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Ethics Guidance

Is Ethics Review Required?

Education & Training 



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Is Ethics Review Required?

Generally, all research that involves human subjects requires review and approval by a Research Ethics Board (REB), also know as an Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The RVH REB  must review and approve research that meets any of the following criteria:

  • The research involves living human participants at RVH;

  • The research involves the collection, storage, or transport of human biological materials at RVH (e.g., blood, urine, human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive materials, and stem cells). This applies to materials derived from living and deceased individuals;

  • The research is conducted fully or partially on RVH property;

  • The research involves testing an experimental drug or medical device at RVH;

  • The research involves reviewing patient medical records; and/or

  • The research utilizes RVH resources, including, but not limited to:

    • Electronic medical records (e.g., Meditech, ARIA);

    • Imaging or diagnostic services;

    • Laboratory services;

    • Pharmacy services;

    • Surgical services;

    • Emergency services; and/or

    • Other departmental services


If you are uncertain as to whether REB review is required, please contact the RVH REB to obtain the written opinion of the REB Chair. 

Research proposals must be approved by the REB before you can begin the research.

Additional information regarding the scope of research ethics review can be found in the Tri-council Policy Statement (TCPS2): Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

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Education & Training

Research Ethics

Research ethics certification must be completed prior to submitting an application to the RVH REB. Certificates are provided upon completion of each course and should be appended to the REB submission. Approvals of new submissions and ongoing studies will only be granted to those investigators who have appropriate certification of training for themselves and their research staff. The RVH REB stratifies research ethics training requirements based on study risk; please consult the table below to determine the ethics certifications required for your study.

Acronyms: CITI, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative; GCP, Good Clinical Practice; N2, Network of Networks; PI, Principal Investigator; RCT, Randomized Controlled Trial; TCPS2, Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans 2 ed. (TCPS 2)

Standard Operating Procedures

Regulatory authorities require that clinical research sites utilize standard operating procedures (SOPs) to protect the rights and safety of human participants and integrity of the data collected.

RVH is a member of the Network of Networks (N2 Canada), a not-for-profit Canadian organization and an alliance of Canadian research networks and organizations that work towards enhancing national clinical research capability and capacity. RVH has adopted N2 Canada’s national standardized set of operating procedures, which are applicable to any therapeutic area and are compliant with Health Canada and U.S. Food and Drug regulations, ICH-GCP guidelines, and TCP2. The purpose of having documented SOPs is to:

  • provide written guidelines for the performance of all aspects of clinical research

  • promoted quality and consistency in clinical research processes

  • ensure compliance with applicable regulations and guidelines

  • facilitate training of new personnel


All researchers* participating in regulated, interventional research at RVH are required to self-train and attest to their knowledge and understanding of the N2 SOPs. Forms 

It is strongly recommended that non-regulated, interventional researchers also complete the N2 SOP self-training and attestation prior to the start of any research activity.

The N2 set of SOPs and attestation form is made available to all RVH researchers through RVH Policies and Documents intranet site ( or through the RVH Research Office.

*Researchers are defined as Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, and/or any staff listed on the study delegation log.

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REB Fee Schedule

Fees for ethical review support the RVH REB in fulfilling its responsibility to ensure the ongoing protection of the rights, safety, and well-being of human participants involved in research at RVH.

REB fees are applied to clinical research that is partially or fully supported by industry sponsors, as well as to research from external investigators that require the services of the RVH REB but who are not collaborating with RVH employees or professional staff. The RVH REB does not charge REB fees for RVH-investigator initiated studies.

The Principal Investigator remains responsible for communicating REB fee requirements to the sponsor and for providing the sponsor’s billing information. To streamline the fee payment process, contract reviewers at RVH will make efforts to negotiate REB fees into agreements with industry sponsors. When the contract reviewer is unable to negotiate REB fees into the agreement, the RVH Department of Finance will issue an invoice directly to the sponsor. The sponsor is expected to pay the REB fee within 30 days of receipt of the invoice.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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