Chairs Administration Guide

The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) administers both the Canada Research Chairs and Canada Excellence Research Chairs Programs. Unless otherwise specified, the regulations in this guide apply to both programs.

Note: For the purposes of this document, “Agency” refers to one of the three following agencies: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The guide was revised in June 2016. This summary outlines what specific changes were made.

Accepting the Chair and Start Date

Responsibilities and Accountability

Annual Funding of Awards

Use of Award Funds

Reporting and Supporting Evidence

Administrative Matters

Accepting the Chair and Start Date

Notice of award and acceptance

The Secretariat sends all notices of award to the primary contact for the institution. For its part, the institution must confirm in writing, by providing the appropriate signatures, that it:

  • accepts the award as set out in the Notice of Award and Acceptance (NOA);
  • acknowledges the start date of each chairholder’s appointment; and
  • accepts the administrative regulations as laid out in this guide.

Provided there are no other conditions attached to the award, when the Secretariat receives these confirmations, it will begin payments on, or shortly after, the effective date of the appointment.

As indicated in the NOA, chairholders are expected to participate in Chairs program peer review activities, if asked to do so. Universities are able to establish Canada Research Chairs, in part, because other chairholders and researchers have graciously offered their time to participate in the peer review process in the past.

Start date

Canada Research Chairs recipients must take up the appointment within 12 months of the institution receiving the NOA. The Secretariat will withdraw awards that are not accepted within this period.

The effective start date of a new Chair may be no earlier than the first day of the month in which notification of the award occurred. The effective start date of a renewed Chair must be the first day following the end date of the original term.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs recipients must take up the appointment within an appropriate time frame after the university receives the NOA (usually within 18 months). The effective start date of new Chairs may be no earlier than the first day of the month in which notification of the award occurred. If a successful nominee declines a Chair or fails to commence his or her duties and to reside in Canada within the timelines stated above, the respective Chair will be reclaimed.

Period of tenure

Once the chairholder starts, the awards for Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs, as well as for Canada Excellence Research Chairs, are tenable for seven years; awards for Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs are tenable for five years.

Should a chairholder leave or be unable to perform his or her duties before the award expires, the institution must notify the Secretariat.

Chairholders must be employed full time at the host institution to be eligible to hold the Chair.

Renewing a Chair

A Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, which can be renewed indefinitely, is eligible for renewal in its sixth year. A Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, which can be renewed only once, is eligible for renewal in its fourth year.

If a researcher resigns from a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair position at one institution and accepts a Tier 2 Chair at another institution, he or she cannot be renewed, regardless of the number of years in the initial Chair.

If a Canada Research Chair is not renewed, the institution can submit a nomination for a new nominee.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs may not be renewed.

Holding other chairs/awards

Canada Research Chairs and Canada Excellence Research Chairs may not be held concurrently.

The following table summarizes the regulations for holding other chairs or awards.

Funding May be held in conjunction with a Chair
Steacie Memorial Fellowship (NSERC) Yes, but the Steacie Fellowship will be reduced from $90,000 to $30,000
Industrial Research Chair (NSERC) Yes, subject to certain conditions.
CIHR Salary Award No
Killam Research Fellowship Yes
Partnered Chair (SSHRC) No

Non-Canadian chairholders

Foreign researchers who have been named as chairholders should apply for a temporary work permit through a Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada visa office.

When applying for a work permit, a letter of confirmation—which may be obtained through the Secretariat—and a letter of offer from the institution should be sent as supporting documents.

For additional information about hiring foreign academics and general information on taxes, social insurance number applications, spousal employment and similar matters, please consult the Employment and Social Development Canada website.

Visit the Canada Border Services Agency website for Canadian border information and services, such as accounting for personal effects.

Members of the Chair’s team may be eligible for an expedited work permit. For further information on the process, institutions may contact their local Temporary Foreign Worker Unit.

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Responsibilities and Accountability

Institutional contacts

Canada Research Chairs
The Secretariat keeps institutions informed by posting information on the  Program updates page, and by sending information to the contacts listed on the institutions’ portfolio page in their Chairs institutional portal. It is the institution’s responsibility to keep this contact information in the portal up-to-date and complete.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs
The Secretariat keeps institutions informed by sending program information and updates by email to the key contacts provided by the institution. An institution can update its institutional contacts by emailing

Equity Officer

Institutions are required to add the contact information for their equity officer (or equivalent) in the appropriate section of their institutional contact list on the Chairs institutional portal.

Roles and responsibilities

Chairs are awarded to institutions. The Secretariat will make quarterly payments, through SSHRC’s finance division, on behalf of the designated Agency. Installments for future fiscal years will be subject to availability of funds.

The administration of funds granted by an Agency is carried out by the institution and the Agency. Refer to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research for chairholders’ responsibilities when  applying for, or receiving funds, and the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions for more details on the administration of funds granted.

In accordance with federal laws and policies regarding grants, the Secretariat verifies the institution’s eligibility for and entitlement to grants.

Chairs are awarded to eligible institutions and are administered through the institution. The institution authorizes expenditures in accordance with Agency and program policies and requirements, as outlined in the relevant Agency and program guides on their websites, or as stated as a condition of award, and with institution policies. No one may initiate or authorize expenditures from an award account without the institution’s delegated authority.

Each institution establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that Agency and program policies and requirements are followed. The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold and withdraw approval of expenditures proposed by a chairholder that contravene the Agency’s or program’s requirements or the institution’s policies and, when appropriate, to seek advice or ruling from the Secretariat as to eligibility of expenses. Administrative, personnel and accounting procedures must conform to the standards, practices and policies of the institution.

