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Research Involving Humans

REB Updates

Drop-in Hours and New Templates

The Research Ethics Board is excited to announce we have developed several new resources for researchers, including NEW document templates! (Consent, assent, confidentiality agreement, debriefing, and recruitment documents – PREP/LSRPS, email, poster, telephone script.)

These resources will be available on our General Ethics Guidelines and Informed Consent Guidelines webpages.

We are also continuing to offer instructional drop-in sessions to all researchers over Zoom! Weekly sessions will start on September 22nd and run until April 13th (excluding December 29, 2022).

Join our virtual drop-in sessions every Thursday from 3:00pm – 4:00pm on Zoom

(Note that you must be signed into Zoom to attend.)


New TCPS2: CORE Tutorial

The Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (Secretariat) has launched a new version of the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2: Course on Research Ethics (TCPS2: CORE) tutorial, the TCPS2: CORE-2022. You may find the updated tutorial and further information on their website. While it is advised that all faculty, students, and staff engaging in research with human participants complete this new tutorial as soon as possible, it is not presently a requirement to do so. Laurier’s Research Ethics Board (REB) will continue to accept the older version of the TCPS2: CORE tutorial until further notice.

Please see the REB submission requirements for more information.


REB Review Timelines

Please be advised that average REB review timelines will likely be delayed at this time as the REB continues to experience a high volume of new applications, modifications requests, research resumption requests, and inquiries.


Guidelines for In-Person Research Activities with Human Participants During COVID-19

All new and ongoing projects that involve in-person research activities with human participants, must follow Student Research Ethics Guidelines for Resuming In-Person Research.

REB guidelines are based on University and Public Health guidance and will continue to be updated accordingly as the situation continues to develop.

The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) describes the principles, standards and procedures for governing research involving human participants in Canada. It is the basis for research ethics review at Laurier. All research involving human participants is governed by Laurier’s Policy 11.13: Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans and requires clearance from the University Research Ethics Board (REB) before any research begins.  As a student planning to conduct research that involves human participants or human biological materials, you will have to obtain ethics clearance to ensure your research meets all relevant ethical guidelines.

University Research Ethics Board

The Research Ethics Board (REB) is responsible for ensuring University-wide understanding of, and compliance with, all applicable external and internal requirements. The REB must review and provide clearance for all research activities involving the use of human participants or human biological materials prior to research commencement. The REB reports to Senate through the Senate Committee on Research and Publications (SCRAP) and is composed of faculty members, graduate students, community members, and staff. ​

 Who must apply for REB Review?

All research (both funded and non-funded) involving human participants and human biological materials that is considered to be under Laurier’s jurisdiction/auspices must obtain REB clearance prior to commencement. This includes research conducted by members or associated members of the University (e.g., Laurier faculty, emeritus faculty, staff, sessional instructors, administrators, students, visiting or adjunct scholars, postdoctoral fellows, paid or unpaid associates or assistants) acting in their University capacity, and research that utilizes Laurier resources (e.g., equipment, e-mail, meeting rooms). This also includes course-based research activities, the primary purpose of which is pedagogical.

What happens if I do not follow the TCPS2 and the University's policies and guidelines on research with human participants? 

Failing to follow TCPS2 and university policies or guidelines, applicable laws or regulations on research with human participants may be considered as research misconduct and a breach of the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research and University policy 12.2 Student Code of Conduct: Academic Misconduct. This applies to all research projects involving human participants regardless of funding status. Researchers must ensure that all of their projects that require REB review and approval, receive the REB review and approval prior to commencement of the project, and that the research is conducted as approved by the REB (either via original approval or a modification request). If unsure about whether your project requires REB review and approval you should consult directly with the REB

Departmental Research Ethics Review

Undergraduate* course-based research activities may be delegated to a departmental Research Ethics Committee (REC) if they meet the specific criteria (see Before You Apply). If your research qualifies for departmental ethics review, you must fill out a REC Review Application form and submit it to your department's research ethics committee (REC). If your department does not have a REC, you will need to submit your ethics application to the Research Ethics Board. Please note that all Research Ethics Board applications are processed using the ROMEO research portal and require submission of a different application form.

Research that May Be Exempt from Research Ethics Board Review

Some research may be exempt from Research Ethics Board (REB) review. Determination of exemptions is based on institutional or regulatory criteria, including information provided in Chapter 2 of the TCPS 2 (2018), Articles 2.1-2.6. Please contact the REB for more information if you think your research may meet exemption criteria.

Note: Anonymous is distinct from anonymized or coded data that was initially collected with identifiers. Secondary use of anonymized and coded data is required to undergo REB review. Please see Identifiability of Information and Secondary Use of Data for details.

