Admin Burden in Canada


Research is a pillar of the university landscape in Canada, and minimizing administrative burden is critical to ensuring that academic research continues to grow and thrive to the fullest extent possible.

Latest Updates

Here you will find various links to activity updates on ABC.

What is ABC?

ABC (Admin Burden in Canada) is a partnership initiative led by post-secondary institutions with the goal of reducing undue administrative burden within the Canadian research life-cycle.

There are many different dimensions of burden and the issue spans multiple organizations including post-secondary education institutions, federally funded departments and agencies, regulatory bodies, and standards setting organizations, among others. ABC leadership has started by identifying 7 key thematic thrusts which cover the scope of undue admin burden throughout the research life-cycle:

  1. Personnel Recruitment: e.g. international recruitment, work permits, etc
  2. Program Design: e.g eligibility, applications, deadlines etc
  3. Financial Compliance: reporting, monitoring and audit
  4. Non-Financial Compliance: e.g human and animal ethics, controlled goods, etc
  5. Post-Award Management: e.g. negotiation of funding agreements, inter-institutional transfers, project changes
  6. Reporting: Progress/Performance/Impact
  7. Scholarly Communications: e.g. open access, open data

What are our priorities?

ABC leadership has identified the following 2016 priorities either due to the severity of the burden or the opportunity to make progress on related projects currently underway:

  • Harmonized, machine-readable, funding announcements. Standards-based electronic provision of award information and notifications by all research funders. In this CASRAI led pilot universities are working with federal and provincial funders to pilot a standardized approach to automating funding awards announcements to reduce the burden of processing awards at universities and creating research accounts in less time,
  • Balancing risk and control with low dollar value internal charges. ┬áThis CAUBO led initiative is actively working with the Tri-Agencies to explore ways to reduce administrative burden around low dollar value internal charges,
  • CCV. Partnering with the Canadian Common CV and its subscribers to develop an open standards approach to automate the sharing administrative data with researchers and their universities and colleges.

Who is involved?

Convened and coordinated by the Canadian chapter of CASRAI, ABC brings together combined leadership from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO), the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Polytechnics Canada as well as active researchers.

ABC involves engagement from many stakeholder groups, including research institutions, funding agencies, and research professional organizations. The initiative will also include regular communication and liaison with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED, formerly Industry Canada), who has expressed interest in better understanding issues surrounding administrative burden, and exploring what could be done to reduce the administrative burden on researchers and research institutions in Canada.

Join Us

We invite you to start by joining the one or more of the thematic, ABC communities-of-interest aligned with the 7 themes outlined above.

This is an important step as a large and diverse community-of-interest aligned with the above thematic thrusts is a crucial success factor in such an initiative as it signals to key stakeholders the level of interest in, and affinity for, the problem of undue administrative burden in Canada.

Members of the communities-of-interest may also be asked to contribute subject expertise by reviewing draft outputs from Working Groups, participating in online consultations and expanding the conversation on admin burden via group mailing-lists. Community members are also a key pool of subject experts for use in recruiting Working Groups.

Learn More

Please use the following links to learn more about the ABC initiative.