Memo from Sylvain Charbonneau, Vice-President, Research

Posted on Monday, October 19, 2020

From: Sylvain Charbonneau, Vice-President, Research

To: Members of the University of Ottawa research community 

Subject: Update on the continuity of operations of various units of the Office of the Vice-President, Research during the SSUO – OSSTF members’ strike


The SSUO-OSSTF, which represents University of Ottawa support staff, has initiated a general strike as of 0:01 a.m. this morning. Following this announcement, the Office of the Vice-President, Research has activated the implementation of its business continuity plan. This memo aims therefore to inform you of the continuity of the majority of the operations and services offered by the units of my office during the strike of the SSUO – OSSTF staff, of course with some adjustments required. You may find below the information about each of our services.


Animal Care and Veterinary Service (ACVS) and Animal Ethics Compliance (AEC)

ACVS will continue to provide animal care, veterinary medical care, advice and treatment, and 24-hour availability of veterinary services/emergency care.

The Animal Care Committee will continue its work to oversee animal care and use, but there will be delays in its work to review/approve animal use protocols.

Animal orders are being suspended as of today. Existing animal orders may have to be cancelled. The training and access of new animal users is also suspended as of today.

Because the focus will be on essential animal care services, surgical and other specialized areas may have to be closed. ACVS will be in contact with individual research teams about their reservations as soon as possible.

Please do not reserve for any new animal procedures until further notice.


Research Management Services (RMS)

RMS will focus on these three functions:

Pre-award support: (submitting applications to different funders on behalf of researchers, including Tri-Agencies, CRC, Banting, Vanier, ERA and others).

Post-award support: RMS will create new research accounts, modify existing accounts in order of priority, and ensure that compliance requirements are documented as per usual processes.

Communications: Informing researchers on upcoming funding opportunities and on changes to services and policies.

The other activities will be delayed, unless there is an emergency that requires an immediate attention.


Innovation Support Service (ISS)

In light of the limited resources (non-unionized employees) in the unit, we will have to seriously slow down business development activities and focus almost exclusively on contract services (which are more urgent). In order to handle the volume of contracts as best as possible, during the initial weeks of the labour disruption, the remaining ISS staff will devote 90% of its efforts to handling priority activities related to contracts and awards management and the other 10% to ongoing IP and patent matters and other business development activities deemed urgent.

Awards and Recognition

The service will be maintained, but at reduced capacity, so a prioritization of files will be required concerning Awards and Recognition.


Office of Strategic Development Initiatives (SDI)

We do not anticipate changes to the operations of our SDI office. Service will be maintained during the strike.


Office of Research Ethics and Integrity (OREI)

The Office of Research Ethics and Integrity will continue to operate, but at reduced capacity.

REB Review

  • Urgent and COVID-19 projects will be prioritized.
  • Projects currently under review will be the second priority.
  • New projects:
    • Researchers can still submit projects for ethics review through the eReviews system. There will however be delays in the intake and review timelines.
    • There will be no pre-assessment of projects conducted before ethics submissions.


  • Ongoing projects:
    • Requests for modifications to ongoing projects can still submitted but there will be delays in treating these.
    • Certificate renewals: researchers must still send in renewal requests. There may be delays in treating these but should this be the case, once the certificate is issued the approval date will reflect the date of the request submission so there is no interruption in approval. Funded projects will be prioritized.


Responsible conduct of Research - Allegations

  • Allegations of a breach of Responsible Conduct of Research can still be submitted to the Director at
  • There may be delays in treating allegations; please advise the director if there is a risk to any individuals resulting from the issue.


Office of International Research (OIR)

The services offered by the OIR are maintained, but with a prioritization of activities to respond to emergencies first.


Centre for Research Opportunities (CRO)

We do not anticipate changes or disruption to the operations of our Centre. Service will be maintained during the strike.


University of Ottawa Press (UOP)

The strike has a major impact on the operations of the UOP. The small non-unionized team will have to suspend the deployment of its publication program and focus on the following priority areas:

1) Distribution: ensure the supply of titles from the active fund and the maintenance of distribution networks for printed, digital and audio books.

2) Digital infrastructure: website and project management system; and

3) Basic communications with our committees, authors, freelancers, partners and funders. Acquisitions, production, marketing and any non-priority or non-urgent activities will be significantly reduced.


Communications and Marketing, Research (CMR)

The operations of the Research Communications and Marketing team are seriously affected, resulting in a major slowdown in service. That means, for example, that the team cannot promote research awards, grants and events on its website and social media. It also has to postpone the maintenance and design of websites for the OVPR various services.


Kanata North (KN)

We do not anticipate changes or disruption to the operations of our Kanata North office. Their services are maintained during the strike.


HR services to the research community

HR services to the research community will be maintained during the strike, but there could be delays in responding to messages or processing files.


In closing, I want to assure you that the units of the Office of the Vice-President, Research will spare no effort to provide the best possible service to our community and to limit the disruption during this strike. We will communicate with you later in case of new developments.

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