Human Research Ethics

The Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) ensures that UVic research and research occurring in academic courses involving human participants or human biological materials meets the ethical standards required by Canadian universities and national regulatory bodies.

The research ethics staff can provide research ethics advice, education, and up-to-date regulatory information. We make presentations to classes and offer individual and project-specific guidance to you and your students.

RAIS - Important updates and notices

RAIS maintenance and planned outages

 

December 3, 2021, starting at 11:30 pm - University Systems will be performing maintenance on a number of administrative systems. This may result in a 60-90 minute scheduled outage of RAIS. We strongly suggest that you avoid making changes to your application during this window of time to avoid losing any unsaved changes. 

RAIS new look

RAIS NEW LOOK – Updates to RAIS design were made to be in line with the UVic website upgrades. There have been no changes to functionality, and there will be no impact on the workflows of new or existing applications that are already in the system.

Launch of Research Application Summary Form and Funding Module

From March 16, 2021, researchers will be able to access a new RAIS module to submit Research Application Summary Forms (RASF) with their research funding applications for UVic approval.

The new module includes a research funding page that provides researchers with a summary of budget for each award from the UVic’s financial application tool FAST.

VPN requirement for accessing RAIS from off-campus

As of June 30, 2020, your off-campus access to the Research Administration Information System (RAIS) online platform will require access via Virtual Private Network (VPN). If your personal computer or laptop is not connected to VPN, you will be taken to a white screen, that does not include any instructions. You will need to have VPN installed and connected on your machine, before accessing RAIS.  

For faculty and staff using UVic-managed devices that are supported by Desktop Support Services (DSS), VPN is already configured and ready for use. 

For graduate students, research assistants or anyone needing to configure VPN on a personal computer or laptop, information for the installation and use of the VPN software is available on the University Systems website (https://www.uvic.ca/systems/services/internettelephone/remoteaccess/). 

NOTE: VPN connection to access RAIS will also be required when using an insecure Internet connection on campus, or when using a wireless Internet connection (WiFi) on campus.

UVic's Virtual Private Network ( VPN ) provides a secure connection back to the campus network.  VPN servers employ security measures to ensure that any data sent on the Internet will not be intercepted.

As this is a UVic Systems requirements, we ask that you please contact the Computer Help Desk at helpdesk@uvic.ca or 250-721-7687 for more information or assistance with installation/connection.

COVID-19 - Important updates

July 21, 2021 - UVic Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #6

The Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #6 contains new guidelines to support in-person research with human participants, on campus and in the community. Please review this information if you are planning to resume in-person research that has been halted or are planning to apply for a new study.

In-person research involving human participants, on campus and in the community

The University of Victoria Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) coordinates their guidance with UVic’s Restart Plan and with direction from:

The Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #6 contains new guidelines to support in-person research with human participants, on campus and in the community. Please review this information if you are planning to resume in-person research that has been halted or are planning to apply for a new study.

This Bulletin applies to:

  • UVic campus facilities, classrooms and spaces (on-campus)
  • Community (off-campus) locales - locally, nationally, and internationally

This guidance is subject to change if conditions warrant, such as updated orders from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and direction from the above UVic offices.

Research about or arising from the COVID-19 situation that will involve human participants and/or human biological materials

If you are proposing to conduct research about or arising from the COVID-19 situation that will involve human participants and/or human biological materials researchers must submit a human research ethics application for review.

We will no longer be prioritizing COVID-19 studies for ethical review unless there are special circumstances. Please contact ethics@uvic.ca

Research ethics during publicly declared emergencies

Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards, Standard Operating Procedures 501.003

Download the full document

Article 5.0

A publicly declared emergency is an emergency that, due to the extraordinary risks it presents, has been proclaimed as such by an authorized official in accordance with legislation and/or public policy.  Publicly declared emergencies arise suddenly or unexpectedly and require urgent or quick responses.  Examples include natural disasters, large communicable disease outbreaks, environmental disasters and humanitarian emergencies. 

Such emergencies may represent significant risks for research participants in ongoing research or in new research initiated as a result of the emergency.   