The grantee, normally the institution’s president, principal or rector, authorizes expenditures from the grant account in accordance with program guidelines. The grantee may delegate the authorization of expenditures to a small number of individuals. The business office of the institution at which the chairholder is located generally administers the Chair funds. The institution must open a separate account for each grant it receives, and must clearly record all payments made into and from the account, and group them by category.

The institution must not disburse any funds on behalf of the chairholder until all specified certification requirements–including those in respect of animal care, human ethics and any other requirements– have been met, and any other special permits or licenses have been delivered.

The institution is responsible for providing chairholders with a budgetary statement for their Chair on a regular basis.

All subsequent installments are subject to parliamentary appropriations and the conditions that may be attached to them. The Agency and the Canada Research Chairs Program reserve the right to defer or suspend subsequent installments if the parliamentary appropriations are reduced or cancelled, or if the need for funds is not demonstrated.


The Canada Research Chairs Program is committed to excellence in research and research training. The goals of excellence and equity are both compatible and mutually supporting. Sound equity practices ensure that the Chairs program accesses the largest possible pool of qualified candidates, without affecting the integrity of the program’s selection process. The Chairs program is committed to the federal government’s policies on non-discrimination and employment equity.

Recruitment and nomination process

All institutions must ensure that their recruitment and nomination processes are transparent, open and equitable, as outlined in the Guidelines for Ensuring a Fair and Transparent Recruitment and Nomination Process. This applies to the nomination of new Chairs, whether the Chair is used for retention purposes or as a recruiting tool, as well as to the advancement of a Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1 Chair at the same institution. These processes must be consistent with the principles and safeguards embodied in the universities' existing tenure-track hiring practices (as described in the collective agreement or equivalent). Institutions are also encouraged to establish clear criteria that will be used to determine whether a chair will be submitted for renewal to the program and to communicate these criteria to chairholders at the beginning of their terms.

Monitoring of recruitment processes

The Secretariat monitors the adherence of institutions to the Chairs program’s recruitment and nomination guidelines, and reserves the right to ask institutions to provide, at any time within the 24 months following the nomination, documentation attesting that the process used to recruit chairholders was transparent, open and equitable. The institution must be able to provide documentation such as:

  • a copy of its open announcement (job advertisement or of announcement to faculty), including a statement regarding its commitment towards equity and the participation of members from designated groups;
  • membership details of the hiring committees (indication that the committees or individuals involved in the decision-making process are representatives of the designated groups);
  • a description of equity training provided to individuals who participated in the process;
  • a description of the role of the equity officer or equivalent official;
  • a description of the strategy used to identify and actively recruit members of designated groups;
  • evaluation criteria and assessment grids; and
  • copies of relevant internal policies and guidelines (e.g., equity policies, tenure-track hiring practices/policies, collective agreement or equivalent).

Equity Target-Setting Exercise

Institutions are expected to establish equity targets to encourage and promote the participation of individuals from the four designated groups (women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities) within their allocation of Chairs. An institution’s failure to participate in the target-setting exercise will result in the suspension of payments until the information has been provided to the Secretariat.

Employment security conditions and wage increases

In cases where the award covers the chairholder’s entire salary, the Secretariat expects the institution to provide for the chairholder’s employment security as it does for other faculty members of comparable seniority. As for general and merit wage increases, the institution must plan for employment security within the Chair’s budget and distribute the resources in such a way that sufficient funds are available in future years to allow for such increases.

Dedicated research time

It is an expectation of the Chairs programs that institutions provide chairholders with all the support they need to ensure the success of their work, such as dedicated time for research (e.g., by reducing the teaching load or releasing the researcher from certain administrative duties). While the programs do not stipulate that a certain percentage of dedicated time be provided, many institutions ensure that chairholders are able to devote a minimum of 50 per cent of their work time to research. Note: the cost of a teaching replacement is an eligible expense except while the chairholder is on leave.

Canada Research Chairs in senior administrative positions

Some researchers are able to deliver at a level expected of a Canada Research Chair while also being in senior level administrative positions. Accordingly, the program does not have a formal policy prohibiting chairholders from holding these types of positions. However, it is the responsibility of the institution (in collaboration with the chairholder) to ensure that chairholders who hold senior administrative positions have time for research so that they can carry out their program of research at the level expected of a Canada Research Chair. Chairholders who, because of a lack of time to devote to research, have difficulty meeting their research objectives, run the risk of not being renewed.

Deviation from proposed activities and/or budget

All conditions specified in the award notification and relevant program requirements must be respected. Unless otherwise specified, grantees may generally deviate from the proposed research activities and/or schedules. Furthermore, institutions are not required to adhere strictly to the allocation of funds set out in the nomination as long as they use their award for the broad purpose for which it was originally awarded.

Financial monitoring of accounts

Representatives of the Agencies and the Secretariat will periodically review the institutions’ financial administration to:

  • assess the effectiveness of policies, systems and internal controls within the institution;
  • confirm that the institution fulfils its research grant funds management responsibilities as outlined in the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions;
  • ascertain the level of confidence that research funds are used in accordance with tri-agency requirements; and
  • share and disseminate information on guidelines and expectations for the continuous improvement of research fund management.


Institutions and chairholders are responsible for using award funds in accordance with the policies of the agencies, including the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide, Agency grants and awards guides, and this guide; and for providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from award accounts.

