Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund
Frequently asked questions: wage support (Stages 1 and 2)

Updated: July 28, 2020

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How do I submit an application for wage support in Stage 2?

The primary institutional contacts registered with the program will receive an automatic email on July 15 from the Convergence Portal. The email will include the terms and conditions associated with their Convergence account. Once they accept the terms and conditions, they will be granted the role of senior official for their institution and can complete the application.

The CRCEF application is found under the “Institutional Applications” tab of the research administrator menu in the Convergence Portal.

The Stage 2 application includes five sections:

  1. Application details
  2. Affiliated institutions
  3. Supporting documents
  4. Attestation
  5. Finalize and submit

The due date to submit Stage 2 applications has been extended to August 6, 2020 (8 p.m. eastern).

Can an organization that did not submit an application in Stage 1 submit an application in Stage 2?

No. Stage 1 was for initial wage support needs. Supplemental needs will be awarded only to those who need supplemental wage support, in addition to the Stage 1 funding they received.

If an institution does not require wage support from Stage 1 and 2, can they still submit an application to Stage 3 for support for maintenance and ramp-up costs?

Yes. Institutions do not need to apply to Stages 1 and 2 (wage support) if they only intend to apply to Stage 3 (research maintenance / ramp-up costs).

How does a Stage 1 recipient report on the use of Stage 1 funds if they are not submitting a Stage 2 application?

Reporting related to Stage 1 is being completed as part of the Stage 2 application. If your institution does not plan to apply for a Stage 2 grant, we ask that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can further direct you on the reporting process.

All Stage 1 reports must be submitted by July 31, 2020. See the reporting requirements for more information.

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 to a university, it can apply directly to Stage 2.

Can health research institutions affiliated with an eligible university apply directly to the program?

Health research institutions cannot apply directly to the program if they are affiliated with a university that is eligible to apply in Stage 1 and for which the data on sponsored research income is reported in the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) dataset. Funds for all affiliates requiring wage support must be part of the university’s Stage 1 application.

Can universities use different distribution processes for their affiliates?

Stage 1 funding for wage support was allocated based on research incomes as reported to CAUBO as a proxy to estimate needs. Universities are required to implement a process to distribute funds to their affiliates that is based on a dataset and an allocation formula with the same methodology used by the program. This process must be agreed upon by the affiliates. Any other distribution approach must be approved by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat.

Can a non-affiliated health research institution request support in Stage 1?

No. Non-affiliated health research institutions must apply directly to Stage 2. To ensure equitable access to the funding in Stage 2, funds will first be allocated to applicants who did not receive funds in Stage 1.

How is the Stage 1 allocation calculated?

For each applicant, the following is considered:

  • the CAUBO research income report; and
  • the annual average over three years (2015-16 to 2017-18) of the total of research income from all non-governmental sources.

Non-governmental sources include (lines 15-24 in the CAUBO report):

  • donations, including bequests (from individual, business and/or not-for-profit organizations);
  • non-governmental grants and contracts (individuals, business enterprises, not-for-profit organizations);
  • investments (including endowments);
  • sales of services and/or products; and
  • miscellaneous income reported.

The amount is divided by 12/52 (to represent 12 weeks), and we allocate 60% of that amount (assuming that 60% of funding is allocated on average to personnel cost).

The three-year average is then taken as a proportion compared to all other eligible institutions.

Do affiliates’ unused Stage 1 funds need to be returned to the university with which they are affiliated before the Stage 2 application is submitted?

Yes. Only one application can be made per university at Stage 2. The university must have allocated funds from Stage 1 first before requesting more, to prevent unused funds from being held in each affiliated institution. While it is recognized that this introduces an additional step for institutions, it does ensure a fair and transparent redistribution of funds in Stages 2 and 3 (if applicable) and maximizes wage support for Stages 1 and 2.

Are both salaries and benefits of research personnel eligible?

Yes. All remuneration and benefits paid from the non-governmental source for research 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 personnel who are hired under internal research grants eligible under the terms of this program?

No. Research personnel funded through the institution’s operating budget 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 research personnel eligible

Are students paid by 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?

As per the funding opportunity description, 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 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 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.

They are eligible while staying at home and they are eligible when returning to work on campus, over the eligibility period and for a maximum of 12 weeks.

The institution must absorb the extension costs of the employment beyond the eligibility period of the wage support.

Are research personnel who are fully or partially paid through non-governmental funding and unable to work full time as a result of COVID-19 eligible for wage support?

Yes, research personnel who have remained employed but are unable to work full-time as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for wage support. 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 is eligible.

Eligibility of funding sources

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 institutions required to contact each principal investigator with non-governmental funding 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 the program if they are heath research institutions affiliated with a university or if they qualify to apply to the program in Stage 2. Refer to the list of eligible applicants in Stage 2 for more information.

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 non-governmental sources?

In situations where research 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.

There are two conditions for eligibility of research 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 sources (at 75% of that portion and for a maximum of $847).

The CRCEF recipient must be able to for demonstrate that the research personnel meet the two conditions above.

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 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 personnel who are paid from user fees considered eligible?

For research facilities, wage support for research 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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