Potential participants who may not normally be considered vulnerable may become so by the very nature of the public emergencies while those already vulnerable may become acutely so.    

The existence of an emergency does not override established procedures to protect the welfare of research participants. 

Article 5.3.2

  • Research activities not involving, or no longer involving, recruitment or direct contact with participants may continue,
  • Research activities involving recruitment or direct contact with participants may only continue if ceasing such activity may pose significant risks to participant safety,
  • Major amendments and adverse events related to these studies will be reviewed by the REB (Research Ethics Board) subcommittee or the REB subcommittee Chair or designee, as appropriate,
  • At the REB Chair or designee’s discretion, and subject to applicable regulations, review procedures may be delayed or temporarily suspended depending on volume.  In such cases, research shall be deemed to have continuing approval until such time that the REB is able to conduct its review. 

Article 5.5  “Review of research RELATED to or Arising from the Publicly Declared Emergency” 

5.5.1      If a request to review research related to the publicly declared emergency is received, it will be directed to the REB Chair or REB Subcommittee Chair or designee, as applicable; 

5.5.2      The REB Chair or designee will assess the risks associated with the proposed research, as well as aspects of the research that might require enhanced scrutiny or diligence, taking into account the severity of the impact of the emergency on ethics review processes;

5.5.3      When the impact of the publicly declared emergency on ethics reviews is determined to be mild to moderate,  research related to the publicly declared emergency has priority for review; 

5.5.4      When the impact of the publicly declared emergency on ethics review is determined to be severe, time sensitive review processes may be followed, such as delegated review as appropriate, review by an REB subcommittee, and/or meetings conducted via teleconference or video conference.

Culturally safe and trauma-informed practices during COVID-19 with First Nations

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in partnership with Research Ethics BC (REBC), part of the BC Academic Health Science Network, have created a Culturally Safe and Trauma-Informed Practices document for researchers to read and use as a resource when working with First Nations.

What should I know about conducting research virtually with participants during COVID-19 restrictions - and beyond

The Human Research Ethics Office, the University Privacy Office, and University Systems have compiled an FAQ to answer questions related to platforms, programs, security, etc. when conducting research with participants virtually.

Human Research Ethics - Important information

TCPS2 CORE Tutorial requirements for graduate students

Update September 2, 2020

All UVic graduate students who are submitting a new research ethics application, or are being added to their supervisor's existing approved protocol, for their UVic project, capstone project, thesis or dissertation, are required as of September 1, 2020 to upload their TCPS2 CORE certificate as part of their application (UVic-RAIS ethics online system; Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP) for harmonized ethics review; Applied in limited cases to paper ethics applications).

Resources and links:

TCPS2 CORE Tutorial Frequently Asked Questions

Registration tips for students in Canada

TCPS2 CORE - Tutorial

Research Administration Information System - RAIS

UVic-RAIS Guidelines & Tutorials

For any active ethics approvals for studies approved under the paper-based system, please continue to submit annual renewal, modifications, project completions and unanticipated event reports using paper forms from the research ethics website. 

Please contact Human Research Ethics Office at ethics@uvic.ca or 250-472-4545  if you have any questions.

Research Ethics BC (REBC) - harmonized review

Research Ethics BC harmonized review (a single coordinated review with the other institution(s) listed) applies if A) you will be conducting research under the auspices of any of the institutions listed in REBC website (involving staff, patients, health records, sites and/or recruitment through their sites, including recruitment via poster placement), and/or B) when members of your research team consist of faculty, staff and students from any of the REBC institution(s). This will help eliminate duplication and reduce time while ensuring that ethics obligations are met by researchers and review boards.

Applications for harmonized review must be submitted through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP) and can no longer be submitted through UVic-RAIS.

Instructions document includes guidelines and tips for UVic researchers and their graduate students who will need to submit their ethics application through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform - PREP. 

Contact us at (250) 472-4545 or ethics@uvic.ca if you are not sure which application form applies to your study.

