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Archived in January 2013 Frequently Asked Questions


This information has been archived. Visit the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions page for current information.

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Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the This link will take you to another Web site Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Under what circumstances should an institution inform the Agencies about changes to its policy for research involving humans? (Schedule 2)

Institutions should inform the Agencies about significant changes to their institutional policy for research involving humans and may be required to submit their revised institutional policy for review. Examples of “significant changes” include the following cases:

  • changes to the status of the institution: e.g., from college to university status
  • changes to the ethics governance structure of the institution: e.g., merging of two or more institutions and adoption of a single ethics governance structure and policy; an affiliated institution acquires an independent status and develops its own institutional policy for research involving humans
  • changes to the institution’s research ethics policy: e.g., changes to the research ethics board (REB) reporting structure or REB membership categories which might influence the independent decision-making of the REB; changes to the appeal mechanism, for example where an institution seeks to rely on an external REB as its appeal board.

Institutions should contact the Agencies in case of doubt.

Research Involving Biohazards includes a requirement for institutions to implement a two-stage process for release of funds for multi-year and multi-stage projects. What exactly do the two stages entail and what is the role of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) in this process?
(Schedules 2, 3 and 13)

The requirement for a two-stage process for release of funds in Schedule 13 is consistent with the two-stage process already included in Schedule 2 (Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans) and Schedule 3 (Ethical Review of Research Involving Animals). For biohazards, this is a new requirement, and institutions have until January 1, 2009, to implement this process. The approach for the two-stage process for human ethics, animal care and biohazard certification approval is the same. Therefore, in developing the process for biohazards, IBCs may wish to consult with Research Ethics Boards and Animal Care Committees about the two-stage process already in place for those functions.

When Agency funding is provided for research that involves biohazards, and the research involving biohazards will not be undertaken immediately, the project is to be submitted to the IBC to determine at what point in the project review and approval by the IBC will be required. This is the first stage in the process. Funds may then be released on a prorated basis up to the projected date of the work involving biohazards.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to inform the IBC of the date on which the researcher anticipates that s/he will be ready to commence working with biohazards and to undertake to seek review and approval of the IBC prior to commencing that research. It is the responsibility of the institution to ensure that the researcher fulfills that undertaking. The institution’s administration decides on the release of funds when IBC approval has been obtained, and when any other conditions of the grant have been met.

A tracking process should be put in place to record when the research procedures involving biohazards will need to be reviewed and approved by the IBC. Funding of this component of the research can only be released following IBC approval. This is the second phase of the release of funds process. Continuing review and approval for the duration of the project could be considered a third stage of the process.

The two-stage process provides flexibility for the grantee or award holder to begin research activities that do not require immediate review and approval, and ensures that Agency funds can be released and used productively in a timely manner; it provides assurance to the institution and the Agencies that no funding is released for research requiring review and approval until approval has been obtained; and it provides a “heads-up” to the review committee, allowing it to track and plan its work accordingly. It may also provide an opportunity for the committee to flag any potential problem issues to the researcher early on in the process.

What other legislation or regulatory requirements might apply to research involving humans? (Schedule 2)

Examples include:

  • the Civil Code of Québec;
  • provincial and federal legislation on privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property, competence and other areas;
  • Canada Food and Drug Act and Regulations;
  • guidelines and policies of the Therapeutic Products Directorate of Health Canada such as Good Clinical Practices: Consolidated Guidelines for clinical trials sponsored by industry, published by the International Conference on Harmonization.
  • relevant laws, regulations and/or policies of other countries, when research is to be conducted in those countries;

What are the current guidelines for research involving human pluripotent stem cells? (Schedule 2)

Tri-Agency interim measures related to human pluripotent stem cells research are available at Interim Tri-Agency Measures for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research. Only human pluripotent stem cells research that conforms to CIHR’s published guidelines found at This link will take you to another Web site is eligible for funding.

What does the Institutional REB refer to? (Schedule 2)

The Institutional REB refers to the Institution’s own REB or the REB that the institution has decided to use. An eligible institution can enter into an ethics review agreement with a non-eligible institution or organization that has adopted the TCPS or adheres to the eligible institution’s policy. The institution remains responsible for the ethics review and adherence to the TCPS.