Using award funds for purposes inconsistent with the policies of the Agencies; misappropriating award funds; contravening Agency financial policies, namely the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide, Agency grants and awards guides, and this guide; or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from award accounts all constitute breaches of the Agencies’ policies.

For information on how the Agencies address allegations of breaches of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide or other Agency policies, refer to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (section 6.1). Matters involving financial mismanagement, where there is evidence of fraud or other unlawful activity, are referred to the appropriate authorities as per the Treasury Board Directive on Losses of Money or Property.


Support for research provided by both chairs programs is an investment by Canadian taxpayers. The programs’ accountability regarding this use of award funds includes informing the public about who receives the support, the type of research that will be conducted and how funds will be administered.

Chairholders are required to use their chairholder title and acknowledge the Chairs program in publications arising from the supported research, in conference or congress materials, and on equipment and facilities purchased and/or developed with award funds.

Universities are expected to follow the Public Communication Guidelines for Universities.

In addition, universities should make every effort to ensure that chairholders acknowledge the support of the Canada Research Chairs or Canada Excellence Research Chairs program, as appropriate.

Intellectual property and patents

The Chairs programs and the Agencies:

  • do not retain or claim any ownership of, or exploitation or proprietary rights to, intellectual property, copyright or inventions developed/resulting from research supported with program funds; and
  • do not pass judgment on the eventual commercial success of the research.

The institution must disclose to its chairholders its policies on intellectual property rights and ownership arising from supported research. This requirement for disclosure is not intended to supersede any policy on disclosure that the institution might already have in place.

Should chairholders decide to pursue commercialization of any results of the research, including all partnered initiatives, they must adhere to institutional and Agency policies governing the assignment of intellectual property.

Open access

The programs are committed to making the findings of the research they fund easily accessible to the widest possible audience at the earliest possible opportunity. Open access allows the results of research to have the greatest impact. It is based on the idea that the products of research (i.e., full-text publications and research data) should be available to the user free of charge and without restrictions. To support this commitment, the agencies developed a Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. Please refer to the policy for more details on how to comply with its requirements.

Responsible conduct of research

The programs require institutions and chairholders to respect and comply with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

The Agencies regard as misconduct any action that is inconsistent with integrity and ethics as defined in this framework.

Ownership of collections and specimens

Scientifically valuable collections of animal, culture, plant or geological specimens, or archaeological artifacts collected by an authorized representative in receipt of award funds are the property of the institution. These collections must be held in trust for the research community, which should have reasonable access to them. Such collections must be deposited as quickly as possible in an appropriate repository.

However, the programs’ policy on ownership of collections or specimens does not supersede any federal or provincial legislation on this issue.

The programs’ intent is not to restrict standard and recognized procedures of exchange of material and specimens between researchers and institutions, but to better ensure their ongoing good condition and future availability.

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Annual Funding of Awards

Communication of results

The Secretariat will:

  • provide the institution with copies of all available reviews of their nominations with the expectation that they will be shared with nominees or chairholders; and
  • provide the results to the designated research and business officials in each institution for all nominations submitted from their institution.

Note: The above information is provided in the strictest confidence.  Institutions must ensure that personal information about the nominee or chairholder generated in the context of a nomination is protected and that it is not used or disclosed for any new purpose without the individual’s consent.  The Secretariat does not publish or otherwise disclose details related to unsuccessful nominations.

In addition, for successful nominations only, the Secretariat will post limited information on its website, and in some cases on the appropriate Agency website (e.g., the name of the nominee, department, institution, amount awarded, field of research, chair title, and in some instances a summary of the research proposal prepared by the nominee for public release).


The programs and the Agencies are not responsible for funding expenditures or commitments by chairholders that exceed award funds applied to the chairholder’s account at the institution for current and prior fiscal periods.  These are the responsibility of the institution.

Continuing eligibility

To comply with government policy, the programs must confirm the chairholder’s continued eligibility before releasing future instalments to the institution. Once a year, the programs will provide the institution’s research office and/or business office with a listing of award instalments for the next fiscal year, at which time these offices will be required to confirm to the programs that the chairholders continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

If a chairholder’s eligibility changes at any time during the tenure of an award, the institution must contact the Secretariat immediately. These changes can include a change in a chairholder’s employment status (e.g., from full professor to professor emeritus, from full time to part time, or due to retirement, dismissal or resignation, taking a position outside of Canada, or other reason).

Extension period for use of funds beyond the award period

Canada Research Chairs

The program permits a phase-out period after the end date of the Chair of not more than six months for the payment of outstanding commitments from the funds remaining in the chairholder’s account. This period allows chairholders to bring research activities to a close.

In the event of a chairholder’s death, this period may be extended to 12 months.

The phase-out period is limited to the payment of outstanding commitments that were incurred prior to the end of the award period. No new commitments or expenditures may be authorized from the award account for any activity taking place after the end date of the Chair.

The chairholder’s salary and non-discretionary benefits are not eligible expenses during the phase-out period; these commitments are eligible, however, if the Chair is lost in the re-allocation process.

At the end of the phase-out period, the institution must submit a final statement of account (Form 300).

Extensions to the phase-out period are not permitted.

If funds remain in the account at the end of the phase-out period, refer to the section on Residual balances.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs

The program permits a phase-out period of up to one year. Extensions may be granted to the phase-out period, if properly justified.

Deactivation of a Canada Research Chair due to the re-allocation process

If an institution’s performance decreases relative to other institutions to the extent that the institution’s Chair allocation is reduced through the re-allocation process, the Secretariat will reclaim the lost Chair allocations through various mechanisms.