 

Course-based application and deadlines

Course-based application update:

Course-based approval is required for instructors when their students engage in research activities involving human participants as a course requirement. The updated version will only impact instructors applying for new course-based ethics approval on UVic-RAIS.

Deadlines:

Deadlines for submitting course-based ethics applications for course-based research assignments

Human Research Ethics Board - Membership list

Contact - Human Research Ethics

If you have questions, or if you are new to research, please contact us before you begin your study to discuss whether you will require research ethics approval.

Phone: 250-472-4545 or 250-472-4321
Email: ethics@uvic.ca or ethicsassist@uvic.ca
Fax: 250-721-8960

Address: Human Research Ethics, B202 Michael Williams Building, Office of Research Services, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC,  Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 2Y2

UVic faculty, students and staff must obtain research ethics approval from the UVic Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) if their research involves human participants and/or human biological materials.

UVic HREB approval must be obtained before starting the research. See below for types of human research exempt from ethics approval.

Who must apply?

Most faculty, students and staff planning to conduct research involving humans are required to obtain ethical approval for their study.

What requires human ethics approval?

The examples of activities that are exempt from human research ethics review and examples of research activities that require ethics review are inlcuded in the Research Ethics Exemptions and Requirements document.

If you are not sure whether your research project requires ethics approval, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss. For graduate students in particular, failing to obtain research ethics approval could have serious implications for your thesis or dissertation defense and your ability to graduate. 

Please  contact us at ethics@uvic.ca or 250-472-4545 if you are unsure whether your project requires research ethics approval.

Standard application

Most UVic research involving human participants requires research ethics review using the standard research ethics application found on the UVic-RAIS system. Please read the annotated guidelines before completing the  application.

Anonymized application

Anonymized application form is used for research that is limited to analysis of anonymized secondary data. Anonymized data or information means “the information is irrevocably stripped of direct identifiers, a code is not kept to allow further re-linkage, and risk of re-identification of individuals from remaining indirect identifiers is low or very low” (Tri-Council Policy Statement 2, p. 57).

All forms of data (usually databases) must be supplied to the researcher in completely anonymous formats. The anonymized data may be in the public domain (e.g., Statistics Canada) or not (e.g., collected by a professor who decides who may have access to the data).

You may submit an anonymized application form if you are being supplied anonymous data that has already been linked. However, if further information is required, we may require you to submit an ethics application form.

If your study does not meet the following requirements, you will need to submit the standard research ethics application using the UVic-RAIS system.

Example of the Anonymized Ethics Application Form on RAIS.

Contact us at 250-472-4545 or ethics@uvic.ca before submitting the specialized ethical review form if you are using linked data.

Biosafety

In addition to undergoing a standard human research ethics review, research procedures using microorganisms, recombinant DNA and human blood, tissues and fluids must be reviewed by the UVic biosafety committee. When applicable, human research ethics approval is conditional upon approval from the UVic Biosafety Committee.  Please contact our office at 250-472-4545 or ethics@uvic.ca for more information.

Course-based application

IMPORTANT: 

As part of their teaching strategies related to research, many instructors assign class projects and activities in which students must collect data from human participants. 

Course-based research assignments vary in scope, but they all include gathering data from human participants for class presentations, reports or other activities considered research within the discipline in which the course is taught. Please see the guidelines for course-based research.

Example of the Course-based Ethics Application Form on RAIS.

Research Ethics BC (REBC) - Harmonized review

Research Ethics BC harmonized review (a single coordinated review with the other institution(s) listed) applies if A) you will be conducting research under the auspices of any of the institutions listed in REBC website (involving staff, patients, health records, sites and/or recruitment through their sites, including recruitment via poster placement), and/or B) when members of your research team consist of faculty, staff and students from any of the REBC institution(s). This will help eliminate duplication and reduce time while ensuring that ethics obligations are met by researchers and review boards.

Applications for harmonized review must be submitted through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP) and can no longer be submitted through UVic-RAIS.

Contact us at (250) 472-4545 or ethics@uvic.ca if you are not sure which application form applies to your study.