What items should be included in a written policy on postdoctoral fellows? (Schedule 7)

  • Status of postdoctoral fellows at the Institution;
  • Institutional guidelines for eligibility for postdoctoral appointments which should take into account circumstances that might delay a fellow’s research career (e.g., parental responsibilities);
  • Procedures for selection and appointment of postdoctoral fellows;
  • Duration, renewal and termination of postdoctoral appointments;
  • Compensation (including minimum stipend level);
  • Benefits available (including vacation and parental leave);
  • Differences between the compensation and benefits policy for fellows paid by the university and for fellows paid from external sources;
  • Services offered to postdoctoral fellows (e.g., library access, electronic mail, child care, parking and sports facilities);
  • Participation in, and compensation for, university teaching;
  • Inclusion of postdoctoral fellows in departmental/faculty activities (e.g., opportunities to participate on committees);
  • Opportunities (or not) for fellows to apply independently for university, industrial or other research funding;
  • Intellectual property rights;
  • Academic integrity;
  • Ethical conduct of research involving humans or animals;
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • Grievance procedures;
  • Immigration regulations (for foreign postdoctoral fellows);
  • Career advice and job placement.

Is the Primary Institution required to hold receipts? (Schedule 9)

No, the Primary Institution is not required to hold original receipts from the Secondary Institution. The Primary Institution is responsible for consolidating the financial statements (forms 300) from the Secondary Institutions into one Form 300 for each grant, to be submitted to the Agencies for each grant. Secondary Institutions are responsible for retaining receipts for their grant or award expenditures. Primary Institutions must be able to access receipts from non-eligible Secondary Institutions if requested by the Agencies.

How long must supporting documents be kept? (Schedule 9)

Supporting documents must be kept for a period of seven years after each expenditure has occurred for both Primary and Secondary institutions.

Do the Agencies accept non-eligible Secondary Institutions monitoring and reporting expenses? (SSHRC and CIHR only) (Schedule 9, Part B)

The Agencies deal with the Primary Institutions and not with non-eligible Secondary Institutions. It is the responsibility of the Primary Institution to ensure that the letter of transfer of funds agreement clearly outlines the role and responsibilities of the non-eligible Secondary Institution with regard to monitoring and reporting expenses. It is also the responsibility of the Primary Institution to ensure that the monitoring and reporting of expenses by the non-eligible Secondary Institution is done in accordance with the Agencies’ guidelines. The letter of transfer of funds agreement does not discharge the Primary Institution of its responsibilities toward the Agencies.

If a non-eligible Secondary Institution does not have human and animal ethics policies and review/certification processes in place, can the Primary Institution provide the Secondary Institution with access to its policies and processes? (SSHRC and CIHR only) (Schedule 9, Part B)

Yes, the Primary Institution can and should provide the non-eligible Secondary Institution with access to its policies and processes. It should do so as it is a financial management responsibility of the Primary Institution to ensure research carried out under its auspices (i.e. for which it receives grants and awards funds from SSHRC or CIHR) complies with the ethics principles laid out in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS), and the Canadian Council on Animal Care Guidelines (CCAC). It is recommended that the non-eligible Secondary Institution agrees in writing to: a) comply with the Primary Institution's ethics policies (where appropriate); b) have the Primary Institution do the ethical review of research; and c) submit regular reports to the Primary Institution on the monitoring of that ongoing research. Should research be conducted in another country, the Primary Institution should always perform the ethics review of the research and ensure it also be reviewed by an ethics committee (national, regional or local) in the host country. Provisions of the TCPS must be followed in all cases (please see the TCPS, especially Section 1.H., Review of Research in Other Jurisdictions or Countries, at: This link will take you to another Web site

Why must the letter of transfer of funds agreement with a Non-eligible Secondary Institution include a clause on the delegation of signing authority to a co-investigator, and/or collaborator, and/or research personnel at the Non-eligible Secondary Institution for the transferred funds? (SSHRC and CIHR only) (Schedule 9, Part B)

The letter of transfer of funds agreement must include a clause on the delegation of signing authority for the transferred funds because only the grant or award holder or his/her delegated authority can approve expenses to the grant account.