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Use of Award Funds


The following are guidelines to assist chairholders and institutional administrators in their interpretation of the acceptable use of award funds. The list of examples is not exhaustive. Chairholders are encouraged to communicate with their pertinent institutional contacts (e.g., financial officer, research grants officer).

If an institution is unsure whether an expenditure is eligible, it must contact the Secretariat.

General principles

Award funds must contribute towards the costs of the chairholder and his/her program of research for which the funds were awarded. The funds must be used effectively and economically, and the expenses must be essential for the Chair for which the funds were awarded.

Contributions to shared expenses must be directly attributable to the funded chairholder’s research program, and be accepted and authorized by the institution.

In the absence of a written program policy, the institutional policy (e.g., per diem rates for travel) is to be applied. In the presence of both a program policy and an institutional policy, the program requires compliance with the pertinent program policy. The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold payment of expenses submitted for reimbursement by the chairholder that contravene program and Agency requirements or institutional policies.

Retroactive expenses

Recruitment costs and relocation expenses for chairholders can be claimed retroactively.

Expenses incurred between the date of accepting the Notice of Award and Acceptance and the Chair start date are eligible, with the exception of those expenses related to the chairholder’s salary and indirect costs.

Payment of all expenditures related to the award may begin on or after the Chair start date.

Expenditure Eligibility Date
Recruitment costs and relocation expenses Any time
Chairholder’s salary and indirect costs On or after the Chair start date
Any other expense As soon as the Notice of Award and Acceptance is accepted

No other expenses except for those outlined above may be charged retroactively during the award period. All other expenses must be charged to the award account in the fiscal year the expense was incurred.

Eligibility of research personnel

Except for the chairholder, everyone employed through Chair funds must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or must hold a valid Canadian employment visa or work permit issued by the Government of Canada.

The exception is if the chairholder demonstrates that the research requires hiring someone from outside Canada. In such cases, the chairholder must follow the federal regulations of Employment and Social Development Canada, which stipulate that employees working in Canada who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents must comply with all federal employment regulations.

As the employer, the institution is responsible for ensuring that these conditions are met.

Indirect costs

Institutions may use a portion of Chair funds to contribute toward the indirect costs (i.e., the central and departmental administrative costs) of supporting chairholders and their programs of research. Due to the differences in the value of the Chair funding between the Canada Research Chairs and the Canada Excellence Research Chairs programs, some exceptions apply (see below).

Canada Research Chairs

Institutions may use a reasonable portion of Chair funds (calculated based on a rational methodology) to pay for the indirect costs related to its chairholders’ research. Expenses used for this purpose must contribute to the costs of supporting  the institution’s chairholders and their programs of research. This portion of the award must only be used to pay for eligible expenses as outlined on the Research Support Fund website.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs

An amount of up to 25 per cent of the direct costs of research (e.g., consumables, small equipment, travel, knowledge mobilization) may be used to pay for the indirect costs of research related to the Chair. For example, if $8 million of the award is spent on the direct costs of research, up to $2 million may be spent on the indirect costs of research over the term of the Chair. This portion of the award must only be used for eligible expenses as outlined on the Research Support Fund website.

The salary, benefits and recruitment costs for te chairholder are excluded from the calculation of direct and indirect costs. However, salaries and benefits for highly qualified personnel (e.g., research technicians, research associates, and postdoctoral researchers) hired to work on the chairholder’s program of research constitute direct costs of research.

Compensation-related expenses

Persons paid from a Canada Research Chairs or Canada Excellence Research Chairs program award are not considered to be program employees, scholars or fellows.

Institutional non-discretionary benefits normally include long- and short-term disability insurance; life insurance; pension benefits; medical, vision and dental care benefits; and parental leave. Institutional non-discretionary benefits must not contravene Agency guidelines.

Eligible expenses

  • the chairholder’s salary and the actual cost of related federal, provincial and institutional non-discretionary benefits (including bonuses or merit-based increases);
  • the salaries and non-discretionary benefits of members of the chairholder’s team (students at all levels, postdoctoral researchers, research associates, technicians, clerks, secretaries or research assistants)—no minimums or maximums apply to stipends aside from those dictated by institutional policy, and Agency policy;
  • the costs of a teaching replacement for the chairholder, including compensation to a department for one of its faculty members to teach  a chairholder’s courses*.

Other types of eligible expenses

  • the cost of professional and technical services;
  • consulting fees (**see exception below);
  • fees paid for the purpose of participant recruitment, such as modest incentives to consider participation (i.e., to establish a potential participant pool), where approved by a Research Ethics Board;
  • fees paid to research participants, such as modest incentives for participation, where approved by a Research Ethics Board;
  • subcontract costs;
  • clerical salaries directly related to dissemination activities, including manuscript preparation;
  • honoraria for guest lecturers.

Ineligible expenses

  • any part of the salary, or consulting fee** to persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for grants from one of the three federal research funding agencies. However, an exception is made in cases where the person is teaching one or more of the chairholder’s courses (*see above);
  • a research time stipend for a member of the Chair’s research team;
  • the salary of a faculty member other than the chairholder;
  • the salary of anyone who is not a member of the chairholder’s research team;
  • the cost of a teaching replacement while the chairholder is on leave;
  • the cost of technical services from a company owned by a faculty member who is eligible to apply for funding from any one of the three federal agencies;
  • death benefits, and any other discretionary benefit;
  • discretionary severance and separation packages.

Travel and subsistence costs

Travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) include reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for field work, research conferences, collaborative trips, archival work and historical research, for the chairholder, research personnel and students working with the chairholder, and visiting researchers.