Exemptions from Human Research Ethics

The examples of activities that are exempt from human research ethics review and examples of research activities that require ethics review are inlcuded in the Research Ethics Exemptions and Requirements document.

In addition to list of exemption examples, the following activities may not require research ethics approval from UVic:

  1. Research conducted by faculty and staff as an outside professional activity. This usually applies to a university member acting in their capacity as a private contractor, whether incorporated or not, in which case the university member is not eligible to seek research ethics approval from the UVic HREB. A research ethics application is notrequired only if: KEEP
    • No aspect of the research, from proposal to completion, is undertaken by asserting connection or affiliation with the University of Victoria (e.g., university title, the university logo, letterhead and name are not used).
    • The research is not conducted at the University of Victoria and does not use the University’s resources.
    • The results disseminated in the public domain do not indicate association with the University.
  2. Students conducting research outside the auspices of the University of Victoria and/or its academic programs. For example, students on work terms, practica or co-op terms do not need to obtain HREB approval provided:
    • the research is entirely under the control of an outside agency that has no research affiliation with the University of Victoria;
    • the research is not directly supervised by University of Victoria faculty or staff;
    • the research conforms to the three criteria stated in item 3 above for faculty and staff; and
    • the student does not plan to use the research project or data for academic credit (e.g., a thesis or major project)

Non-research activities:

  1. Activities that comprise quality assessment of services and programs, as outlined in the University of Victoria's Internal Guidelines for Quality Assessment of Services and Programs. Ethics approval from the HREB may be required for activities that border on or may include elements of research. Determination of whether a quality assessment activity requires HREB approval will be made through consultation with the Chair of the HREB and if needed, the Director of Institutional Planning and Analysis. (Please note these guidelines were developed by the following contributing offices: Office of Vice-President Research, University Secretary, Privacy Office, Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis, and applies to internal quality assurance, performance review or testing within the University of Victoria only.)
  2.  

Please contact us at ethics@uvic.ca or 250-472-4545 if you are unsure whether your project requires research ethics approval.

 Submit via UVic-RAIS a completed application to our office. We will review your research study and contact you after it has been reviewed.

Once your study is reviewed and approved by the UVic Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) you will be certified to begin recruitment and data collection for your study.

If you're not sure whether your study needs research ethics approval please see the “Should I apply?” tab or contact us at or (250) 472-4545.

Applying for approval for a new project

Standard application form (used for most studies):

Consent form(s) to be attached to your full application form:

Other application forms for new projects:

Instructions document includes guidelines and tips for UVic researchers and their graduate students who will need to submit their ethics application through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform - PREP.

Contact us at 250-472-4545 or ethics@uvic.ca.

Submit your application for a new project

Faculty and students log into the system with valid Netlink IDs. Faculty who supervise a student must grant access to an identified ethics application for a specific student. Students (and department staff) will not be able to access the identified ethics application without the faculty member/their supervisor. 

  • Please see the quick guide for starting and submitting a new research ethics application. 

Review timeline

Applications are entered into the review queue on an ongoing basis. Time required to review your application depends on the volume of applications in our system. The beginning and end of the term are our busiest periods.

  • Standard applications: four to six weeks
  • Applications for use of anonymized data and course based applications: two weeks
  • Post-approval applications: two weeks

Post approval – renewal, amendment, renewal with amendment, completion

  • For any active ethics approvals for studies approved under the paper-based system, please continue to submit annual renewal, modifications, project completions and unanticipated event reports using paper forms from the research ethics website.
  • Request for annual renewal form - Your study must have current ethics approval when you are recruiting, collecting data and/or there is still a possibility that you will contact participants. You will need to submit annual renewal until all interactions with participants are complete. It is recommended that graduate students maintain approval until they have completed their defense and final revisions have been accepted. If the annual renewal form is not submitted, Ethics Approval will expire on the most recent expiry date issued.
  • Request for amendment to the approved protocol - Submit this form when any amendments to the approved protocol are required or anticipated. Amendments to an approved protocol must be approved before being implemented, including amendment in response to an unanticipated event or issue. If the amendment is extensive, or involves an amendment to the original purpose of the research question, a new application may be required.The annual renewal with amendment form needs to be submitted if the study is close to expiry (we suggest that you use the renewal with amendment form if the study you need to amendment the protocol for is within eight weeks from expiry).
  • Notice of project completion form - Submit this form once recruitment and data collection and any other anticipated interactions with participants have concluded.

