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:

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/). 

Connections to RAIS from on-campus are not impacted by this change.

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.

RAIS maintenance schedule

UPGRADE NOTICE: Research Administration Information System on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, starting at 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

University Systems is upgrading an underlying software in the Research Administration Information System (RAIS). This upgrade will result in an hour outage of RAIS starting at 5:00 p.m. and will be completed at 6:00 p.m. Please avoid using RAIS during the duration of the upgrade. Thank you.

September 29, 2020, starting at 8:00 pm (for 60-90 minutes) - University Systems will be performing planned maintenance on a number of administrative systems, including the Research Administration Information System (RAIS). RAIS may not be availabile during the scheduled maintenance time frame.

 COVID-19 - Important updates:

July 16, 2020 Update - There is an important update on the conduct of research with human participants.

The Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #3 contains new guidelines and documents to support the gradual resumption of in-person research with human participants, on campus and in the community. Please review this information in you are planning to resume in-person research that has been halted or are planning to apply for a new study. Please contact Human Research Ethics Office  at ethics@uvic.ca if you have any questions.

July 16, 2020 - UVic Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #3

May 13, 2020 Update - The UVic Research Resumption Plan outlines the principles and phased approach that will guide a safe and responsible process. Please review this document carefully as you consider and plan your research activities over the coming weeks and months. Read the update from Vice-President Research for more information. 

Gradual resumption of in-person research with human participants, on campus and in the community

The Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #3 contains new guidelines and documents to support the gradual resumption of in-person research with human participants, on campus and in the community. Please review this information in you are planning to resume in-person research that has been halted or are planning to apply for a new study.

Effective immediately and until further notice:

1) Stay with remote and virtual methods

To maintain the safety and health of research participants, research team members, collaborators, Indigenous nations and community organizations etc., researchers should continue to use remote/virtual methods and platforms, where possible.

The HREB will continue to receive and review all applications received, including amendments to switch inperson activities and components to remote/virtual methods and platforms.

Resources: FAQ on Conducting Research Virtually with Human Participants

2) In-person research with human participants under COVID-19 restrictions

Where remote/virtual methods and platforms are not feasible, researchers proposing to resume approved paused studies or to initiate new research which utilize in-person activities/components must meet additional human research ethics application requirements.

The above applies also to researchers whose studies were granted “Deferred Approval” status during the suspension of in-person research.

3) To complete the additional human research ethics application requirements please use the following:

  • Annotated Guidance for In-person Research with Human Participants under COVID-19 Restrictions

COVID-19 bulletins

List of Human Research Ethics COVID-19 bulletins in chronological order:

July 16, 2020 - UVic Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #3

June 2, 2020 - UVic Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #2

March 23, 2020 - UVic Human Research Ethics COVID-19 Bulletin #1

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.

  • Clinical and public health research, to address the pandemic, will be prioritized for ethical review.  Behavioural research studying phenomena arising from the public declared emergency also will be prioritized, where possible.

narrated PowerPoint with FAQs about Human Research Ethics during the COVID-19 situation.

Research ethics during publicly declared emergencies

Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards, Standard Operating Procedures 501.003,

For full document, click here.

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 confererence.

What should I know about conducting research virtually with participants during COVID-19 restrictions - and beyond (updated May 22, 2020)?

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).

CORE Introduction Drop-in sessions planned for April 2020 have been postponed until further notice.

Resources and links:

TCPS2 CORE Tutorial Frequently Asked Questions

Registration tips for students in Canada

TCPS2 CORE - Tutorial

Research Ethics is online - UVic-RAIS

Research Administration Information System RAIS is a one-stop integrated online system for submission of ethics application forms, suporting and tracking the review processes and document storage

    Important changes for faculty supervisors of students and student researchers

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. 

UVic-RAIS Guidelines & Tutorials 

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

 

RAIS Updates and Notices:

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/). 

Connections to RAIS from on-campus are not impacted by this change.

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.

RAIS maintenance schedule

UPGRADE NOTICE: Research Administration Information System on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, starting at 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

University Systems is upgrading an underlying software in the Research Administration Information System (RAIS). This upgrade will result in an hour outage of RAIS starting at 5:00 p.m. and will be completed at 6:00 p.m. Please avoid using RAIS during the duration of the upgrade. Thank you.

September 29, 2020, starting at 8:00 pm (for 60-90 minutes) - University Systems will be performing planned maintenance on a number of administrative systems, including the Research Administration Information System (RAIS). RAIS may not be availabile during the scheduled maintenance time frame.

BC Ethics Harmonization - Research Ethics BC (REBC)

Effective January 1, 2019, research ethics applications for all studies that involve UVic and at least one additional BC university ethics board or BC health authority ethics board (including Island Health), 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 throught the Provincial Research Ethics Platform - PREP. 

Please contact HRE office ethics@uvic.ca, 250-472-4321 or 250-472-4545 for more information.

BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative is now Research Ethics BC

Research Ethics BC (REBC) Harmonization - Update for Research Community

Course-based application and deadlines

Course-based application update:

Effective April 9, 2019, an updated course-based application is available on UVic-RAIS. 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 following table shows which studies require approval and which form to complete (see “How do I apply?” tab), based upon key characteristics of your research.