What are the consequences to the Primary Institution if there is no clause on the delegation of signing authority for the transferred funds? What are the consequences for the Non-eligible Secondary Institution that received the transfer? (SSHRC and CIHR only) (Schedule 9, Part B)

The Primary Institution is responsible for the appropriate use and monitoring of funds transferred to a Non-eligible Secondary Institution. Since the Agencies deal only with the Primary Institutions, there would be no consequence to the non-eligible Secondary Institution. A transfer of funds agreement without the clause on the delegation of signing authority would be considered non compliant with Agencies’ guidelines.

The provisions for Resolution of Issues of Non-Compliance apply to all second-order transfers (please see Schedule 8: Investigation and Resolution of Breaches of Agency Policies, at

Do transfers put the Primary Institution in a position of taking responsibility for non-compliance by the non-eligible Secondary Institution, despite reasonable efforts by the Primary Institution to maintain compliance? (Schedule 9)

Yes, this is a risk that a Primary Institution must assume when entering transferring funds to a Non-eligible Secondary Institution and underscores the importance of the transfer of funds agreement. The Primary Institution can minimize its own risk by requiring the Non-eligible Secondary Institution to use the Primary’s policies and processes for certification etc.

However, in the case of transfer of funds between eligible institutions, the responsibilities are shared between both the Primary and Secondary Institution since both have signed an MOU with the Agencies and agreed to follow the Agencies’ guidelines.

Will these obligations be a deterrent for collaborations with Non-eligible secondary institutions? (SSHRC and CIHR only) (Schedule 9, Part B)

Allowing the transfer of funds to non-eligible Secondary Institutions through a transfer of funds agreement facilitates collaboration while ensuring that the appropriate controls are in place. The Primary and Non-eligible Secondary Institutions need to work together to maximize the benefits of their collaborations and minimize the risks. However, there must be an adequate level of accountability to the Agencies and that is achieved through the MOU between the eligible institutions and the Agencies. There is no such agreement between the Agencies and non-eligible institutions.

In the event that a project has a multiple year term, can unused and uncommitted funds be carried forward by the Non-eligible Secondary Institution, provided that there is agreement between the Primary Institution and the Non–eligible Secondary Institution? (SSHRC and CIHR only) (Schedule 9, Part B)

Yes, unused transferred funds can be carried forward for the period of the grant as long as the Primary Institution follows the requirements of the Agency and grant program. Any remaining funds after that period must be returned to the Primary Institution. This must be addressed in the letter of transfer of funds agreement.

Why is it necessary for the Non-eligible Secondary Institution to provide each relevant researcher at the Non-eligible Secondary Institution with all relevant information concerning any conditions that the Agency has imposed on the use of the grant or award? (Schedule 9, Part B)

This will help to increase awareness, at the Non-eligible Secondary Institution, of the purposes for making the grant or award and of any constraint on its use.

What is the difference between a grant or award transfer and an accountable advance? (Schedule 9)

An accountable advance is considered to be a payment made under the terms of the original award. A specific amount of limited funding is transferred to a Secondary Institution for an explicit purpose, a specific time frame and with specific conditions. These details are outlined in an Accountable Advance Letter. The Secondary Institution must provide the Primary Institution with receipts and a completed Form 300.

How should institutions manage grant or award transfer agreements with Non-eligible Institutions that pre-date the implementation of this schedule? (Schedule 9, Part B)

All letters of agreement must adhere to Schedule 9 by January 1, 2009 at the latest. This may require amendments or addendums to current letters of agreement. Consult Part B for guidance.

