Research: Ethics

Application deadline for the current academic year is June 1st. Applications received after June 1st will be reviewed in the following academic year, starting in September.

If you plan to conduct research that involves human participants you must have Research Ethics Board approval for your study  All research at George Brown College that involves human subjects must undergo a review and approval process by the Research Ethics Board (REB) to ensure that the research complies with the 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

The Research Ethics Board at George Brown College was established to ensure the protection of human participation in research projects. The board follows the guidelines set out in the TCPS 2 (2014) Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. TCPS 2 (2014) has replaced TCPS 2 (2010) and the 1st edition of the TCPS (1998) adopted 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).

Research ethics are put in place to protect human participants 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

George Brown College Research Ethics Board reports directly to the President of the college and receives administrative support from the Office of Research and Innovation. The board is comprised of faculty and community members.

Members

Robin Yap, MSc, LLB, DM (Chair)
Barbara Godfrey, RN MScN
Noor Jehan Kabani, Ph.D., RECE
Milan Shahani, B.A., M.F.A.
Sharla Adams, RN, BScN, MN
Nastaran Dadashi, PhD
Paula Johnson, MBA, Ph.D 
Przemyslaw Pawluk, Ph.D 

Community Members

Ainun Afroza
Sundeep Sandhu, LLP

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Meetings

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 2020-2021 academic year, the following meetings are scheduled:

  • September 9, 11:00 a.m.

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Types of Review

  • Research Project Review: This is the review of the project proposals submitted by researchers interested in conducting their own research. The REB may designate the status of Delegated or Full review of the application, based on the vulnerability of the population being studied.
  • Course-Based Research Review: This is the review of the courses where research is being done by the students under the supervision of the faculty. The approval for the courses where research is taking place with human participants may be sought by the department chair, program coordinator or the faculty team with the approval of their chair. Faculty may contact researchethics@georgebrown.ca for Course-Based Research Application form.

Application Instructions

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. Upon completion of the ethics tutorial, review and sign the update to the TCPS 2 2018 Highlights of Changes.

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 researchethics@georgebrown.ca.

Institutional Approval

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. If you are working on a project that's being administered by the Office of Research and Innovation, please consult your Program Manager prior to completing the Institutional Approval form.

Download the Institutional Approval form 

Submission Process

REB applications are to be submitted to researchethics@georgebrown.ca, providing email address, phone number, address and institution.

Multi-college application form for Research Projects

The REB Application Form may be used for both single-site and multi-site research.

Electronic signature will be accepted for any part of the application that requires an original signature. If you do not have an electronic signature, you may use online services i.e. Docusign (sign up for free for 30 days online) or use your mobile device to take a picture of your signature and upload it to your devices. Please be sure to include all required information and forms as incomplete applications will not be processed. Please clearly label application documents in a way that will make them easy to identify. 

REB Application Form for Course-Based Research

Complete application form and provide Ethics tutorial certificate of completion for all faculty who will be teaching this course. Faculty will be required to submit a study completion report at the end of the course (see application form for details). Contact researchethics@georgebrown.ca for Course-Based Research application form.

Submission Checklist

Read GBC Research Ethics Policy

Obtained Institutional Approval if require

Submitted all relevant forms and documents:

Application form (Word format)

Information letter (Word format)

Consent form (Word format)

Evidence of methodology

Approval letter/s from other institution/s

Ethics tutorial certificate of completion and signed TCPS 2 2018 Highlights of Changes.

Institutional Approval form

Proof read application for completeness, plain and clear language, spelling and grammar

Whole application signed, dated and submitted electronically via researchethics@georgebrown.ca

Pages containing signatures: electronic signatures are accepted. If you do not have electronic signature you may use online services i.e. Docusign (sign up for free for 30 days online) or your mobile device to take picture of your signature and upload it to your devices.

Wait Times

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. REB is inactive during this period. In order to get a timely response, ensure that your application is submitted by June 1st.

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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 researchethics@georgebrown.ca . 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 may 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 one year, the researcher must submit a Study Renewal Form before the original approval expires. Note that the approval for Course Based Research is three years and a renewal must be submitted prior to the expiry date.

At the conclusion of the study the researcher must submit a Study Completion Form. The faculty teaching the course based research must also submit the study completion form at the end of the course as per the application guidelines.

For more information, please contact researchethics@georgebrown.ca

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Lapsed Certification

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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Annual Reports

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FAQ

  1. 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.

  2. How should I communicate with the REB?
    A. Initiate contact with the REB via email to researchethics@georgebrown.ca . Check your inbox spam settings to make sure emails from the REB are not blocked.

  3. How can I learn more about research ethics?
    A. Contact the research office at researchethics@georgebrown.ca to find out about up-coming ethics workshops and training opportunities. Take the on-line tutorial.

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research@georgebrown.ca
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