CRCEF Program Objectives

Updated November 2020

The Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF) is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The CRCEF program, which has a total budget of $450 million, 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 the COVID-19 pandemic (up to $325 million); 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 as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume ($125 million).

USask Management

University of Saskatchewan (USask) affiliated health research institutions – None

Overview of the method of distribution to affiliated health research institutions – N/A

The University of Saskatchewan has established a CRCEF Oversight Committee to guide the application and allocation processes for CRCEF funds (all stages). The committee is charged with:

  1. Development and oversight of a transparent and equitable process for distribution of funds;
  2. Development and implementation of a strategy for consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion; and
  3. Developing a strategy for communicating with the research community.

The Committee includes members of the university leadership and governance structure, representing a breadth of disciplinary and management perspectives and inclusive of representation from equity-seeking groups.  (The university does not have eligible affiliated institutions.)

Committee members are:

  • Associate Deans Research representatives:  T. Crowe (Agriculture & Bio-resources); J. Gray (Arts & Science); T. Risling (Nursing); L. Snead (Western College of Veterinary Medicine)
  • Centre representative: D. Janz (Toxicology)
  • Office of the Vice-President Research:  L. Zink (Research Acceleration & Strategic Initiatives); Cal Hamm (Finance & Operations)
  • Office of the Vice-President Finance & Resources:  T. Batters (Finance); T. Beke (Human Resources)

All members of the Advisory Committee have completed unconscious bias training.

Criteria guiding decision-making is provided under each of the Stages described below.

As reflected in our Mission, Vision and Values, USask is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and believes that our workforce should reflect the diversity of our students and community. Awareness of these intrinsic values is actively promoted at all levels of the university, including by the President and senior leadership. The University Plan 2025 (plan), launched in October 2018, includes diversity as one of four principles woven into the fabric of its framework. The plan focuses institutional efforts on ensuring that diversity, inclusion, and equity are embedded in discussions that influence, shape, and direct development of our institution. Through the execution of the plan, the institution is committed to nurturing a diverse and inclusive work, research and learning environment as a vital, contributing element to the achievement of research and training excellence.

The university is actively taking steps to achieve a place where a sense of belonging is felt by everyone, including women, members of a visible minority/racialized group, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and any others who contribute to the diversification of ideas and perspectives.

We have brought this commitment to bear on the management of the CRCEF program.  The university’s equity, diversity and inclusion strategy includes:

1. Inclusive and informed decision-making body

Reporting to the Vice-President Research, the CRCEF Advisory Committee has been established to develop and provide oversight of a transparent and equitable process for distribution of funds for all stages.

Membership includes faculty researchers, senior leaders drawn from the university’s centre and college leadership teams, human resources, finance & resources and research administration, ensuring a breadth of disciplinary and management perspectives, including knowledge of non-traditional, Indigenous and unconventional scholarship and discovery.

This committee is inclusive of individuals from equity-seeking groups and all members have participated in unconscious bias training.  Discussion of equity, diversity and inclusion considerations are part of all meeting discussions.

Decision-making follows Tri-Agency guidelines, inclusive of SSHRC’s Principles for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research.  In addition, the committee has the option of inviting additional expertise from the university community during application review

2. Robust communication strategy inclusive of equity, diversity and inclusion principles

The university employs multiple internal communication channels, including centrally-managed and college-based email distribution, and college and leadership forums.

Communications of CRCEF opportunities all use inclusive language and explicitly state the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion including:

  • Raising awareness of the differential impact that the pandemic may have on equity-seeking groups. (e.g. absence due to need to care for family or due to health concerns);
  • Acknowledging the different ways in which research and discovery are undertaken, including non-traditional and unconventional methods.

3. Final review prior to submission

The CRCEF committee, supported by faculty researchers and personnel in research administration, financial services and human resources, reviews final decisions to ensure all applicants have been treated equitably, including consideration of EDI and non-traditional or unconventional research, and in situations when the need exceeds the funds provided.