Research Ethics and Compliance Contacts

  • General REB inquiries including questions about the Romeo system, application status, application processes, and review requirements
  • Una Glisic, Manager, Research Compliance and Strategic Initiatives
    • E: T: 519-884-0710 x4421
    • Contact for: overall operation of Research Compliance and Strategic Initiatives unit 
  • Jennifer Frayne, Research Compliance Officer
    • E: T: 519-884-0710 x4934
    • REB contact for: Faculty of Education, Faculty of Social Work, Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Martin Luther University College, Library, and Staff
  • Samantha Moeller, Research Ethics Coordinator
    • E: T: 519-884-0710 x3131
    • REB contact for:
      • Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Faculty of Music, Faculty of Science (excluding Kinesiology and Health Sciences and Psychology, Faculty of Science new applications)
      • Joint Reviews with the University of Waterloo
      • Departmental Research Ethics Committees
      • Annual/final reports
  • Doreen Weise, Human Research Ethics Coordinator, Psychology
    • E: T:519-884-0710 x2991
    • REB contact for: Psychology, Faculty of Science new applications (excluding modification requests and annual reports)

Before You Apply

Plan REB Application Submission Timeline

Research Ethics Board (REB) review is a multi-step and ongoing process involving administrative review, initial REB review, resubmission, and review of resubmissions. It is the principal investigator’s responsibility to ensure that the research team is able to meet any time sensitive deadlines and that projects are feasible to complete within restricted timeframes. Please ensure you review the REB's timelines and review process, and plan the submission of your REB application accordingly.

Complete the TCPS 2: Course on Research Ethics (CORE) Tutorial

All Laurier researchers must complete the TCPS2 CORE Tutorial and submit the certificate(s) of completion with their ethics application. 

Determine Review Process Required

Departmental Research Ethics Committee (REC) Review

Your research activity may qualify for departmental research ethics committee (REC) review if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You and all members of your group are undergraduate students.
  • Your department has a departmental REC.
  • Your research activity is course-based (i.e. not undergraduate theses or equivalent research projects such as directed studies and major research papers). Such pedagogical activities are normally required of students with the objective of providing them with exposure to research methods in their field of study. Examples of course-based research activities include:
    • Structured or semi-structured Interviews with key informants working in a particular area/field (e.g., professors, not-for-profit organizations, employers)
    • Surveys with family/friends/other students/members of the general public
    • Focus groups/group interviews with employees or members of an organization or group
  • Your supervisor/instructor will not be using the research data as part of their own research program and data will not be used outside of the course.
  • Your research activity is considered minimal risk to human participants (see below).
  • The research does not aim to recruit Indigenous Peoples (including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada), use Indigenous identity or membership in an Indigenous community as a variable for analysis, or meet other criteria that would require Indigenous community engagement in accordance with Chapter 9 of the TCPS 2 (2018).
  • Your research does not involve individuals, groups, or populations in vulnerable circumstances. This includes individuals who lack decision-making capacity (e.g., children, those living with cognitive impairments, persons who are not able to legally consent to participate in research).

If any of the above criteria is not met, the project must be submitted to the University Research Ethics Board (REB).

* In some cases, graduate classwork may be subject to review by the REC. This can only occur if the instructor has sought previous approval to do so from the REB. Details on this process can be found in the Request for REC Review for Graduate-Level Course-Based Research Projects document.

What Is Minimal Risk Research?

Minimal risk research is research in which the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research is no greater than those encountered by participants in the aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research.

Types of risk may include physical, psychological/emotional, and social. Examples of research topics and procedures that may be considered higher than minimal risk include:
  • ingestion, tasting, smelling, application of a substance that pose any health risk
  • answering questions related to sexual or physical abuse, as well as self harm and suicidal thoughts or actions
  • providing medical/health information or clinical diagnoses (e.g., depression, anxiety) particularly if associated with identifiers
  • reporting on illegal activities

If you are not sure whether your research qualifies as minimal risk, contact the Research Ethics Board for information and advice.

Research Ethics Board Review

Your research must go through Research Ethics Board (REB) review if it does not meet all of the criteria for departmental REC review noted above.

Research that May Be Exempt from REB Review

Some research may be exempt from REB review. Determination of exemptions is based on institutional or regulatory criteria, including information provided in Chapter 2 of the TCPS 2 (2014), Articles 2.1-2.6. Please contact the REB if you think your research may fall under one of the following categories:

  • Research that relies exclusively on publicly available information when it is accessible to the public and appropriately protected by law, or publicly accessible and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., Statistics Canada public use files).
  • Research involving the observation of people in public places (e.g., stadium, planetarium, beach, museums, parks, or library) where there is no intervention staged by the research or direct interaction with the individuals or groups, those under observation have no reasonable expectation of privacy, and any dissemination of research results does not allow identification of specific individuals.
  • Research that relies exclusively on secondary use of anonymous information or anonymous human biological materials, so long as the process of data linkage or recording or dissemination of results does not generate identifiable information.
    • Note: Anonymous is distinct from anonymized or coded data that was initially collected with identifiers. Secondary use of anonymized and coded data is required to undergo REB review. Please see Identifiability of Information and Secondary Use of Data for details.
  • Laurier students on co-op placements or similar work terms may be asked by their employer to undertake a variety of projects and assignments involving human participants. Such projects will be exempt from REB review when the project is used exclusively by the employer (i.e. it will not be used for academic purposes at Laurier) and there is no reference or association between the project and Laurier.
  • Creative practice activities in and of themselves do not require REB review (e.g., an artist makes or interprets a work of art). However, a creative practice that seeks responses from participants whose responses will be analyzed to answer a research question is subject to REB review.

Note: Various university policies, agreements and privacy legislation further regulate the use of data collected and maintained by Laurier. Researchers seeking access to such data should ensure compliance with these items. Please see Privacy and Access at Laurier for more information.