    Please DO NOT close your research ethics protocol when:

    1. Students have not yet completed their program. Students (undergraduate, graduate, post-docs) are required to maintain research ethics approval until after their successful completion of the program, in the unlikely event that their committee/supervisor requires them to collect further data  
    2. Data will be shared with others, who have not been listed in the approved research ethics application – i.e., future students, collaborators (within or outside of UVic) who were not listed in the research ethics application, etc.

UVic guidelines and national best practices guidelines will help you think through the ethical dimensions of your study when preparing your ethics application.

If you are new to research, your study is complex, or there are potential risks to research participants, research ethics and completing a research ethics application can be challenging. Feel free to contact us at ethics@uvic.ca or 250-472-4545.

UVic guidelines

Privacy resources

National guidelines, tutorial and best practices

Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) - Adopted by Canadian universities, most hospitals, health authorities and research institutions

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

National ethics associations and organizations

US and international codes of ethics and regulatory bodies

Ethics Forms, Templates and Samples

Form Guidelines Notes

RAIS Standard Ethics Application Form - doc. format (Not for submission - intended to help with research team member collaboration in preparation for online submission or course-based projects)

Example of the Anonymized Ethics Application Form on RAIS.

Annotated guidelines

Dual-Role Research Guidelines

See consent form templates and other sample documents below.

BC Ethics Harmonization - Using Provincial Research Ethics Platform - PREP

You can submit your course-based application through UVic-RAIS

Example of the Course-based Ethics Application Form on RAIS.

Course-based Guidelines

Deadlines for course-based ethics applications

Use this form only for studies approved through paper-based system.

For studies approved on RAIS please go to UVic-RAIS

Unanticipated Events Report  

 

To report any incidents, experiences, or outcomes that have not been previously accounted for in the approved protocol and which place participants, or others, at a greater risk. 

Use this form only for studies approved through paper-based system.

For studies approved on RAIS please go to UVic-RAIS

Request for Annual Renewal

 

POST-APPROVAL
Submit this form prior to the expiry date on your Certificate of Approval to ensure current research ethics approval for recruitment, data collection, or other interactions with participants.

Use this form only for studies approved through paper-based system.

For studies approved on RAIS please go to UVic-RAIS

Request for Modification 

COVID-19: You can submit this form, with electronic signatures and supporting documents, via email to ethicsassist@uvic.ca

 

POST-APPROVAL
Submit this form before implementing changes to your protocol.

See consent form templates and other sample documents below.

Use this form only for studies approved through paper-based system.

For studies approved on RAIS please go to UVic-RAIS

Notice of Project Completion | PDF

 

POST-APPROVAL
Submit this form once recruitment, data collection, or other interactions with participants have concluded.

Templates and guidance documents

Consent Form Template  | PDF

Point-form Consent Form Template Word  | PDF

Letter of Information for Implied Consent Template | PDF 

Consent Form Checklist | PDF | RTF - important when devising your own template

Confidentiality Template |PDF

Recruitment Poster Guidance Document

The University of Victoria is committed to supporting our researchers in their intellectual pursuits while also recognizing the need to protect the rights and interests of individuals who participate in UVic research, and those of the public.

For this reason, UVic policies and procedures governing human-related research uphold the highest ethical standards and are designed to be in accordance with Canada's Tri-Council Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2).

It is vital that UVic researchers understand their responsibilities to both the university and the public. Please familiarize yourself with these policies before starting your research.

Federal Policies

How long does the ethics review process take?

In general, you can expect a wait of 4-6 weeks for new, first-time applications to be reviewed and approved. If you’ve submitted an application for use of anonymized data/biological materials, or a  course-based application, you can expect a turn-around time of about two weeks. For annual renewals or modifications to a previously approved protocol, the wait time is about two weeks.

