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Ensuring adequate financial support for postdocs

Adequate financial support is a requirement for postdoctoral registration, and postdoctoral scholars must be assured of adequate financial support, other than from personal means, for the duration of their postdoctoral training appointment with the university. Postdoctoral stipend support can be assembled from various sources (external or internal). Postdoctoral Scholars can secure funding themselves from external funding agencies or fellowship programs, or may be offered funding from their supervisor’s grant or research resources.

In all cases, regardless of the source of financial support, stipend levels for postdoctoral scholars must meet at all times the $30,000/year minimum stipend set by McGill University. 

Since September 2011, the federal research granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC) have harmonized their policies and practices with regard to the level of stipends which can be paid to postdoctoral fellows. Specific minima or maxima pertaining to stipends paid from grants have been lifted, and the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide no longer stipulates the value of stipends that can be paid from grants. In addition, the agencies have removed the restriction on providing supplements from grants (top-ups) to award holders.

The cost for the PGSS-Extended Health and Dental Insurance is an eligible expense and is defined as a non-discretionary benefit in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guideand can be added to the postdoctoral stipend if this expense has been considered when establishing the stipend. Amounts of supplemental health and dental insurance paid to postdocs can be added as a supplement to the amount of the stipend being paid to them (direct deposit through payroll as part of the postdoc’s stipend/scholarship), can be added to the appointment form, or paid as a lump sum by way of a Casual Payroll Requisition. This method of payment will allow for this additional amount to be treated as a taxable benefit.

For additional information on the use of grant funds from the Tri-Agency Research Council of Canada, please consult the following websites: