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Infrastructure Operating Fund

The Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF) helps cover a portion of the operating and maintenance costs of CFI-funded research infrastructure to ensure its optimal use. It is the institution’s responsibility to secure the remaining portion from other sources.

How does the CFI calculate my institution’s IOF allocation?

The CFI allocates an amount of funding that each institution can access from the IOF. We calculate that amount as a percentage of our contribution to research infrastructure projects at your institution.

For projects approved by the CFI Board of Directors after July 1, 2001, your institution is usually allocated 30 percent of the maximum CFI amount approved at award finalization. Projects funded on or before that date or through the following are not allocated support from the IOF:

  • Major Science Initiatives Fund
  • Canada Research Chairs Infrastructure Fund (2001 to 2006)
  • Career Awards (2002 to 2006)
  • International funds (2002 and 2007)
  • Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19.

You can view the details of your institution’s IOF allocation, including payments from the CFI and the unpaid amount of the allocation, in the CFI Awards Management System.

How, and when, does the CFI make payments from the IOF to institutions?

We make payments from the IOF to institutions every spring. These payments begin a set amount of time after the date the infrastructure award is finalized. Until spring 2024, we will be transitioning toward making payments to institutions two years after the associated infrastructure award is finalized.

The transition plan is as follows:

Payment date

Will make payments from the IOF for awards finalized before:

Spring 2020

April 1, 2013

Spring 2021

April 1, 2016

Spring 2022

April 1, 2018

Spring 2023

April 1, 2020

Spring 2024

April 1, 2022

Spring 2025

April 1, 2023

Is there a timeframe within which the CFI expects my institution to use the funds paid to it from the IOF? Does the CFI require my institution to spend the entire IOF amount in the fiscal year it is paid?

No, the CFI will not enforce a specific timeframe for your institution to use the funds paid to it from the IOF, nor do we require your institution to spend the entire IOF amount in the fiscal year it is paid. Instead, we will monitor each institution’s costs (as reported in the IOF annual report) compared to the IOF payments we have made and will follow up with institutions individually if we have concerns.

How can my institution request additional payments?

Your institution can request additional payments in the IOF annual report if the spring payment is insufficient to cover your institution’s needs for the year. We will make these additional payments as follows:

  • Additional requests under $1,000,000 will be paid in one instalment once we have reviewed your institution’s IOF annual report.
  • Additional requests of $1,000,000 or more will be paid in two equal instalments: the first following our review of the IOF annual report, and the second the following January.

Where can I find out more about what costs are eligible under the IOF?

You can read about eligible costs for the IOF in the CFI Policy and program guide.

Can my institution claim the full salary and benefits of technicians and professionals as an eligible cost?

Yes, the full salary and benefits of technicians and professionals directly involved in the operating and maintenance of the CFI-funded infrastructure may be claimed if the infrastructure cannot be operated without such assistance. For example, a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technician is required 25 hours/week for the operating and maintenance of a CFI-funded NMR, but performs other unrelated duties the remainder of the week. Without his/her expertise, the NMR cannot be operated. Although the technician is not needed on a full-time basis for the operating and maintenance of the NMR, the full salary may be claimed as the CFI-funded infrastructure cannot be used for research without the NMR technician.

Are there templates or other resources I can use to help calculate the eligible costs?

You can use the following templates to report salaries of technicians and professionals, the cost of electricity related to CFI-funded equipment, and facilities charges related to CFI-funded space or space essential to house and use CFI-funded infrastructure. You can use the annual rate tables to easily calculate electricity costs and facilities charges.

Salary of technicians and professionals

Electricity costs (2020-21 rate table)

Facilities charges (2020-21 rate table)

 

How can my institution distribute the funds it is allocated from the IOF?

Each institution is responsible for deciding how their funds are divided among projects eligible to receive support through the Infrastructure Operating Fund. This means your institution can distribute its IOF allocation based on actual operating and maintenance needs of each CFI-funded project rather than distributing the exact amount to each project that generated it. This allows your institution the flexibility to support projects with different needs and scope, while ensuring accountability.

Can IOF funds be directed toward costs other than the ones reported to the CFI in the IOF annual report?

Yes, IOF funds can be directed toward costs other than the ones reported to the CFI in the IOF annual report.

Since operating and maintaining research infrastructure often costs more than an institution’s IOF allocation, we only require you to be able to demonstrate that those costs were at least equal to the costs your institution reported and that those costs were not claimed for reimbursement from another source. In your institution’s IOF annual report, you have the flexibility to focus on expensive items within a limited number of CFI-funded infrastructure projects. You do not need to report how your institution internally allocates funding from the IOF and other operating funds to support the miscellaneous operating and maintenance costs of each and every CFI-funded project.

Example: One year, an institution reports $500,000 of eligible costs in its IOF annual report. It has used these funds to cover hundreds of small expenses for several CFI-funded infrastructure projects. The institution has also used other institutional funds to cover other eligible costs; things like utility costs and technician salaries, which represented substantial amounts. The institution can choose to report just those large expenses, provided they add up to at least the $500,000 reported to the CFI. By reporting just those items, and not the hundreds of smaller expenses, the institution demonstrates that its eligible costs were at least equal to the costs it reported and keeps the number of items it needed to report to a minimum. It only keeps supporting documents associated with the costs reported, as only those costs will be reviewed in an audit.