For projects funded by NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, the granting agencies have confirmed that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable for meetings or other research-related activities impacted by COVID-19.
The reimbursements can apply to both principal investigators and research personnel, when cancellation occurs either due to factors such as travel advisories (inc. from Health Canada or Global Affairs Canada), cancelled conferences or from personal choice due to health or other concerns.
For those planning to travel for NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR-funded research, the agencies suggest to consider purchasing cancellation insurance or to book tickets that are at least partially refundable. In this specific situation some additional cost could still be viewed as economical if it allows for partial or full reimbursement/credit in the event of cancellation due to COVID-19.
See the full statement from the Tri-Agency https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/ProgramNewsDetails-NouvellesDesProgrammesDetails_eng.asp?ID=1133
Tri-Agency’s News Releases: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/NewsReleases-CommuniquesDePresse_eng.asp