Please make sure that your application is complete before you submit it. If it’s incomplete it won’t be forwarded for review and will be held at the end of the queue until we receive the missing items. “Incomplete” usually refers to missing appendices or to sections of the application that were not completed, but it can also refer to poorly-written applications that don’t provide enough information on the study for a review to be undertaken.

Are there any deadlines?

In order to ensure that the applications can be approved in time for the start of the course, we have launched the following deadlines for instructors submitting Course-Based Ethics Applications:

  • August 1, for courses beginning in September (Fall Term)
  • December 1, for courses beginning in January (Winter Term)
  • April 1, for courses beginning in May/June (Spring Term)
  • June 1, for courses beginning in July/August (Summer Term)

Only course-based applications have these deadlines. No deadlines apply to our other ethics applications.

Are there any examples of UVic-RAIS application forms?

Examples of research ethics application forms are available in PDF format for reference only and the forms may differ slightly from the forms that are in the system. 

You must go through UVic-RAIS to submit your online research ethics applications.

RAIS Standard Ethics Application Form - pdf format

RAIS Standard Ethics Application Form - doc. format (Not for submission - intended to help with research team member collaboration in preparation for online submission or course-based projects)

RAIS Anonymized Ethics Application Form - pdf format

RAIS Course-based Ethics Application Form - pdf format

For more information on how to apply for research ethics approval, please visit the following websites: Human Research Ethics and RAIS Support.

What is the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) and why is it important?

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS) is the joint research ethics policy statement of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The TCPS outlines standards and procedures for research involving humans and applies to those conducting, participating in, or reviewing human research in institutions funded by CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. As a condition of funding, these three agencies require that researchers and more than 80 affiliated institutions follow the TCPS.

The TCPS was first published in August 1998 to promote the ethical conduct of research involving humans. The 2nd edition of the TCPS is expected to be released in Fall 2010.

We recommend that you go through the TCPS tutorial before applying. At the very least, we strongly recommend that you read the TCPS chapters that are relevant to your research.

What if the principal investigator (faculty, faculty supervisor) needs to change?

The Principal Investigator (PI) can only be changed by the Human Research Ethics RAIS administrators.

Here are the two processes for requesting change of PI (faculty, faculty supervisor):

PI is still at UVic and available to submit the request:

  1. PI will need to complete the Notification of change of PI form, with signatures and submit it with the amendment request form through RAIS. 
  2. Ensure that any study documents (e.g. recruitment documents, consent/assent forms) are revised to reflect the change. For instructions on how to submit an amendment please see the quick guide.

Current PI is no longer at UVic and unable to submit the request: 

  1. New PI will need to complete the Notification of change of PI form, with signatures and email it to HRE office  at ethics@uvic.ca.
  2. Once reviewed, the HRE office will change the PI and request that the new PI submits an amendment request form through RAIS.
  3. Ensure that any study documents (e.g. recruitment documents, consent/assent forms) are revised to reflect the change. For instructions on how to submit an amendment please see the quick guide.

Once the amendment is approved the Human Research Ethics Board will issue a new Certificate of Approval to the new PI (faculty, faculty supervisor).

NOTE: For studies that have not yet been approved, the Notification of change of PI form will need to be submitted to HRE office, via email at ethics@uvic.ca. In that case, please disregard any reference to the amendment request form. 

Do I need ethics approval before I can access my funding?

Generally, yes. If you have received a grant to fund a study that needs ethics approval, then you will need approval before accessing funds.

If you need access to funding for preparatory activities (e.g. research design, hiring staff, consultation, travel), you can submit a “Request for Funding Release Prior to Human Research Ethics Review.”

If you have any questions please contact Manager, Research Finances and Budget at 250-721-8079, orsfince@uvic.ca

How do I access my funding before human research ethics approval?

You should contact Manager, Research Finances and Budget at 250-721-8079, orsfince@uvic.ca is you need to access funding for the initial phases of the study, before the involvement of human participants.

