Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

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

Charitable Reg. #:11921 9251 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



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) 86 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian Institute for Advanced Research:

Founded in 1982 in Toronto, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) brings researchers together to advance scientific knowledge. CIFAR hopes to use this knowledge to connect with experts and create lasting change. CIFAR's primary programs are Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, Knowledge Creation (research), and Knowledge Mobilization and Communications. CIFAR’s community includes 441 researchers in 18 countries at 161 institutions. In F2020, CIFAR researchers won 104 national and international research awards.
Pan-Canadian AI Strategy accounted for 57% of program spending in F2020. In 2017, the Government of Canada appointed CIFAR to develop and lead the world’s first national AI strategy. The program works with three machine learning programs in Canada: Amii (University of Alberta), Mila (Université de Montréal), and the Vector Institute (University of Toronto). The program has worked with 120 researchers and more than 1,200 graduate students and fellows. Since 2017 the researchers have completed 713 publications.
Knowledge Creation accounted for 29% of CIFAR’s program spending in F2020. In F2020, 12 research projects were funded in four interdisciplinary areas: Life and Health (2), Individuals and Society (4), Information and Matter (4), and Earth and Space (2). The largest project is Gravity and the Extreme Universe which studies topics such as black holes. In total, CIFAR research includes 72 advisors, 263 fellows, and 428 researchers.
Knowledge Mobilization and Communications represented 10% of program spending in F2020. This program connects CIFAR researchers to experts in the industry. Through workshops and meetings, CIFAR aims to work together to achieve goals. In F2020, 94 meetings and events took place over 116 days. 60 formal partnerships were made with government policymakers, researchers and industry leaders.

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Results and Impact

In F2020 CIFAR researchers completed 437 publications. Included is a publication in the journal Science that found obesity, heart disease, and diabetes may be transmitted through the microbiome. 93.1% of researchers reported that participation in CIFAR activities has positively impacted their research. 

Pan-Canadian AI Strategy program published a further 241 studies. These publications helped Canada rank 4th globally for its H-index in Artificial Intelligence, a ranking that measures scientific impact and productivity. This is compared to 24th place in 2015.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of CIFAR’s results and impact. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).  

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In F2020, CIFAR received donations of $9.8m. The charity received $32.7m in government funding representing 75% of total revenues. Administrative costs are 2% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 11% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 14%. For every dollar donated, 86 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

CIFAR has $28.3m in funding reserves, of which $500k is donor endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity could cover 73% or around 9 months of annual program costs with current 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 July 7, 2021 by Brenleigh Jebb.  

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 2.4%1.6%2.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 11.3%24.4%20.3%
Total overhead spending 13.6%26.0%22.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 72.7%67.7%112.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 9,7729,3939,355
Government funding 32,70437,27319,767
Investment income (284)1,0381,534
Total revenues 42,19247,70430,656
Program costs 38,30043,46525,988
Administrative costs 1,003732659
Fundraising costs 1,1012,2941,898
Total spending 40,40446,49128,545
Cash flow from operations 1,7881,2132,111
Capital spending 314516121
Funding reserves 28,32529,90329,798

Note: Ci adjusted for deferred contributions increasing donations by $2.8m in F2020, $9.4m in F2019 and $9.3m in F2018. Ci reported unrealized investment gain affecting total revenues by ($1.4m) in F2020, ($16k) in F2019, and ($40k) in F2018. Ci reported partnership revenues as donations. Amortization was backed out of program, administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 46

Avg. compensation: $146,089

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 F2020

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 416-971-4251


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001