Revised Course-based Human Ethics Review Process

From: Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance
Date: November 15, 2023
Re: Revised Course-based Human Ethics Review Process

The Human Research Ethics Unit is revising the process for ethics review of course-based research effective January 3, 2024 . This will ensure our Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are fully knowledgeable about what is going to the Delegated Ethics Review Committees (DERCs). It also aligns with the revised language in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans (TCPS2 2022) which specifies when REB review is required and the requirements for delegated non-REB review. This change affectsall faculty and department level DERCs in terms of process and what they are reviewing.

All course-based human research involving human participants (including undergraduate theses and major research papers) must be submitted through the My Research Human Protocols (MRHP) system. It will then be reviewed by the Human Research Ethic Unit for risk, based on the TCPS requirements, and will be required to go through one of three processes: (1) Full REB review; (2) Delegated REB Review; or (3) DERC review. More information can be found here

Research to be undertaken by a student for course credit that has already been approved by the REB (e.g., faculty research that will have some work conducted by the student) may not require a new ethics protocol. However, an amendment request should be submitted to add the student as a co-investigator and describe what they will be doing for their project.

Faculties and departments with high volumes of course-based research projects may receive requests from the Human Research Ethics Unit to provide additional faculty members to serve on the respective REBs.

We thank the Divisions for their participation in the DERC process and look forward to continuing to work with them to maintain the high ethical standards expected of all human research at the University.