Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund

Memorial is home to world-class teaching, research and public engagement that is locally relevant and globally significant.

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) was announced on May 15, 2020, as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The temporary program has been established to help sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that the program will help reduce negative impacts of the pandemic and ensure that the benefits of significant investments to date in universities and health research institutions are protected. This will maintain Canada’s international competitiveness in the global, knowledge-based economy, and contribute to Canadians’ health and social and cultural life, as well as the health of Canada’s natural environment.

CRCEF is a tri-agency program and is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC. The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for the program and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration.

Full CRCEF program details can be reviewed here.


The program is expected to be delivered in three stages. 

Memorial University is currently reporting on Stage 1 of the program, which provides support for wages (or wage portions) of research-related personnel.

Stage 1 eligible expenses

There are two conditions for eligibility of research personnel:

  • they are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; 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 recipient that is the employer of the research personnel is responsible for demonstrating that they meet the two conditions above.

As stipulated by the program guidelines, eligible expenses in Stage 1 of the program include the following:

  • Up to 75% of the portion of research personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week, for up to 12 weeks of salary support (consecutive or broken up over the eligibility period) per individual, incurred within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.
  • Personnel who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 within the eligibility period can become eligible retroactively, as long as they are rehired and their retroactive pay and status meet the eligibility criteria for the claim period.
  • Research personnel who are fully or partially paid through non-government funding and unable to work full time as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for wage support. Research personnel who have remained employed but were 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 (i.e. Memorial and units to which secured funds are disbursed) are responsible for demonstrating this need and for keeping evidence of this need on record for financial monitoring and auditing purposes.

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). Principal investigators are excluded from the research-related personnel definition.

It should be further noted that in situations where research personnel affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are paid by multiple sources, only the non-governmental source is eligible for proportional support. 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.

Stage 2 eligible expenses

Stage 2 of the program was available to address any needs for wage support exceeding funds made available to Memorial University under Stage 1. As Memorial’s eligible expenses did not exceed funds available for Stage 1, Memorial was not eligible to apply for funding in Stage 2 of the program.

Stage 3 eligible expenses

Memorial is preparing to submit a claim for Stage 3 funding in response to the CRCEF program. CRCEF funding applications must be submitted to Financial and Administrative Services, via Senior Administrative Officers in each unit, on or before Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Memorial’s internal application for can be found here. Specific information regarding eligible expenses for CRCEF Stage 3 can be reviewed here.

Stage 3 is to support direct costs of research that have been incurred to: 1) maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and 2) support ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only direct costs of research that are extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020, will be reimbursed, at up to 75%.

Extraordinary incremental costs incurred for research projects funded by either governmental or non-governmental sources are eligible for Stage 3 support. Extraordinary incremental costs are defined as unanticipated additional costs that would not normally have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds. Eligible costs may include extraordinary incremental salary costs for research related personnel that are incurred during the period between August 30, 2020 and November 15, 2020, provided that the costs meet the Stage 3 eligible expenses criteria, and noting that such costs are eligible for partial reimbursement at up to 75% . 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). Principal investigators are excluded from the research-related personnel definition.

Tri-Agency funded research projects are eligible to receive Stage 3 funding as long as the expenses claimed are not covered by other broad-based federal COVID-19 measures (e.g., the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit), by COVID-19 research support from the federal research funding agencies or by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

As a general indication:

  • Tri-agency projects that have been extended in time only are eligible to Stage 3.
  • Tri-agency projects that have been extended with funding for salary support (support announced on April 22, 2020) are eligible to Stage 3, but a same salary cannot be supported by the two measures for a same period.

Units will be required to obtain confirmation from personnel (for whom salary funding is claimed) that they have not received the CERB, or any other wage subsidy benefit – documentation of attestations must be retained for auditing purposes.

Eligible expenses in Stage 3 are:

  • unanticipated additional costs that would not have been incurred in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot be funded by existing sources of funds;
  • for direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities;
  • costs borne by research projects; and
  • approved by the decision-making group identified for CRCEF.

