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Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 2021-22 Departmental Plan

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada,
represented by the Minister of Industry, 2021

Cat. No. CR1-13E-PDF
ISSN 2371-8080

Departmental Plan 2021-22

(PDF, 454 KB)

The Honourable Navdeep Bains

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) are working to position Canada as an innovation leader on the global stage by fostering a diverse, growing, competitive and sustainable economy that benefits all Canadians.

While our government’s priority continues to be fighting COVID-19 and protecting Canadians’ health and safety, we are committed to fostering conditions for investment, enhancing Canadian innovation, and driving growth in key sectors. Together, we will strengthen the Canadian economy and restore consumer confidence through strategic actions, including investing in training for workers, and supporting Canadian businesses as they adapt and grow in a knowledge-based economy.

SSHRC is making tremendous progress in implementing Budget 2018 and Budget 2019 measures. The priorities of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee are also being fulfilled. Equity, diversity and inclusion measures that reduce systemic barriers and biases experienced by underrepresented groups in research also support a more innovative economy. The New Frontiers in Research Fund continues to fund international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk research. Strengthening Indigenous research to improve outcomes for the benefit of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples is advancing reconciliation. I am excited to see this work continue to advance through enhanced coordination among the funding agencies.

Finally, in tackling some of today’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, we will continue to invest in science and research. We will also ensure that federal research is fully available to the public; that researchers can freely share their work; and that evidence-based approaches are utilized when making decisions. In doing so, we will facilitate the kind of new discoveries made by Canada’s leading researchers and academics.

Together with Canadians of all backgrounds, regions and generations, we are building a strong culture of innovation to position Canada as a leader in the global economy. For more information, it is our pleasure to present the 2021-22 Departmental Plan for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Ted Hewitt

Social sciences and humanities research and training have a vital role to play in today’s rapidly evolving world, not only to confront ongoing global threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the realities of racism and discrimination, but also to help build resilient and prosperous communities. Guided by our strategic plan, SSHRC’s mission is to fund world-leading research that addresses these and other challenges, building pathways toward a better future for Canadians and others around the world.

For over four decades, SSHRC has worked diligently to ensure Canada’s social sciences and humanities research is internationally competitive by delivering a highly varied and impactful array of interdisciplinary and international research initiatives. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, administered by SSHRC, has developed some of these initiatives. One example is the New Frontiers in Research Fund, which this past year launched its International stream to support multidisciplinary research linking Canadian researchers to partners abroad. SSHRC puts research results to use by effectively promoting knowledge transfer in all of our funding programs. This includes special initiatives such as our highly regarded Imagining Canada’s Future initiative, which this year will focus on critical topics like the circular economy and the emerging asocial society.

In addition, SSHRC works to develop Canada’s highly skilled researchers and innovative thinkers at all stages of their careers. This year, we will expand our efforts on this front by collaborating with other federal research funding agencies to develop and implement measures that further support graduate students and early career researchers. Furthermore, SSHRC will continue to collaborate with government partners to fund rapid-response research on the novel coronavirus, plus develop the necessary tools and resources to combat it. Beyond this, SSHRC will build the capacity of the social sciences and humanities research community to develop innovative measures that support Canada’s recovery from COVID-19 in the years ahead.

SSHRC will also sustain the strong commitment to equitable access to research funding and a more inclusive research community through the ongoing implementation of the Tri-agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Moreover, we will continue to lead the implementation of the tri-agency strategic plan, Setting New Directions to Support Indigenous Research and Research Training in Canada. To guide this work, as well as other Indigenous research initiatives, the agencies put in place a Reference Group for the Appropriate Review of Indigenous Research and an Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research.

Our efforts to modernize SSHRC’s operations are crucial for achieving our goals. In the coming year, we will finalize the discovery phase for a new tri-agency grants management solution and begin the implementation phase. This will bring us closer to our goal of having a more efficient, interoperable and accessible system that meets the standards of excellence expected by Canada’s research community.

With plans to move offices to a new location in fall 2021, we will ensure SSHRC employees have the tools and resources needed to maintain their health and well-being, as we continue to adapt to a changing work environment.

SSHRC’s dedicated employees are committed to fulfilling the objectives and activities set out in this year’s Departmental Plan, as we continue to support the innovative ideas and solutions needed to ensure the well-being of Canadians, today and in the future.

Ted Hewitt, PhD

Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) achieves its departmental results through support for training, investigator-led research, research partnerships and knowledge mobilization delivered through SSHRC-specific programs and through tri-agency programs delivered on behalf of the three federal research granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC itself. Through grants, fellowships and scholarships, SSHRC helps to make Canada’s social sciences and humanities research—and indeed all disciplines—internationally competitive, to provide the country with a pool of highly skilled and diverse people in these fields, and to ensure that research knowledge is used to benefit Canada and the world.

SSHRC developed a 2020-22 strategic plan to maintain the momentum it built over the past five years and to help it navigate the uncertainty and upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and address the pressing challenges of racism and social justice.

