Office of Research Ethics

To keep up to date on the most recent guidance and requirements for research activities during stages of pandemic and recovery, please consult the research section of the coronavirus FAQ.

In-person, human participant research that was suspended between March 2020 and September 7, 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions cannot resume without authorization from the REB. Approval to restart suspended research or start new research is contingent on completion of the following steps and confirmation of successful REB review of revised materials.

  1. Submit a (revised) copy of your research ethics application and relevant accompanying materials to reb@brocku.ca. Be sure to include all COVID-19 risk mitigation plans.
  2. Submit a copy of the In-Person Research with Human Participants Risk Checklist.

Principal Investigators (Faculty Supervisors) are responsible for keeping informed of, and complying with all Brock University COVID-19 risk-mitigation strategies and requirements for human participant research. In light of the prospect that provincial orders and public health guidelines may call for greater restrictions in the future, researchers are expected to create the conditions to safely reduce or cease activities on short notice in case COVID-19 conditions change.

Requirements for in-person, human participant research, conducted both on- and off-campus.

Please ensure that participants are given information about, and access to, all necessary COVID–19 forms and surveys, as follows

  • Researchers, participants, and caregivers (if present) must complete the Brock University self-screen survey each day prior to in-person interaction on- or off-campus. For off-campus research, completion of this form must be confirmed, by the researcher, at each research study visit. For on-campus research, confirmation will take place upon arrival, at the Visitor/Guest Health Screening Desk.
  • Each participant (and caregiver or support person, if required) must complete an online COVID-19 risk acknowledgement form prior to their first research study visit. This information must be reconfirmed, by the researcher, at each research study visit.
  • Each participant (and caregiver or support person, if required), whether attending research activities on- or off-campus, must complete the online contact tracing form each time they attend in-person research sessions/activities, on- or off-campus. Individuals may complete this tracing form on their own device or on a researcher-supplied device that is sanitized between users. Completion of the form must be confirmed, by the researcher, at each research study visit.

Additional requirements for in-person, human participant research conducted on-campus

  • As of September 7, 2021, full vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all individuals involved in any in-person activities on campus/at Brock facilities. This mandate includes research participants.
  • Those who meet specific and limited medical or human rights accommodation criteria, confirmed by the University, will be subject to rapid antigen testing and enhanced screening protocols. For information about applying for an approved exemption, contact Lori Walker, Manager Research Ethics.
  • Upon arrival to campus, visitors (including research participants, caregivers, or support people) must check in at one of the Visitor/Guest Health Screening desks to show proof of vaccination status and a screen shot of the Brock University self-screen survey they filled out in advance as confirmation. Screening desks are located by the Cairns east entrance and by the Brock Schmon Tower entrance. Researchers should direct participants to enter campus accordingly.

For further information about conducting human participant research at Brock during stages of pandemic and recovery, visit Brock’s Coronavirus information web-page.

On Friday March 13, Brock University announced the suspension of in-person course delivery for the balance of the Winter 2020 academic semester, as well as the cancellation of inessential university travel and events at least until June 1, 2020. These decisions were made in response to the public health situation created by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11.

This letter signals the activation of the provisions of the guidelines on the functioning of the REBs and Research Ethics Office during unforeseen circumstances, as drafted and approved by the Brock University Research Ethics Boards.

The guidelines in question anticipate conditions of pandemic. They contemplate mild, moderate, and severe circumstances, and relate these categories both to ongoing projects having REB approval, and to new projects for review. The current recommendation is a hybrid that reflects the character of the current institutional environment and wider health concerns. Here is the letter:

Vice-President Research Statement on the Functioning of REBs and Research Ethics Office During Unforeseen Circumstances, March 14, 2020

On Friday March 13, Brock University announced the suspension of in-person course delivery for the balance of the Winter 2020 academic semester, as well as the cancellation of inessential university travel and events at least until June 1, 2020. These decisions were made in response to the public health situation created by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11.

This letter signals the activation of the provisions of the guidelines on the functioning of the REBs and Research Ethics Office during unforeseen circumstances, as drafted and approved by the Brock University Research Ethics Boards.

The guidelines in question anticipate conditions of pandemic. They contemplate mild, moderate, and severe circumstances, and relate these categories both to ongoing projects having REB approval, and to new projects for review. The current recommendation is a hybrid that reflects the character of the current institutional environment and wider health concerns.

