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Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund

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 helps sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program aimed to reduce negative impacts of the pandemic and ensure protection of the benefits of significant investments in universities and health research institutions. This will:

  • maintain Canada’s international competitiveness in the global, knowledge-based economy
  • contribute to Canadians’ health and social and cultural life
  • contribute to the health of Canada’s natural environment

CRCEF is a tri-agency program administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) 

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for the program and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration.

Program objectives

The program, which had a total budget of $450 million, had two objectives:

  1. 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 the COVID-19 pandemic (up to $325 million).
  2. To support extraordinary incremental costs associated with maintaining essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, ramping-up to full research activities as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume ($125 million).

Regulatory requirements

As stated in the CRCEF regulations, requirements and other information section, all recipients of CRCEF funds are required to develop and implement a strategy for EDI decision-making and to apply this strategy in all stages of the process.

To ensure transparency and accountability, the CRCEF also requires that the detailed strategy, as well as a specific set of requirements, be published on the institution’s public-facing website.

CRCEF administrative process

ORS and Research Accounting reviewed Stage 1, 3 & 4 applications for data accuracy and expense eligibility during the open application period and submitted consolidated applications for each stage to the Tri-Agency. As a result of the total eligible expenses not exceeding the CRCEF Stage 1 allocation, UVic did not apply for additional funding in Stage 2

Research Accounting and ORS communicated funding decisions and coordinated the transfer of stage 4 funds in February 2021.

Research Continuity Comittee (RCC)

The RCC is responsible for the development and oversight of an accountable and transparent structure for the strategies and decisions on the distribution of the CRCEF funds following Tri-agency directions, including:

  • advising on the internal CRCEF process
  • developing a robust strategy for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) decision making for the distribution of the CRCEF funding allocations
  • making recommendations to the Vice-President Research for final distribution of funds for the CRCEF program, consistent with EDI considerations and principles

RCC is a diverse, interdisciplinary committee and RCC members completed unconscious bias training.

RCC Terms of Reference

Evaluation criteria

The following measures were in place to ensure EDI-informed decision-making for the CRCEF process:

  1. Submissions were accepted and considered equally by all faculties.
  2. There were no individualized funding caps on researchers based on their fields of study.
  3. Where commitments such as caregiving or childcare impacted individual researchers’ availability. during the application process, the following provisions ensured applications from these researchers could be submitted by:
    • availability of online support
    • regularly updating online information  
    • posted recordings of information sessions
  4. Salary data was coded and extracted from the UVic financial management system and data was verified for completeness by UVic Research Accounting.
  5. If the total requests for Stage 3 funding exceeded UVIc CRCEF Stage 3 notational allocation, researchers who submitted an internal application for Stage 3 funding would be sent a follow-up email, providing them with the opportunity to self-identify in the following groups:
    • early-career researchers (researchers who have held a full-time independent research appointment for a period of 0-7 years, beginning with the date of first appointment at UVic)
    • individuals belonging to equity-seeking groups
    • individuals who have been personally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, for example:
      • their own or their immediate family’s health has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
      • family obligations for dependent care
      • limited access to medical care for persons with disabilities)

This information was held confidentially, only accessed for the purpose of establishing priority if the Stage 3 funding requests exceed availability, held for the period required by the TriAgency and then confidentially destroyed.

  1. The RCC also considered the following criteria:
    • requests for support of research personnel, especially students
    • value research that is non-traditional or unconventional, rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing outside the mainstream of the discipline or focused on issues that relate to gender, race, sexuality or ability differences
    • pro-rating requests if required according to funding allocation
    • the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the specific grant budget for reimbursement
CRCEF Transparency Requirement UVic response
List of affiliated health research institutions receiving funding Not applicable
Detailed overview of the method of distribution to their affiliated health research institutions in each stage of the program Not applicable
Distribution process for Stage 1 and 2 funds Refer to UVic decision process for distribution of CRCEF funds: Stage 1 and 2
Distribution process for Stage 3 and 4 funds Refer to UVic decision process for distribution of CRCEF funds: Stage 3 and 4
Governance structure for making decisions on how funds will be/were used
  • each PI submitted eligibility information and an attestation to the Office of Research Services (ORS)
  • those data were validated by ORS personnel in collaboration with Research Accounting and Vice-President Finance and Operations personnel
  • the Vice-President Research (VPR) and Vice-President Finance and Operations (VPFO) reviewed and approved all applications and reports, with support from their respective Executive Committees (VPR and VPFO Executive Committees include representatives from equity-seeking groups and have received unconscious bias training).
Tailored decision body with affiliated institutions Not applicable
Contact responsible for requirement adherence Dr. Lisa Kalynchuk
Vice-president research & innovation


ORS held a series of virtual town halls in October 2020 to provide information on the CRCEF process at UVic.

Session 1

Tuesday, October 6: Engineering, Graduate Studies, Science, Social Sciences and DMS

Session 2

Friday, October 9: Business, Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Human and Social Development, and Law

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