The three federal granting agencies — CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC — are harmonizing their policies on support paid to students and postdoctoral fellows from research grants. Beginning September 15, 2011, the agencies’ existing regulations on minimum and maximum stipend levels paid from grants will no longer apply. The agencies will also no longer restrict researchers from using some of their grant money to provide supplements to scholarship holders. These changes respond to concerns expressed by institutions and researchers about the different approaches taken by the agencies.
The removal of tri-agency regulations will offer professors more financial flexibility to pay students and postdoctoral fellows at levels that reflect the variations in costs between departments and between regions. It should be noted that stipend levels will still be governed by applicable collective agreements and labour legislation. Also, many universities have established minimum support packages, varying by department, where stipend support can be assembled from teaching assistantships, research funds, university graduate scholarships, external scholarships, and bursaries.