In 2021-22, SSHRC will continue to work with the other federal granting agencies to advance excellence by fostering an inclusive approach to research and improving support for the next generation of scientists and scholars. SSHRC will continue implementing the Tri-agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and the Tri-agency Early Career Researcher Action Plan, while improving the effectiveness of its programs. Work will also continue through the tri-agency New Frontiers in Research Fund to build Canadian strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research, enhance opportunities for Canadian researchers to collaborate with international partners, and explore opportunities to support research in the context of the COVID-19 recovery.

SSHRC will also continue to work with CIHR, NSERC, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples to strengthen Indigenous research capacity by implementing the strategic plan, Setting New Directions to Support Indigenous Research and Research Training in Canada 2019-2022. We will build on existing activities and launch new initiatives to further support Indigenous research and research training. This includes launching the Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research, whose role will be to advise on implementing the strategic plan.

As part of its Imagining Canada’s Future initiative, SSHRC will continue to mobilize social sciences and humanities research on emerging and future challenge areas to inform policy development and decision-making across all sectors. It will also continue to expand partnerships with other government departments and agencies to harness the insights and expertise of Canada’s research community on key public policy issues.

Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research

The Research Support Fund supports strong university and college environments by reimbursing a portion of the indirect costs incurred by recipients of federally funded research grants. This helps postsecondary institutions offer their researchers world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support.

In 2021-22, SSHRC will implement the management response to the 15th-year evaluation of the Research Support Fund including implementing a communications plan, outreach activities and a new outcome reporting tool.

Internal Services

Internal Services refers to the activities and resources that support program delivery in the organization. In 2021-22, SSHRC will continue to advance corporate initiatives, including moving to a new location and renewing its workplace in alignment with Government of Canada workplace standards; supporting SSHRC’s workforce with integrated and updated people management strategies and action plans; further leveraging opportunities to become a more agile organization; and implementing the tri-agency grants management solution, which will be a single platform for applying to the three federal research funding agencies.

For more information on SSHRC’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Core responsibilities: planned results and resources” section of this report.

This section contains detailed information on the department’s planned results and resources for each of its core responsibilities.

Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training

Description

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), through grants, fellowships and scholarships, promotes and supports research and research training in the social sciences and humanities to develop talent, generate insights and build connections in pursuit of social, cultural and economic outcomes for Canadians.

Planning highlights

SSHRC supports a social sciences and humanities research community of over 24,600 full-time university professors and over 83,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers—representing roughly 43% of Canada’s university researchers. Through the delivery of its own agency-specific programs and several tri-agency programs delivered on behalf of the three federal research granting agencies, SSHRC awards more than 2,300 new research grants and nearly 2,900 scholarships and fellowships each year. These are awarded through an independent merit review process designed to ensure the highest standards of excellence and impartiality. The resulting research aims to create knowledge that addresses complex societal and scientific questions that contribute to resolving national and international challenges.

In 2021-22, SSHRC will continue to support training, investigator-led research and research partnerships in the humanities and social sciences, and in interdisciplinary research, while also continuing to collaborate across the research ecosystem—that is, postsecondary institutions, the research community, funding organizations, and other government, private and not-for-profit sectors—to support initiatives that benefit and contribute to ensuring a better future for Canadians.

Through tri-agency programs that SSHRC delivers on behalf of the three federal research granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC itself, SSHRC also supports research and research training across all disciplines. SSHRC will continue to foster an inclusive approach to research and training, and to strengthen the research ecosystem and its contribution to Canada’s post-COVID-19 recovery and ongoing resilience. In support of the commitment of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee to strengthen Canada’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, SSHRC will continue to collaborate with CIHR and NSERC to direct federal support to help sustain the research community, fund rapid-response research, and enable forward-looking, evidence-based decisions in government. Business processes and operations will continue to be modernized to support the remote-first work context resulting from the global pandemic. SSHRC will also continue to support the well-being and capacity of its employees in the new work context by ensuring that its employees have access to adequate health and wellness supports, training, technology information and data to support a healthy work environment.

Departmental Result 1: Canada’s social sciences and humanities research is internationally competitive

International collaborations provide Canadian researchers with the opportunity to benefit from international knowledge while also enhancing Canada’s reputation as a global centre for research excellence. SSHRC will continue existing collaborations, such as the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative launched in 2019-20, the Open Research Area partnership with the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands, and the Trans-Atlantic Platform, which includes 18 funding agencies from around the world, while also pursuing new opportunities.

The tri-agency New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) supports research that is international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk/high-reward. This program, along with SSHRC Partnership grants, allows projects to include international co-applicants or co-principal investigators, directly supporting both international collaborations and Canada’s international competitiveness.

In 2021-22, SSHRC will continue to advance NFRF funding opportunities to support achievement of the first departmental result, that Canada’s research is internationally competitive. Owing to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeline for the first competition of the Transformation stream was extended into 2021-22. Results will be announced in 2021-22, with grants awarded to support large-scale, Canadian-led, world-leading interdisciplinary research projects with the potential for significant impact. Grants will also be awarded for the Global Platform under the NFRF International stream, with work ongoing to develop joint initiatives with international granting agencies for this stream.