Stage 3 update

The CRCEF issued an update to program guidelines on Nov. 24, 2020. The update clarifies the eligibility period for Stage 3 expenses. This clarification will possibly increase the number of eligible expenses that can be claimed my Memorial in Stage 3 of the CRCEF program. All other information about the program remains unchanged.

CRCEF FAQs have been updated to provide the following:

What does it mean for a cost to be “incurred” during the eligibility period?

Costs incurred during the eligibility period are eligible expenses (goods or services) recorded or committed between March 15 and November 15, 2020. Transactions and invoices may be received and paid until March 31, 2021, which is the grant end date, as noted on the notice of decision. Goods and services may be rendered or received up until March 31, 2021.

Given the potential for this program update to impact claims, incremental claims, where eligible/applicable in light of the clarification received from the Agency are invited. Reports of such eligible program expenses must be submitted to Financial and Administrative Services on or before Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, using the form provided for Stage 3 applications (linked above), via Senior Administrative Officers or Manager of Finances.

Faculty applications for Stage 3 should be assessed for CRCEF eligibility by their Senior Administrative Officer or Manager of Finance prior to submission to Financial and Administrative Services. Should any expenses claimed be later assessed through a program audit to be ineligible, units will be responsible for addressing any resulting funding gaps.

Stage 4 eligible expenses

Memorial is preparing to submit a claim for Stage 4 (Extension period for wage support for research-related personnel) in response to the CRCEF program. CRCEF funding applications must be submitted to Financial and Administrative Services, via Senior Administrative Officers in each Unit, on or before Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Memorial’s internal application for can be found here. Specific information regarding eligible expenses for CRCEF Stage 4 can be reviewed here.

As in to Stage 1, Stage 4 is exclusively for wage support for research-related personnel. 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). The difference between Stage 4 and Stage 1 is the maximum duration of the salary support - Stage 4 will provide additional wage support for eligible research-related personnel by increasing the maximum duration of support from 12 to 24 weeks. As in Stage 1, applicants 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 Aug. 29, 2020. Only direct costs of research are eligible. Expenses for Stage 4 wage support must be incurred by August 29, 2020. Administrative costs, such as indirect costs, overhead or transaction costs are not eligible expenses of CRCEF Stage 4.

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.

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 per week. 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.

While Stage 1 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 and 4. In cases where adjustments are necessary because eligible salaries were not identified in Stage 1, those salaries can be reimbursed in Stage 4, for a maximum of 24 weeks. All remuneration and benefits paid from the non-governmental source for research-related personnel are considered eligible for wage support. 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.

Units will be required to obtain confirmation from personnel for salary whom funding is claimed that they have not received the CERB, or any other wage subsidy benefit – this documentation must be retained for auditing purposes. For greater clarity, research personnel for whom claims are made must directly attest that they have not received CERB or other similar federal benefits, and units must retain record of these employee attestations (i.e. attestations by PIs on behalf of employees will not satisfy Agency requirements for document retention) for both Stages 1 and 4. A description of the reason that the wage should be funded under CRCEF must also be documented. Units are required to maintain detailed information on individuals supported by the program’s wage subsidy stages (e.g., full name, contact information, amount received per stage). Units will have to maintain this information on record for a period of at least five years (until 2025-26), for financial monitoring and auditing purposes. Faculty applications should be assessed for CRCEF eligibility by their Senior Administrative Officer prior to submission to Financial and Administrative Services. Should any expenses claimed be later assessed through a program audit to be ineligible, units will be responsible for addressing any resulting funding gaps.

Public accountability and transparency

Memorial University acknowledges that it is required to manage all CRCEF program funds by using a robust and transparent process. Memorial commits that the principles of responsible stewardship, public accountability, and equity, diversity and inclusion will be respected in its participation in the CRCEF program. Memorial and its and affiliates have committed to comply with the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making requirements and allocate funds accordingly.

