Eligible and Non-Eligible Expenses

Eligible and Non-Eligible Expenses

Before you begin spending

As the account holder, you are responsible for knowing what is allowable and what is not allowable for your particular grant. This page will cover some of the main Tri-Council eligible and ineligible spending rules, but grants from other agencies have their own rules. Know them, and protect yourself by staying within the rules. 

Tri-Council Guidelines (including CIHR spending rules) will assist you on what are deemed eligible and ineligible expenses.

The general eligibility guideline for Tri-Council grants is:

“Grant funds must contribute towards the direct costs of the research for which the funds were awarded....The funds must be used effectively and economically, and the expenses must be essential for the research for which the funds were awarded.”
The Guidelines go into great detail as to what is allowed and what isn't. Here are some of the highlights of what is ineligible according to Tri-Council rules:
  • Any part of the salary, or consulting fee, to the grantee or to other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for grants from the Agency
  • Administrative (or management) charges or fees
  • Compensation-related benefits to receipients of stipends
  • Discretionary severance and separation packages
  • Payments to practicing clinicians who wish to participate in the research on a part-time basis, or to individuals who wish to participate in the research as an investigator and who at the same time receive remuneration for teaching or service work, except when deemed eligible in a particular funding opportunity (CIHR only)
  • Release time allowance (RTA) requests will not be considered for the following (CIHR only):
    • Individuals with salaried academic research appointments.
    • The cost of teaching time to allow the individual to engage in research.
    • Supplementing or replacing part of the salary of a researcher on sabbatical from their main appointment.


  • Commuting costs of grantees and associated research personnel between their residence and place of employment, or between two places of employment
  • Passport and immigration fees
  • Costs associated with thesis examination/defence, including external examiner costs
  • Reimbursement for airfare purchased with personal frequent flyer points programs


  • Costs of transporting research personnel to and from a grantee's sabbatical location for supervisory or academic purposes
  • Costs of transporting the grantee to the home institution for supervisory or academic purposes
  • Living expenses


  • Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles)
  • Costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities


  • Standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones
  • Connection or installation of lines (telephone or other links)
  • Voice mail
  • Library acquisitions, computer and other information services provided to all members of an Institution


  • Costs of alcohol
  • Costs of entertainment, hospitality and gifts, such as regular interactions with colleagues from the Institution and personnel meetings
  • Costs related to staff awards and recognition
  • Education-related costs, such as thesis preparation, tuition and course fees, leading up to a degree
  • Costs related to professional training or development, such as computer and language training
  • Costs involved in the preparation of teaching materials
  • Costs of basic services, such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums, and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility
  • Insurance costs for buildings and equipment
  • Costs associated with regulatory compliance, including ethical review, biohazard or radiation safety, environmental assessments, or provincial or municipal regulations and by-laws
  • Monthly parking fees for vehicles, unless specifically required for field work
  • Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies
  • Costs of regular clothing
  • Patenting expenses
  • Costs of moving a lab

As the research account owner, it is imperative that you make yourself aware of the rules and regulations imposed by the agency which is supporting your project. The MOST important spending eligibility guidelines are these:

  • You are responsible for knowing the spending rules for your own grants
  • You are responsible for all expenses charged to your accounts


For more information, please contact: