Research Ethics & Policies

This website will provide you with the information needed to obtain Ethics approval for your research proposal. Please ensure that you consult the College Policies on research so that you are familiar with the College and funding agency policy requirements related to your research.

Research Ethics Board (REB) Mandate

  • The mandate of the REB is to ensure that ethical principles are applied to all research involving human subjects.
  • It has a role to educate researchers and to review and monitor research proposals and projects.
  • It serves as a consultative body on research ethics and to assist in educating employees about research ethics.
  • It has the responsibility for independent multidisciplinary review of research proposals to determine if they meet ethical requirements and to approve them to be initiated or continue.

Research policies at the college

All research activities associated with the College must receive appropriate College approval prior to commencement, i.e.,  no research or other study involving human subjects, animals, biological hazards or radioactive materials, or having any environmental impact may be undertaken unless approval has been given by the appropriate body: Research Ethics Board (human subjects), College Animal Care Committee (animals) or the Dean or Associate Dean, Science & Technology (biohazards, radioactive materials or environmental impact).

See list below for policies relevant to the conduct of research and scholarly activity at Douglas College (Administration Policies).

  • Conflict of Interest
  • Commercialization of Intellectual Property
  • Integrity in Research and Scholarship 
  • Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans 
  • Records and Information Management

The Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE) has developed an online introductory tutorial on the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS 2).  (Research involving humans.) It is self-administered and publicly available via PRE's website. For access to the tutorial, go to: https://ethics.gc.ca/eng/education_tutorial-didacticiel.html

Contact the Office of the Vice President, Academic and Provost if you are engaging in the following kinds of research:

  • Research/teaching with animals: You must submit your proposal to the Animal Care Committee for approval. Please review the Terms of Reference for the committee. The last page provides a framework for a submission to this committee.
  • Research that has environmental impacts
  • Research involving biohazards or radioactive material

Research ethics forms & resources


The information below includes the necessary forms needed for research approval by the REB, as well as relevant resources for those interested in applying for approval, or wanting to learn more.

Please consult the College Policies on Research.

FAQs

The REB has a mandate to ensure that ethical principles are applied to all research involving human participants. It educates researchers as well as reviews and monitors research proposals and projects. REB is responsible for independent review of research proposals to determine if they meet ethical requirements in order to get them approved, initiated or continued.

All applications must be sent via email; no hard copy applications will be accepted. To apply, fill out the REB forms  and attach them to your email  with any additional supporting documents to the REB (reb@douglascollege.ca).

The Board will only review complete proposals. The subject line of your email must be your last name, the date (DD/MM/YY) and “REB request for approval” to be considered. Be sure to check you have included everything needed by using this checklist.

You will receive an email from the Research Ethics Board with an update to your status when approved.

If you want to conduct research with students who are not participants but need to be supervised by an instructor as part of a course outline, you do need the approval of REB. The appropriate Faculty Education Committee will review the ethics of the generic research activities as part of its curricular review process. For full details on the process of working with students, visit this page. 

If you are interested in research/teaching with animals you will need to contact the Office of the Vice President, Academic and Provost first. Then, you must submit your proposal to the Animal Care Committee for approval. Please review the Terms of Reference for the committee - the last page provides a framework for a submission to this committee. 

When approved, you are free to move forward with your research as agreed upon by both parties.

Very few applications are rejected outright. It is more likely that revisions will be required before the REB can provide a certificate. It is commonplace for applications to have a few revisions. If your application is rejected, you can reapply after making the necessary changes to your methods as shared by the Research Ethics Board.

All research activities associated with the College must receive appropriate College approval prior to commencement. No research or other study involving human participants, animals, biological hazards, radioactive materials or research that has any environmental impact may be undertaken unless approval has been given by the appropriate body. The REB exists to ensure that all research conducted at the College meets the ethical requirements, as laid out here.

In-person research is strongly discouraged at this time until further notice.  We encourage you to move to remote research methods whenever possible. However, if you are conducting research that must be done in-person, you can make an application for an exception to this. REB will review on a case-by-case basis.

The review process usually takes 3-4 weeks. Research involving more than minimal risk and requiring a full board review may take a little longer. When listing the intended start date for the research on your application make sure to consider these time frames. 

“Expedited” is a term that is often used in the United States with the equivalent term being “delegated” in Canada. It does not mean fast-tracking. In some cases, for research that is time sensitive in nature or connected to an event, a quicker review can be requested. In general, researchers are encouraged to submit their application with the 3-4 week window in mind as well as time for any revisions that are requested by the REB. A comprehensive and well thought out ethics application can support a quicker review process.

All applications are evaluated for potential risk and vulnerability to participants. Delegated reviews are done for research that is deemed minimal risk. The review is completed by a subcommittee of the REB. Applications deemed higher risk are reviewed by the full board.

The online TCPS CORE Tutorial is an online self-paced educational program. The tutorial educates researchers around core ethical concerns in research involving human participants. All researchers (faculty, staff and students) are required to take the TCPS CORE Tutorial prior to submitting their ethics application. A certificate of completion for each researcher is to be submitted with the application to the REB.

Your research may involve multiple institutions that have their own ethical review processes. If the institutions are all in British Columbia, you may be eligible to submit your application for a harmonized review. Douglas College is a member of the Research Ethics British Columbia (REBC) network that provides a harmonized system for research ethics reviews of studies that take place at more than one BC research institution. If your research is in collaboration with another REBC network institution, a harmonized application is required. Please contact the DC REB Chair for more information. If any of the institutions are not members of REBC network or are outside of BC, researchers will be required to attain the approval from all institutions involved.

For more information about Research Ethics and Policies, email REB.
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About REB

Learn more about Research Ethics Board, our Terms of Reference and members.

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