Infrastructure Operating Fund

The Infrastructure Operating Fund helps cover a portion of the operating and maintenance costs of a CFI-funded project to ensure optimal use of the infrastructure. It is the institution’s responsibility to secure the remaining portion of the operating and maintenance costs of CFI-funded infrastructure.

Fund overview

An institution’s IOF allocation is based on the CFI contributions for eligible projects. All projects, approved by the CFI Board of Directors after July 1, 2001, are eligible to receive funding from the Infrastructure Operating Fund, with the exception of projects funded under the Major Science Initiatives Fund, the Canada Research Chairs Infrastructure Fund, the Career Awards and the international funds. All eligible projects usually generate an IOF allocation of 30 percent of the maximum CFI amount approved at award finalization. Institutions can view the details of their available allocation, CFI payments, and unused available allocation at all times in the CFI Awards Management System.

Each institution is responsible for deciding how their funds will be divided among projects eligible to receive Infrastructure Operating Fund. Institutions can distribute their IOF allocation based on actual operating and maintenance needs, as opposed to allocating the exact amount to the project that generated it. This offers institutions maximum flexibility to support projects with different needs and scope, while ensuring accountability.

Eligible institutions may request the release of their funds by submitting an Infrastructure Operating Fund annual report before June 15.  The institution must also include in this report actual expenses incurred for the previous fiscal year.

You can read more about eligible costs for the Infrastructure Operating Fund and the release of infrastructure operating funds in the CFI Policy and program guide.

Documents & resources

The following templates are provided to assist institutions with reporting salaries of technicians and professionals, the cost of electricity related to CFI-funded equipment and facilities charges related to CFI-funded constructed or renovated space.  Annual rate tables are also provided for calculating these electricity costs and facilities charges using a simplified method.

Certification - Salary of Technicians and Professionals

Current rate tables

IOF - Essential space - Facilities Charges and rates 19-20

IOF - CFI-Funded Equipment - Electrical Costs and rates 19-20

Frequently asked questions

The CFI wishes to keep the administration of the IOF as simple as possible, minimizing the documentation and reporting requirements, while still ensuring accountability. In addition, actual operations and maintenance expenditures often exceed the institution’s IOF allocation provided by the CFI under the IOF. As such, the CFI only requires that an institution demonstrate in its IOF annual report that it had sufficient eligible IOF expenditures for the amount of funding requested and that such expenditures were not claimed for reimbursement from another source. An institution has the flexibility, when reporting to the CFI, of focusing on high dollar value items within a limited number of CFI-funded infrastructure projects. There is no requirement that the IOF annual report reflect how an institution has internally allocated IOF and other operating funds to support the miscellaneous operation and maintenance costs of each and every CFI-funded project.

Example: An institution has requested $500,000 from its IOF allocation in a given year and has directed these funds for internal purposes to several CFI-funded infrastructure projects which were used to cover hundreds of smaller expenditures. There are two CFI-funded projects, each eligible to receive IOF,  that involve significant CFI-supported constructed and renovated space, and five technicians who are essential to the operation of the CFI-funded infrastructure. These costs have been paid for using the institution’s operating funds. For reporting purposes, the institution chooses to report facilities charges related to the two CFI-funded constructed and renovated spaces, as well as report the full salaries of the five technicians. Together, these items amount to the $500,000 requested from the CFI. In doing so, the institution has reduced the number of items and associated CFI-required supporting documentation.

Institutions must be prepared to provide full supporting documentation, as indicated in the CFI Policy and program guide, only for the actual expenditures reported in their IOF annual report. For audit purposes, only these expenditures will be reviewed. Any operations and maintenance expenses that were not reported to the CFI as part of the IOF annual report will not be reviewed and audited, and usual institutional documentation policies and practices would apply.

Yes, the full salary of technicians or professionals directly involved in the operation 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 operations 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 operations 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.