Eligible expenses

  • travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) for the chairholder and any members of the research team;
  • air travel, which must be claimed at the lowest rate available, not to exceed full economy fare;
  • travel cancellation insurance and seat reservation charges;
  • travel health insurance for the chairholder and any members of the research team who do not receive any such benefits from their institution and/or other sources;
  • safety-related expenses for field work, such as protective gear, immunizations, etc.;
  • entry visa fees (for the chairholder and/or members of the research team) when required for the purpose of research;
  • travel and accommodation expenses for speakers invited to conferences and workshops;
  • child care expenses while a chairholder who is a nursing mother or single parent is travelling:
    • the eligible cost for a single parent is limited to overnight child care costs incurred while the chairholder is travelling;
    • the eligible cost for a nursing mother who is travelling with a child is limited to the customary cost of child care and airfare if applicable.

Note: If travelling with a caregiver, travel and accommodation cost can be claimed in lieu of and up to the equivalent of child care costs.

Ineligible expenses

  • commuting costs of chairholders and associated research personnel between their residence and place of employment, or between two places of employment;
  • passport and immigration fees;
  • costs associated with thesis examination/defence, including external examiner costs;
  • reimbursement for airfare purchased with personal frequent flyer points programs.

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Recruitment and relocation expenses

Eligible expenses

  • recruitment costs, but only for funded chairholders, and, in the case of Canada Excellence Research Chairs only, members of their research team;
  • relocation expenses, including travel costs up to the value of economy airfare for the chairholder and their immediate family, members of the research team and their immediate families, as well as the cost of transporting the families’ household effects;
  • travel and subsistence (food, lodging) costs for the chairholder and one accompanying individual for a four-day trip to arrange accommodations (rental or purchase) in advance of moving;
  • travel and subsistence (food, lodging) costs for members of the chairholder’s research team and one accompanying individual per member, for a four-day trip to arrange accommodations (rental or purchase) in advance of moving;
  • food and lodging costs for the chairholder, members of the research team and their families during their travel to the city of the host institution, if they drive instead of fly.

These expenses can be recovered retroactively.

Sabbatical/research leave

Eligible expenses

  • costs related to a vehicle necessary for field work (with prior institutional approval; the vehicle must be licensed and insured during the sabbatical period);
  • direct research expenses, including research assistance, bench fees and field work expenses, including travel and accommodations, when supported by appropriate documentation;
  • transportation costs to move research equipment or material to and from the sabbatical location;
  • travel costs to attend conferences;
  • the costs of travel between the home institution and the sabbatical location, limited to one return trip ticket, except in unusual circumstances.

Ineligible expenses

  • costs of transporting research personnel to and from a chairholder's sabbatical location for supervisory or academic purposes;
  • costs of transporting the chairholder to the home institution for supervisory or academic purposes;
  • living expenses;
  • the travel costs of a chairholder’s family member or research team member from the chairholder’s home institution to the sabbatical location.

Equipment and supplies

For computers and electronic communications, refer to the section titled Computers and electronic communications.

Eligible expenses

  • research equipment and supplies. See the List of Eligible and Non-eligible Expenses for Stationery and Office Supplies for additional information.
  • the cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining research equipment, research vehicles and other resources required for research (not including costs covered by funds received from the Canada Foundation for Innovation);
    • Note: Only small equipment (i.e., pieces of equipment costing less than $7,000) may be purchased with funds from the programs. The Canada Excellence Research Chairs program may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis, if the university provides a satisfactory justification addressing: a. the critical and urgent need for the equipment for the program of research; and b. the reason why the equipment cannot be funded through other sources, such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
  • travel costs to visit manufacturers to make major equipment purchases;
  • transportation costs for purchased equipment;
  • extended warranties for equipment;
  • brokerage and customs charges for the importation of equipment and supplies;
  • the costs of training staff to use equipment or a specialized facility.

Ineligible expenses

  • insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles;
  • costs for the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities (renovations would be eligible under the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program as an indirect cost of research);
  • supplies from a company owned by a faculty member who is eligible to apply for funding from any one of the three federal Agencies.

Computers and electronic communications

Eligible expenses

  • computers, tablets, modems, emerging technology and other hardware and/or specialized software required for the research not normally provided by the institution, and with adequate justification;
  • monthly charges for the use of the Internet from the institution;
  • cellular phones, smartphone or other electronic devices when they are necessary for research purposes (e.g., data collection), and/or for personnel safety reasons with adequate justification;
  • monthly plan fees for electronic devices when being used for the research purposes (e.g., data collection), and/or for personal safety reasons only.

Ineligible expenses

  • home Internet costs;
  • standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones;
  • connection or installation of lines (telephone or other links);
  • voice mail;
  • library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided to all members of an institution.

Dissemination of research results

Eligible expenses

  • costs of developing Web-based information, including website maintenance fees;
  • costs associated with the dissemination of research findings (through traditional venues as well as videos or CD-ROMs);
  •  page charges for articles published, including costs associated with ensuring open access to the findings (e.g., costs of publishing in an open access journal or of making a journal article open access);
  • costs of preparing a research manuscript for publication;
  • translation costs associated with dissemination of findings;
  • costs of holding a workshop or seminar, the activities of which relate directly to the funded research (including non-alcoholic refreshments and meal costs).