For ongoing projects, the recommendation is drawn from the Severe category. Under the guidelines, this entails that:

  • Unless otherwise directed by the VPR, research activities may continue with caution under the following circumstances:

o the emergency or pandemic does not impose any additional threat to participant safety or comfort (e.g., exposure to communicable disease, dangers accessing the research location, etc.);

o the required support services necessary for participant safety are available to respond (e.g., campus security, lab support staff, etc.);

o where ceasing activity may pose a risk to participant safety or otherwise negatively affect the risk-benefit ratio.

  • Review will occur in priority at the discretion of the REO and will be restricted to the permitted research listed above.

Implications of these guidelines include that researchers are responsible for implementing reasonable steps for protecting research staff and research participants. The importance of basic protective measures including handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, respiratory hygiene, practicing social distancing, and staying home when unwell cannot be overstated. Delays or modifications may be needed if the research cannot be conducted while maintaining safe personal distance from others.

For new projects, the recommendation is drawn from the Moderate option, meaning that:

  • Pandemic-related studies are top priority, using procedures for time-sensitive review;
  • Other studies will be processed and reviewed as resources and circumstances allow.

This is an evaluation that I take to afford the REBs the latitude to prioritize and process reviews according to their assessment of evolving circumstances and available resources.

With thanks to all for due care and attention to these guidelines, and best wishes for the safe and responsible conduct of research.

Tim Kenyon Vice-President, Research

Brock University is committed to the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

The Office of Research Ethics (ORE) is responsible for the ethical oversight of research involving human participants. The Office provides centralized administrative and educational functions related to research ethics review. All human participant research conducted under the auspices and/or jurisdiction of Brock must receive ethics clearance from one of Brock University’s Research Ethics Boards (REB) prior to the start of the project.

The REB/ORE continues to monitor the situation and has implemented the provisions of the guidelines on the functioning of the REBs and Research Ethics Office during unforeseen circumstances, as drafted and approved by the Brock University Research Ethics Boards will be in operation. At present, the REB/ORE is functioning at full capacity and does not anticipate any significant delays in processing new (delegated review) applications or renewals, although face-to-face meetings of the REBs have been cancelled. For files requiring full-board review, procedures will be determined on a case-to-case basis in consultation with researchers. We will advise researchers of any change to the usual processing time frame promptly, as necessary.

Important notice for faculty, students and staff conducting human participant research

The Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR), on behalf of the federal research agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC), has launched the TCPS 2 (2018). This is the 3rd revision of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, 2nd edition. TCPS 2 (2018) replaces TCPS 2 (2014) as the official human research ethics policy of the Agencies.

A summary of changes is provided at: http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/eng/policy-politique_tcps2-eptc2_changes.html.For more information on the TCPS 2 (2018), visit the new Panel on Research Ethics (PRE) website or contact the Office of Research Ethics (reb@brocku.ca)

About Brock’s Research Ethics Boards (REBs)

Brock’s Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are empowered to ensure that all research involving humans conducted under the auspices or within the jurisdiction of Brock University is ethical, and is conducted in accordance with this policy. As such, a REB may accept, reject, or propose modifications to any proposed or ongoing research that is subject to REB review, pursuant to Brock standards. A REB also has the authority to suspend any ongoing research under its purview that is deemed to pose an unacceptable risk of harm to participants or in which the principal researcher has not complied with Brock University policies and procedures related to the ethical conduct of research involving humans. A decision of a REB to disallow research on ethical grounds, unless reversed on reconsideration by that REB, may only be reversed through the REB appeal process. Decisions shall be final and binding in all respects for any appeal of an REB decision.

The Brock University Office of Research Ethics (ORE) provides centralized administration associated with the REBs and the research ethics operation at Brock, and develops and delivers educational programs and materials to Brock students, staff, and faculty involved in human research.

Brock University has two Research Ethics Boards:

The Health Science Research Ethics Board (HREB) is responsible for ethics review and policy development related to research from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences including the following departments:

  • Health Sciences
  • Kinesiology
  • Nursing
  • Recreation & Leisure
  • Sport Management

The Social Science Research Ethics Board (SREB) is responsible for ethics review and policy development related to research involving human participants from all other Faculties:

  • Goodman School of Business
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Mathematics & Science
  • Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts

Below is a list of the major forms and templates that may need to be completed before proceeding with research involving humans. For further information or if you have questions, contact reb@brocku.ca or call 905-688-5550, x3035.