If you need access to funding for preparatory activities (e.g. research design, hiring staff, consultation, travel), you can submit a “Request for Funding Release Prior to Human Research Ethics Review.”

How do I know if my study requires research ethics approval?

Please see the list of some example activities that are exempt from human research ethics review and examples of research activities that require human research ethics review.

Is UVic research ethics approval required if there is an existing approval from another Canadian institution?

  1. If you are a University of Victoria affiliated researcher (faculty, student or staff), coming to UVic with a research ethics  approval from a Canadian institution* (e.g., a university, college, hospital, health region, etc.), you will need to apply for UVic ethics approval.
  2. If you are a University of Victoria affiliated researcher (faculty, student or staff) participating in a multi-jurisdictional project with ethics approval from a Canadian institution* (e.g., a university, college, hospital, health region, etc.), you will need to apply for UVic ethics approval.

The Human Research Ethics Board is piloting a bridging process for research studies that already have research ethics approval from a Canadian institution and either:

  1. data collection is ongoing, and will remain the same as the approved research ethics application;
  2. data collection is ongoing, and you will be making some changes to the approved research ethics application; or
  3. data collection has finished and you plan to analyze data and report on findings, as a UVic researcher (and/or add UVic personnel to the study team [faculty, students or staff], and/or transfer research funding to UVic).

Completing your UVic Human Research Ethics Application for research studies that (1) already have research ethics approval from a Canadian institution and (2) satisfy one of the above conditions:

  • In each of these cases, you can proceed with initiating a “Standard Research Ethics Application” via the UVic-RAIS online portal.
  • Please complete sections A (Research team), B (Project information), and C (Project funding) of the application.
  • In section J (Description of research project), please clarify what research activities have occurred in relation to this study, and what research activities are ongoing (i.e., is data collection ongoing or complete, etc.), also clarify where data collection is taking place.
  • Attach all of your approved research ethics documents from the other institution – e.g., the approved research ethics application, protocols, recruitment materials, consent forms, data collection documents, etc.
  • IF you are making some changes to the approved research ethics application (number 2 above), then use the relevant sections of the UVic Research Ethics Application to clarify what changes you are making. Include a lot of detail and refer to the relevant sections of the approved research ethics application for clarity, as necessary. Attach any new/revised recruitment materials and/or consent materials for these new participants.
    • For example, “The approved University of Lethbridge research ethics application (attached) includes recruiting participants in Alberta only. I will be adding to this and recruiting participants in BC. [Describe your recruitment procedure for your new BC participants in the recruitment section of the UVic ethics application form and ensure you attach any new/revised recruitment materials and/or consent materials for these new participants].
  • The research ethics application will require that some questions be answered before you submit the application – the application will highlight these for you when you go to complete it. Please put N/A in the relevant sections or some brief information as you see fit – for example, “Please see attached the REB approved documents from UofX”.

Once we receive your application, along with your approved documents, we will conduct a research ethics review. At this time we may have questions for you and/or points of clarifications/revisions. These will be sent back to you through the UVic-RAIS system as a “Notice of Ethical Review”. Once all questions have been satisfactorily addressed, the Human Research Ethics Board will approve the study and you will receive a UVic Certificate of Approval.

Please let us know if you have any questions: ethics@uvic.ca; 250-472-4545.

* Note: If you have a research ethics approval from a BC University or Health Authority, and affiliation with that institution is ongoing – i.e., you will retain adjunct or affiliate status and/or your research team member(s) remain at a BC University or Health Authority, then it you will need to submit your study through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP, via UBC RISe), instead of through UVic-RAIS.

If your approval is on the UBC-RISe system then this process can be done without the need to submit additional research ethics information. If your research ethics approval is not on UBC-RISe then it may be possible to bridge your approved research ethics application to the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP, via UBC RISe), as outlined above within the PREP system. In either case, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can assist you and ensure that your new research ethics approval is proceeding in the most efficient manner and to prevent you for doing extra work: ethics@uvic.ca ; 250-472-4545

For more information please see: Research Ethics BC

What should I know about conducting research with participants virtually (e.g., platforms, programs and security)?

