Research Ethics at George Brown College
Please note that the Research Ethics Board (REB) will be closed from July 18th to August 30th. Applications not submitted by June 1st, are not guaranteed to be returned by August 25th.
Before any research that involves living human subjects can take place at George Brown College, the proposal for research must undergo a review and approval process by the Research Ethics Board (REB) to ensure that the research complies with the highest ethical standards.
If you plan to conduct research that involves human participants you must have Research Ethics Board approval for your study. Please select one of the following:
Research ethics involves the application of fundamental ethical principles to research involving human participants. GBC follows the guidelines set out in the TCPS 2 Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans . These guidelines were released in 1998 by the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC).
Research ethics are put in place to protect study volunteers with respect to:
- Human dignity and vulnerable persons
- Free and informed consent
- Voluntary participation
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Justice and inclusiveness
- Balance of potential harms and benefits
- Minimization of harm and maximization of benefit.
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Research Ethics Board
The Research Ethics Board at George Brown College was established to ensure the protection of study volunteers in research projects. The board follows the guidelines set out in the TCPS 2 Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans . These guidelines were released in 1998 by the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (Centre for Information in Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council).
GBC’s research ethics board reports directly to the President of the college. However, it receives administrative support from the office of research and innovation.
Before any research that involves living human subjects can take place at George Brown College, the proposal for research must undergo a review and approval process by the Research Ethics Board to ensure that the research complies with the highest ethical standards
Sarah Evans, RN, MN, EdD (Chair)
Paula Johnson Tew, M.B.A., Ph.D.
Rose-Marie Nigli M.T.S., Ph.D. (c)
Csilla Reszegi Dr. Pharm., M.B.A.
Taras Gula M.Ed.
Paul Horbal B.A. Sc., M.Sc. (Elec. Eng.), J.D.
Barbara Godfrey RN MScN CON(c)
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The Research Ethics Board has five scheduled meetings per year during the Fall and Winter semesters. A sixth meeting may be held as required. Ad hoc meetings may also be convened to review applications in need of Full Review. For the 2014-2015 academic year, the following meetings are scheduled:
- September 30, 3:30 p.m.
- October 14, 3 p.m.
- November 18, 3 p.m.
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To ensure that your proposed research project complies with ethical standards, please read GBC’s Research Ethics Policy , and Integrity in Scholarly Research Policy . To learn more about ethical conduct please take this two-hour on-line tutorial . The tutorial covers important topics including ethics reviews, free and informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, and conflict of interest. All researchers applying to the GBC REB must attach to their applications a certificate of completion for this tutorial, or for a similar tutorial provided by their academic institution.
Do I need an Ethics Review?
If you are not sure if you need REB approval for your study please complete an Uncertainty for Need of Review Form and submit it to email@example.com .
Internal and external applicants for ethics review who wish to conduct research at GBC and involve staff or students as research participants (subjects) must receive approval from the institution as well as from the Research Ethics Board.
REB applications are to be submitted via the Researcher Portal at romeo.georgebrown.ca/RomeoPortal. If you don’t already have access, request an account and password by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and providing Employee ID (only for GBC staff), Prefix (Mr. Dr. Ms, etc), Family name, Given name, Gender, Department (GBC only), Staff type (e.g. Admin, FT faculty, Sessional faculty, etc), Email address, Phone number, Fax number, Address, Institution.
To initiate a new REB review, please submit the following via the Researcher Portal:
- REB Application Form
- Documents supporting your application, including:
- Ethics tutorial certificate of completion (see above under Application Instructions)
Please be sure to include all of the required information and forms as incomplete applications will not be processed.
Any part of the application that requires an original signature may be mailed to Research and Innovation Office, George Brown College, PO Box 1015, Stn B, Toronto, ON M5T 2T9 following the electronic submission, or a pdf version can be uploaded.
When submitting, please clearly label all the documents in a way that will make them easy to identify.
If you don’t receive a response from the REB within 2 business days please contact email@example.com as there may be a system error.
Applications for full reviews take up to 8 weeks to process. On average the board takes 28 business days to review an application. However, depending on the number of applications the wait time may be longer. When you submit your application the research office will advise you of the current approximate wait time. Applications submitted near the end of term will be subject to longer than usual delays.
Summer vacation Please note that the REB does not operate during July and August. Applications not submitted by June 1st, are not guaranteed to be returned by August 25th. REB is inactive during this period. Apply early.
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Approval in Principle
REB approval is required before beginning any research involving human participants. Research institutes require REB approval before releasing research funds.
While it is best to apply to the REB before beginning the research at all, some researchers will need access to funds in order to complete part of the research, such as a literature review, before being able to fully document how human participants will be involved. In this case, the researcher should seek Approval in Principle from the REB at the beginning of the study, and then submit an application before involving human participants.
To request Approval in Principle, send an email to the REB at firstname.lastname@example.org . The email should include the following information: brief description of the research and how humans will be involved, research start date, description of initial research activities (no human participants), date when human participants will be involved, date the researcher anticipates submitting an application for ethics review.
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Study Renewal and Completion Instructions
REB approval is an on-going, consultative process. In addition to the original application, researchers can expect to communicate with the REB anytime there is a significant diversion from the original proposed research or when unforeseen issues arise that may affect the well-being of participants.
As part of the ongoing communication between the researcher and the REB, the GBC REB issues approval letters valid for one year only. If the study continues beyond once year, the researcher must submit a Study Renewal Form before the original approval expires.
At the conclusion of the study the researcher must submit a Study Completion Form .
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Researchers are responsible for ensuring REB files are kept up to date and that certification is current throughout the study.
The REB will send the following alerts:
- Expiry date minus 6 weeks – reminder to PI to submit study completion report or request for annual renewal
- Expiry date minus 1 week – 2nd reminder to PI
- Expiry date – 3rd and final reminder to PI
- Expiry date plus 1 week
- GBC staff – a letter will be sent to the PI’s manager/division alerting him or her that certification has lapsed.
- External (non GBC) researchers – a letter will be sent to the PI’s institution (the research office) alerting them that certification has lapsed.
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How can I help ensure my application is reviewed quickly?
A. Messy, unclear or incomplete applications take longer for the REB to review. Make sure your methodology is clear and detailed, use plain English and avoid jargon, and check your application for spelling and typing errors. Poorly completed applications will be returned to the researcher for improvement before being reviewed.
Another major cause of delay is insufficient in inappropriate language around informed consent. Clearly demonstrate how you will ensure informed and voluntary consent for participants. Also, include a clause of anonymity in your consent letter, if appropriate.
How should I communicate with the REB?
A. Initiate contact with the REB via email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Check your inbox spam settings to make sure emails from the REB are not blocked.
How can I learn more about research ethics?
A. Contact the research office at email@example.com to find out about up-coming ethics workshops and training opportunities. Take the on-line tutorial .
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Enabling the Innovation Economy