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Renewal of the Tri-Agency financial administration

The Tri-Agency (CIHRNSERC, and SSHRC) is in the process of substantively changing its financial guidelines with the goal of reducing administrative burden for researchers and institutions. To meet this goal, the Tri-Agency has launched the Renewal of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration initiative, which focuses on the following areas:

  • moving to a less directive approach for the administration and use of grant funds,
  • renewing the Agencies’ approach to Financial Monitoring reviews, and
  • increasing the overall effectiveness of the post-award administration of grants.

What's happening now?

After a rigorous consultation with researchers and research administrators, the Tri-Agency has released the draft of its new financial administration guidelines (the Guide) to the 12 institutions taking part in the pilot. Waterloo will be launching the Guide in a step-wise fashion, as we are able to implement our own guidelines and policies in response to the new directives in the Guide. 

We are delighted the first step, effective immediately, will respond to some of the most frequently cited “pain points” in the past: travel claims, justification for computers and office supplies, and restrictions to postdoctoral appointments. See below for details.

What's happening next?

January/February 2019

A draft Guide will be shared with the research community. Tri-Agency research funding will be administered in accordance with the draft Guide, with certain exceptions identified in the Waterloo policy and guideline gap analysis. For items with gaps between existing Tri-Agency guidelines and Waterloo policies and guidelines, the Tri-Agency requirements will be followed.

Spring 2019

Exceptions noted above will be removed as Waterloo policies or guidelines are revised to address them. Updates will be shared as each exception is addressed. After all gaps have been removed, the draft Guide will be fully in use.

What are the Principles?

The Principles that will govern the administration of all Tri-Agency research funds are:

  1. Appropriate use of grant funds
    • Directly related to the funded research
    • Effective and economical, and do not result in personal gain
    • Not normally provided by the institution to their research personnel
  2. Authority to use grant funds
    • Grant recipient or their delegated representative must authorize all transactions
  3. Reporting and supporting evidence
    • Expenses supported by documentation as prescribed by the institutions policies and guidelines
  4. Oversight of the use of grant funds
    • Institution to request further justification and/or documentation if the purpose (link to funded research) is unclear

If you have questions, please contact Diane Johnston or Leslie Copp.

The three phases of the initiativephases

  • “Principle-based” Guide that promotes efficiencies and reduces administrative burden to administering institutions and grant recipients.
  • Risk–based financial monitoring reviews.
  • Partnering with administering institutions with the objective of increasing effectiveness and reducing burden.
  • Leverage existing institutional financial management policies and controls.
  • Ongoing improvements in the post-award administration of grants.

The following 12 institutions  participated in the initiative:

  • Brock University
  • Cape Breton University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Hospital for Sick Children
  • Laval University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • Université du Québec à Montréal
  • University of Waterloo
  • Western University
  • York University