cafeterias, Starbucks, Discovery Room, Student Residences, tuition
  • VIU parking passes, fines, or other violations
  • Gift cards of any kind
  • Any item exceeding the authorized single transaction limit - splitting of orders (charging an order as 2 or more transactions to avoid transaction limits) is forbidden and will result in your PCard being cancelled
  • Any product, or service normally considered to be inappropriate use of University funds
  • Any goods or services using Faculty contractual Professional Development funds
  • Capital equipment of any kind
  • Furniture of any kind, including small dollar value items, without the prior authorization of the Purchasing Manager
  • Equipment such as heaters or air conditioners
  • Computer hardware including PCs, laptops, monitors, and any other IT related item
  • Computer software
  • Liquor, cash advances and personal services
  • Automotive repairs
  • Course related materials (books & supplies) as per Policy 52.01
  • Purchase of goods for re-sale to students or others (includes items “included” in course fees) per Policy 52.01
  • Services provided by VIU departments including Facilities, IT, or Printing and Duplicating (or other departments identified in Procedure 42.31.001)
  • Cell phones or other Smart Phones
  • Maintenance contracts
  • Staffing – temporary help
  • Purchase of hazardous materials of any type
  • Extended rentals or leases
  • Laboratory and research animals
  • Payment for student registration/fees (such as Athletics)
  • Drugs/Pharmaceuticals
  • Firearms
  • Donations

Purchasing Method Options

The following section provides various options available for purchasing goods with a PCard.

  1. Placing an order by PHONE or FAX
    1. Inform the supplier that you are ordering on your VIU PCard.
    2. Provide your name as it appears on the PCard, the PCard number, and expiry date.
    3. Give accurate delivery information, including:
  • Contact Name
  • Department
  • Building and Room number
  • Phone Number
  • Purchasing Goods ONLINE
  1. The ordering site must be encrypted or protected, such as a trusted SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate (i.e. the address window must start with https://) to ensure security of your PCard number and order information.
  2. Provide your name as it appears on the PCard, the PCard number, and expiry date.
  3. Give accurate delivery information, including:
  • Contact Name
  • Department
  • Building and Room number
  • Phone Number

Shipping: All shipments are to be sent directly to VIU and not to personal addresses. 

Remember to ask the vendor if the price quoted includes shipping.  Courier accounts with DHL and Purolator are available to VIU Departments. Please contact Procurement and Contract Services for courier account numbers.

Purchasing Goods from outside Canada

Please notify Procurement and Contract Services and the University’s customs broker—Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. - when ordering goods from outside Canada.  This information is required by Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. to clear the goods crossing the border.

  • Purchases Made From Outside Canada - When ordering goods from outside Canada please notify Procurement and Contract Services and Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd., Phone: 1-866-778-4460 at the time of purchase.  You will be asked to provide the vendor name, phone number, product being ordered, its value, and a brief description.

 The following Vendor information is required by Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. to clear the goods crossing the border.

Request that the Vendor:

Write "Credit Card Purchase" on the outside of the package and request that the vendor include this information of the commercial documentation accompanying the shipment.

      1. List your contact information on all documents including your name, phone number, department name, building and room number, the last 4 digits of your PCard, plus the name of the university customs broker – Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd.
      2. Clearly mark all export documents with the Vendor and Purchaser’s addresses, Importer of record, country of origin, product quantity (packages and weight), HS classification to 6 digits if possible, description, value (unit price and extension), settlement currency, and condition of sale. 
      3. Enclose a detailed sales receipt and packing slip in the package as supporting documentation for your PCard statement.
      4. Forward a Proforma Invoice to Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. Email: pars@taco.ca or Fax 1-877-262-8226
      5. Fill out a Canada Customs Invoice form and USMCA/CUSMA certification and submit to Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. (Point 5 is for goods shipped from the United States and Mexico only)

These forms are required by Canada Customs for immediate clearance of the goods and to ensure no extra cost to your department.  Extra brokerage charges and fines due to incomplete information will be charged to your department’s cost centre.

Customs, Duty and Taxes

If an order is from out of country, applicable duty and/or taxes will be incurred in one of the following ways:

  1. VIA the University’s Customs Broker:
  • All courier shipments requiring customs clearance are forwarded to Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd., Phone 1-866-778-4460, Fax: 1-877-262-8226, and can be emailed to prealerts@taco.ca, and should be accompanied by Tracking number and copy of the commercial invoice (if available). This information is required by Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. to clear the goods crossing the border.
  • VIA Canada Post
  • VIA the courier that the vendor has used (such as UPS or FedEx) – charges may be C.O.D. with payment made with a PCard

Your department will be charged for all freight and brokerage fees associated with your order and any return(s) related to your order.

Use the following link to complete forms when returning items to a vendor in the USA.

If you require assistance , please contact consulting@taco.ca

Monthly Reconciliations

The PCard Reconciliation System is a web-based application that provides the Cardholder with the ability to preview, verify, split, and re-allocate the cost of their purchases on-line. 

The billing cycle closes on the 24th of each month (fluctuating only if the 24th falls on a weekend).

Cardholders must reconcile and deliver their PCard reconciliation statement to Procurement and Contract Services within the timeline stated in the monthly PCard reconciliation email.

A log is kept of delinquent Cardholders. The Manager of Procurement Operations will email a final reminder to Cardholders who have not submitted multiple PCard statements on time. Failure to reconcile and submit (with all supporting documentation) any future PCard statements to Procurement and Contract Services within the timeline stated in the monthly PCard reconciliation email, will result in a 3 month PCard suspension or cancellation of the PCard.