In the event that there is a change in the eligibility status of a Researcher, do the Agencies publish the steps that both they and the institutions must take in response to this change? (Schedule 10)

Yes, the Agencies publish the steps to be taken when there is a change in a Researcher’s eligibility status. Specific requirements vary according to program:

What are the consequences if a Researcher is found ineligible after a change in their eligibility status? (Schedule 10)

The Agencies will commence termination procedures as outlined in these documents:

Note: “Research reports” in this FAQ refer to both progress and final reports.

Where can I find information on performance reporting requirements? (Schedule 11)

Research activity reports (progress or final) are required for some grants. For more specific reporting requirements, consult the appropriate program literature:

CIHR This link will take you to another Web site Grants and Awards Guide and This link will take you to another Web site program literature
NSERC Program Guide for Professors – Overview and program literature
SSHRC This link will take you to another Web site Using Your Funds

What is the Institution’s role in adhering to performance reporting requirements? (Schedule 11)

Institutions are expected to support adherence to the relevant Agency’s reporting requirements by facilitating the provision of the required information and, by ensuring that grant holders have sufficient time to complete the required reports.

Do the Agencies plan on covering additional costs incurred by the Institutions as a result of monitoring Researchers to ensure that they submit research reports to the Agencies within specified timelines? (Schedule 11)

No, the Agencies will not cover these types of costs. The Indirect Cost Program provides funding for administrative support.

Do the Agencies require Grant Holders to provide a copy of their research reports to their Institution’s research office at the same time as they provide it to the relevant Agency? (Schedule 11)

The Agencies support in principle the provision of final research reports to the Institutional research office. However this remains at the discretion of each Institution.

Will the Agencies advise Institutions of late or unsatisfactory research reports submitted by researchers? (Schedule 11)

CIHR advises institutions in writing of late and unsatisfactory research reports from their researchers since both of these have an impact on the institution. In the case of unsatisfactory progress reports, CIHR will cancel all subsequent commitments and the grant holder will be requested to submit a complete renewal application at the next competition. For more information, consult the subsection titled "Progress Report for Long-Term Grant Holders (5 or more years)" in the CIHR Grants and Awards Guide This link will take you to another Web site

Researchers must submit a research report in order to re-apply to the SSHRC Standard Research Grants program. SSHRC advises institutions of late final research reports.

NSERC’s requirements for research reports vary by program. NSERC advises Institutions of any action it may take as a result of late or unsatisfactory reports. NSERC follows up with a letter to the researcher with a copy to the Research Grant Officer (RGO).

What do we mean by “Facilities”? (Schedule 12)

Facilities are research resources that include groupings of equipment and/or equipment-based specialized services.

Can Institutions put in place an agreement on the sharing of equipment with co-applicants? (Schedule 12)

Yes, institutions can put in place an agreement on the sharing of equipment with co-applicants if they believe it is required.

Can the Institution consider requests for transfer of equipment, if the Researcher moves to another eligible Canadian Institution or to a Non-eligible Institution (Canadian or non-Canadian)? (Schedule 12)

Equipment purchased with Agency funds is the property of the Institutions. Thus, requests for transfer of equipment should be evaluated and decided upon by the Institution, with the goal of maximizing the use of the equipment for research and for the benefit of Canada.

Please also refer to the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide under Administrative Matters; Ownership of Items Purchases or Collected With Agency Funds and Moving Equipment, Material or an Unexpended Equipment Grant (

Institutions are responsible to insure the equipment or facilities, including vehicles purchased, established or supported with funds from grants awarded by the Agencies. Does this mean each individual item must be insured? (Schedule 12)

The Agencies assume that general institutional insurance will cover some equipment or facilities. However, it is the responsibility of the institution to ensure that additional coverage is in place to safeguard the equipment or facilities that are not covered by the general institutional insurance policy.

Where are the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines available? (Schedule 13)

The guide is available electronically at: This link will take you to another Web site Alternatively, paper copies may be requested by contacting the Public Health Agency at Note that CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC do not provide paper or electronic copies of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines.

Are there any other relevant guidelines or regulations? (Schedule 13)

Research must be conducted in accordance with any regional biosafety guidelines or regulations. If regional guidelines or regulations differ from those of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the more stringent prevail.

