CEP – Lifelong Learning
From the desk of Rev. Paul Gehrs
What qualifies for CEP?
Some members have the impression that the ELCIC reviews every CEP expense reimbursement request looking for an excuse not to pay out. The truth is that the ELCIC wants more members to use funds to engage in more educational experiences. CEP funds are to be used for education experiences that enhance a person’s capacity to do their job. Study could be on subjects that maintain, or upgrade skills directly related to specific employment responsibilities; or general matters relating to employment, such as “time management” or “how to supervise volunteers.” As well, a wide variety of
formats are eligible: classes, seminars, conferences, and lessons/coaching for an individual or small group.
Spiritual direction, for example, would qualify for CEP as one type of coaching for an individual, as long as an employer agrees it relates to job responsibilities. From the perspective of the ELCIC, we are in favour of members enhancing skills as facilitators of prayer.
While CEP will cover tuition/registration costs, it is easy to forget that travel, accommodation and meals cost are legitimate education costs. This means that travel costs to attend a school, seminary or conference centre for an appropriate learning experience may be submitted.
With regard to travel tours and independent learning, it is possible to use CEP funds when some additional documentation is provided to demonstrate that the learning experience relates to employment responsibilities.
The requested documentation is:
• Employer provides a 1 to 2 sentence written summary of what the employee is
expected to learn.
• Member/employee identifies daily learning goals and keeps a journal of how each
day’s experience is relevant in their ministry context.
Using this format, members have visited the Holy Land, toured Reformation sites in Germany, traveled with CLWR and walked the Camino trail. All of the above must qualify as eligible education expenses within the interpretation of
the Income Tax Act (Canada). CRA does not allow expenses to be paid from this fund that it considers to be for personal interest or wellness.
What does qualify is a wide range of education experiences that enhance your capacity to do your job. GSI is available to support you in using CEP funds to meet your learning goals.