All recipients of CRCEF benefits are required to publish their strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making. In accordance with program requirements, this information must be published by Aug. 31, 2020, and remain publicly available on the recipient’s public-facing website for a minimum of three years.

The program requires that a group of individuals (not a sole individual), that is normally part of the recipient’s governance structure, must be responsible for making decisions on how the program funds will be used.

Memorial University’s Research Pandemic Preparedness Sub-Committee, chaired by the vice-president (research), bears responsibility for this important oversight role at Memorial University. This group incorporates a working group which facilitated the development of Memorial’s strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion in decision-making for the CRCEF program. The Research Pandemic Preparedness Sub-Committee includes representation from individuals from equity-seeking groups, including: women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities. This group is comprised of more than 20 members representing all of Memorial’s campuses and has representation from academic and administrative units. The group has been instrumental in developing programs and procedures that address research continuity challenges encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of this committee have received information to enable them to complete unconscious bias training, including the Tri-Agencies’ online training module. In addition, all committee members were provided with the option of receiving additional training or support in completing unconscious bias training from Memorial’s equity officer.

At Memorial University, the Vice-President Research, Dr. Neil Bose, is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the program are followed and may be contacted as follows:

Vice-President (Research)
Dr. Neil Bose
Tel: (709) 864-3993
E-mail: vp.research@mun.ca

Strategy for equity, diversity and inclusion in decision-making

For Stage 1, the Office of the Vice-President (Research) communicated the CRCEF opportunity to all academic units and requested that units work with researchers to identify needs and eligible expenses related to the program. Subsequently, Memorial’s Financial and Administrative Services (FAS) contributed enhanced support by providing a detailed guide regarding eligible expenses, creating a form to facilitate ease of collection of information related to eligible expenses and hosting a webinar to assist administrative staff supporting researchers in identifying eligible expenses related to the program. FAS also provided units with reports of research accounts with non-governmental funding sources to help focus efforts in identifying eligible expenses. It was assessed that eligible expenses for Stage 1 were less than Memorial’s CRCEF allocation in this phase of the program. Accordingly, the Research Pandemic Preparedness Sub-Committee recommended that all identified eligible expenses should be supported with Stage 1 allocation funds available to Memorial University. All requests received for funding related to eligible expenses will receive distribution of funds in Stage 1.

As eligible expenses for Stage 1 were less than Memorial’s CRCEF allocation for that phase, Memorial did not apply for Stage 2 funding.

For Stage 3 of the CRCEF program, Memorial’s strategy can be viewed here.

For Stage 4, funding will be allocated to institutions based on demonstrated need for additional wage support. Memorial’s funding amounts will be prorated if the applicants’ total demonstrated needs, nationally, exceed the funding available for Stage 4. In the event that Memorial does not receive funding for Stage 4 meeting the full needs of all applicants, Memorial’s Stage 3 strategy will apply in guiding decision making.

Affiliated health research institutions receiving funding

The Eastern Regional Health Authority is Memorial’s affiliated health research institution receiving funding from the CRCEF program.

Memorial University worked with the Eastern Regional Health Authority in establishing the portion of Memorial’s Stage 1 allocation that would be made available for them to address eligible expenses related to the CRCEF program. The methodology for calculating the Stage 1 allocation for the Eastern Regional Health Authority, shown here, was agreed upon by Memorial and its affiliate, and is based on data reported to CAUBO for the institutions.

In addition, the Eastern Regional Health Authority also established a group to identify and make decisions about their eligible expenses for the CRCEF program and such persons completed unconscious bias training using the agencies’ online training module.

For Stage 1, the Eastern Regional Health Authority determined that their eligible expenses were less than the institution’s CRCEF allocation in the first phase of the program and accordingly determined that all identified eligible expenses would be supported with Stage 1 allocation funds available (and that a Stage 2 application was not needed).

Funding awarded in Stage 3 and 4 will be entirely based on needs. As such, it is not necessary for universities to distribute a share of funding to their affiliates until the needs have been established, and the funding awarded.

Contact

Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000