Tax Note – Honorariums and Payments to Indigenous Individuals

The new Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration is now in effect for all eligible administering institutions as of April 1, 2020.

To support members during the transition to the new principles-based Guidelines, CAUBO has developed a series of resources. As the Guide is no longer prescriptive, institutions will need to rely on their own institutional policies to assess whether expenses charged to a research grant are compliant.

Last spring, CAUBO administered a series of surveys to gather information on existing institutional polices and practices related to grant administration. The results provide a detailed overview of the policies and procedures already in place at member institutions and reveal the extent to which they meet the requirements of the new Guide. The survey results revealed that the majority of institutions did not have a policy related to payments for Indigenous individuals.

To address this need, KPMG was retained to develop a note to clarify the tax treatment of payments made to indigenous individuals.

Institutional members can access this new technical tax note by clicking here.

The technical note outlines the income tax treatment and reporting requirements of universities in Canada on their payment of honorariums to recipients in Canada. Two types of payments are discussed in the note: research participant fees and honorarium or other fees paid to indigenous individuals.

We are planning a webinar on this topic – stay tuned for details!

Important Notice: Customs Clearance Changes – CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM)

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is changing several processes relating to the import of goods that will directly affect all importers of commercial goods in Canada, including universities.

The CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project is a multi-year initiative to transform the collection of duty and tax for imported goods.  More information can be found at  This project is scheduled to be phased in over a 12 to 14-month period.  The implementation timeline has been delayed from fall 2020 and will be added once CBSA operations normalize following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Release 1: This phase includes the introduction of the CARM Client Portal with basic functionality, including management of payment processing with timelines, tariff classification tool, tariff data management, case management functionality for Customs rulings and revenue reporting.

Release 2: This phase includes registration and enrolment for all CBSA clients, including universities.  There will be additional functionality offered in the CARM Client Portal.

What does this mean for Canadian universities?

Typical Current Process

Anticipated Process under CARM

  • Use customs broker to release, file and account for all imports
  • Use customs broker to release, file and account for all imports
  • Broker posts security (bond) to cover all duties, taxes and penalties for university shipments so goods can be released prior to payment
  • University posts security (bond) to cover all duties, taxes and penalties for university shipments so goods can be released prior to payment
  • University authorizes the final Customs accounting prior to submission
  • University authorizes the final Customs accounting prior to submission
  • Broker accesses university Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal and matches to the entries on file
  • University accesses their Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal and matches entries on file
  • Broker pays CBSA monthly Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal
  • University pays CBSA monthly Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal
  • Broker provides accounting documents and import entry data
  • Broker provides accounting documents and import entry data
  • Broker invoices university for authorized transactions – duty, taxes, brokerage and other ancillary fees
  • Broker invoices university for brokerage and other ancillary fees only
  • University reviews the import documents/data and pays broker’s invoices
  • University reviews the import documents/data and pays broker’s invoices
  • University requests adjustments or corrections (amends or refunds) to entries, as required
  • University requests adjustments or corrections (amends or refunds) to entries, as required
  • University distributes the import costs internally
  • University distributes the import costs internally
NOTE: It is expected that this process will change depending on the final program requirements and functionality of the portal. Failure to meet these requirements will likely result in clearance delays, loss and possible penalties for the university.

Security Bond

Posting security is a mandatory CBSA requirement that allows for the release of shipments prior to payment (RPP) of duties and taxes. This is usually posted in the form of a bond through an approved surety company.

Under CARM, all commercial importers (universities) must post their own security. This will establish direct financial liability for debt to CBSA, on the importer. Mandatory security will be effective as of CARM Release 2 and once this is in place, universities will no longer be able to use the Broker’s security to obtain the release of shipments.

Universities will be responsible for managing the amount of RPP security (bond) posted.

