6.2 Award finalization
Where applicable, institutions must respond to any specific conditions raised in the CFI funding decision, and document how the conditions will be, or have been, addressed. Responses to conditions must be submitted in writing by the president of the institution or an authorized signatory and be approved by the CFI before any funds will be released.
6.2.2 Award finalization documents
The final amount and instalment schedule for an approved project will be determined when the eligible recipient provides the CFI with the following documents (please note that an updated budget is normally not required at this stage):
- An award finalization form, to be submitted electronically in CAMS
- If required, an updated budget, to be submitted electronically in CAMS
- If applicable, an inter-institutional agreement, a memorandum of understanding or other relevant agreements (emailed to the institution’s Senior Programs Officer)
- For items involving an in-kind contribution in excess of $500,000, a description of the valuation method used or expected to be used (emailed to the institution’s Senior Programs Officer)
6.2.3 Award finalization deadline
Institutions must submit the award finalization documents to the CFI within nine months of the CFI Board approving the award. The CFI may grant an extension if a reasonable explanation is provided. However, if an updated budget is not required, the institution should finalize shortly after award approval.
In exceptional circumstances, such as complex and longer-duration projects, we may agree to finalize the award in stages. For these projects, we will:
- Set a maximum CFI amount and total project costs
- Work with institutions to agree on a schedule to finalize the budgeting details for each phase of the project.
Institutions should contact the CFI to discuss this alternative for a specific project.
6.2.4 Construction or renovation deadline
The CFI expects institutions to have finalized contracts and to have started the construction or renovation component of a funded project within 18 months of the funding decision. When a project involves multiple sites, the construction or renovation on every site should start within 18 months of the funding decision. While the CFI recognizes that some projects may include large and complex construction or renovation components, institutions are expected to have completed planning and development work for such a project at the application stage.
Should an institution not be able to reach the building phase of the project within that time frame, it must provide the CFI with an explanation for the delay. If a compelling justification is provided, we may consider an extension.
6.2.5 Updated budget
An updated budget is normally not required at the award finalization stage. However, this may be needed if one or more of the following situations occurs:
- The CFI has requested that an updated budget be submitted
- There are changes to the infrastructure that require pre-approval by the CFI. Institutions must obtain pre-approval by the CFI for:
- Any change having a negative impact on a project and its research objectives, regardless of the cost implications
- Any new item (including increases in the quantity of an item) for which the cost exceeds $50,000
- One or more items need to be removed or amended as per the funding decision.
Changes to infrastructure
If an updated budget is required, the institution must indicate any proposed changes to the original infrastructure. In the case of construction or renovation, institutions must notify the CFI if changes have been made to the information provided in the proposal (e.g., changes in floor plans, size and nature of the space), even if the changes result in little or no impact on the total construction or renovation cost. Revised floor plans and associated information must be forwarded to the CFI.
If an updated budget is required, updated cost estimates should be obtained only if the institution suspects that the cost for an item stated in the proposal has changed significantly or if there is a change in the nature of the proposed infrastructure. Institutions should seek to update the cost of any large item (e.g., greater than $100,000), as changes related to such an item could be significant. The updated cost estimate should reflect the expected purchase price. The full estimated cost of all eligible items must be presented, even if it exceeds the cost reported to the CFI in the proposal. Institutions must keep on file supporting documentation for updated cost estimates and provide them upon request. Supporting documentation may include, for example, recent educational price lists, quotes, price information requests or bids resulting from a competitive process when a purchase is imminent and such a process has already been undertaken.
Submitting an updated budget
The updated budget must be submitted through the amendment module in CAMS.
6.2.6 Multi-institutional projects
For projects that involve two or more eligible institutions sharing CFI funding, including instances when the funding is transferred entirely to another institution (e.g., an affiliated entity), the applicant institution may choose to become the recipient institution for the award with responsibility for receiving and administering the funds or it may request in writing that this responsibility be transferred to another participating institution. In the latter case, the other institution will then become the recipient institution for the award and must submit the award finalization documents.
The recipient institution is responsible for:
- Submitting to the CFI a copy of the signed inter-institutional agreement. At minimum, the agreement should state:
- The institution that will act as the administrative centre for the project
- The roles and responsibilities of each institution for the infrastructure project
- The long-term operating and maintenance plan for the infrastructure
- The fund-sharing agreement between the institutions, including any infrastructure operating funds
- The current plan for access to the infrastructure
- Ensuring that all participating institutions are knowledgeable of the CFI’s guidelines with respect to the administration of CFI awards, as well as the required supporting documentation
- Receiving funds and making payments to other participating institutions as per the inter-institutional agreement
- Ensuring that distribution of funds is made only to CFI-eligible institutions
- Ensuring that only CFI-eligible institutions will exercise de facto control over and hold a majority interest in the CFI-funded infrastructure
- Preparing consolidated financial reports and project progress reports
- Liaising with the CFI for change requests and notifications and to address other issues, as required
- Coordinating audit work in the event that the project is audited (e.g., obtaining transaction details and supporting documentation, resolving issues)
- Having adequate oversight processes and controls to ensure proper management of CFI funds at participating institutions in the event that the inter-institutional agreement does not transfer this responsibility to the participating institutions.
The recipient institution will be the institution ultimately accountable for the award, and thus may want to consider including clauses in the inter-institutional agreement to mitigate risk and provide recourse.
6.2.7 Changes to contributions
The CFI will not normally increase its contribution to a project. There will not be any increases due to fluctuations in exchange rates, the price of commodities or inflation. The CFI will consider adjusting its contribution to a project only in very exceptional situations, as described below:
- The CFI made an administrative error (e.g., miscalculation, erroneous removal of items in cases of partial funding)
- The project was funded under a program that operates with institutional envelopes (e.g., John R.Evans Leaders Fund), and compelling justification has been provided
- A highly complex project is facing exceptional and unforeseeable circumstances that could put it at severe risk. In this case, the following criteria must be met:
- The project is unique and complex (e.g., unique technology, national or international scope)
- The project is confronted with an exceptional situation that could not reasonably have been predicted at the application stage, despite due diligence
- The project is confronted with a funding shortfall that jeopardizes its success, timeliness and relevance
- The project is confronted with unexpected cost increases that are not the result of a change in the nature of the project and its research objectives, which would require a reassessment of the project in the context of a competition
- The institution provides evidence of a thorough investigation of alternative approaches showing that it cannot reduce the scope of the project
- The institution can demonstrate its partners’ collective interest in change and willingness to assist in the increased costs, with the CFI providing up to 40 percent of the increase and the partners 60 percent or more.
We expect few such requests and reserve the right to review this approach for unique and highly complex projects based on our past experience.