Services and miscellaneous expenses

Eligible expenses

  • recruiting costs for research personnel, such as advertising and airfare for candidates;
  • costs for safe disposal of waste;
  • costs for the purchase of books or periodicals, specialized office supplies, computing equipment and information services not formally provided by the institution to all its academic and research staff;
  • costs involved in providing personnel with professional training and/or development in novel techniques required for the conduct of the research project;
  • specialized courses with adequate justification;
  • hospitality costs (non-alcoholic refreshments or meals) for networking purposes in the context of formal courtesy between the chairholder and guest researchers and research-related activities in the context of assemblies that facilitate and contribute to the achievement of the research objectives (e.g., chairholder meetings with partners, stakeholders, guest researchers);
  • costs of membership in professional associations or scientific societies, if necessary for the research program/project;
  • monthly parking fees for vehicles specifically required for field work, and only for months when field work was conducted.

Ineligible expenses

  • costs of alcohol;
  • costs of entertainment, hospitality and gifts, other than those specified above, such as regular interactions with colleagues from the institution and personnel meetings;
  • costs related to staff awards and recognition;
  • education-related costs such as thesis preparation, tuition and course fees, leading up to a degree;
  • costs related to professional training or development, such as computer and language training;
  • costs involved in the preparation of teaching materials;
  • costs of basic services, such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility (see indirect costs );
  • insurance costs for buildings and equipment;
  • costs associated with regulatory compliance, including ethical review, biohazard or radiation safety, environmental assessments, or provincial or municipal regulations and by-laws (see indirect costs).;
  • monthly parking fees for vehicles, unless specifically required for field work;
  • sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies;
  • costs of regular clothing;
  • patenting expenses;
  • costs of moving a laboratory.

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Reporting and Supporting Evidence

Reporting requirements for Canada Research Chairs


Institutions must submit an annual report on the deployment and management of their Canada Research Chairs and the progress made in meeting the objectives of their strategic research plan. This report should cover the period from April 1 to March 31 each year. The electronic submission of the annual report is due June 30 each year. An institution’s failure to submit this report will result in the suspension of payments until the report has been received.

In addition to their annual institutional report, institutions must submit the following forms:

  • An annual statement of account for each Canada Research Chairs award account, using the standard Agency statement of account (Form 300) (PDF, 14KB), that details how the award funds were spent. The statement of account, signed by the institution president, principal, rector or authorized delegate, is due at SSHRC’s finance division by June 30 each year. This annual statement of account must indicate all outstanding commitments.
  • An annual Institutional Support Form for each of their chairholders by June 30 each year that outlines the funding provided by the institution between April 1 to March 31 in support of the Chair (excluding any funding provided by external organizations, grant funding agencies,  the Canada Research Chairs Program, the associated CFI funding and CFI matching funds).


Chairholders are required to complete an electronic annual report, unless they have been in the position for fewer than 12 months, their mandate is being renewed (please see example outlined in the table below) or they were on leave (maternity leave, parental leave, extended illness or need for the care and nurturing of immediate family members).

This report should cover the period from April 1 to March 31 each year. Institutions must submit the chairholders’ annual reports along with their own institutional annual report by June 30 each year.

Note: While institutions can access a chairholder’s annual report, only the chairholder can make changes. Chairholders are asked to notify their institution when they have completed the report. Institutions should refrain from asking chairholders to change the content of their reports.

Chairholders holding Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funding can no longer access the CFI’s project progress report forms through the Chairs website. If a chairholder has a CFI component to their Chair, they must access these forms through the CFI portal. Note that the reporting timelines and requirements may differ from those of the Secretariat.

Example of annual reporting exemption for recently renewed chairholders

Renewal Submission Deadline Exempted for submission of Annual Report 2016-17, due June 30, 2017
October 2016 Yes
April 2017 Yes

The program no longer requires final activity reports for Chairs that are not renewed.

Reporting requirements for Canada Excellence Research Chairs

Institutions and chairholders must prepare an annual progress report on their Canada Excellence Research Chair award, unless the chairholder has been in the position for fewer than 12 months.

The Secretariat sends the report form to institutions in May. The form contains a section to be completed by the institution and a section to be completed by the chairholder, and covers the period of the preceding fiscal year (i.e., April 1 to March 31). The institution is responsible for ensuring that the report is submitted to the Secretariat by June 30 each year. Failure to submit this report will result in the suspension of payments until the report has been received.

Institutions must also submit an annual financial report for each chairholder, using the Statement of Account form (Form 300) to detail how the award funds were spent. The Statement of Account form, signed by the institution’s president, principal, rector or authorized delegate, is due at SSHRC’s finance division by June 30 each year. This statement of account must indicate all outstanding commitments.

All Canada Excellence Research Chairs awarded as of 2013 will be subject to a mid-term review.

Supporting evidence

For each award, the institution and/or the chairholder must keep complete and accurate records on the use of program funding, including verifiable audit trails with complete supporting documentation for each transaction, for a minimum of seven years.

The institution is responsible for authorizing expenditures from the award account in accordance with the requirements, grant conditions and policies of the institution and program. No other party may initiate or authorize expenditures from an account without the institution’s written delegated authority.

All claims must have the institutional representative’s or delegate’s signature. The signatures certify that:

  • all expenditures on the claim are for the purpose for which the grant was awarded;
  • all expenditures on the claim are eligible expenses;
  • all goods and/or services have been received;
  • the charges included have not been claimed for reimbursement from other sources; and
  • reimbursements for expenditures received from other sources or institutions have been disclosed to the administering institution.