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. 

Approval required

Ethics approval is required for projects that involve but are not limited to the following:
  • Surveys, questionnaires (in-person, online, web)
  • Interviews (in-person, Skype, phone)
  • Group discussions/focus groups
  • Observations in non-public venues (permission for access required e.g., classroooms, meetings)
  • Autobiographical and auto-ethnographic studies, self-reflective studies
  • Audio-recording people in the above
  • Video-recording people in the above
  • Taking notes of people in the above
  • Engagement with people and their information via Facebook, social media
  • Using EEGs, MRI, devices and apps on people
  • Using protected databases and data where you must apply for access/permission from hospitals, institutions, companies
  • Using protected or confidential reports and information where you must apply for access/permission from organizations, companies
  • Biological materials you collect or receive from other researchers such as cells, blood, urine, sweat.

Online posts from sites and groups that DO require a log-in, membership, etc. are not considered publicly accesible because there is a reasonable expectation of privacy by people in those groups and those sites. 

Please  contact us at  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.

Specialized application

specialized ethical review (application for use of anonymized data or anonymized biological materials) is permitted in very limited circumstances. It does not release researchers from any other applicable legal obligations such as protecting a person’s right to privacy, fulfilling copyright requirements, etc.

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

Research that may qualify for a specialized HREB ethical review:

  1. 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 a specialized 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. Contact us at 250-472-4545 or  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  for more information.

Course-based

IMPORTANT: 

  • Deadlines for course-based ethics applications
  • Course-based application updated - Effective April 9, 2019, an updated course-based application is available on UVic-RAIS. 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.

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.

BC Ethics Harmonization - Research Ethics BC (REBC)

For health researchers who must obtain multiple ethical clearances from separate BC research ethics boards a streamlined, coordinated system will help eliminate duplication and reduce time while ensuring that ethics obligations are met by researchers and review boards.

Effective January 1, 2019, research ethics applications for all studies that involve UVic and at least one additonal BC university ethics board or BC health authority ethics board (including Island Health), 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  if you are not sure which application form applies to your study.

Exemptions from Human Research Ethics

An application form is not required for:

  1. Research limited to the use of materials in the public domain and for which all applicable copyright, patent, or other legal requirements and approvals have been either fulfilled or received.
  2. Research that involves a living individual in the public arena, or is about an artist, based exclusively on publicly available information, documents, records, works, performance, or archival materials.
  3. Research involving observation of participants who are seeking public visibility, such as speakers at public political demonstrations, public meetings.
  4. Research that involved observations that: does not allow for the identification of the participants; does not involve staging or manipulating the setting/circumstances; and is conducted in an open setting (e.g., parking lot or public park).
  5. Research limited to 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. (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.)  Ethical 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.
  1. Research where the professor and student are co-investigators. Both the professor and the student must be named as co-investigators on the professor’s research ethics application form and the certificate of approval.
  2. Student research which does not deviate from professor’s HREB approved project that is active (e.g., ethics approval has not expired). Students must ask their supervisor or professor to contact eh research ethics office to add their named to the professor’s ethics approval.
  3. 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 not required only if:
    • 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.
  4. Students conducting research outside the auspices of the University of Victoria and/or its academic programs. For example, students on work terms 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)

 *Online posts from websites, online groups that DO NOT require a log-in, membership, etc. are considered publicly accessible with no reasonable expectation of privacy.

For examples of activities that are exempt from human research ethics review and examples of research activities that require ethics review see here.

**Please verify with our office - (250) 472-4545 or ethics@uvic.ca.

You must apply for and receive ethical approval before you begin your study and maintain the approval during recruitment and data collection.

  • Human Research Ethics Approval is required prior to the initiation of recruitment activities and the start of data collection phases of the study.
  • Human Research Ethics Approval is granted for one year and must be renewed annually as long as there is the potential for the researchers to be in contact with the participants; whether this is for ongoing recruitment or data collection, or for the dissemination of results to participants.
  • It is recommended that graduate students maintain approval until they have completed their defense and final revisions have been accepted.
  • Human Research Ethics Approval is required prior to the acquisition or use of human biological materials. Where applicable, Human Research Ethics Approval is conditional upon approval from the UVic biosafety committee.

If you plan to modify your study any time after receiving approval, you must apply for a Request for Modification and receive approval before implementing changes. This includes modifications implemented in response to an unanticipated issue or event. Unanticipated events or issues that may impact on the risk of harm to participants must be reported to the UVic Human Research Ethics Board, by submitting the Unanticipated Event Report immediately.

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:

If applicable to your study, include these forms with your full application

  • Request to use deception form - For research involving the use of limited or partial disclosure about the research purpose or procedures in the consent process where full disclosure would render the research impossible.

Other application forms for new projects:

  • Anonymized Data or Anonymized Biological Materials Application (applies to limited, special categories of research)
  • Course-based research projects (faculty and instructors only).
  • BC Ethics Harmonization - Effective January 1, 2019, research ethics applications for all studies that involve UVic and at least one additional BC university ethics board or BC health authority ethics board (including Island Health), must be submitted through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP). Please contact HRE office ethics@uvic.ca, 250-472-4545 for more information.

