Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund
Frequently asked questions: Wage support
Updated: October 30, 2020
About Stage 4
What is the objective of Stage 4?
Similar to Stages 1 and 2, Stage 4 is exclusively for wage support for research-related personnel. The difference between Stage 4 and Stages 1 and 2 is the maximum duration of the salary support (see next question for details).
While Stages 1 and 2 covered up to 12 weeks of support per individual, Stage 4 covers a maximum of 24 weeks per individual. This 24-week maximum includes the total wage support requested in Stages 1, 2 and 4.
What portion of a salary can an institution request in Stage 4?
Similar to Stages 1 and 2, an eligible institution can request up to 75% of the portion of research-related personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week. This applies for salary expenses incurred within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.
Where does the Stage 4 funding envelope come from?
The Stage 4 funding envelope comes from unspent Stage 2 funds.
Application and reporting process
How do I submit an application for wage support in Stage 4?
The CRCEF application is located under the Institutional Applications tab of the research administrator menu in the Convergence Portal. Only the designated institutional senior officials can access and submit the application.
The Stage 4 application includes five sections:
- Application details
- Affiliated and non-affiliated health-research institutions
- Supporting documents
- Finalize application
The deadline to submit Stage 4 applications is November 30, 2020, at 8 p.m. (eastern).
Can individual salaries supported in Stages 1 and 2 be supported again in Stage 4?
Yes. Stage 4 provides funding for up to 24 weeks of wage support to eligible research-related personnel, as opposed to the initial maximum of 12 weeks. However, Stage 4 funds do not cover an additional 24 weeks: the portions of salaries (i.e., number of weeks) that were reimbursed within the scope of Stages 1 and 2 cannot be claimed again in Stage 4.
Can new salaries for which support was not requested in Stages 1 and 2 be supported in Stage 4?
Yes. In cases where adjustments are necessary because eligible salaries were not identified in Stage 1 and/or Stage 2, those salaries can be reimbursed in Stage 4, for a maximum of 24 weeks.
Can an institution that did not submit a Stage 1 or 2 application submit a Stage 4 application?
Yes. Stage 4 is open to:
- universities eligible to the Research Support Fund, whether or not they are in the Financial Information of Universities and Colleges dataset of the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO); and
- non-affiliated health research institutions eligible to receive funding from the three federal research funding agencies.
If an institution does not require wage support from the program, can they still submit an application to Stage 3 for support for maintenance and ramp-up costs?
Yes. Institutions do not need to apply for wage support if they only intend to apply to Stage 3 to get support for research maintenance/ramp-up costs.
Are salaries funded in Stage 4 subject to reporting?
Yes. Institutions will need to report on salaries funded in Stage 4 in the final report. Institutions are asked to keep track of how many students, postdoctoral fellows, and other research personnel are funded in each stage. In the final report, institutions will be asked to report on:
- the total number of research personnel supported in Stages 1, 2 and 4, sorted by the three categories; and
- the number of new research personnel supported in Stages 2 and 4 (i.e., not supported in a previous stage).
For example, if an institution uses CRCEF funding to support the salaries of 100 research personnel in Stage 4, they must indicate how many of those 100 are new (i.e., were not supported in Stages 1 and/or 2).
Affiliated and non-affiliated health-research institutions
Are affiliates that are not conducting health research eligible to the program?
No. The program’s intent is to support universities and health research institutions, regardless of whether the latter are affiliated with a university or not. If the health research institution is not affiliated with a university, it can apply directly to Stage 4.
Can health research institutions affiliated with an eligible university apply directly to the program?
No. Health research institutions cannot apply directly to the program if they are affiliated with a university that was eligible to apply to Stages 1 and 2 and for which the data on sponsored research income is reported in the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) dataset.
How do universities need to distribute funding to their affiliates in Stage 4?
Stage 4 funds will be awarded based on needs. As such, funds must be distributed to affiliates based on the established needs.
Can a non-affiliated health research institution request support in Stage 4?
Yes. They must apply directly to Stage 4.
Are both salaries and benefits of research-related personnel eligible?
Yes. All remuneration and benefits paid from the non-governmental source for research-related personnel are considered eligible for wage support.
Severance pay and items such as the personal use of a corporate vehicle are not part of eligible remuneration.
Are the salaries and benefits of direct research-related personnel who are hired under internal research grants eligible under the terms of this program?
No. Research-related personnel funded through the institution’s operating budget or through internal research grants are not eligible. Since institutions are provincially funded, they fall under governmental sources (federal, provincial and municipal).
Are tuitions and other revenues an eligible revenue source under the terms of this program?
No. Tuition and other revenues are not research revenues and are, therefore, not eligible.
Types of eligible research personnel
Are students paid by a stipend eligible?
Yes. For the purposes of CRCEF, a stipend is defined as a research allocation paid to a student by the principal investigator of a research project. Stipend payments to students are eligible if from a non-governmental source of funding, as long as the principal investigator confirms that the student was working on the project during the eligibility period.
Scholarships paid directly to students are not eligible, even if they are funded through an eligible source, such as donations. Scholarships are not considered a direct research cost.
Are employees of the university or the health research institution (i.e., paid by university operating money) who serve as research assistants, associates, animal care technicians or research equipment operators eligible to receive support from this fund?
Research-related personnel are those employed by universities or health research institutions who are working for faculty members conducting research, or who are working in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives (e.g., graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects).