Departmental Result 2: Canada has a pool of diverse and highly skilled people in the social sciences and humanities

In 2021-22, SSHRC will continue to explore improvements to the suite of programs it administers to better support a diverse community of researchers across all career stages. Collaborations with CIHR and NSERC on the implementation of the Tri-agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan will continue. Details of SSHRC’s EDI-related initiatives are discussed in the “Gender-based analysis plus” section below.

In line with the Setting New Directions to Support Indigenous Research and Research Training in Canada 2019-2022 strategic plan, work will continue on a series of mechanisms seeking to further build and strengthen relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples; support the research priorities of Indigenous Peoples; increase access for Indigenous Peoples to agencies’ program funding; and champion Indigenous leadership, self-determination and capacity-building in research. This includes the creation of the Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research. In 2021-22, SSHRC plans to launch at least one new targeted funding opportunity and expand eligibility of Indigenous organizations to apply to existing funding instruments.

In 2021-22, SSHRC will continue to work with the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, CIHR and NSERC to implement the Early Career Researcher (ECR) Action Plan and monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on young researchers. For instance, efforts to enhance reporting standards to accurately measure the success of ECRs and trainees in academia will continue. In addition, SSHRC will closely monitor the impact of temporary measures implemented in 2020-21 to extend eligibility periods to take into consideration pandemic-related research interruptions of ECRs. These extensions will ensure that ECRs can continue to benefit from ECR targeted programs and policies such as the NFRF 2020 Exploration stream, the 2021 Insight Development Grants and Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs.

In collaboration with CIHR and NSERC, and under the auspices of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, in 2021-22, SSHRC will continue efforts to improve and harmonize the support to trainees across all disciplines in Canada. This work will focus on improving and streamlining program design in order to better support skill acquisition and international collaboration and integrated EDI considerations.

Departmental Result 3: Canada’s social sciences and humanities research knowledge is used

SSHRC’s commitment to ensuring a better future for Canadians is reflected in how the agency enables the exchange of knowledge among researchers—and across academia and society as a whole—to enhance intellectual, cultural, social and economic benefit to Canada. SSHRC will engage with stakeholders in the research community and in government to support the Tri-agency Research Data Management Policy and to position itself within the evolving policy context for Open Science more generally.

SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative is one way the agency accelerates the exchange and use of research results. Through engagement with key stakeholders, SSHRC will review and re-validate the global challenges identified in a 2018 foresight exercise and then use them to prioritize a series of funding opportunities for 2022-2026. In partnership and collaboration with external organizations—across government, academic, private and/or not-for-profit organizations—SSHRC will also facilitate the mobilization of research and talent to inform decision-making and policy-making on key issues. Planned initiatives for 2021-22 include a dedicated knowledge synthesis grants competition on the future challenge area of the Emerging Asocial Society; two national forums to address the topics of Skills and Work in the Digital Economy, in partnership with the Future Skills Centre, and of Mobility and Public Transit, in partnership with Infrastructure Canada. In addition, collaborations with partners such as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on the Housing Research Scholarship Program to build Canadian expertise in housing research and Public Safety Canada and Canadian Heritage on the Joint Initiative for Digital Citizen Research on the topic of online disinformation, will continue in 2021-22. New opportunities for collaborations to benefit Canadians will also be pursued.

Gender-based analysis plus

As part of SSHRC’s continued commitment to advancing EDI, several initiatives are planned for 2021-22 that integrate gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) and EDI perspectives to promote inclusive outcomes for Canadians.

SSHRC will continue to implement the Tri-agency Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to increase EDI in its programs and in the research ecosystem more broadly. SSHRC will continue to build on its commitment to integrate EDI/GBA+ considerations when developing or modifying policies and programs. To integrate EDI considerations into assessing research excellence, SSHRC will pilot new EDI-related questions and requirements in research design and research practice in proposed projects in select research training and grants programs. SSHRC will also continue work begun in 2020-21 to understand how anti-Black racism may affect its programs and operations, and to take action where possible to address those, informed by meaningful dialogue with community stakeholders and SSHRC employees. SSHRC will develop an action plan for implementing the Accessible Canada Act where it affects SSHRC policies and programs.

Self-identification Questionnaire for Applicants and Merit Review Committee Members
  • SSHRC will work collaboratively with the other federal research funding agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation to continue the launch of a revised self-identification questionnaire for applicants and merit review committee members.
  • The changes will strengthen alignment with best practices and respond to feedback from the research community while improving SSHRC’s ability to monitor and promote equitable access to its funding.
  • SSHRC will also use data from the questionnaire to monitor the possible impacts of COVID-19 on the participation of underrepresented groups (those who identify as being women, LGBTQ2+, Indigenous or a member of a visible minority, or as having a disability) in research funding programs.