Supporting documentation must be retained for all expenditures charged to the grant accounts. Such documentation includes:

  • salaries or stipends paid to chairholders, students and research personnel:
    • signed records regarding personnel paid from award funds, including names, categories, salary levels, affiliation to the award;
    • length of time supported in each case; and
    • details of employee benefits charged and relevant calculations;
  • equipment and supplies:
    • supplier invoices indicating details of purchases; and
    • prices paid;
  • internal expense allocations or shared expenditures:
    • documentation indicating the exact charges made to the account;
    • the method of calculation or attribution; and
    • the chairholder’s authorization for those charges made to the account;
  • hospitality for networking and research-related activities:
    • the dates of the events;
    • number of participants;
    • purpose of the event; and
    • counter signature by the department head or dean for hospitality expenses claimed by the chairholder.
  • incentives paid for research recruitment and participation:
    • supplier invoices indicating details of incentive purchases;
    • the application to a Research Ethics Board (REB) detailing incentive plan (method of distribution, value of incentives, number of people receiving incentive);
    • the REB approval of the incentive; and
    • proof of payment of incentives (e.g., signed receipts, coded list of recipients, attestation of researcher and/or others involved in incentive payment).

Individuals claiming travel-related expenses from an award must prepare a separate claim for each trip.

These travel expense claims must also conform to the standard travel policies and procedures of the chairholder’s institution. For claimants other than the chairholder, his or her affiliation with the chairholder’s research group must be specified. If the traveller is a student, the travel expense claim must be signed by the chairholder. In the event that the traveller is the chairholder or a visiting researcher, the expense claim must be countersigned by the department head or dean confirming the relevance of the travel with regard to the research being funded.

The travel expense claim must include the following information:

  • purpose of trip;
  • dates and destinations (person or location visited);
  • official supporting documentation (e.g., prospectus or program, indicating the dates of conferences and workshops);
  • details of daily claims for expenditures relating to those visits;
  • details of any vehicle used;
  • original receipts, such as hotel invoices and car rental agreements (credit cards slips are not valid receipts); and
  • original air travel ticket receipts and boarding passes (if available) or any other evidence that supports travel expenses claimed (e.g., a written attestation from the chairholder).

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Administrative Matters

Ownership of items purchased with award funds

All items purchased with award funds belongs to the institution and not to the individual chairholder, unless the funding Agency or program agrees otherwise in writing, or unless doing so would be contrary to a legislated requirement. As owner, the institution is responsible for ensuring that the equipment is used to support the chairholder’s research program. Decisions on the use and management of the equipment must be made jointly between the institution and the chairholder or user group.

For the institution’s responsibilities related to equipment and facilities, consult Section 3.8: Ownership of Equipment and Facilities of the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions.

Relocation of a chairholder to an eligible Canadian institution

Chairs awards are not transferable from one institution to another, nor can funds from one Chair be transferred to another.

Moving equipment or an unexpended equipment grant

All equipment purchased with awards funds belongs to the institution and not to the individual chairholder, unless the funding Agency or program agrees otherwise in writing, or unless doing so would be contrary to a legislated requirement. If the chairholder is moving to another Canadian institution and wishes to move equipment purchased with awards funds, the former institution may, in its discretion, give permission for such a move. The Agencies encourage the institution to accede to such a request, provided the equipment is not necessary to other researchers at the former institution.

In the event that an institution gives permission to transfer or loan equipment to another eligible institution, the primary institution retains ownership of the equipment or facilities. A letter of agreement should confirm ownership of the equipment/facilities and the associated responsibilities, how the equipment/facilities will be used and what access researchers from each institution will have.

An institution may transfer ownership of equipment or facilities to another eligible institution through a gift or sale. A letter of agreement from the other institution agreeing to abide by the terms under which the funds for the equipment or facilities were granted should be in place before the transfer takes place. Proceeds from any sale of equipment purchased, or facilities established, with funds granted by the Agency or program should be used for research-related purposes.

For the roles and responsibilities of the institution with regard to the transfer of equipment, consult Section 3.8: Ownership of Equipment and Facilities of the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions.

Deferral of instalment or annual commitment payments

Government policy states that Agencies cannot pay instalments/annual commitments in advance of need; they can provide funds only to correspond with the cash flow requirements of the chairholder’s research program. If the institution has a buildup of funds in an award account due to a slowdown or delay in the research (for example, extended leaves [sick/maternity/parental leave], difficulty in hiring staff) and believes that the scheduled instalment/annual commitment  for the next financial year will not be needed at that time, the institution should request a deferral of the next instalment/annual commitment from the program.

Deferring instalments/annual commitments does not adversely affect the review of the chairholder’s next nomination (if applicable), but rather demonstrates good fiscal management of award funds. Note that the end date of the award will not be adjusted.

The Secretariat may defer, or even hold back, a grantee’s next instalment/annual commitment if, in its sole discretion, it has judged that the grantee’s buildup of funds in the award account has not been properly justified, that the need for funds has not been demonstrated, or that issues have been identified during the period of tenure.

Early termination of a Chair award

The chairholder, the institution and, in cases of non-compliance, the program, may terminate a Chair award early.

When a Chair award is terminated, the institution must promptly notify the Secretariat, which will in turn, advise the appropriate Agency’s finance division.

The six month phase-out period is applicable in these cases.

The institution must promptly submit a letter stating the date and reason for termination to the Secretariat by email (

The institution must also submit the following documents to the program’s finance department by email (

  • a detailed list of outstanding commitments made by the chairholder prior to termination, including employment contracts/agreements for research personnel, using Form 303; and
  • a statement of account (Form 300).

The chairholder must complete an online exit survey. The Secretariat will provide them with a link to the survey by email. The chairholder can download an example of the exit survey. This document is provided for reference only.

