Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

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 four stages. Stages 1, 2 & 4 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.

(updated September 22, 2020)


What CRCEF support will be allocated to the Douglas?

As a McGill-affiliated research institution, the Douglas 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 at the Douglas Research Centre was carried out as follows:

Stage 1

  • All Douglas researchers were informed of the CRCEF fund by McGill University directly.
  • Douglas researchers who were eligible for the program (who were receiving funding from non-government funding) were contacted directly by the Director of Administration 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 eligble expenses were made based on salary data and the percentages indicated by researchers in the forms they completed.
  • The Executive Committee submitted eliglible expenses calculations to McGill, as requested by governmental policies.
  • The total support requested by the Douglas Research Centre for Stage 1 was $451,886.20 and did not exceed the maximum allocated by McGill.

Stage 2

Since the demonstrated needs for the Douglas Research Centre did not exceed those allocated by McGill, at the outset of Stage 1 the Douglas Research Centre was deemed ineligible for Stage 2 funding.

Stage 3

Stage 3 funding is aimed at supporting direct costs of research that have been incurred to:

  1. Maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  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.

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Additional details that pertain to the eligibility of Stage 3 expenses will be posted as the CRCEF Working Group at McGill learns more about Stage 3 of the CRCEF through webinars and through consultations with the federal government.

Updates to Stage 3 information

The key aspects to consider for these expenses are:

  • Expenses must have been charged to a budget associated with a specific research project.

  • Expenses must be unforseeable/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.
    Examples of eligible costs: Expenses for PPE or to make labs ready to restart, software or equipment to switch to on-line work, costs for maintenance of animal care facilities, service contracts that had to be paid (pro-rated for the period) to maintain research, costs for restarting clinical trials, reacquiring lost or donated supplies.

  • For this stage, the source of research funding (tri-agency, private industry, charity, etc.) is not important.

For questions related to the eligibility of expenses, please refer to the CRCEF Q&A for Stage 3.

(updated November 13, 2020)     

Update: The total support requested by the Douglas Research Centre for Stage 3 was $452,514.10.

(updated December 10, 2020)

Stage 4

Stage 4 funding was announced to researchers on October 20,2020, as an extension for Stage 1 (24 weeks of funding instead of 12 weeks). Since Stage 4 specifically targets salaries covered from non-governmental sources, this means that, for the most part, only salaries that were already eligible for Stage 1 will be eligible for Stage 4. The administrative department is already compiling this information and is contacting affected researchers directly to review the application for support. 
Again, a Q&A is available on the CRCEF website and may prove useful for clarifying whether expenditures might qualify for the program. Anyone with a demonstrable need to claim Stage 4 salary support for salaries that were not included in Stage 1 can get in touch directly so that we can review their situation. 

Update: The total support requested by the Douglas Research Centre for Stage 4 was $433,706.58.

(updated December 10, 2020)


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 24 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").

The salaries/wages of research-related personnel that were transferred to University operating funds or governmental funds (federal, provincial, municipal) to avoid layoff during the eligibility period can be considered eligible, although if University operating funds or governmental sources were the exclusive source of research-related salaries/wages before COVID-19, these are not eligible.


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 (e.g. MITACS) are themselves combinations of governmental and non-governmental sources. However, only the portions of non-governmental salaries/wages are eligible for CRCEF support.


How is the Douglas CRCEF Steering Committee ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the administration of CRCEF funds?

The Scientific Director of the Douglas Research Centre is responsible for ensuring that the Douglas follows all CRCEF program requirements for funding distribution, including those related to EDI. The Scientific Director designated the Director of Administration as Chair of the Douglas CRCEF Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of these important requirements.

The Douglas CRCEF Steering 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 dependant 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 Douglas Research Centre endorses McGill's EDI strategy for the use and distribution of CRCEF funds.

In administering the CRCEF funds, the Douglas CRCEF Steering Committee commits to full compliance with the program's equity, diversity, and inclusion decision-making and allocation requirements. Further to this, the Douglas CRCEF Steering Committee reaches parity in both gender and visible minorities, and all members of the Douglas CRCEF Steering Committee have received unconscious bias training.

The Douglas Research Centre adheres to McGill's EDI position:

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.

Specifically with respect to research activities and the academic environment, the Douglas has created an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Standing Committee, which is chaired by Dr. Natasha Rajah.


For questions or concerns related to EDI considerations in the administration of CRCEF funds, please contact:

Jocelyne Lahoud, Director of Administration

Gustavo Turecki, Scientific Director