Tri-Agency Delegation of Authority Roles and Responsibilities

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Delegation of Authority – Roles and Responsibilities


The rules around Delegation of Authority and the roles and responsibilities of an Institutional Approver were highlighted as an observation during the University of Guelph’s 2014 Tri-Agency Monitoring Review and it has forced the University to change its controls around delegation.   


The Tri-Agencies put a lot of focus on the management of an account and require the UofG to demonstrate that they have adequate controls in place that ensure the grant leader (or an approved delegate) is aware of what is happening to his/her account.  The Tri-Agencies requires clear distinction of the following:




Initiator of expense ... this is to be the grant leader or someone that she/he has delegated to.  


As the Initiator of the expense, you are responsible for:

  • initiating an expense and
  • authorizing the charge of the expense to the grant.  

It is expected that you will sign off on the appropriate documentation (requisition forms/quotes/purchase orders/invoices, etc.) in ink or by email and that you are aware of the dollar value that is being authorized and charged to the account.


The delegation must be done in writing (using the UofG Delegation of Authority for Fund 301 Form) and delegation can only be given to someone that is knowledgeable about the research.  An institutional approver (Department Administrator) cannot be a delegate. 


Institutional Approver ... this is someone (other than the grant leader or the delegate) that has been assigned by the institution to review the documentation and ensure that it has been initiated by the grant leader (or approved delegate) ensuring that an email or signature is on file to support the initiation and authorization of the charge.  


The institutional approver is also responsible for ensuring the expense is eligible within Tri-Agency rules. 


The Institutional Approver will commonly be the Department Administrator of each academic unit.


Processor ... this is the person that processes the paperwork and causes the charge to appear in the account.  


A good example of this person would be someone in Account Payable.  They review the documentation to ensure that the invoice has been signed off by the appropriate Institutional Approver and then proceed with processing payment of the invoice and charging the research grant with the expense.