Donations and Gifts

The terms “donation” and “gift” have different meanings at UBC depending on the context.


As a registered charity, UBC can only make donations to qualified donees. Qualified donees include registered charities, as well as organizations such as a registered Canadian amateur athletic association, registered Canadian municipalities, the United Nations or other various registered organizations.

Gifts (Tokens of Appreciation)

There is a long-standing tradition at UBC that members of faculty and staff voluntarily and spontaneously contribute funds toward gifts in honour of fellow members of faculty and staff. Nothing in this guideline is intended to discourage this tradition. Gifts offered to a visiting dignitary, donor, volunteer, member of Senate, member of the Council of Senates, member of the Board of Governors, or member of faculty or staff are meant as a symbolic gesture of respect. Such gifts must not exceed $100 for reimbursement, except with pre-approval by the Unit Head (i.e. Dean/VP level). For gifts offered as a formal courtesy prescribed by cultural heritage or established traditions, please refer to the UBC Indigenous Expense Guidelines. Approval from one administrative level higher is required. Gifts of alcohol or cannabis will not, however, be reimbursed by university funds. It is recommended to gift non-cash gifts, for example a book or UBC memorabilia (e.g. a jersey or sweatshirt) instead of a gift card, to recognize accomplishment and service. There are CRA rules in regards to giving gifts to donors who make donations to UBC. Please consult with Development and Alumni Engagement before making such gifts.

Gifts of near cash equivalents

The Unit Head is responsible for ensuring that information regarding gifts which are near cash equivalents (i.e. gift cards and gift certificates), including amount, gift date, and purpose, are submitted to UBC Payroll at the end of each calendar year. For employees, cash or near cash received is treated as taxable regular earnings, regardless of the value and must be reported to Payroll. For non-employees, cash or near cash receipts totaling more than $500 from each payer in a calendar year must be reported as earnings on a T4A. As such, UBC needs to obtain information, such as SIN, each time a non-incorporated supplier is set up in Workday so that we will have the necessary information for reporting purposes. Please refer to the UBC Indigenous Expense Guidelines for further information about collecting data from indigenous peoples.

Workday Context

UBC’s finance system, Workday, contains structures called "worktags" that help drive data classification, functionality, reporting, and analysis. Gifts, as referenced in the above Expenditure or Revenue contexts, can be tagged within Workday using worktags, including the "Gift Worktag", the "Grant Worktag" or the "Program Worktag". UBC’s Foundational Data Model includes definitions for these Worktags, and we have included the definitions for Gift Worktags below. For more information on the various worktags and how they apply, please refer to the Workday Finance 101 Foundations course available to all UBC faculty and staff.

  • Gift Worktag: Funding that can be an endowment or a donation that is not used to fund a capital project, and in which external reporting restrictions apply.
  • Gift Initiative Worktag:A level below a gift worktag in an Endowment Fund, and used when an Endowment Gift supports multiple initiatives.


In case of any discrepancy with this webpage, the full expense rules will always take precedent.