Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund
On May 15, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment is designed to do the following:
- Provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes so they can retain research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. The government will provide up to 75 per cent 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.
- Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are eased. This will cover up to 75 per cent of total eligible costs and will support activities, such as the safe storage of dangerous substances and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic.
The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) was launched by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) a few weeks later on June 23, 2020.
SickKids and its benefits from CRCEF
SickKids Research Institute is Canada’s largest, hospital-based child health research institute, working to improve the health of children in Canada and around the globe. SickKids researchers and health-care experts work closely together in multi-disciplinary teams to drive clinical and scientific advancements. Our values are research excellence and integrity and our strength is collaboration.
Research at SickKids has been severely impacted by COVID-19, and we are deeply appreciative that the Government of Canada has recognized this negative impact in the creation of the Canada Research Continuity Research Fund. This funding will help us to maintain staff and essential activities during pandemic-related slowdown of, or interruption to, research, and as we resume full research operations under new circumstances.
CRCEF funds distribution across SickKids and the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN)
Upon confirmation by Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) of program specifications for the CRCEF program through SickKids’ affiliation with the University of Toronto (lead institution) and the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN), a CRCEF Steering Committee was established. The committee includes representatives from 12 TAHSN hospital research institutes and the University of Toronto and is complemented by a TAHSN CRCEF Data Working Group, comprising financial/research operations representatives of each of the 12 institutions. Each group is diverse in its make-up and all members of each group have undertaken unconscious bias training.
The lead institution, University of Toronto, undertook an analysis to determine “notional allocations” across the 12 TAHSN institutions, using to the full extent possible the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO)-informed formula/data applied by TIPS in determining the TAHSN Stage 1 allocation of $41.6 million. The allocations and supporting data were shared with SickKids and the other TAHSN affiliates. Open and transparent exchange of information has been a cornerstone of engagement throughout the process, consistent with our approach to all matters of shared interest over many years. Together, and in consultation with TIPS, the 12 institutions confirmed a common approach to determining CRCEF-eligible funding sources and full-time equivalent staff (FTE).
Given the timing of the receipt of the Stage 1 payment by TIPS to the University of Toronto, SickKids and the other TAHSN institutions were able to complete their Stage 1- and 2-eligible wage subsidy analyses, rendering data regarding the eligible head count and wage subsidy expense for both Stages 1 and 2. This enabled the University of Toronto to clarify the exact amounts required at each stage for each institution. These actuals (and projections to August 29, 2020) were entered on the Convergence Portal, confirming our shared need for the full $41.6 million allocated to the TAHSN system in Stage 1, and an additional $9 million sought through Stage 2. The proportion allocated to SickKids in Stage 1 is $6.9 million and $1.2 million sought through Stage 2. The University of Toronto has entered into an inter-institutional agreement with each of the affiliated hospitals/research institutes to enable transfer of funds upon receipt from TIPS.
Funding for this stage of CRCEF support will follow the same principles and processes as in Stages 1 and 2, with oversight from the Steering Committee and coordinated implementation by the Working Group. We will continue to develop common implementation parameters, in consultation with TIPS.
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in decision-making on CRCEF funding
At SickKids, a deep commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) imbues all institutional processes and decision-making. SickKids Research Institute’s EDI Action Plan (EDIAP) is designed to engender a robust EDI culture across the research enterprise at SickKids, which recognizes the multiple identities and intersectionalities of our trainees, staff, and faculty.
SickKids Research Institute’s strategy for EDI in decision-making for the use of CRCEF funds fits within this broader EDI framework, which is incorporated into the numerous selection/allocation opportunities that are undertaken on a daily basis. We are committed to upholding equity, diversity and inclusion in the decision-making process for the distribution of CRCEF funds.
You can learn more about SickKids' EDI policies by following the link below.
Contact for CRCEF Program Compliance
At SickKids, ultimate responsibility for the CRCEF program rests with the Chief of Research at SickKids, Dr. Stephen Scherer. The Director, Research Awards and Financial Services, Susan Malench, is accountable to the Chief of Research on implementation.