Further, SSHRC’s Evaluation Division will continue to conduct program evaluations using a GBA+ protocol that includes standardized evaluation sub-questions and data collection tools to identify any potential differential impacts of SSHRC’s programs with respect to research, research training and research careers. This protocol will be used in the evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program in 2021-22.

The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, a division of SSHRC that administers seven tri-agency programs on behalf of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, will continue to implement and monitor the requirements of the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement for the Canada Research Chairs Program. Participating institutions will be required to set and implement equity targets, principally based on Canada’s population, to address the underrepresentation of individuals from the four designated groups.

United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SSHRC will continue to fund research and training that address the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SSHRC’s support for research around education, including inequities in access and the elimination of gender disparities, promotes SDG 4—quality education—by helping to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. As well, through its funding, SSHRC aims to mobilize social sciences and humanities research to address emerging economic, societal and knowledge needs for Canada in support of SDG 9—industry, innovation and infrastructure—to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. As noted earlier, SSHRC will also organize two dedicated national forums on global challenges to foster knowledge mobilization, networking and partnerships among the academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors to help inform effective decision-making in support of the SDGs. One will focus on skills and work in the digital economy, and the other on mobility and public transit.

Experimentation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SSHRC delayed the launch of the Imagining Canada’s Future Ideas Lab from 2020-21 to 2021-22. This two-year pilot project is designed to stimulate and fund innovative interdisciplinary research collaborations on the topic of the circular economy, using an experimental approach that features iterative and collaborative proposal development and adjudication. At the end of the pilot, participating teams will have a fully developed project proposal and be positioned to seek additional funding from established competitions, while SSHRC will have gained experience with new research design and merit review processes. The project also intends to foster collaboration with other national and international research funding agencies.

In 2021-22, SSHRC will launch with CIHR and NSERC, a pilot interdisciplinary peer review mechanism to strengthen support for investigator-led research that spans agencies’ mandate boundaries. Results from this pilot are expected to complement existing funding opportunities and ensure that the agencies can support the full range of research disciplines in Canada while reducing the administrative burden on applicants.

Planned results for Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training
Departmental result Departmental result indicator Target Date to achieve target 2017-18 actual result 2018-19 actual result 2019-20 actual result
Canada’s social sciences and humanities research is internationally competitive Canada’s rank among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations on the citation score of social sciences and humanities research publications In the top 10 March 2022 13 12 19
Percentage of funded projects involving international collaborations Minimum 65% March 2022 73% 70% 68%
Number of research projects funded jointly by SSHRC and international partner(s) Minimum 9 March 2022 7 15 17
Canada has a pool of diverse and highly skilled people in the social sciences and humanities Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as women Minimum 61%* March 2022 Not available (N/A)† N/A† 61%
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as visible minorities Minimum 16%* March 2022 N/A† N/A† 16%
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as Indigenous Peoples Minimum 4%* March 2022 N/A† N/A† 4%
Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as persons with disabilities Minimum 4%* March 2022 N/A† N/A† 4%
Number of research trainees supported through grants Minimum 7,700 March 2022 4,380 8,948 9,778
Number of research trainees supported by SSHRC through scholarships and fellowships Minimum 4,000 March 2022 4,417 4,384 4,621
Percentage of funded research trainees that go on to work in a research position Minimum 60% March 2022 N/A‡ 68% 59%
Canada’s social sciences and humanities research knowledge is used Funding from non-academic partners for research projects Minimum $31,500,000 March 2022 $26,546,027 $35,185,921 $41,389,331
Number of non-academic partners in research projects Minimum 700 March 2022 533 824 869
Percentage of grants reporting non-academic collaborator(s) in the research process 65% March 2022 71% 70% 74%
Percentage of funded projects reporting socioeconomic outcomes for Canadians Minimum 70% March 2022 80% 78% 78%

Notes:

* A preliminary target has been set based on the 2019-20 result. A more robust target-setting exercise will be undertaken once more data are available.

† Data for only the current year are available for these new 2021-22 indicators.

‡ Complete data for this indicator became available starting 2018-19, when a new data collection tool was launched.

Financial, human resources and performance information for SSHRC’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned budgetary financial resources for Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training
2021-22 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2021-22
planned spending
2022-23
planned spending
2023-24
planned spending
$560,220,669 $560,220,669 $582,372,079 $575,508,144

Financial, human resources and performance information for SSHRC’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned human resources for Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training
2021-22
planned full-time equivalents
2022-23
planned full-time equivalents
2023-24
planned full-time equivalents
179 179 179

Financial, human resources and performance information for SSHRC’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research

Description

SSHRC, on behalf of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, provides financial support to universities, colleges and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes to reimburse a portion of indirect costs associated with the funded research.