Decisions are communicated to all applicants, and an option to query decisions is available through the Research Acceleration & Strategic Initiative Unit.

Stage 3 Closed

Stage 3 supports direct costs of research that have been incurred to:

  • maintain essential research-related commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic; and/or
  • 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 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.

USask respects and values the diverse ways in which research and scholarship is undertaken, including non-traditional and unconventional research.  Applicants are encouraged to consider the broad range of factors that could result in maintenance and ramp-up costs.

  1. Researchers and research scientists holding research funds from any source, are encouraged to apply online.
  2. You must submit a unique application for each research fund (from CFOAPAL) to which you have incurred extraordinary and incremental costs related to maintenance or ramp up of research activities between 15 March and 15 November.

  3. The application will require you to either attach a document (e.g. spreadsheet) or list the items and their total for which you are requesting reimbursement. In addition, you will be asked to provide a brief explanation of how the costs meet the program criteria. Please see eligible costs below.

  4. Applications were due by 30 November 2020.

  5. Upon submission, applications will be reviewed to ensure they meet eligibility requirements.  Researchers will be contacted if there are any questions related to their applications.  Final decision will be made by the USask CRCEF Advisory Committee according to the Evaluation Criteria provided below. 

Shared research facilities and platforms may charge user fees to research projects for expenses incurred to maintain or restart research activities due the pandemic. These are eligible if:

  • they are communicated to researchers; and
  • if they are traceable to the research project through a reporting process (e.g. billing).

The university is currently reviewing potential incremental costs, in direct support of research, that have remained unbilled to researchers by core research facilities and other units. These costs may relate to enhanced health and safety requirements impacting services such as custodial, procurement, animal care,  and facility operations. Details of any incremental costs included in the Stage 3 application will be communicated and updated here.

Facility managers wishing to explore this option are asked to contact as soon as possible.

Eligible expenses for Stage 3 funding include:

  • Cost incurred associated with maintaining essential research-related activities during the pandemic that are exceptional and incremental to those already covered by existing sources of funds, including:
    • 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.
  • Costs associated with ramp-up of research activities, as physical distancing measures are eased and research activities can resume. 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, 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 University of Saskatchewan anticipates being able to cover all requests for Stage 3 support.

In the event that applications exceed the funding available, the CFREF Advisory Committee is committed to ensuring equitable distribution of funds supporting the breadth of the university community.

The Advisory Committee has recognized that the impacts of COVID-19 may be disproportionately impacting some members of the university community.  Priority will be given to funding:

  • Individuals who have been personally impacted by the pandemic (e.g., their own or their immediate family’s health has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, family obligations for dependent care or limited access to medical care for persons with disabilities);
  • Early-career researchers (individuals who have held an uninterrupted academic or research – i.e. Research Scientist - position for 5 years or less.)
  • Researchers who self-identify as belonging to one or more equity-seeking groups.

In addition, if demand exceeds the amount available, the CRCEF Advisory Committee may consider other criteria or strategies including:

  • Prorating funding provided based on total number and amount of requests.

Stage 3 FAQs

Eligible projects include those funded from internal, government, industry, international or other funding sources.

Tri-Agency funded research projects are eligible as long as the expenses claimed are not covered by other broad-based federal COVID-19 measures (e.g., the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), by COVID-19 research support from the federal research funding agencies or by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.  Specifically:

  • Tri-agency projects that have been extended in time only are eligible to Stage 3.
  • Tri-agency projects that have been extended with funding for salary support (support announced on April 22, 2020) are eligible to Stage 3, but a same salary cannot be supported by the two measures for a same period.

Costs incurred during the eligibility period are eligible expenses (goods or services) recorded or committed between March 15 and November 15, 2020. Transactions and invoices may be received and paid until March 31, 2021, which is the grant end date, as noted on the notice of decision. Goods and services may be rendered or received up until March 31, 2021.

The costs of research personnel can be eligible in for the period 30 August to 15 November 2020.  These costs must:  a) be unanticipated, and exceptional, resulting from COVID-19; b) cannot be funded by existing sources; c) are associated with maintenance and/or ramp up research activities.

