What is the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)?
On May 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) as part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. This 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. This research funding relief strategy is the latest rolled out by the federal government, representing an additional investment of $450M.
The program has two objectives:
As a priority, to provide wage support to universities and health research institutions, both of which are ineligible to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), to help them retain research-related personnel during the course of COVID-19 pandemic (up to $325M), and;
To support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ramping up to full research activities ($125M).
How will the CRCEF be implemented?
The CRCEF has been rolled out in three stages. Stages 1 & 2 correspond to the first objective above, with Stage 2 effectively serving as residual support for demonstrated needs in excess of the Stage 1 allocation.
Stages 1 & 2 are directed specifically at wage support for research personnel (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects) paid from non-governmental sources. This means that research projects supported by non-governmental sources (typically foundations or industry contracts) that were slowed or stopped because of COVID-19 may have some of their research-related personnel losses recovered by this program. Details related on the second objective of the program (Stage 3) were announced in August and September and are detailed below.
What CRCEF support will be allocated to St Mary’s Research Centre (SMRC)?
SMHC falls under the umbrella of McGill-managed CRCEF emergency relief funds. Please refer to the McGill CRCEF webpage for more information. Specifically, roll-out of CRCEF support was carried out as follows:
- All researchers were informed of the CRCEF fund by McGill University directly.
- Researchers who were eligible for the program (who were receiving funding from non-government funding) were contacted directly by the Scientific Director of the SMRC and requested to fill out the forms provided by McGill to identify research personnel paid from these non-government-based accounts during the COVID-19-related shut-down.
- Calculations of eligible expenses were made based on salary data and the percentages indicated by researchers in the forms they completed.
- Eligible expenses calculations were verified and then submitted to McGill, as requested by governmental policies.
- The total support requested by SMHC for Stage 1 was $33,052.43 and did not exceed the maximum allocated by McGill.
Information on eligibility at Stage 1:
What expenses are eligible for CRCEF support?
Up to 75% of the portion of research personnel's salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847/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.
User fees that support research facilities (i.e., where multiple PIs share a common research facility) count as a non-governmental source of funding. If there are research-related personnel that are supported in whole or in part by user fees to research facilities, those salaries/wages (or share of those salaries/wages) will be eligible.
What expenses are NOT eligible for CRCEF support?
- The salaries/wages of research-related personnel who work in broad areas of research services that are typically funded by indirect costs (e.g., animal care facilities).
- Salaries/wages for research-related personnel who were laid off due to COVID and claimed other wage support (e.g., Canada Emergency Response Benefit or "CERB" or the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit or "CESB").
What about research related personnel paid from multiple sources?
We recognize that many research personnel are paid from multiple sources, only some of which may be non-governmental, and that some funding sources are themselves combinations of governmental and non-governmental sources. However, only the portions of non-governmental salaries/wages are eligible for CRCEF support.
What if I think the wages/salaries/stipends of my research-related personnel (postdocs, students, staff) qualify for recovery through the CRCEF but I haven’t been contacted?
SMRC submitted its Stage 1 request ($33,052.43) to McGill University on August 4th 2020. If you were not aware of the CRCEF Program and still wish to apply for wage support, please send an email to email@example.com.
Since the demonstrated needs for SMRC did not exceed those allocated by McGill, at the outset of Stage 1, SMHC was deemed ineligible for Stage 2 funding.
Stage 3 funding is aimed at supporting direct costs of research that have been incurred to:
- Maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- 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.
Stage 3 funding will be awarded to support direct costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities. Applicants must justify the need for the funds based on actual costs incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020. Eligible expenses include costs associated with the following categories:
- Maintenance costs
Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, funded at up to 75%. This includes:
- animal and specimen care through the crisis period;
- maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts;
- technological equipment for remote access to maintain assets; and
- safety equipment for personnel dedicated to maintenance.
- Ramp-up costs
Costs incurred within the eligible period and associated with full ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. Only costs that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds will be supported, at up to 75%. Eligible expenses include those incurred at the project level and associated with:
- re-organizing the research environment and activities;
- additional costs to bring the research back to its pre-pandemic level, including experiments or related to the restart of collections and datasets (e.g., population-based, environmental);
- user fees charged by shared platforms to researchers to restart research activities (e.g., animal- care facilities, digital labs);
- re-scheduling and restarting human and clinical trials;
- exceptional costs to access special facilities, shared platforms and resources, knowledge transfer meetings and workshops;
- restarting, reassembling and safety checks of equipment and facilities;
- reacquiring lost and donated laboratory and field supplies and equipment, reagents, perishable materials, laboratory animal and other living specimens; and
- personal protective equipment and related items for research personnel.
The key aspects to consider for eligible Stage 3 expenses are:
- Expenses must have been charged to a budget associated with a specific research project.
- Expenses must be unforeseeable/exceptional and due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are not already covered by other relief mechanisms.
- Expenses must be associated with maintenance and ramp-up (but not ramp-down) of research.
- For this stage, the source of research funding (tri-agency, private industry, charity, etc.) is not important.
Some expenses are ineligible for these Stage 3 relief funds:
- Purchase of computers or office equipment to allow employees to work from home
- Cost of services (e.g. internet service) to allow employees to work from home
- Indirect costs (administrative costs)
Claims against the CRCEF Stage 3 allocation will be monitored and, should there be excessive demand that could reasonably exceed the notional allocation and any pro-rated national redistribution, there may be additional institutional eligibility criteria adopted. The federal government has provided the following options for institutional eligibility criteria which may be implemented by the McGill CRCEF Steering Committee as needed:
- a minimum incremental cost for a project to be considered for the funding;
- the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the grant’s budget exceeding a certain percentage of the annual grant value;
- priority given to projects that are at the beginning or in the middle of their terms, versus those that are close to their grant end date; and
- non-eligibility of projects with considerable financial balances at the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2020).
- earmarking a certain percentage of its allocation for supporting researchers at a specific career stage (e.g., early career researchers); and
- setting a maximum amount or percentage of the CRCEF contribution by project.
All researchers with funds held at the CIUSSS ODIM are encouraged to apply by submitting information on eligible costs before the internal deadline of November 9, 2020.
How is St Mary’s Research Centre ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the administration of CRCEF funds?
The Scientific Director of the SMRC is responsible for ensuring that the institution follows all CRCEF program requirements for funding distribution. The SMRC Executive Committee oversee the implementation of these important requirements.
The SMRC Executive Committee is aware of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on some equity seeking groups, especially people with disabilities, including those not able to access health care, those disproportionally shouldering dependent care and homeschooling responsibilities, and members of racialized minority communities. Equity-seeking groups include, but are not limited to, women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities. The SMRC endorses McGill's EDI strategy for the use and distribution of CRCEF funds.
McGill’s EDI statement: McGill University is a world-class institution of higher education and research. Our University recognizes that excellence in teaching and scholarship requires the convergence and collaboration of individuals of diverse identities, experiences, and ideas. Equally important, McGill values respectful and inclusive learning and work environments, which seek to identify and challenge historic and systemic barriers to full participation in university life and to foster discovery, advancement, and accomplishment, all of which benefit our University and society more broadly. McGill is committed to these values in the pursuit of all aspects of its academic mission.
For questions or concerns related to administration of CRCEF funds, please contact: Ari Meguerditchian, Scientific Director, SMRC at firstname.lastname@example.org