Planning highlights

Through this core responsibility, SSHRC continues to deliver on its departmental result: Canada’s university and college research environments are strong. Every year, the federal government supports research in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, and social sciences and the humanities through its three research funding agencies. The Research Support Fund reinforces this investment by helping postsecondary institutions maintain the equipment, facilities and administrative support needed to foster a strong, world-class research environment, which in turn ensures that researchers are provided with the necessary space and support at institutions to undertake high-quality multidisciplinary research. Through the Incremental Project Grants stream of the Research Support Fund, eligible institutions can receive additional support for projects that focus on priority areas.

Departmental Result 4: Canada’s university and college research environments are strong

SSHRC will implement the management response to the 15th-year evaluation of the Research Support Fund. This includes implementing a communications plan and outreach activities to improve the communication of the program’s goals and to highlight its results, and implementing a new outcome reporting tool that incorporates some of the suggested measures and improvements highlighted in the evaluation. The evaluation included interviews with institutions on how to balance the need to collect institutional and system-wide performance data with the desire to reduce the administrative reporting burden.

Planned results for Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research
Departmental result Departmental result indicator Target Date to achieve target 2017-18 actual result 2018-19 actual result 2019-20 actual result
Canada’s university and college research environments are strong Total percentage of funds invested in research facilities 25%-35% March 2022 30% 33% 32%
Total percentage of funds invested in management and administration 30%-40% March 2022 33% 34% 32%
Average number of Canadian institutions among the top 250 of international university rankings Minimum 10 March 2022 11 11 10

Financial, human resources and performance information for SSHRC’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned budgetary financial resources for Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research
2021-22 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2021-22
planned spending
2022-23
planned spending
2023-24
planned spending
$428,055,944 $428,055,944 $428,062,849 $428,071,120

Financial, human resources and performance information for SSHRC’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Planned human resources for Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research
2021-22
planned full-time equivalents
2022-23
planned full-time equivalents
2023-24
planned full-time equivalents
4 4 4

Financial, human resources and performance information for SSHRC’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of Programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct services that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. These services are:

  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Communications Services
  • Legal Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Real Property Management Services
  • Materiel Management Services
  • Acquisition Management Services

Planning highlights

To effectively and efficiently execute its mandate, SSHRC must remain a nimble, responsive and adaptive organization, one that ensures the well-being and productivity of its employees in a changing work environment. Focus for 2021-22 will be on the following activities:

  • Renewing the workplace—In 2021-22, SSHRC will move to a new office location that aligns with the GCworkplace standard. Many of the preparations for this change were accelerated by COVID-19 and the transition to remote work. However, the transition remains an opportunity to further progress, adopting new ways of working anytime, anywhere while maintaining the collaboration that makes SSHRC effective. The physical move also requires substantial efforts across the agency, as it completes the transition to a fully digital (i.e., paperless) organization.
  • Supporting SSHRC’s workforce—Knowing that achieving results depends on skilled and dedicated staff, SSHRC has multiple initiatives designed to create an environment where diverse employees can thrive. This includes establishing a safe workplace team, a diversity and inclusion strategy, and an internal accessibility strategy.
  • Becoming more agile—Over the past few years, the rate of change in the Canadian research context has increased. In 2021-22, SSHRC will focus on building its own flexibility and agility to respond to these changes. This includes improving processes for allocation (and rapid reallocation) of resources, and upgrading its information management and information technology infrastructure.
  • Implementing the tri-agency grants management solution—The three federal research granting agencies’ existing grants management systems operate on dated technologies and are limited in their ability to adapt to the changing needs of both the research community and the agencies themselves. As such, SSHRC will continue working with CIHR and NSERC to develop the tri-agency grants management solution. By taking a user-centric approach, there is an opportunity to modernize grants management and meet the standards of excellence that the Canadian research community and tri-agency staffs expect in terms of efficiency, interoperability, accessibility and usability. In 2021-22, consultations with both internal and external stakeholders will continue as the agencies obtain the necessary Treasury Board project, expenditure and contract authorities, and the initiative advances toward the selection of an industry partner.
  • Engaging stakeholders—Stakeholder engagement activities in 2021-22 will feature new tools and business processes to strengthen the planning, coordination, implementation and reporting of these activities.

Key risks

In developing its priorities for 2021-22, SSHRC identified a number of key risks that could affect the achievement of its planned results. A few examples of mitigation strategies are provided below for each risk:

  • The risk that, as a result of the challenges and opportunities presented from COVID-19 and from the remote-first work context, SSHRC might not be able to effectively allocate its limited resources or manage workloads to adequately respond to internal and external pressures or to support priority areas.
    • To mitigate this risk, SSHRC will continue to strengthen systems, processes and the fundamental tools of governance, including the link between resource management and corporate planning; to integrate strategic planning, the results framework and the multiyear resource management plan; and to modernize the human resources client services model to improve integration among various services and to clarify roles and responsibilities.
  • The risk that SSHRC might not be able to effectively manage change and to effectively adapt and implement the changes needed to address new technologies, organizational growth, new collaborations, new program directions and external factors affecting the organization.
    • To mitigate this risk, SSHRC will continue to ensure that dedicated change management strategies and resources are included in all major projects; to provide opportunities to assess ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on SSHRC operations; and to remove, adjust or add planned activities, as necessary, through integrated planning.
  • The risk that SSHRC might not be able to manage challenges to its reputation resulting from the implementation of transformative changes in its operations as well as the impacts on programs and service delivery, including time-sensitive, high-profile COVID-19 emergency funding.
    • To mitigate this risk, SSHRC will ensure that consultation and engagement plans are implemented for key initiatives and will develop engagement activities featuring new tools and business processes to strengthen the planning, coordination, implementation and reporting of stakeholder engagement activities to support corporate priorities.
  • The risk that SSHRC might not be able to ensure continuity of all business operations due to internal considerations, including the inability of the suite of legacy information management and information technology to support new operations that require new programs or substantive changes to existing programs, or due to external environmental considerations such as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recovery period.
    • To mitigate this risk, SSHRC will continue to stabilize the aging systems and platforms while developing new solutions and planning for data migration to ensure business continuity when the new solutions are implemented. In addition, priorities and commitments for the year will also be re-evaluated at specific times during the year to narrow their scope as needed to account for possible staff capacity constraints.
Planned budgetary financial resources for Internal Services
2021-22 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2021-22
planned spending
2022-23
planned spending
2023-24
planned spending
$17,173,827 $17,173,827 $18,232,005 $18,402,060
Planned human resources for Internal Services
2021-22
planned full-time equivalents
2022-23
planned full-time equivalents
2023-24
planned full-time equivalents
121 121 121

This section provides an overview of the department’s planned spending and human resources for the next three consecutive fiscal years and compares planned spending for the upcoming year with the current and previous years’ actual spending.

Planned spending

Departmental spending 2018-19 to 2023-24

The following graphs present planned (voted and statutory) spending over time.

Figure 1
Description of Figure 1

Description of SSHRC expenditures from 2018-19 to 2023-24: Departmental Spending Trend Graph—SSHRC (excluding Research Support Fund)

This bar graph shows the spending trend for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in millions of dollars, for fiscal years 2018-19 to 2023-24. It does not include spending on the Research Support Fund.

The y-axis shows dollar values. The scale begins at 0 dollars and goes to 1,200 million dollars, in increments of 200 million.

The six bars each represent a fiscal year: 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Each bar shows the spending broken down by statutory and voted program funding.

SSHRC’s spending (minus the Research Support Fund) over the period, by fiscal year, is listed in a table below the graph as follows:

  • 2018-19: 476 million dollars, broken down by 3 million in statutory funding and 473 million in voted funding
  • 2019-20: 534 million dollars, broken down by 4 million in statutory funding and 530 million in voted funding
  • 2020-21: 1,025 million dollars, broken down by 362 million in statutory funding and 663 million in voted funding
  • 2021-22: 577 million dollars, broken down by 4 million in statutory funding and 573 million in voted funding
  • 2022-23: 601 million dollars, broken down by 4 million in statutory funding and 597 million in voted funding
  • 2023-24: 594 million dollars, broken down by 4 million in statutory funding and 590 million in voted funding

This spending includes tri-agency funding that supports projects in social sciences and humanities disciplines as well as the entire budget for the New Frontiers in Research Fund, which supports projects across all disciplines but is included in SSHRC reference levels.

In 2020-21, SSHRC had access to the statutory fund entitled Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act. This was in support of two COVID relief funding initiatives:

  • $50.7 million for payments to support students and youth, of which $32.2 million was used before access to the fund expired on September 30, 2020.
  • $450 million for payments to universities and researchers through the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund. Before access to the fund expired on December 31, 2020, SSHRC paid out about $325 million from the statutory fund. The remaining payments of $125 million will be paid from a voted authority under a listed grant with the same name as the program.

After the reduction of the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund and other emergency funding in 2020-21, regular planned spending will increase. In 2023-24, voted funding decreases due to sun-setting of some programs.

Figure 2
Description of Figure 2

Description of SSHRC expenditures related to the Research Support Fund from 2018-19 to 2023-24: Departmental Spending Trend Graph—Research Support Fund

This bar graph shows the spending trend for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in millions of dollars, for fiscal years 2018-19 to 2023-24 for the Research Support Fund.

The y-axis shows dollar values. The scale begins at 0 dollars and goes to 450 million dollars, in increments of 50 million.

The six bars each represent a fiscal year: 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.

All funding is voted funding; statutory funding does not apply to the Research Support Fund.