Health Science Research Ethics Board

HREB MEETING SCHEDULE FOR FALL 2021 (all meetings are taking place virtually on Teams)

  • September 21
  • October 28
  • November 23
  • December 16
AgendasMinutesDecision Reports
July 2021 (cancelled)July 2021 (cancelled)July 2021
August 2021 (cancelled)August 2021 (cancelled)August 2021
September 2021September 2021September 2021
October 2021October 2021October 2021
November 2021November 2021November 202
December 2021December 2021December 2021
January 2022January 2022January 2022
February 2022February 2022February 2022
March 2022March 2022March 2022
April 2022April 2022April 2022
May 2022May 2022May 2022
June 2022June 2022June 2022

Social Science Research Ethics Board

SREB MEETING SCHEDULE FOR FALL 2021 (all meetings are taking place virtually on Teams)

  • September 14
  • October 19
  • November 16
  • December 14

*Applications for Full Board Review should be submitted 10 working days prior to a scheduled meeting

AgendasMinutesDecision Reports
July 2021 (cancelled)July 2021 (cancelled)July 2021
August 2021 (cancelled)August 2021 (cancelled)August 2021
September 2021September 2021September 2021
October 2021October 2021October 2021
November 2021November 2021November 2021
December 2021December 2021December 2021
January 2022January 2022January 2022
February 2022February 2022February 2022
March 2022March 2022March 2022
April 2022April 2022April 2022
May 2022May 2022May 2022
June 2022June 2022June 2022

Health Science Research Ethics Board

HREB MEETING SCHEDULE FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2021 (all meetings are taking place virtually on Teams)

  • May (cancelled)
  • June 11
  • July 23 (cancelled)
  • August 26

Social Science Research Ethics Board

SREB MEETING SCHEDULE FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2021 (all meetings are taking place virtually on Teams)

  • May (cancelled)
  • June 23
  • July 21 (cancelled)
  • August 25

*Applications for Full Board Review should be submitted 10 working days prior to a scheduled meeting

Health Science Research Ethics Board

AgendasMinutesDecision Reports
July 2019July 2019July 2019
August 2019August 2019August 2019
September 2019September 2019September 2019
October 2019October 2019October 2019
November 2019November 2019November 2019
December 2019December 2019December 2019
January 2020January 2020January 2020
February 2020February 2020February 2020
March 2020March 2020March 2020
April 2020April 2020April 2020
May 2020May 2020May 2020
June 2020June 2020June 2020
AgendasMinutesDecision Reports
July 2018July 2018July 2018
August 2018August 9, 2018August 2018
August 22, 2018
September 2018September 2018September 2018
October 2018 (cancelled)October 2018October 2018
November 2018November 2018November 2018
December 2018December 2018December 2018
January 2019January 2019January 2019
February 2019February 2019February 2019
March 2019March 2019March 2019
April 2019April 2019April 2019
May 2019May 2019May 2019
June 2019June 2019June 2019

Social Science Research Ethics Board

AgendasMinutesDecision Reports
July 2019July 2019July 2019
August 2019August 2019August 2019
September 2019September 2019September 2019
October 2019October 2019October 2019
November 2019November 2019November 2019
December 2019December 2019December 2019
January 2020January 2020January 2020
February 2020February 2020February 2020
March 2020March 2020March 2020
April 2020April 2020April 2020
May 2020May 2020May 2020
June 2020June 2020June 2020
AgendasMinutesDecision Reports
July 2018July 2018July 2018
August 2018 (cancelled)August 2018August 2018
September 2018September 2018September 2018
October 2018 (cancelled)October 2018October 2018
November 2018November 2018November 2018
December 2018December 2018December 2018
January 2019January 2019January 2019
February 2019February 2019February 2019
March 2019March 2019March 2019
April 2019April 2019April 2019
May 2019May 2019May 2019
June 2019June 2019June 2019

Contact us

Office of Research Ethics

Lori Walker
Manager, Office of Research Ethics
lwalker@brocku.ca

Health Science Research  (HREB)

Carly MaGee (on leave)
Research Ethics Officer, Office of Research Ethics
cmagee@brocku.ca

Social Science Research  (SREB)

Alyssa Bax
Research Ethics Officer, Office of Research Ethics
abax@brocku.ca