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Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

1. Overview of Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) is part of the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. It has four funding stages to help sustain research activity at Canadian universities and health research institutions.

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 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (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. More information on the program can be found here:  https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/crcef-fucrc/index-eng.aspx.

On May 15, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $450M in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program has two objectives:

  1. to provide wage support for universities and health research institutions to help them retain research-related personnel who are funded from non-government sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stage 1 and 2 of the program initially provided up to 75% of the eligible portion of eligible research personnel’s wages, with a maximum of $847 per week for up to 12 weeks per individual, within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. The maximum period of support was extended to a maximum of 24 weeks (Stage 4); and
  2. 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 as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume (Stage 3). This program will cover up to 75% of total eligible costs incurred during the eligibility period of March 15, 2020 to November 15, 2020.

Institutions must apply to each stage, and for all stages, they must demonstrate the need to access the emergency funds.

2. Affiliated Institutions of Lakehead University and Laurentian University Benefiting from the CRCEF 

As a research affiliate of Lakehead and Laurentian Universities, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine is supported through the CRCEF funds allocated to those Universities. NOSM participates as members of the Universities’ oversight Committees. 
NOSM acknowledges that the research enterprise at each of our institutions has been severely impacted by COVID-19, The creation of the Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund by the Government of Canada will help us to maintain staff and resume essential research activities during the pandemic.

For details on the Universities’ CRCEF responses please visit:

Laurentian University:
https://laurentian.ca/assets/files/Research%20Office%20Files/CRCEF%20program-Sept_%202020.pdf

Lakehead University:
https://www.lakeheadu.ca/research-and-innovation/research-faqs-relating-to-covid-19/funding-opportunities-related-to-covid-19/canada-research-continuity-emergency-fund-crcef-

3. Allocation of CRCEF Funds

Stage 1 and 4 – Wage support for research-related personnel

Details regarding Stage 1 was released by TIPS on June 23, 2020.  The allocation from the Universities to affiliates was based on the CAUBO formula. The coverage period for Stage 1 wage support was March 15 to August 29, 2020 for 12 cumulative weeks. CRCEF covers up to 75% of wages up to a maximum of $847/week over a 12 week period. The NOSM budget administrator identified a list of highly qualified persons hired on non-governmental grants held at NOSM eligible for the wage subsidy and the hiring researchers were contacted.

Stage 4 was launched by TIPS on September 30, 2020 with a national budget of $84M (resulting from Stage 2 unspent funds).  Stage 4 provides additional wage supports for eligible research personnel extending the eligibility period from 12 weeks to 24 weeks.  The NOSM budget administrator identified a list of highly qualified persons hired on non-governmental grants held at NOSM eligible for the wage subsidy. Upon confirmation of funding for CRCEF Stage 4 by TIPs, awarded funds will be shared, prorated and consistent with the national funding rate.

For HQPs hired on grants held at either Universities, researchers were instructed to follow the respective University processes.

NOSM is responsible for attesting to the Universities that their processes meet CRCEF program requirements.

Stage 3 – Research maintenance and ramp-up costs

Stage 3 was launched by TIPS at the beginning of September 2020. Full details for this stage were confirmed at the beginning of October 2020.  NOSM and the Universities undertook a data collection exercise, to identify eligible expenses and also issued an open call to the research community.  The Universities hosted webinars that were open to all researchers including affiliated institutions.

Stage 3 is meant to support extraordinary incremental costs associated with:

1) maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and

2) supporting ramp-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume.

Only the direct costs of research that are extraordinary and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds and which have been incurred between March 15 and November 15, 2020 will be reimbursed at a rate up to 75%. Researchers are required to provide the 25% matching funds from other sources.

All researchers holding grants at NOSM were directly contacted and asked to submit a list of their eligible costs per the CRCEF Stage 3 guidelines to research@nosm.ca.

For researchers holding grants at either Universities, they were instructed to follow the respective University processes.

Should the demand in Stage 3 go beyond available funding, an adjudication process utilizing the Stage 3 decision-making criteria will be followed (see Section 4 below).

For questions about the process, please contact research@nosm.ca.

4. Strategy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Decision-Making

NOSM and the Universities have attested to the responsible stewardship and implementation of the CRCEF program, including a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion strategies in decision-making.

As an inclusive employer, NOSM recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of our entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by equity-seeking groups in our society, and we strive to support all individuals in achieving academic and professional success.

In managing the CRCEF funds, we commit to fully comply with the program’s equity, diversity and inclusion decision-making and allocation requirements. Equity-seeking groups include, but are not limited to, women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons from LGBTQ2+ communities.

Stage 1 submitted claims did not exceed the funds allocated, so all eligible requests were given the same consideration and supported to the maximum amount allowable under the CRCEF funding guidelines. In the event that funding requests for Stage 3 and 4 are higher than the allocated funding by the CRCEF, the respective University will convene a CRCEF Adjudication Committee to review all Stage 3 and 4 applications. NOSM will adhere to the EDI principles and decision-making processes for this adjudication as outlined by the respective University:

Laurentian University:
https://laurentian.ca/assets/files/Research%20Office%20Files/CRCEF%20program-Sept_%202020.pdf

Lakehead University:
https://www.lakeheadu.ca/research-and-innovation/research-faqs-relating-to-covid-19/funding-opportunities-related-to-covid-19/canada-research-continuity-emergency-fund-crcef-