To Which Human Research Ethics Board Should I Submit?

This chart is meant to be used as a guide and will not cover all contingencies. If after reading this chart you still cannot determine to which REB you should submit, or what type of review you require, please contact one of the Ethics Officers.

If we determine you have submitted your protocol to the wrong committee, we will contact you and let you know; however, please note that we do not review new protocols until well after the deadline. If you have submitted to the wrong committee, your protocol will be returned to you to transfer it to the correct form. Review of the protocol will be delayed until the next cycle of meetings. If in doubt, please call first to save yourself delays and extra work!

HEALTH SCIENCES REB (HSREB)?
OR
Non-Medical REB (NMREB)?

Generally, the HSREB reviews studies in clinical settings and those involving physical interventions or procedurs.

Generally, the NMREB reviews social, behavioural, cultural, and humanities research.

If you are unsure which REB to submit to, please contact the Office of Human Research Ethics PRIOR to beginning the REB application.  With the exception of Lawson-affiliated studies, there may be instances where, despite the participants and setting being health-related, the application of social science theory warrants NMREB review. 

DOES THIS RESEARCH...

Involve or relate to a medical or physical intervention or therapy? (i.e. device, drug, genetics, surgery, exercise, natural product)

YES

NO

If you answered YES to any of these questions you must submit your project to the HSREB.

If you answered NO to all the questions then you must submit your project to the NMREB.

Take place in a medical or health care setting or use or relate to medical or health records?

YES

NO

Involve patients, health professionals or patient-caregivers?

YES

NO

Use or relate to medical techniques, therapies, or human anatomy?

YES

NO

Involve movement or exertion beyond normal daily activities? (e.g., exercise interventions, grasping/reaching studies, use of assistive devices or technologies such as robotic arms, etc.)?

YES

NO

Has current or future implications for a medical/healthcare field or will be published in medically-oriented journals?

YES

NO

HEALTH SCIENCES ETHICS REVIEW - FULL BOARD OR DELEGATED REVIEW?

Is the study a clinical trial?

YES

NO

If you answered YES to any of these questions you must submit your project for HSREB Full Board review.

If you answered NO to all the questions then your project may be eligible for HSREB Delegated Review

Does the study use patients deemed to be at-risk or vulnerable (e.g. critically ill,, persons incapable of giving informed consent)?

YES

NO

Require the ingestion of any food, or beverages?

YES

NO

Is there an unknown, moderate or high physical or psychological risk (including deception) for healthy volunteers or healthy patients?

YES

NO

Does the study involve moderate or high risk interventions, tests or procedures, or sensitive questions which could place participants at risk or cause embarrassment?

YES

NO

Does the study involve interventions that take place during surgery or that may interfere with the course of/delay normal medical treatment?

YES

NO

NON-MEDICAL ETHICS REVIEW - FULL BOARD OR DELEGATED REVIEW?

Researchers submitting to the NMREB submit the same Initial REB Application in WREM, regardless of the level of review required.  However, the NMREB Full Board is scheduled to meet only once per month, so it is important researchers understand when studies may require full board review in order to submit the application prior to the applicable submission deadline.

Upon preliminary review, the NMREB Ethics Officer determines, in consultation with the Chair as needed, if the application qualifies for full board or delegated review.

Factors increasing the need for Full Board review include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Sensitive topics or procedures increasing risk to participants (e.g., psychological, emotional, social, economic);
- Risky procedures or data management plans;
- Involvement of participants who are vulnerable in the context of the research (e.g., children, individuals unable to  provide informed consent, marginalized/disadvantaged groups);
- Behavioural interventions (e.g., clinical trials);
- Significant deception; and/or
- Novel or controversial research designs and/or procedures that compromise any core ethical principles of research and require full board discussion to determine the most appropriate course of action.

When in doubt, researchers are encouraged to submit their applications prior to the submission deadline to avoid delays in the event their project is determined to require full board review.