Ethics presentation for grad student orientation sept 2012
Research Ethics at
Research Project Officer and Research Ethics
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct
for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2)
Article 1.1 Core Principles
– Respect for Persons
– Concern for Welfare
• Individual and Group
• Treat people fairly and equitably
– Remember the power imbalance
Chapter 2 – Scope and Approach
• The following requires ethics review and approval by an
REB before the research commences:
(a) research involving living human participants;
(b) research involving human biological materials, as well
as human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive
materials and stem cells. This applies to materials derived
from living and deceased individuals.
• Research that relies exclusively on publicly available
information does not require REB review when:
(a) the information is legally accessible to the public and
appropriately protected by law; or
(b) the information is publicly accessible and there is no
reasonable expectation of privacy.
• Quality assurance and quality improvement studies, program
evaluation activities, and performance reviews, or testing
within normal educational requirements when used exclusively
for assessment, management or improvement purposes, do not
constitute research for the purposes of this policy, and do not
fall within the scope of REB review.
• As part of research ethics review, the REB shall review the
ethical implications of the methods and design of the research.
• Following initial REB review and approval, research ethics
review shall continue throughout the life of the project in
accordance with Article 6.14.
Chapter 3 - The Consent Process
(a) Consent shall be given voluntarily.
(b) Consent can be withdrawn at anytime.
(c) If a participant withdraws consent, the participant can
also request the withdrawal of their data or human
• Researchers shall provide to prospective participants, or
authorized third parties, full disclosure of all information
necessary for making an informed decision to participate in a
• Consent shall be maintained throughout the research project.
Researchers have an ongoing duty to provide participants with
all information relevant to their ongoing consent to participate
in the research.
Chapter 4 - Fairness & Equity in Research
• Taking into account the scope and objectives of their research,
researchers should be inclusive in selecting participants.
Researchers shall not exclude individuals from the opportunity
to participate in research on the basis of attributes such as
culture, language, religion, race, disability, sexual orientation,
ethnicity, linguistic proficiency, gender or age, unless there is
a valid reason for the exclusion.
• Women shall not be inappropriately excluded from research
solely on the basis of gender or sex.
• Women shall not be inappropriately excluded from research
solely on the basis of their reproductive capacity, or because
they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
• Children shall not be inappropriately excluded from research
solely on the basis of their age or developmental stage. The
inclusion of children in research is subject to Article 4.6.
Chapter 5 - Privacy & Confidentiality
• Researchers shall safeguard information entrusted to them and
not misuse or wrongfully disclose it. Institutions shall support
their researchers in maintaining promises of confidentiality
• Researchers shall describe measures for meeting
confidentiality obligations and explain any reasonably
foreseeable disclosure requirements:
(a) in application materials they submit to the REB; and
(b) during the consent process with prospective participants.
Chapter 6 -
Governance & Research Ethics Review
• Institutions shall establish or appoint REB(s) to review the
ethical acceptability of all research involving humans
conducted within their jurisdiction or under their auspices, that
is, by their faculty, staff or students, regardless of where the
research is conducted, in accordance with this Policy
• The REB shall consist of at least five members,
including both men and women, of whom:
(a) at least two members have expertise in
relevant research disciplines, fields and
methodologies covered by the REB;
(b) at least one member is knowledgeable in
(c) at least one member is knowledgeable in
the relevant law (but that member should not
be the institution’s legal counsel or risk
manager). This is mandatory for biomedical
research and is advisable, but not mandatory,
for other areas of research; and
(d) at least one community member who has no
affiliation with the institution.
• It is advisable that each member be appointed to formally
fulfill the requirements of only one of the above categories.
• To ensure the independence of REB decision making,
institutional senior administrators shall not serve on the REB.
Chapter 7 - Conflicts of Interest
• Institutions shall develop and implement conflict of interest
policies including procedures to identify, eliminate, minimize
or otherwise manage conflicts of interest that may affect
research. All parties (e.g., researchers, administrators, REB
members) should act in a transparent manner in identifying
and addressing conflicts of interest. Institutions should make
their written conflict of interest policies and procedures
publicly available to all members of the research enterprise,
including participants, REBs, researchers, administrators and
• An institution that has established an REB may approve
alternative review models for research involving multiple
REBs and/or institutions, in accordance with this Policy. The
institution remains responsible for the ethical acceptability and
ethical conduct of research undertaken within its jurisdiction
or under its auspices irrespective of where the research is
Chapter 9 - Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit, &
Métis Peoples of Canada
Where the research is likely to affect the welfare of an Aboriginal community, or
communities, to which prospective participants belong, researchers shall seek
engagement with the relevant community. The conditions under which engagement is
required include, but are not limited to:
(a) research conducted on First Nations, Inuit or Métis lands;
(b) recruitment criteria that include Aboriginal identity as a factor for the entire study
or for a subgroup in the study;
(c) research that seeks input from participants regarding a community’s cultural
heritage, artifacts, traditional knowledge or unique characteristics;
(d) research in which Aboriginal identity or membership in an Aboriginal community
is used as a variable for the purpose of analysis of the research data; and
(e) interpretation of research results that will refer to Aboriginal communities, peoples,
language, history or culture.
• The nature and extent of community engagement in a project
shall be determined jointly by the researcher and the relevant
community, and shall be appropriate to community
characteristics and the nature of the research.
• Researchers have an obligation to become informed about, and
to respect, the relevant customs and codes of research practice
that apply in the particular community or communities
affected by their research. Inconsistencies between community
custom and this Policy should be identified and addressed in
advance of initiating the research, or as they arise.
• Research ethics review by community REBs or other
responsible bodies at the research site will not be a substitute
for research ethics review by institutional REBs, and will not
exempt researchers affiliated with an institution from seeking
REB approval at their institution, subject to Article 8.1.
Prospective research and secondary use of data and human
biological materials for research purposes is subject to
research ethics review
Chapter 10 - Qualitative Research
• Researchers shall submit their research proposals, including
proposals for pilot studies, for REB review and approval of its
ethical acceptability prior to the start of recruitment of participants,
or access to data. Subject to the exceptions in Article 10.5, REB
review is not required for the initial exploratory phase (often
involving contact with individuals or communities) intended to
discuss the feasibility of the research, establish research
partnerships, or the design of a research proposal (see Article 6.11).
Chapter 11 - Clinical Trials
• In progress at UNBC…
Human Biological Material including Material
Related to Human Reproduction
• Research involving collection and use of human biological
materials requires REB review and:
(a) consent of the participant who will donate
biological materials; or
(b) consent of an authorized third party on behalf
of a participant who lacks capacity, taking into account
any research directive that applies to the participant; or
(c) consent of a deceased participant through a donation
decision made prior to death, or by an authorized third
Chapter 13 - Human Genetic Research
• Researchers conducting genetic research shall:
(a) in their research proposal, develop a plan for
managing information that may be revealed through their
(b) submit their plan to the REB; and
(c) advise prospective participants of the plan for
managing information revealed through the research.
Questions or Comments?
Please contact Rheanna Robinson for any ethics related
Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada. Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for
Research Involving Humans. Ottawa: Government of Canada, 2010.
I would like to acknowledge Dr. Henry Harder, former Chair of the UNBC
REB, for his work and contributions to this presentation.