SSHRC’s spending for the Research Support Fund, by fiscal year, is listed in a table below the graph as follows:

  • 2018-19: 397 million dollars in voted funding
  • 2019-20: 407 million dollars in voted funding
  • 2020-21: 414 million dollars in voted funding
  • 2021-22: 428 million dollars in voted funding
  • 2022-23: 428 million dollars in voted funding
  • 2023-24: 428 million dollars in voted funding

Budgetary planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services (dollars)

The following table shows actual, forecast and planned spending for each of SSHRC’s core responsibilities and to Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2018-19
expenditures
2019-20
expenditures
2020-21
forecast spending
2021-22 budgetary spending (as indicated in Main Estimates) 2021-22
planned spending
2022-23
planned spending
2023-24
planned spending
Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training 457,781,732 514,071,053 1,005,038,385 560,220,669 560,220,669 582,372,079 575,508,144
Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research 397,648,742 407,067,651 414,686,288 428,055,944 428,055,944 428,062,849 428,071,120
Subtotal 855,430,474 921,138,704 1,419,724,673 988,276,613 988,276,613 1,010,434,928 1,003,579,264
Internal Services 17,699,354 19,618,584 19,714,582 17,173,827 17,173,827 18,232,005 18,402,060
Total 873,129,828 940,757,288 1,439,439,255 1,005,450,440 1,005,450,440 1,028,666,933 1,021,981,324

Planned spending is increasing over the next three years mainly due to additional funding received from Budget 2018, which was to support investigator-led discovery research in the social sciences and humanities, the Canada Research Chairs Program, the New Frontiers in Research Fund and the indirect costs of research, plus the phasing out of the Networks of Centres of Excellence program for which funding is being transferred to the New Frontiers in Research Fund, and from Budget 2019, which was to increase the number of scholarship awards through the Canada Graduate Scholarships Program and expand paid parental leave coverage.

Planned human resources

The following table shows actual, forecast and planned full-time equivalents (FTEs) for each core responsibility in SSHRC’s departmental results framework and to Internal Services for the years relevant to the current planning year.

Human resources planning summary for core responsibilities and Internal Services
Core responsibilities and Internal Services 2018-19
actual full‑time equivalents
2019-20
actual full‑time equivalents
2020-21
forecast full‑time equivalents
2021-22
planned full‑time equivalents
2022-23
planned full‑time equivalents
2023-24
planned full‑time equivalents
Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training 141 159 179 179 179 179
Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research 3 4 4 4 4 4
Subtotal 144 163 183 183 183 183
Internal Services 101 111 121 121 121 121
Total 245 274 304 304 304 304

Planned human resources are increasing because of new measures announced in Budget 2018. Under core responsibility 1, these include the launch of the New Frontiers in Research Fund, a new tri-agency program (to be administered by SSHRC on behalf of the granting agencies), and under core responsibility 2 additional funding received for the Research Support Fund.

Estimates by vote

Information on SSHRC’s organizational appropriations is available in the 2021-22 Main Estimates.

Future-oriented Condensed statement of operations

The future‑oriented condensed statement of operations provides an overview of SSHRC’s operations for 2020-21 to 2021-22.

The amounts for forecast and planned results in this statement of operations were prepared on an accrual basis. The amounts for forecast and planned spending presented in other sections of the Departmental Plan were prepared on an expenditure basis. Amounts may therefore differ.

A more detailed future‑oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on SSHRC’s website.

Future oriented Condensed statement of operations for the year ending March 31, 2022 (dollars)
Financial information 2020-21 forecast results 2021-22 planned results Difference
(2021-22 planned results minus
2020-21 forecast results)
Total expenses 1,443,140,340 1,010,526,058 (432,614,282)
Total revenues 94,976 94,976 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 1,443,045,364 1,010,431,082 (432,614,282)

Total expenses are expected to decrease by 30.0 per cent ($432.6 million). This decrease is primarily attributable to a statutory appropriation received in fiscal year 2020-21 for the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund, enacted by SSHRC during 2020-21, as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which is not expected to be available in 2021-22.

Organizational profile

Appropriate minister(s):
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Institutional head:
Ted Hewitt, President
Ministerial portfolio:
Innovation, Science and Industry
Enabling instrument(s):
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-12
Year of incorporation / commencement:
1977

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

“Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do” is available on SSHRC’s website.

For more information on the agency’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letter.

Operating context

Information on the operating context is available on SSHRC’s website.

Reporting framework

SSHRC’s approved departmental results framework and program inventory for 2021-22 are as follows.

Figure 3
Description of Figure 3

Reporting Framework

This schematic illustrates the various components that make up the Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory of record for 2021-22 for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

The schematic has a column on the far left with two text boxes aligned vertically. The top box states “Departmental Results Framework,” establishing the row for the components of the Departmental Results Framework; the bottom box states “Program Inventory,” establishing the row for the components of the Program Inventory. The next two columns are established by a top row with two boxes identifying SSHRC’s two core responsibilities. The box for the left-hand column states “Core Responsibility 1: Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training”; the box for the right-hand column states “Core Responsibility 2: Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research.”

Under the column for Core Responsibility 1: Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training, there is a left-hand column with Departmental Results and a right-hand column with the Indicators for each Departmental Result.

Going from top to bottom, the first Departmental Result under Core Responsibility 1 is “Canada’s social sciences and humanities research is internationally competitive.” There are three indicators for this Departmental Result: going from top to bottom, the first indicator is “Canada’s rank among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations on the citation score of social sciences and humanities research publications”; the second indicator is “Percentage of funded projects involving international collaborations”; and the third indicator is “Number of research projects funded jointly by SSHRC and international partner(s).”