In all cases of early termination of Canada Research Chairs, the institution may replace the person leaving the chair, following a transparent, open and equitable recruitment process. A new nomination for a new term of either five or seven years must be submitted to the Secretariat for evaluation according to the established criteria. Institutions are free to take advantage of the “corridor of flexibility” in the allocation formula to decide the tier and discipline of the new Canada Research Chair nominee.

Universities may not replace a Canada Excellence Research Chair.


The institution must give the Secretariat prior notice of any leaves taken by its chairholders.

Chairholders are eligible for sabbatical leave, vacation time, long-term disability, maternity or parental leave, compassionate leave, and other types of leaves, in accordance with their institution’s policies.

While a period of leave may not exceed one year, a chairholder may take more than one leave period during the tenure of his/her award, as long as there are a minimum of two academic terms between each. The Secretariat reserves the right to terminate the award of a Chair who takes consecutive leaves.

If the conditions of the leave comply with the institution’s policies and if the leave is a paid leave (with full or partial salary), the payments to the institution will continue. Chair funds may only be used to cover the institution’s share of the paid leave for the period involved. If this represents less than 100 per cent of the salary component of the Chair budget, the unspent salary funds may be redirected to other research expenses incurred by the Chair.

If the leave is unpaid, the payments to the institution will continue, but the chairholder’s salary will not be counted as an eligible expense for the duration of the leave. These unspent salary funds may be redirected to other research expenses incurred by the Chair.

A researcher may accept a Chair award while on leave, but the period of leave cannot extend beyond 12 months.

Apart from the exceptions explained below, the period of tenure of a Chair will not be extended to accommodate a period of leave. Any residual funds may, however, be transferred to the next fiscal year, but not beyond the end date of the award.

Maternity, Parental, Medical or Family Medical Leaves

The general institutional policies relating to maternity, parental, medical or family medical leave apply.

The chairholder may take up to a two-year leave, in cases of:

  • maternity leave;
  • parental leave;
  • extended illness; or
  • need for the care and nurturing of immediate family members.

The program recognizes the need for and the importance of these types of leaves, and that career interruptions like these can affect a chairholders’ research program. For these types of leave only, the program provides flexibility in its payments to the institution. The original amount of Chair funding will remain unchanged.

For leaves one year or less, the institution and chairholder can choose to:

  • continue or defer payments for the entire duration of the leave;
  • continue payments for part of the leave, and defer them for the remaining period; or
  • switch between continuing and deferring payments for any number of months at a time throughout the leave. For example, the institution may choose for payments to be continued for three months, deferred for the following four months and then continued for the remaining five months.

For leaves longer than one year, the institution and chairholder can choose to:

  • defer payments for the entire duration of the leave;
  •  continue payments for the entire first year, and defer them for the remaining period;
  • continue payments for part of the first year, and defer them for the remaining period; or
  • switch between continuing and deferring payments for any number of months at a time during the first year. For example, the institution may choose for payments to be continued for two months, deferred for the following four months, continued for the next three months and then deferred for the remaining duration of the leave. 

Payments are automatically deferred in the second year of a leave. However, in certain cases, payments can be continued in the second year if there is a strong justification from the institution.

For these types of leaves, the period of tenure of the Chair can be extended by the equivalent period of the leave, upon request. Consequently, the renewal date, if applicable, will also be extended.

In very exceptional circumstances, the extension of a renewal date may be considered for compassionate reasons. These would be strictly limited to an extended illness or the need for the care and nurturing of the chairholder’s immediate family members, where for legitimate reasons the individual could not, or did not take official leave. A strong justification for the extension must be provided by the institution outlining the extraordinary circumstances, and why a formal leave was not taken. In some cases, corresponding documentation may be requested.

Chairholders as electoral candidates

In accordance with the Secretariat’s leave policy, the university must inform the Secretariat if a chairholder is participating as a candidate in any election (municipal, provincial or federal). Each university must refer to its own leave policy to determine whether the salary of the chairholder is an eligible expense during his or her candidacy.

If the individual is successful in the election, the Chair will be terminated immediately and the phase-out period of six months for the payment of outstanding commitments from the balance in the Chair’s account will apply.

If the chairholder is not successful, the leave may be terminated at the request of the university.

Note that chairholders may continue to use their title during their candidacy.

Both chairs programs permit paid maternity or parental leaves to be paid out of awards to students and postdoctoral researchers.

The programs do not provide additional funds beyond the original value of the award for this expenditure.

Students and postdoctoral researchers who are eligible for employment insurance or other maternity and parental leave supplements from other sources do not qualify for these paid maternity or parental leaves

Residual balances

Canada Research Chairs
Funds remaining at the end of the six month phase-out period must be returned to SSHRC’s finance division by cheque (addressed to “Receiver General”), which will credit them to the appropriate Agency for refund to the federal government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Residual funds cannot be transferred into the institution’s General Research Fund.

When a Canada Research Chair is renewed, the residual funds are to be automatically transferred into the new account of the renewed Chair. This procedure also applies to Tier 2 chairholders who are advanced to a Tier 1 Chair where there is no break in funding between the two periods of tenure.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs
Unless an extended carry-over has been approved, funds remaining at the end of the one-year phase-out period must be returned to SSHRC’s finance division by cheque (addressed to “Receiver General”), which will credit them to the appropriate Agency for refund to the federal government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Residual funds cannot be transferred into the institution’s General Research Fund.

The program may approve an exception to the one-year phase–out period if appropriately justified by the institution.