Which laboratory biosafety guidelines or regulations must Canadian researchers adhere to when conducting research outside of Canada? (Schedule 13)

Research performed outside of Canada with funds from one or more of the Agencies must be conducted in accordance with the host country’s laboratory biosafety guidelines or regulations. However, if the host country does not have any in place or if their guidelines/regulations differ from Canada’s, the most stringent prevail.

If research conducted outside of Canada appears to be, or, is found to be in non-compliance with Agency policy under this Schedule, the Agency will follow the procedures described in Schedule 8: Investigation and Resolution of Breaches of Agency Policies (

Does this schedule apply to all containment levels? (Schedule 13)

The Schedule recognizes the different levels of risk and containment set out in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines.

What should be included in an effective institutional Conflict of Interest Policy? (Schedule 14)

An effective Institutional COI Policy may contain the following elements:

  1. Core Elements of an Institutional Conflict of Interest (COI ) Policy
    • clear objectives;
    • a definition of “Institution” that incorporates or expands upon the definition set out in this MOU;
    • provisions for dealing with COI that are consistent with the treatment of COI set out in this Schedule, including dealing with the notions of private versus Institutional interests and of actual, perceived, and potential COI ;
    • clear provisions that provide guidance in non-quantifiable matters such as what behaviour is appropriate and what is inappropriate, and what constitutes significant COI;
    • clear application to specified target population(s), including distinct provisions appropriate to each population;
    • a provision dealing with the employment of trainees in commercial activities;
    • a provision dealing with the employment of support staff in commercial activities;
    • a coherent and accountable central mechanism to manage COI that applies to all members of and individuals associated with the Institution;
    • mechanism(s) to identify and manage real, perceived or potential COI;
    • a structure for reporting and reviewing disclosures of COI;
    • identify a central point of contact within the Institution;
    • cross-references to other policies, as appropriate (for example, to the Institution’s Conflict of Commitment Policy or its Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research involving Humans);
    • if applicable, a description of mechanisms for harmonization of the Institution’s COI Policy with its affiliates;
    • provisions to protect the privacy of individuals; and,
    • a mechanism to inform all members of and individuals associated with the Institution about the Institutional COI Policy and any amendments to it.
  1. Communicating the Institutional Conflict of Interest Policy
    • use appropriate and reliable mechanisms for informing those to whom the institutional COI Policy applies about its requirements (e.g., for staff at the time of hiring; for students at registration; and for new department heads, deans, university administrators, visitors, adjunct professors, other trainees, and other participants at orientation sessions);
    • develop mechanisms for individuals to acknowledge that they have been informed of the Institutional Policy (e.g., by requiring a signature);
    • disseminate the Institutional COI Policy on a Web page or site reserved for Institutional policies (although Institutions should note that Web postings alone are not an adequate dissemination mechanism); and,
    • hold annual education and awareness workshops on COI similar to those held for Human Research, animal care or the handling of hazardous materials.
  1. Disclosure, Reporting and Management
    • develop mechanisms for managing the disclosure and reporting of COI that are appropriate to the size and mission of the Institution;
    • develop mechanisms to ensure sound record keeping and documentation of disclosures, management of COI and decisions;
    • delegate clear and coherent powers for dealing with COI, and inform all members of the Institution of the reporting structure;
    • develop mechanisms for disclosure at the department or faculty level, and provide an overview of the first steps for COI disclosure at the Institutional level (e.g., by providing information on the number of disclosures, the number of disclosures that required decisions and management, and the number of disclosures that could not be managed and therefore led to prohibition of an activity);
    • develop mechanisms to identify COI that may arise following the awarding of grants;
    • develop mechanisms to assess unresolved COI issues, to arrive at final decisions and to provide for central reporting of those decisions;
    • require annual disclosure of any COI including, but not limited to, those related to finances and start-up companies in which the Institution or any of its employees or officials have an interest;
    • develop mechanisms to set limits for “financial interests” to ensure pertinent and accurate reporting of COI.