CBSA has provided information regarding RPP financial security (bond) calculation:

  • The amount of RPP security will be based on the highest historic monthly accounts receivables (AR) over the previous 12-month period, including GST
  • The minimum AR amount required for a bond is $25,000
  • AR amounts over $25,000 will require security of 50% of the total AR
  • The estimated annual cost of a bond is $4 per $1,000 AR


Payment will be the direct responsibility of the university using edi or eft functionality available through the CBSA Client Portal. It is unclear at this time whether universities can assign account payment access to their customs broker.

Without security, your university will not be permitted to have shipments released prior to payment as of Release 2 go-live. This will make it necessary to pay all duties and taxes prior to the release of all goods.

It is extremely important to communicate with your Broker about these changes, as soon as possible. They should be able to assist with answering your questions and providing data regarding your RPP security requirements and use of the CBSA Client Portal.

Prepared by Ray Williamson, Manager Customs & Logistics, Procurement Services, Western University

CAUBO 2020 cancelled

CAUBO 2020: Cancellation of the CAUBO guestroom block at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel

As we informed you a few days ago, CAUBO 2020 has been cancelled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. This is to advise you that the Westin Harbour Castle will be cancelling all reservations found under the CAUBO guestroom block. If you reserved a guestroom in the CAUBO block, it will be automatically cancelled by end of day today.

If you booked a room at a different hotel in Toronto, you are responsible for cancelling that reservation.

The CAUBO 2021 Annual Conference will take place in Montreal, Quebec from May 30–June 1, 2021, hosted by McGill University. We hope to see all of you there.

Until then, stay healthy.

CAUBO 2020 update relative to COVID-19

Dear CAUBO members, sponsors, and speakers:

In light of the many COVID-19-related restrictions on travel and events put in place by both universities and governments, the CAUBO Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the CAUBO 2020 Annual Conference in Toronto. We will be in contact with registrants and sponsors shortly about refunds.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.



Coronavirus COVID-19 Information for Higher Ed

Coronavirus COVID-19 Information for Higher Ed

Coronavirus COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving global health issue. This interim guidance will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available.

Why is this guidance being issued?

The information provided can help members understand how they can contribute to preventing the spread of COVID-19 among students, staff and faculty at their institutions. This page can also serve as a starting point for collecting resources to help plan the response to an infection or outbreak at your institution.

Member Resources

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with the virus as “low for the general population in Canada”.

PHAC has released a list of community-based measures to mitigate risks and the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. CAUBO members should consult the following websites for the most recent developments concerning COVID-19, including information on preparedness, awareness resources, travel advisories, and seeking medical assistance:


The following links offer guidance for administrators of higher ed, informing the response to COVID-19:

Professional Development

NACUBO will be hosting a series of free webcasts to support administrators as they respond to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, addressing the impact on college and university operations. Access the webcasts through the link below:

APPA hosted a townhall to discuss the financial situation for higher education and share emerging practices in response to COVID-19. Access the townhall using the link below:

Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) is hosting a series of weekly webinars every Friday at 1:00 PM (ET) to discuss Canadian higher education’s response to COVID-19. Access the recordings using the link below:

CAUBO member preparations and responses

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) has compiled this list of member resources to contribute to the higher ed community’s awareness of and response to COVID-19.

CAUBO member universities have developed webpages to provide updates and inform their communities of the actions being taken to contain the propagation of COVID-19.

Let us know

Please let us know if your institution has developed a policy/procedure in response to COVID-19 and would like the opportunity to highlight the actions that have been taken.

New CAUBO Partnership with HR Metrics Service


CAUBO knows that members need evidence-based data to support their institutional decision-making.

That’s why we are pleased to share with you that we have signed a partnership agreement with HR Metrics Service (HRMS) to provide CAUBO members with quality HR benchmarking services. HRMS is a privately owned national benchmarking service with 65 client organizations from a variety of sectors, including several Canadian universities. Participating universities report a high degree of satisfaction with the service, content, and quality of reporting they have received from HRMS and recommend it to colleagues in the sector.