Scientific facilities are understood to be a common platform/infrastructure that is shared and operated by a group of researchers, and can be funded through diverse sources of funding, such as governmental and non-governmental sources, including user fees. Scientific personnel and administrative personnel supporting those facilities can be eligible. CRCEF funding recipients are responsible for demonstrating this eligibility and for keeping the evidence of eligibility on record for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
The university and health research institution’s administrative personnel offering general services such as legal, financial or research office and commercialization services are not eligible. Institutional facilities personnel, such as animal care facilities personnel, are not eligible as they are considered an institutional service and associated to indirect costs of research.
If a person’s salary was taken from another source because non-governmental sources of funding diminished or stopped due to COVID-19, would they be eligible for support?
If a non-governmental source of funding expired and the person’s salary was taken in the interim from another source to avert layoff, then the person could be eligible for the full duration. If, on the contrary, a person was paid from non-governmental sources of funding, then was scheduled (prior to the pandemic) to work on a project funded by governmental sources, the person wouldn’t be eligible. CRCEF funding recipients are responsible for demonstrating this need and for keeping evidence of this need on record for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
The majority of layoffs have occurred because work can’t be done from home (or the employee can’t work from home). Under the CRCEF, would only the employees who are returning to work on campus be eligible?
The goal of the program is to avert or reverse layoffs, and it is expected that employees are kept employed even if they cannot do the work from home due to the pandemic.
Employees are eligible for CRCEF support while staying at home and when returning to work on campus, over the eligibility period (i.e., for a maximum of 24 weeks).
The institution must absorb the extension costs of the employment beyond the eligibility period of the wage support.
Are research-related personnel who are fully or partially paid through non-governmental sources of funding and unable to work full time as a result of COVID-19 eligible for wage support?
Yes, research-related personnel who have remained employed but are unable to work full-time as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for wage support for the portion of their wages paid through non-governmental sources. These employees are also eligible based on their full-time salary. CRCEF funding recipients must be able to demonstrate this need and keep evidence of it on record for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
Are part-time employees eligible under the CRCEF?
Yes. Like a full-time employee, up to 75% of the part-time employee’s regular salaries/wages are eligible.
Eligibility of funding sources
What are the conditions for salaries of research-related personnel to be eligible?
There are two conditions for eligibility of research-related personnel:
- they are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (either from reduced funding or a negative impact on research activities); and
- their salary or portion of salary is paid by non-governmental source.
The CRCEF recipient must be able to demonstrate that the research-related personnel meet the two conditions.
Are individuals who are paid in part by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) – Infrastructure Operating Funds (IOF) eligible? If not, is the balance of their salary eligible? E.g., in some cases, we use IOF to pay a portion of an employee’s salary, with the balance coming from university operating funds.
No. Salaries paid by the CFI are not eligible. The same applies if the balance comes from the university’s operating funds. The portion paid from non-governmental sources is eligible. CRCEF funding recipients are responsible for demonstrating this need and for keeping evidence of this need on record for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
Are salaries paid from mixed or multiple sources eligible if the sources are unidentifiable or not easily categorized as governmental versus non-governmental?
Only salaries funded by non-governmental sources are eligible.
If an entity is funded from multiple sources, the salaries can be considered to be paid from non-governmental sources (e.g., user fees in the case of scientific facilities) if:
- those sources aren’t definable as strictly governmental and non-governmental; or
- it’s impossible to tell what portion of an entity’s governmental versus non-governmental funding goes toward salaries.
If an entity has clearly identifiable governmental and non-governmental sources of funding, only the portion of the salaries that are paid from non-governmental sources is eligible (e.g., in cases where a portion is known to be funded by Mitacs, this portion is considered to be paid by a governmental source and is not eligible).
In all cases, recipients are required to document all their decisions and calculations for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
Are institutions required to contact each principal investigator paid from non-governmental sources to determine need?
Institutions can use their internal financial data to identify the personnel who are paid from non-governmental sources and associated costs. Institutions will need to inform principal investigators.
Are foundations that receive some governmental funding eligible?
Foundations are eligible to Stage 4 if they are health research institutions affiliated with a university or if they qualify to apply to the program in Stage 4.
If personnel are paid by a non-governmental source and a governmental source, will CRCEF recognize the full salary or only the portion paid by the non-governmental source?
In situations where research-related personnel affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are paid by multiple sources, only the non-governmental source is eligible for support, at 75% of that portion and for a maximum of $847. CRCEF funding recipients are responsible for demonstrating the source of funding and for keeping evidence of this need on record for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.
Is a foundation considered a non-governmental source?
Yes. If the source of a salary is a foundation (in part or in whole), the recipient can consider the source non-governmental. The recipient does not have to identify the source of the foundation’s own funding to confirm the eligibility of the research-related personnel.
Are salaries supported by foreign government funding eligible (e.g., by the National Institutes of Health)?
No. The salaries of personnel paid by governmental sources (municipal, provincial or federal), either domestic or international, are not eligible to the program.
The salaries of personnel paid by foreign non-governmental sources such as foundations or industry are eligible.
Are the salary and benefits of direct research-related personnel who are paid from user fees considered eligible?
For research facilities, wage support for research-related personnel paid from user fees is considered eligible. Even if user fees come from mixed sources of funds, identifying the exact source of these user fees (e.g., governmental or non-governmental) is not required.
This does not apply to institutional facilities as they are not an eligible expense of the program.
Are indirect costs/overhead received as part of a research contract an eligible source of funding?
Yes, if these costs are used to pay salaries of eligible personnel, then this expense is eligible.
For example, an industry contract worth $5 million to carry out a specific research project includes 20% overhead ($1 million). That $1 million is included in the definition of non-governmental-sponsored research and is an eligible source of funding.
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