The Human Research Ethics Office, the University Privacy Office, and University Systems have compiled an FAQ to answer questions related to platforms, programs, security, etc. when conducting research with participants virtually. 

Are there best practices for using social media in research with human participants?

We suggest you check the following guidance documents if you are planning to conduct your research using social networking sites:

  1. Guidelines for Research Using Social Networking Sites from UBC's Behavioural Research Ethics Board.
  2. Social Media Research: A Guide to Ethics from the University of Aberdeen

Please contact our office at ethics@uvic.ca or 250-472-4545 if you have any questions.

How will I be notified of the status of my ethics review, or if it has been approved?

You will receive an email notification if your application requires revisions before approval is granted (which is the case for the majority of applications). You will also be notified via email when your application has been approved.

The notification email will go to your preferred email address (you can set your preferred email address through Online tools). 

 

What are the privacy issues in using Internet surveys based in the US?

Online survey instruments based out the US (e.g., SurveyMonkey) are subject to the US Freedom Act. As such, there is a possibility that information collected via these surveys may be accessed, without the survey participant’s knowledge or consent, by the US government in compliance with the US Freedom Act.

For this reason, we require this information to be disclosed to research participants who will be using a US-based survey instrument during the consent process. (Preferably, this will be stated at the beginning of the questionnaire so that it is not overlooked by the participant.). Alternatively, you may choose to use a Canadian-based survey tool.

Is ethics approval required when talking to stakeholders, communities, organizations, other academics etc. to plan a research project or a grant proposal?

Ethical approval is not required for the initial exploratory phase[s of a project], which may involve contact with individuals, communities intended to establish research partnerships, and to inform the design of a research proposal (Article 6.11 Tri- Council Policy Statement).  

Additionally, discussions and consultations to assess the feasibility of a project, identify budgets and priorities, and/or planning a project grant also fall under project management and preparatory activities, and do not require ethical approval.  However, in the event researchers intend to (also) study project management processes and the discussions and products from the meetings will be used as research data (e.g., observations of stakeholders, using notes and information gathered from planning meetings, analysing stakeholder conversations etc.) these activities would serve two purposes (project preparations and research with humans) and would require human research ethics approval before the activities are undertaken.

Do I need to notify the ethics office when my study is complete?

Yes, once the recruitment and data collection phase of your study is complete, you must notify our office by doing one of the following:

  1. submitting the MS Word project completion form for studies approved through paper-based system, or
  2. submitting the project completion form that can be accessed through UVic-RAIS for studies approved through UVic-RAIS. 

Please DO NOT close your research ethics protocol when:

  1. Students have not yet completed their program. Students (undergraduate, graduate, post-docs) are required to maintain research ethics approval until after their successful completion of the program, in the unlikely event that their committee/supervisor requires them to collect further data  
  2. Data will be shared with others, who have not been listed in the approved research ethics application – i.e., future students, collaborators (within or outside of UVic) who were not listed in the research ethics application, etc.

** When your approval is permanently closed, a new application must be submitted and approved for further data collection and/or data sharing with future students, collaborators, etc.**

How do I know whether I need to modify my study and if so, what do I do to make changes to an approved project?

In general, it is not the size of the change that dictates the ethics review process, but rather the ethical implications and risk associated with the proposed change. In case of doubt on the potential impact of the change to approved research on the level of risk to participants, you should contact the research ethics office at ethics@uvic.ca or 250-572-4545. Changes that substantially alter the nature of the approved research may be assessed as a new research project and require a new research ethics board review.

In the conduct of their approved research, researchers should be aware of the requirement to report to their REB, in a timely manner, proposed changes from approved research that affect participants at any stage of the process including, but not limited to, changes to the consent form, changes to the tasks or interventions involved in the research, or changes to measures to protect privacy and confidentiality. Any substantive change to the research should not be implemented without documented approval by the REB, except when necessary to eliminate an immediate risk(s) to the participants.