Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

661 University Ave. Suite 505 
Toronto, ON M5G1M1
President & CEO: Alan Bernstein
Board Chair: Barbara Stymiest

Charitable Reg. #:11921 9251 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 77 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian Institute for Advanced Research:

Founded in 1982, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), in Toronto, inspires new research, accelerates scientific discoveries, and achieves breakthroughs across borders and academic fields. CIFAR hopes to understand worldwide issues, such as child and brain development, artificial intelligence (AI), and climate change. The primary programs funded by CIFAR are “knowledge creation” (research), Pan- Canadian AI strategy, knowledge mobilization and communications, and Azrieli global scholars (Next Generation). CIFAR’s community of fellows includes 404 researchers in 22 countries.

Knowledge creation (58% of F2018 program spending) describes the research programs funded by CIFAR. CIFAR’s research encompasses four interdisciplinary areas: Life and Health, Individuals and Society, Information and Matter, and Earth and Space. In 2018, 13 research projects were active: 3 Life and Health, 4 Individuals and Society, 4 Information and Matter, and 2 Earth and Space, with the largest being the Learning in Machines & Brains. This project represents 31 institutions in seven countries, with 47 fellows, advisors and global scholars.

CIFAR is leading the Government of Canada’s $125 million CIFAR Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which recieved 23% of program spending. CIFAR is working in partnership with three newly-established AI institutes – the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute in Edmonton, Mila in Montreal, and the Vector Institute in Toronto. In 2017, Canada was the first country to announce AI strategy, headed by CIFAR. To date, CIFAR has won 27 national and international research awards, has 54 partnerships with industries, has held 127 research workshops and events, and has 150 researchers continuing this work.

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Results and Impact

In its 2018 annual report, CIFAR reports 2,967 publications of its research, which show the results of the research funded by the institution. Moreover, in 2018, 20 publications resulted from knowledge mobilization and communications spending. Over 500 publications were reported as a result of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy funding since 2017.

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Canadian Institute for Advanced Research is a medium-sized charity, with $9m in donations in F2018. Most revenues are generated through government funding, making up 67% of total revenues at $19.7m in F2018. The charity’s administrative costs are 2% of total revenues. Its fundraising costs are 21% of donations and have increased since F2017. For every $1 donated to the charity, 77 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

The charity has funding reserves of $29.8m, which includes $474k in donor-endowed funds. This results in a program cost coverage ratio, excluding donor-endowed funds, of 115%, meaning that the charity can fund just over a year of its annual programs using its existing reserves.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Canadian Institute for Advanced Research for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 28, 2019 by Parker Thomlinson.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 2.3%6.2%7.9%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 21.1%16.8%19.7%
Total overhead spending 23.4%23.0%27.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 112.9%108.4%159.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 9,0089,0477,358
Government funding 19,76712,36211,562
Investment income 1,5741,35353
Total revenues 30,34922,76218,973
Program costs - Canada 25,98819,76815,871
Administrative costs 6591,3311,485
Fundraising costs 1,8981,5151,448
Total spending 28,54522,61418,804
Cash flow from operations 1,804148169
Capital spending 121(3,131)2,978
Funding reserves 29,79821,86825,703

Note: Ci has moved partnership revenues into donations. Amortization was backed out of program, administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 46

Avg. Compensation: $123,907

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2018

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