Instructions document includes guidelines and tips for UVic researchers and their graduate students who will need to submit their ethics application throught 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.

  • Faculty/ Faculty Supervisor logs into the system to initiate an online ethics application.
  • Faculty/ Faculty Supervisor grants access to the identified application form to a specific student (and departmental secretary if needed).
  • Student (and supervisor) completes the ethics application form (reflecting the student's thesis, project, capstone project, or dissertation), uploads appendices and documents comprising the ethics package. 
  • Faculty/ Faculty Supervisor electronically forwards the ethics application to the department chair, director or dean for academic sign off within the system.
  • Chair, director, or dean completes sign off of the application within the online system thereby directly submitting the application to the research ethics office. 
  • Faculty/ Faculty Supervisor and student will receive notifications from the ethics office. Either will be able to submit revised ethics materials online and access the online application for reference. 
  • Please see the quick guide for starting and submitting a new research ethics application. 

After submitting your application for a new project

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 anonymzied data and course based applications: two weeks

Receiving notification of approval

  • You will receive an email notification from UVic-RAIS with the results of the review and instructions to address any changes or clarifications if required.
  • After you have responded to the required changes or clarifications, we will review the revisions - usually within five working days.
  • You may receive an additional email if any items have not been addressed. Once the changes and/or clarifications are complete, you will receive the Notification of Approval and you may begin your research.
  • A Certificate of Ethical Approval with an expiry date of one year from the approval date, will be generated through UVic-RAIS and can be downloaded at any time. 

Post approval – renewal, modification, completion

Standard Post approval – renewal, modification, completion
  • Starting on December 19, post-approval forms (amendments, renewals, completions, unanticipated events reports) will be available online for all studies approved through the RAIS system.
  • 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 Modification of an Approved Project - Submit this form when any modifications to the approved protocol are required or anticipated. Modifications to an approved protocol must be approved before being implemented, including modification in response to an unanticipated event or issue. If the Modification is extensive, or involves a modification to the original purpose of the research question, a new application may be required.
  • Notice of project completion form - Submit this form once recruitment and data collection and any other anticipated interactions with participants have concluded.

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

Effective July 30, 2018 you can submit your standard application through UVic-RAIS

Important changes for faculty supervisors and student researchers

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)

Annotated guidelines

Dual-Role Research Guidelines

See consent form templates and other sample documents below.

BC Ethics Harmonization - Using Provincial Research Ethics Platform - PREP

Research in Health Care settings - Information Sheet

Effective July 30, 2018 you can submit your course-based application through UVic-RAIS

Course-based Guidelines

Deadlines for course-based ethics applications

Effective July 30, 2018 you can submit your anonymized data application through UVic-RAIS

Important changes for faculty supervisors and student researchers

 

Notice for Replacement of "Waiver Application" with "Application for Approval for Use of Anonymized Data or Biological Materials"

"In-principle Application" form has been replaced - Notice

 

The "In-principle application " form has been removed from the research ethics website

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. 

Dissolution of Joint UVic/Island Health REB - Notice

 

The Joint UVic/Island Health Research Ethics Board review process has been replaced with the BC Ethics Harmonization review model.

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 

 

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.

Request to use deception form | RTF

 

For research involving the use of limited or partial disclosure in the consent process.

     
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 applications 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 thorugh 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 administators.

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 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?

A.    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.

B.    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. 

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 My Page). 

I will be interviewing participants by telephone. Can I obtain consent through email or fax?

Generally yes. The UVIc Research Ethics Board will also consider the specifics of the study and the participants to determine whether this method of consent is acceptable for the study.

I have heard there are privacy issues using Internet surveys based in the US. What are they?

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.

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?

Requests for Changes to Approved Research

Researchers shall submit to their REBs in a timely manner requests for substantive changes to their originally approved research. REBs shall decide on the ethical acceptability of those changes to the research in accordance with a proportionate approach to research ethics review.

Application  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, researchers should consult with their REBs. Changes that substantially alter the nature of the approved research may be assessed as a new research project and require a new REB 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.

Requests for changes to approved research may receive delegated or full REB review depending on the level of risk to participants that the changes represent. REB evaluation of these requests can result in a change to the assessed risk of the research and a corresponding change in the level of continuing ethics review.  REBs should give special attention to circumstances that may necessitate change in long-term research such as new knowledge, equipment or instruments, or new or revised applicable policies and laws that may develop over the lifetime of a research project.

What to do about signatures for my modification form if I (or my supervisor) am off campus?

Many departments have systems in place to help off-campus students obtain signatures and submit their modification form (for studies approved through paper-based system) to Research Ethics and when a supervisor is out of town or on sabbatical. 

Students should contact their departmental secretary and their supervisor. 

The supervisor and departmental office would then be responsible for coordination for obtaining the supervisor’s signature and an original signature (usually from the chair, director or dean) and forwarding the signed hard copy modification form to Research Ethics via campus mail.