The Tri-Council agencies (NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR) do not consider the cost of gifts to be eligible expenses, as per the section entitled “Services and Miscellaneous Expenses - Non-Eligible Expenses” found in the Tri-Council Administration Guide located at http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Professors-Professeurs/FinancialAdminGuide-GuideAdminFinancier/FundsUse-UtilisationSubventions_eng.asp. Therefore purchases of near-cash or non-cash gifts cannot be charged to Tri-Council grants.
In addition, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers most near-cash gifts such as gift cards and gift certificates to be taxable income or a taxable benefit depending on the circumstances, therefore the institution strongly discourages the purchase of these items using institutional funding. Near-cash gifts are considered gifts which can be easily converted to cash (i.e. gift card, gift certificate, securities, stocks, etc.).