Updates - 2023

Table of Contents


Update on the TAGFA

Revisions were made to the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA) and took effect on April 1, 2023; these can be viewed under the Summary of changes.

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Financial Monitoring Framework

As part of the Tri-Agency Financial Administrative Renewal Initiative, NSERC and SSHRC, in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), have revised their existing Financial Monitoring Framework (“the Framework”). The revised Framework applies to all administering organizations for all active grants and awards. It is specifically designed to align with the principles-based Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA) and to streamline monitoring and reporting requirements. The revised Framework uses a risk-based approach to strike a balance between the prudent management of public funds and the ongoing development of partner relationships with organizations that administer grant funds on behalf of the Agencies. The administering organization’s overall financial risk is assessed by taking into consideration the following factors:

Factor Description Assessment Tool
Financial Management Financial management control framework currently in place at the administering organization Questionnaire on key internal controls, presence of formal policies and procedures, timeliness of annual reporting, presence of long-outstanding internal control issues
Financial Health Financial situation of the administering organization Historical trend of three financial ratios, audited financial statements, additional input from administering organization
Funding Materiality Average total value of all agency funds issued to the administering organization Rolling 3-year average funding issued to the administering organization

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Piloting the Framework

The NSERC-SSHRC pilot of the Framework took place from June 2022 to January 2023. A small representative group of administering organizations were invited to participate in the pilot of the revised Framework based on several criteria including size, geographic location, type of organization and official language.

NSERC and SSHRC would like to thank the following administering organizations who accepted our invitation:

  • Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • McGill University
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • TRIUMF
  • Université de Moncton
  • Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
  • Université du Québec à Montréal
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of New Brunswick
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • York University

All pilot organizations completed the overall risk assessment. Based on the assessed risk level, some organizations completed the full process with minimal additional requirements while others required more extensive follow-up. Through the process, all steps of the monitoring process (e.g., validating the design and effectiveness of certain internal controls) were tested.

Positive feedback was received from all pilot organizations. It was found that the new process and tools do contribute to reducing the administrative burden while enhancing the sense of partnership. The pilots also provided suggestions for improvements and refinements to the monitoring process, which will be reflected in ongoing activities.

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Financial Health Assessment: a new tool in the Convergence Portal

The new Financial Health Assessment tool was built in the Convergence Portal in 2022. This tool will allow the agencies to collect the financial information required to calculate the financial health risk factor securely rather than relying on spreadsheets emailed or shared through websites. From January to March 2023, the tool and accompanying instructions were tested by the pilot organizations and positive feedback was received from all.

As part of the revised Financial Monitoring Framework, all administering organizations with active grants and awards will be required to submit specific financial information on an annual basis. This will provide the agencies an up-to-date view of the administering organizations’ financial health and overall risk. This will be done using the new Financial Health Assessment tool in the Convergence Portal.

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2023-2024 Timeline

Figure 1 – 2023-2024 Timeline for NSERC and SSHRC

2023-2024 Timeline

Figure 1 – 2023-2024 Timeline for NSERC and SSHRC – Text version
  • April: Approval of the revised Financial Monitoring Framework
  • April to June: Develop schedule to establish the baseline of overall risk level for all administering organizations with active grants and awards
  • May: Launch baselining exercise
  • May to December: Baseline the overall risk level for all administering organizations with active grants and awards
  • Fall: Official launch of the revised Financial Monitoring Framework
  • Fall: Identify and engage administering organizations to be monitored in 2023-24
  • Winter: Resume financial monitoring activities

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