What are the differences between the schedules on ethics, integrity and conflict of interest and how are they related? (Schedules 2, 3, 4 and 14)

The relevant schedules are the following:

Schedule 2: Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans
Schedule 3: Ethical Review of Research Involving Animals
Schedule 4: Integrity in Research and Scholarship
Schedule 14: Conflicts of Interest in Research

Although these schedules are related, they are sufficiently different and individually important enough to warrant a schedule on each topic. Schedules 2 and 3 address the specific certification policies and requirements for research involving humans and animals, respectively. Schedule 2 is related to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Schedule 3 refers the policies of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).

Schedule 4 deals only with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Integrity in Research and Scholarship which addresses very specific instances of scientific misconduct involving falsification and fabrication of data, plagiarism and conflict of interest. Schedule 14 addresses the need for Institutional policies on conflict of interest in research.

These schedules are all related given that they all outline the roles and responsibilities of both the Institutions and the Agencies in ensuring that research meets the highest scientific and ethical standards. They are further supported by Schedule 8: Investigation and Resolution of Breaches of Compliance, which sets out the procedure for dealing with circumstances of non-compliance with Agency policy. A single case of misconduct could involve the breach of more than one schedule.

What are some recommended good practices for communication of Agency-Funded research and awards? (Schedule 15)

Agencies will work on both the focus and timing of all funding announcements in collaboration with Institutions and, when warranted, the relevant Minister’s office, in order to maximize media interest and thereby ensure the highest possible public profile.

Both Agencies and Institutions acknowledge that announcements require the active participation of the funded researcher(s) to help attract support for Agencies, Institutions and the Government's investment in research.

In planning events for large-scale funding announcements, Agencies and Institutions will work together to develop a strategy for the announcement that takes into consideration the requests and circumstances of all parties.

Agencies and Institutions will work collaboratively to promote government-funded research and will recognize, in their public announcements, each others’ efforts and contributions.

Agencies and Institutions recognize the cost of organizing and hosting an event that profiles federally-funded research. Therefore, the Agencies and Institutions involved should discuss cost-sharing early in the planning stages of any such event.

The Agencies have specific guidelines for Grant and Award Holders regarding public communication and acknowledgement. Institutions can play an important role in helping to implement these guidelines. Below are links to the respective Agencies’ guidelines:

CIHR – Grants and Awards Guide (This link will take you to another Web site

CIHR – Communicating the Value of Health Research: CIHR Guidelines on Public Communication (This link will take you to another Web site

NSERC – General Guidelines for the Public Announcement of Major NSERC Awards (

SSHRC – Grant Holders Guide (This link will take you to another Web site

Which types of announcements require acknowledgement of Agency grants and awards? (Schedule 15)

All publications, documents, and events intended for the general public, media or parliamentarians that announce Agency research grants, scholarships, fellowships and prizes, or the results of research or activities supported by Agency grants and awards, require acknowledgement of Agency support.

What constitutes an "appropriate" use of Institutional and Agency logos? (Schedule 15)

Any publication, document, item or event that recognizes an Agency grant or award, or the results of the grant or award, must include the Agency’s logo. The Agencies must be notified in advance so that the Agencies and Institutions can work together to ensure the appropriate use of logos.

Where are Agency logos available? (Schedule 15)

SSHRC’s logo and guidelines for usage are available at This link will take you to another Web site Placement of the logo must be approved by SSHRC’s Communications division.

Please contact CIHR Media Relations at 613-941-4563 or to obtain a copy of the logo and placement guidelines.

NSERC’s Logo and guidelines for usage are available at:

Who determines when research results are of sufficient public interest to warrant a public announcement? (Schedule 15)

When research results are accepted for publication, Institutions and Agencies determine together whether there is likely to be sufficient public interest to disseminate the results to the media, the general public, and parliamentarians.

How are research results communicated to the media, the general public, and parliamentarians? (Schedule 15)

Research results are usually communicated through a news release or a web posting by Institutions and/or Agencies.

Who should Institutions contact at the Agencies in regards to public communication initiatives?

CIHR Media Relations
Tel: 613-941-4563

SSHRC Communications

NSERC Public Affairs