COVID-19 Update

COVID-19: Impact on SSHRC programs, experts database and perspectives from our community.


Frequently Asked Questions on increased support for students, trainees and research support personnel funded through SSHRC



I have accepted/declined the supplement, what are the next steps for me?

After submitting your decision regarding your acceptance or decline of the supplemental funding, no further action is required at this time. Further instructions will be provided in the near future. All of the supplemental funding payments will be provided to grant holders before September 30, 2020.

Will I be receiving a confirmation that I have accepted the supplement?

You would have received a system-generated email indicating that your response was received. If you accepted the supplement, you will receive a formal notification of the supplement along with its amount in the coming weeks.

The link to the form where I am supposed to accept or decline my supplemental funding says it is no longer valid; how should I proceed?

This message means that either your response was already received, or the deadline for responding of August 13 has passed. If this is the case, or if you wish to change your response, please contact SSHRC’s supplements team at supplements@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca, and request that the original email be resent to you.

My colleagues have all received their emails regarding their supplemental funding, but I have yet to receive one. Does that mean my project or program is not eligible for the funding?

Research grant offices have been made aware of which grants will be considered for the supplement. The supplement applies to funding opportunities that primarily support trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows), and research support personnel. More information is available on SSHRC’s website.

I’m not sure whether I am eligible to accept my supplemental funding. What does a “disruption” consist of?

Examples of research disruptions include instances where research efforts had to be delayed or stopped temporarily while other offsite arrangements could be made to work remotely, or that access to your institution was not permitted for a period of time. It could also mean that a laboratory or research centre was no longer open, that equipment couldn’t be accessed, or that a member of your research team was unable to conduct research for a variety of reasons, but that you continued to pay them during the period of disruption.

Can I accept only a partial amount of the funding?

No. The value of the supplement for each eligible grant is based on what is typically spent on trainees and research support personnel (63.5% in SSHRC’s case). This estimate was used to ensure the rapid delivery of the supplemental funding. Those that do not require the entire amount of the supplemental funding will be required to return unused funds to SSHRC.

I received an email regarding supplemental funding for one grant but not for another. Does that mean my other grant isn’t eligible to receive the funding?

Invitations to accept or decline the supplement were sent over the course of several days, so it is possible that two invitations for the same grant holder were not sent out on the same day. Please check your inbox, as all invitations have now been distributed. Please also note that research grant offices have also been made aware of which grants will be considered for the supplement.

I declined my response in error. I now realize that I am eligible for these funds and would like to change my response to accept the supplemental funding. How can this be done?

If you’ve entered the wrong response accidentally or feel you have responded prematurely, your response can be changed. In order to do so, contact SSHRC’s supplements team at supplements@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca.

Why are grants in an extension period not considered eligible to receive the supplement?

We realize that the impacts of COVID-19 are broad, and that no one initiative will address them all; however, SSHRC is committed to taking a flexible approach and continuing to monitor opportunities to support the research community over time.

As a co-investigator, will I receive funds?

The supplement will be administered in the same manner as the grant to which it is associated. For most grants, this means that the host institution of the principal investigator will transfer any supplemental funding to your institution for the grant on which you are a co-investigator. You may wish to contact the principal investigator to discuss the supplemental funding.

Can I only use the supplement to cover salary and stipend expenditures from April 1 to June 30?

The supplement is being provided in recognition that colleges and universities continued to pay the salaries and stipends of trainees (students and postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel, through agency grants, even though the associated research was interrupted due to COVID-19.

The period of interruption being considered was from April 1 to June 30 to establish which grants would be eligible for the supplement and the corresponding value. However, the supplement can be used to support the salaries and stipends of trainees and research support personnel for the same grant, who are not already benefiting from compensation under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or from other income supports related to COVID-19, including the extensions of tri-agency scholarships and fellowships, up to December 31, 2020.

I paid trainees/research personnel during COVID-19-related disruption, but out of an account other than the agency grant for which I have been offered the supplement (e.g., from start up or other institutional funds). Can I re-assign the stipend/salary expenditure to the supplement funds?

It is acceptable to use the supplement funds retroactively against expenditures that were previously charged to a different grant/account, provided the expenditure would have been eligible for the associated grant under the relevant financial administration guide/funding agreement, and the other eligibility conditions for the supplement expenditures are met.

What is the agencies’ expectation for how the institution/grant recipient meet the requirement: “trainees and research support personnel supported by the supplement will need to ensure they did not benefit from compensation under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) between April 1 and June 30, 2020. They also cannot have benefited from other Government of Canada income supports related to COVID-19, including the extensions of tri-agency scholarships and fellowships during this same period.”

The agencies are not prescribing a specific approach to this. Institutions are asked to develop an approach that is appropriate within the context of their administrative processes, which they may be asked to share with the agencies (and possibly provide sample transactions) in the future. In requesting this information, the agencies will be seeking to ensure that institutions and grantees exercised reasonable due diligence with respect to this requirement. As an example of an approach that would be acceptable: the grantee could ask the payee to confirm by email that they are not being paid from the agency grant while simultaneously benefitting from other federal COVID-19 income supports (including but not limited to CERB, CESB and the extensions of tri-agency grants and scholarships). The grantee could then either keep this confirmation in their own files or provide it to the finance/research office for future reference on the grant file, depending on the process set out by the institution. The agencies confirm that having such an attestation from the payee would be a reasonable basis on which the grantee might authorize the salary/stipend expenditure.

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