Joining HRMS has been a great investment for us at Memorial. We started with a limited number of metrics, and have now scaled up to 45 metrics! We use them for internal reporting, including the University’s Executive and annual reporting to the Board of Regents.

—Stephen Dodge (MUN)

This partnership will support the development of national HR metrics and help CAUBO members obtain reliable data to guide decision-making.

Key benefits for CAUBO members

CAUBO members that participate in the HRMS benchmarking service will receive:

  • Sector-wide data analysis and trend reporting, provided by a third-party consultant with support from CAUBO
  • Educational support to help use the resulting evidence-based data and information effectively
  • Differentiated HRMS participation fees for CAUBO members, based on institutional size

Timeline for HRMS partnership with CAUBO

  • Right now: Universities can sign up to work with HRMS and begin measuring their institutional data using their choice of metrics.
  • In the coming months: CAUBO will coordinate the formation of a Steering Committee and Working Group to guide and convey a collective vision for HR benchmarking and measurement within the Canadian higher education .
  • Within the next fiscal year: A third-party consultant will be engaged to develop sectoral trends and analysis and provide professional development to help members get the most out of their participation.

This service is currently available in English only. Bilingual services will become available as additional universities sign on with HRMS.

About HR Metrics Service

HRMS currently enables participating organizations to measure and compare their institutions based on more than 150 benchmarking metrics. Among them are six commonly used core metrics:

  • Turnover – voluntary and involuntary
  • First-year turnover
  • Grievances as a percentage of unionized headcount (under review)
  • HR headcount ratio
  • Average age
  • Average length of service

Many university-specific metrics have been added over the last several years. The full list is available here.

A list of current university participants is available online at

For information about this service, please contact HRMS directly at or toll-free at 1-855-323-6530 or sign up online at

Participation fees are payable to HRMS. CAUBO will provide trend analysis and educational support as part of your CAUBO institutional membership fee.

We hope CAUBO members will take advantage of this targeted opportunity to improve their HR data and decision-making capacity. If you have questions about this partnership, please contact Elizabeth Taylor at

Ancillary Benchmark Parking Services Survey Results Now Available to institutional members

Ancillary operations have become an increasingly prominent area of focus at Canadian universities and there is a recognized need for reliable data to help administrators identify opportunities for improved efficiencies.

In response to this need, CAUBO is working to collect and report a high-quality data set on ancillary services that supports benchmarking.

The 2018 Ancillary Benchmark Parking Services survey results are now available online for members. A high-level summary report of the Parking survey results has been prepared and is available to all members here.  A dashboard is accessible here to CAUBO members that participated in the survey. It allows users to assess their institutional performance against that of peer institutions across Canada based on key indicators.

The Parking Services survey is part of the Ancillary Benchmark Survey series created by CAUBO to amass a key performance indicator data warehouse for each major ancillary area. The Housing and Food Services surveys will be released in the coming weeks.

The 2019 CAUBO Deferred Maintenance at Canadian Universities report is now available to institutional members

The 2019 report provides an updated perspective on deferred maintenance at Canadian Universities. It goes beyond stating the current situation and provides members with practical information regarding strategies for managing deferred maintenance and making the case for investment. Case studies and success stories are included in the report to provide insight into how institutions have found innovative methods to secure additional funding and/or manage the funding they receive. Click here to read the report.

A data dashboard has been developed to provide institutions that participated in the survey with access to benchmark data. Click here to login and access the dashboard.

The Pat Hibbitts Professional Development Bursary – 2020 Winner

In hour of Pat Hibbitts, a long-standing CAUBO member and contributor, and in support of her commitment to continuing education, CAUBO has established a professional development bursary. Each year, CAUBO extends a complimentary conference registration (including a pre-conference seminar) to one institutional member.

This year’s winner is

Ms. Debra Ward
HR Consultant (Staff Relations)
University of New Brunswick