The second Departmental Result under Core Responsibility 1 is “Canada has a pool of diverse and highly skilled people in the social sciences and humanities.” There are seven indicators for this Departmental Result: going from top to bottom, the first indicator is “Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as women”; the second indicator is “Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as visible minorities”; the third indicator is “Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as Indigenous Peoples”; the fourth indicator is “Percentage of newly funded recipients who self-identify as persons with disabilities”; the fifth indicator is “Number of research trainees supported through grants”; the sixth indicator is “Number of research trainees supported by SSHRC through scholarships and fellowships”; and the seventh indicator is “Percentage of funded research trainees who go on to work in a research position.”

The third Departmental Result under Core Responsibility 1 is “Canada’s social sciences and humanities research knowledge is used.” There are four indicators for this Departmental Result: going from top to bottom, the first indicator is “Funding from non-academic partners for research projects”; the second indicator is “Number of non-academic partners in research projects”; the third indicator is “Percentage of grants reporting non-academic collaborator(s) in the research process”; and the fourth indicator is “Percentage of funded projects reporting socioeconomic outcomes for Canadians.”

The Program Inventory row under Core Responsibility 1 lists five SSHRC programs that are, from top to bottom: “Insight Research”; “Research Training and Talent Development”; “Research Partnerships”; “New Frontiers in Research Fund”; and “Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund.”

Under the column for Core Responsibility 2: Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research, there are also two columns. The left-hand column contains a single Departmental Result and the right-hand column lists the Indicators for that Departmental Result. The Departmental Result is “Canada’s university and college research environments are strong.” There are three indicators for this Departmental Result: going from top to bottom, the first indicator is “Total percentage of funds invested in research facilities”; the second indicator is “Total percentage of funds invested in management and administration”; and the third indicator is “Average number of Canadian institutions among the top 250 of international university rankings.”

The Program Inventory row under Core Responsibility 2 contains one SSHRC program, which is “Research Support Fund.”

On the far right of the schematic is a fourth column, with a box aligned vertically that states “Internal Services.”

Changes to the approved reporting framework since 2020-21
Structure 2021-22 2020-21 Change Reason for change
Core responsibility Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training Funding Social Sciences and Humanities Research and Training No change Not applicable
Program Insight Research Insight Research No change Not applicable
Program Research Training and Talent Development Research Training and Talent Development No change Not applicable
Program Research Partnerships Research Partnerships No change Not applicable
Program New Frontiers in Research Fund New Frontiers in Research Fund No change Not applicable
Program Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund Not applicable New program Note 1
Core responsibility Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research Institutional Support for the Indirect Costs of Research No change Not applicable
Program Research Support Fund Research Support Fund No change Not applicable
Note 1 New temporary program added to respond to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s academic research enterprise.

Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to SSHRC’s program inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

The following supplementary information tables are available on SSHRC’s website:

SSHRC’s Departmental Plan does not include information on tax expenditures that relate to its planned results for 2021-22.

Tax expenditures are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, and the Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for government‑wide tax expenditures each year in the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. This report provides detailed information on tax expenditures, including objectives, historical background and references to related federal spending programs, as well as evaluations, research papers and gender-based analysis. The tax measures presented in this report are solely the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.

Mailing address
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4
Canada
Telephone: 613-992-0691
Email: corporate-performance@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca
Website: www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

appropriation (crédit)
Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)
A report on the plans and expected performance of a department over a three‑year period. Departmental Plans are tabled in Parliament each spring.
departmental priority (priorité ministérielle)
A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Departmental priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.
departmental result (résultat ministériel)
A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
A factor or variable that provides a valid and reliable means to measure or describe progress on a departmental result.
departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
A framework that consists of the department’s core responsibilities, departmental results and departmental result indicators.
Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
experimentation (expérimentation)
The conduct of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare, the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians by learning what works and what doesn’t. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement is experimentation.
full‑time equivalent (équivalent temps plein)
A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person‑year charge against a departmental budget. Full‑time equivalents are calculated as a ratio of assigned hours of work to scheduled hours of work. Scheduled hours of work are set out in collective agreements.
gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])
An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
For the purpose of the 2021-22 Departmental Plan, government-wide priorities refers to those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2020 Speech from the Throne, namely: Protecting Canadians from COVID-19; Helping Canadians through the pandemic; Building back better – a resiliency agenda for the middle class; The Canada we’re fighting for.
horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)
An initiative in which two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.
non‑budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
performance (rendement)
What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
The process of communicating evidence‑based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision-making, accountability and transparency.
plan (plan)
The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead up to the expected result.
planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in the Main Estimates.
A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
program (programme)
Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.
program inventory (répertoire des programmes)
Identifies all of the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.
result (résultat)
An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.
statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
strategic outcome (résultat stratégique)
A long-term and enduring benefit to Canadians that is linked to the organization’s mandate, vision and core functions.
target (cible)
A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.
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