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 is being rolled out in three stages. Stages 1and 2 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) will be provided at a later date.

What CRCEF support will be allocated to McGill and its affiliated health research institutions?

McGill and its affiliated health research institutions have been allocated $13.1M for Stage 1, and the University is responsible for distributing this funding, proportionally, based on a government-prescribed formula applied to University and affiliates' publicly-reported levels of non-governmental research income. This translates to ~$6M allocated to McGill University and ~$7M to its hospital and health research institute affiliates:

  • McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
  • Douglas Mental Health University Institute
  • Jewish General Hospital
  • St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Shriners Hospital for Children
  • Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital

The amount to be allocated to McGill’s affiliated health research institutions will be transferred to these affiliates by McGill for their administration and distribution. For more information on how allocations for individual affiliates have been calculated, please consult the following document here.

Any unused Stage 1 funds will be held in reserve and applied against Stage 3. McGill formally applied for its full allocation on July 6th and funds have been received.

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 12 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.

What if I think the wages/salaries/stipends of my research-related personnel (postdocs, students, staff) qualify for recovery through the CRCEF but I haven’t been contacted?

The RI-MUHC submitted its Stage 1 request ($2.2M) to McGill University on July 24th. If you were not aware of the CRCEF Program and still wish to apply for wage support, please send an email to

How is the McGill CRCEF Steering Committee ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the administration of CRCEF funds? [Updated September 1, 2020]

The 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. Click here to view McGill's CRCEF Steering Committee strategy to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the administration of CRCEF funds.

For any other questions regarding the CRCEF program, please email Susan James, Director, Research Grants and Data Management at

Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF): Stage 3

Stage 3 provides a notional allocation of at least $9.3 million to McGill and its six affiliated health research institutions for extraordinary and incremental ramp-up and maintenance costs related to research activities affected by COVID-19. Stage 3 claims may include expenses paid from both governmental and non-governmental sources (e.g. CIHR, MUHC Foundations, NIH, internal support funds). Claims will be reimbursed at up to 75% of eligible expenses.

These unanticipated costs may be salary expenses that are exceptional and incremental to those covered by existing sources of funds (and not covered by other grant relief funding). For example, extraordinary salary costs related to animal or specimen care, maintenance of equipment, software, cohorts, datasets, including warranties, licenses and service contracts or extraordinary salary costs related to re-organizing the research environment and research activities are eligible for reimbursement up to 75% in Stage 3.

To request CRCEF Stage 3 support:

  • Complete the CRCEF spreadsheet found on the CRCEF section of the RI Portal (Section Resources > Research Grants, login required). Instructions are included in the spreadsheet.
  • Submit the completed spreadsheet before 5 pm on November 6, 2020 to

We urge all Principal Investigators to consult the McGill CRCEF webpage and the CRCEF section of the RI Portal (Section Resources > Research Grants, login required). FAQs have been added to the government CRCEF website.

The presentation from the CRCEF Q&A session, held October 21 is now available here (login required).

For further information and questions, please contact Susan James, Director, Research Grants and Data Management at or

Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF): Stage 4

What is CRCEF Stage 4?

CRCEF Stage 4 extends the maximum duration of wage/salary/stipend support for eligible research personnel in Stage 1 from 12 weeks to 24 weeks. The eligibility period for wage support remains the same as it was in Stage 1: from March 15th, 2020 to August 29th, 2020. As with Stage 1, Stage 4 funds will be used exclusively for wage support for research personnel (staff, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students) whose salaries/stipends were adversely affected by COVID-19 and who were paid in part or in whole by non-governmental sources. A reminder that to be eligible for CRCEF wage support (Stages 1 and 4), employees must have been hired prior to March 15, 2020.

To request CRCEF Stage 4 wage support:

  • Open the CRCEF eligibility report located here (login required).
  • This report lists any non-government funded research accounts and the names of staff paid from these accounts. (The report is accessible only to those with account privileges).
  • Download and complete the CRCEF application from that page, using the information from the CRCEF report and your Stage 1 request.
  • Submit the completed questionnaire before 5 pm on October 30, 2020 to

Please consult the government’s CRCEF website for more information, including FAQ for Stage 4.

The presentation from the CRCEF Q&A session, held October 21 is now available here (login required).

For further information and questions, please contact Susan James, Director, Research Grants and Data Management at

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