Independent Research Process

To ensure that your proposed research project complies with ethical standards, please read George Brown College's Research Ethics Policy and Integrity in Scholarly Research Policy. All researchers applying to the George Brown Research Ethic's Board (REB) must attach with their applications:

  1. A certificate of completion of the TCPS 2 tutorial or an equivalent certificate from their academic / institution ethics board; and
  2. A reviewed and signed updated TCPS 2 2018 Highlights of Changes.

Research Design Consideration During Pandemic

In light of the pandemic, the George Brown College REB advises investigators to consider if their research protocols could be modified or delayed, to limit personal contacts, laboratory visits or trips into clinics and hospitals. For example, in some research settings in-person participant interactions could be reduced and/or replaced with telephone or online communication. In making changes to the design, the researchers may want to consider the nature of the protocol, the type of participants, and any additional risk that may arise by switching from in-person to virtual communication. For research already in progress, revised participant consents or consent addendums may be required (e.g., to update privacy considerations with use of different communication channels).  For added directions, please see TCPS2 Guidelines on Research During COVID-19

While TCPS 2 typically requires review and approval of modifications prior to implementation, an exception can be made where the change is necessary to eliminate an immediate risk to participant(s) (Article 6.15); Research Ethics Review during Publicly Declared Emergencies. Such changes may be implemented but must be reported to the REB within 5 business days.

A reminder that where the research involves physical assessments and use of equipment (e.g., metabolic carts, face masks, mouthpieces, nose clips, straps, turbines, valves, tubing, cannula, treadmills, etc.) disinfection according to the current standards of Toronto Public Health City of Toronto.

Finally, it is expected that when research staff are feeling unwell, care should be taken to stay home to prevent transmission of any illness. If COVID-19 is known or suspected, Public Health Ontario protocols should be followed Public Health Ontario.

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 REB. 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. We recommend seeking institutional approval prior to ethics submission. However, receiving Institutional Approval does not guarantee ethics approval.

REB applications are to be submitted to, providing an email address, phone number, address and institution.

Documents for Application Submission

Signatures: Electronic signature will be accepted for any part of the application that requires an original signature.

Document Naming Protocol: All application documents must be labelled with the last name of the applicant followed by space, document type, space and date in YYYY-MMM-DD format


  • If the document is a Consent Form completed by Barry Tone on January 1, 2020 the format must be:
    Tone Consent 2020-Jan-01
  • If the document is the application completed by Barry Tone on November 7, 2020 the format must be:
    Tone Application 2020-Nov-07

IMPORTANT: Incomplete or inaccurate applications or attachments that do not use the REB standard document naming protocol will not be processed.

REB Process

A copy of signed and dated REB application with supporting documentation must be emailed to Applications received after 11am will be process the following business day. Incomplete applications will be returned to the researcher.

Applications for projects that pose no more than minimal risk to participants will be reviewed by at least two members of the board. This is a delegated review. Applications that potentially pose more than minimal risk to participants will receive a full review by the whole board.

Wait Times

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. Applications for full reviews take up to 8 weeks to process. Applications submitted near the end of term will be subject to longer than usual delays.

Currency of REB Approval


REB approval is an on-going, consultative process. Researchers may expect to communicate with the REB anytime there is a diversion from the original, proposed research or when unforeseen issues arise that may affect the well-being of participants/researcher(s). In addition, the REB issues approval letters valid for one year only. If the study continues beyond one year, the researcher shall submit a Study Renewal Report before the original approval expires. At the conclusion of the study, the researcher shall submit a Study Completion Report.

  • Form - Ontario Colleges - Change Request: submit a Change Request Form if your study has been previously approved but changes are required. Researcher must receive approval before proceeding.
  • The Adverse Event Report: submit an adverse event form if an adverse event has occurred: including but not limited to loss/destruction of raw data, psychological/physical harm to participants/researcher(s) etc.
  • Study Renewal Report: submit before the original approval expires.
  • Study Completion Report: submit once the study is completed (applies to both independent research and course-based research applications)

If the appropriate report is not received by the approval end date the REB also contact the following:

  • George Brown College staff – a letter will be sent to the PI's manager/division alerting him or her that approval has lapsed.
  • External (non-George Brown) researchers – a letter will be sent to the PI's institution (the Research Office or equivalent) alerting them that approval has lapsed.

ATTENTION: Please use the same signature and document naming protocol as described in the Application Submission section.