No. CRCEF will only support costs associated with maintenance and ramp-up of research activities. Examples of ramp down costs include degraded chemicals, cultures that had to be destroyed or radioisotopes that decayed.  However, if you replace those items between March 15 -November 15, those costs are eligible under the ramp up costs category.

No, home office utilities (including internet connections) and office furniture (including ergonomic equipment) is not eligible for reimbursement.

Direct costs of general research activities are ineligible for stage 3 funding.  Equipment, including laptops, purchased to support general research-related activities (e.g., communicating with your research team, writing papers or grants) are not eligible.  However, IT equipment, phone systems/service and internet services to maintain or restart a direct research activity are eligible.

The timing and details of how the transfers will work has yet to be determined, but in principle the funding received under Stage 3 of the CRCEF would be credited against the CFOAPAL where the original expense was incurred.  Recognizing that some projects may end between the application and receipt of funds, in those cases alternate means of offsetting those costs will need to be found to maintain the integrity of project reporting and the supporting details of the CRCEF.

As long as the expenses were incurred between March 15 and November 15, yes, they would be eligible under the maintenance costs category.

View a sample application that does not include an uploaded document showing the level of detail required.

View a sample application form that includes an uploaded document along with a sample of a FAST report. This report should include a description of the expense, date range, and amount of the expenses. Document numbers, user ids, and full CFOAPAL are not required. 

Stage 4 Closed

Stage 4 provides additional wage support for eligible research-related personnel by increasing the maximum duration of support from 12 to 24 weeks.

Researchers who received Stage 1 support for research personnel will be contacted by their SBA to see if they are eligible for extended support (up to 24 weeks).

Deadline to apply for Stage 4 was 16 November 2020.

  • Stage 4 provides up to 75% of the portion of research-related personnel’s salaries/wages normally supported by non-governmental sources, to a maximum of $847 per week for up to 24 weeks of salary support per individual, incurred within the eligibility period of March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.
  • Research personnel must be funded from non-government sources. (Personnel funded by any level of government are not eligible – this includes municipal, provincial, federal and institutional funds)
  • 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.

Research-related personnel are those employed by universities or health research institutions who are working for faculty members conducting research, or who are working in scientific and engineering facilities/laboratories supporting broad research objectives (e.g., graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel associated with research projects). Principal investigators are excluded from the research-related personnel definition.

Applicants cannot claim benefits, salary/wages or portions of these, and expenses covered through:

  • other federal research funding agency awards;
  • the Canada Foundation for Innovation awards; or
  • funding from all levels of government, including COVID-19 relief programs.

Individuals who will have their wages funded by CRCEF cannot receive support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Stage 1 Closed

Stage 1 is now closed.

Stage 1 of this program is intended to provide wage support to help retain research-related personnel impacted by the loss or decline in non-government funding.

The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Stage 1 application was submitted on July 6, 2020. The application process is now closed.  USask did not apply for Stage 2 funding.

Summary of Stage 1 application procedures and criteria


For more information on the CRCEF program at USask, please contact Laura Zink, Director, Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives at or 306-966-7295.

Recent COVID-19 Funding Opportunities

Type of Funding Max. Funding Funders Time frame How to Apply
COVID Support Supplement Salary / Stipend 64% CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC 1 April - 30 June Direct to Funder (Closed)
Scholarship Extension Scholarship 100% NSERC, SSHRC 3 Months Through CGPS (Closed)
CRCEF Stage 1 Salary / Stipend *75% Non-Government 15 Mar - 29 Aug (up to 12 weeks) Through College Finance (Closed)
CRCEF Stage 3  Non-Salary 75% All Funders 15 Mar - 15 Nov Online Application Open
Salary / Stipend 75% All Funders 30 Aug - 15 Nov Online Application Open
CRCEF Stage 4 Salary / Stipend *75% Non-Government 15 Mar - 29 Aug (up to 24 weeks) See Stage 4
*up to $847 per week per individual