University of Ottawa Implementation of the New Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration

The Tri-Agencies, CIHR, SSHRC and NSERC, recently released the new Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (The Guide) which institutions are required to implement, by April 1, 2020. The Guide is a comprehensive resource for grant recipients and administering institutions which outlines the principles and directives that govern post-award administration of grants funded by the Tri-Agencies. The purpose of this website is to inform researchers and administrators on how Research Management Services and Research Finance are implementing the new Tri –Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

For any questions regarding the implementation of the Guide, please contact

Context and objectives


  • The agencies are implementing this change subsequent to feedback from researchers across Canada
  • This change represents a major shift of responsibilities for Universities
  • The Tri-Agency guide informs all research expenses at the University, including expenses charged to internal research accounts 
  • The change presents an opportunity to modernize how the University manages post award administration while at the same time reduce the administrative burden on researchers and administrative staff


Principles adopted by uOttawa to guide the implementation

  • Minimize change and disruption to research activities
  • Focus on a user perspective 
  • Leverage existing resources and systems
  • Enhance support to researchers by standardizing best practices, processes and tools
  • Enhance support to faculties by providing enhanced training
  • Cost neutral for researchers



  • To implement the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Management by April 1st, 2020
  • To reduce administrative burden for researchers and administrative staff
  • To ensure that the University meets its obligations to the Tri-Agencies
  • To implement the changes by working collaboratively across University
Tri-Agency principles governing the appropriate use of funds

Grant expenditures must:

  • Contribute to the direct costs of the research/activities for which the funds were awarded, with benefits directly attributable to the grant
  • Not be provided by the administering institution to their research personnel
  • Be effective and economical
  • Not result in personal gain for members of the research team
Scope of the Tri-Agency guide on financial management
  • The Guide applies to all CIHR, NSERC and/or SSHRC grants,
  • Applies to all Tri-Agency grants unless specified otherwise in the program/funding opportunity literature or the terms of the grant 
  • In the presence of both Agency and institutional policies, the Agency policy prevails, recognizing that the grant recipient must also comply with applicable institutional requirements. (the most stringent provision shall prevail)
  • If the Guide is silent on a specific subject, the administering institution’s pronouncements will apply.


Order of Precedence and Interpretation: The following take precedence over this Guide: 

  1. the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions 
  2. Program/funding opportunity literature 
  3. Any relevant Agency agreements with grant recipients and/or administering institutions
Roles and responsibilities

Administering Institutions’

  • Develop and implement effective policies, administrative systems, procedures and controls to ensure that all activities funded by an Agency are conducted in compliance with legislated requirements, Agency policies and procedures and other grant funding agreements 
  • Monitor the eligibility of its recipients and advise the relevant Agency immediately of any change in the eligibility status of an applicant 
  • Withhold or withdraw approval of expenditures that contravene an Agency or institutional policy or the terms and conditions of the grant 
  • Provide training on the institution’s policies and practices with respect to the Agencies’ grant administration 
  • Provide adequate physical and organizational infrastructure for the conduct of research, research training and other funded activities 
  • Oversee and submit grant amendment requests to the relevant Agency 
  • Keep complete and accurate records and report on the use of Agency funding, including verifiable audit trails with complete supporting documentation for each transaction, for at least 7 years; report annually on the use of the grant funds 


Grant recipients’ and any delegates’

  • Conduct their research in a manner that adheres to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2016) 
  • Hold the authority to use the grant funds in accordance with the Agencies’ principles and directives as outlined in this Guide 
  • Delegate to others their authority to use the grant funds (grant recipient only)
  • Authorize grant expenditures and any charges or adjustments made to the grant recipient’s grant account (grant recipient or duly delegated individual only)

Documentation supporting the implementation of the Tri-Agency Guide

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