Research on Human Participants Ethics

Policy Number: 
3404
Policy Responsibility: 
Vice-President, Academic
Approved: 
Board of Governors
Effective: 
October 14, 2004
Last Amended: 
April 5, 2012
Review: 
April 5, 2015

Context / Purpose: 

NOTE:  This Policy complies with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Tri Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.  Each excerpt reference to this Policy Statement used in related Procedures is referenced by its Tri Council Policy Statement Article. 

 

The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) requires and supports the highest ethical standards in conducting research involving human participants to ensure their rights are respected and protected. Researchers at, or associated with, the JIBC are required to follow research ethics protocols to ensure their research protects human participants.

Primary institutional responsibility for research involving human participants at the JIBC is vested in the JIBC Research Ethics Board (REB) and with the individual researchers. This policy applies to all JIBC employees, students and other research personnel associated with the JIBC.

This policy and accompanying procedures details the ethical considerations and approval procedures that must be followed before any research activities involving human participants are undertaken.

There is a professional responsibility of researchers to adhere to the ethical norms and codes of conduct appropriate to their respective disciplines. When researchers are engaged in research under the auspices of the JIBC, the Institute may, in some circumstances, be liable for research conducted by these researchers. In addition, most funding bodies require an ethical review process of research proposals involving human participants. For these reasons, policies and procedures are required to ensure the appropriate safeguards are provided.

This policy will enable JIBC to conduct research on human participants of a standard acceptable to all major granting agencies and regulatory bodies.

Policy Statement: 

All research that involves human participants requires review and approval by the Research Ethics Board (REB) in accordance with this Policy Statement. Approval is required before the research is started and regardless of the funding sources or location of the project, except where the proposal is deemed to present minimal risk. The JIBC requires all researchers to adhere to this policy and its related procedures and guidelines.

Scope: 

a.  All research that involves human participants requires review and written approval by the REB in accordance with this policy statement before the research begins;

b.  Research involving human remains, cadavers, tissues, biological fluids, embryos or fetuses shall also be reviewed by the REB;

c.  Research about a living individual involved in the public area or based on publicly available information, documents, records, works, archival materials or third party interviews is not required to go through an ethical review;

d.  Quality assurance studies, performance reviews or testing within the normal educational requirements are not subject to review.

Review of research projects shall be conducted by the REB, whether:

a.  the research is funded or not;

b.  the funding is external or not;

c.  the participants are from inside or outside the JIBC;

d.  the participants are paid or not;

e.  the research is conducted within the province of British Columbia, in Canada or internationally;

f.  the research is conducted by staff, faculty, students or outside contractors or external associates;

g.  the research is conducted in person or by fax, e-mail or telephone;

h.  the information is collected directly from individuals or from existing records not in the public domain;

i.  the research is to be published or not;

j.  the focus of the research is the subject;

k.  the research is observational, experimental, correlational or descriptive;

l.  a similar project has been approved elsewhere or not;

m.  the project is a pilot study or a fully developed project;

n.  the research is to acquire basic or applied knowledge;

o.  the research is primarily for teaching or training purposes or whether the primary purpose is the acquisition of knowledge.

If there is any doubt whether an ethical review is required, the researcher shall consult with the Chair or a member of the REB. Written approval must be obtained prior to beginning the research for each project involving human participants.

Research associated with the JIBC but conducted outside of Canada must comply with this Policy. If local practices or standards vary from these, the researcher shall comply with whichever standards are higher.

Definitions: 

a.  Research Activities Original careful, critical, disciplined inquiry directed toward the clarification and/or resolution of problems to establish facts, principles or generalizable knowledge;

b.  Researcher/Investigator Any person associated with the JIBC who undertakes to conduct research. This includes employees and students as well as persons from the community who are associated with a JIBC-generated research project. The Principal Investigator is the person who has the primary responsibility for a research project;

c.  Human Research Participant Living individuals or groups of individuals about whom a researcher obtains: 1) data through interaction or intervention with the individual or group, or 2) identifiable private information;

d.  Non-Human Research Participants Non-human research participants are living or deceased organisms, including both plant and animal tissues, cells, bacteria, virus, and other life forms that are not of the species Homo Sapiens, on which observations, handling, manipulations, interventions, or a systematic collection of data occurs;

e.  Minimal Risk Research Where potential participants can reasonably expected to regard the probability and magnitude of probable harms by participation in the research is no greater than they would encounter in the aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research;

f.  Research Proposal The written document submitted to the JIBC Research Ethics Board in advance of research commencing;

g.  Participants Any person who consents to be a participant in a research project or activity;

h.  JIBC Resources Any materials, equipment, facilities, sites, services or personnel that the JIBC owns, rents or employs.

Last updated July 30, 2015