Research Ethics Board

Research Ethics at Georgian

The general goals of research involving human subjects are to advance human welfare, knowledge and understanding. Georgian College supports research that:

  • enhances curriculum development and renewal
  • creates learning for our staff and students
  • may generate revenue/resources for the college

The Georgia College Research Ethics Board (REB) serves to approve proposed or ongoing research involving human subjects that is conducted within or by members of Georgian College.

Tutorial: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS)

Researchers seeking  research ethics approval at Georgian College must submit a copy of their TCPS 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE) completion certificate with their Application for Research Ethics Approval.

View the tutorial.

Guidelines and FAQs

Why is research ethics approval required?

International consensus requires that a duly constituted and functioning independent committee review and approve all research projects involving human subjects before the first potential research subject is invited to participate. Independent review reinforces the ethical standards that the researcher and institution strive to meet.

Do I need to get research ethics approval?

Research activities requiring Research Ethics Board (REB) approval include:

  • research involving human participants recruited from Georgian College
  • the use of the college’s name in a contract bid or proposal
  • college sponsorship of research through professor classroom release time, sabbatical (study leave) or direct funding
  • researchers accessing college facilities, resources, college employees, machines and other college services or resources, and where the college administers a grant from an outside agency or individual (private or government)
  • data formally collected, through whatever means or methods, from college students, faculty, administration, support staff, or other members of the college community, or from any database containing information about the aforementioned groups
  • research involving human participants planned by Georgian College and Georgian University Partnership Centre students when:
    • the intent of the research is to educate students on research processes used to explore and expand existing theories and conceptual knowledge
    • students compare new techniques, practices, programs with standard approaches to determine which is more effective
    • the results or findings are written in a format that would be acceptable for a research journal or academic conference presentation
    • primary data are collected and organized for analysis and distribution or dissemination

In which situations is research ethics approval NOT required?

Research activities exempt from Research Ethics Board (REB) approval include:

  • research about a living individual involved in the public area or about an artist, based exclusively on publicly available information
  • Quality assurance and quality improvement studies, program evaluation activities, and performance reviews, or testing within normal educational requirements when used exclusively for assessment, management or improvement purposes, including:
    • academic departmental administrative research projects approved by the dean or director of the department; for example, class data related to marks or attrition
    • data collection, management, and reporting for routine administrative purposes by Georgian College departments
    • national or provincially mandated studies such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or College Ontario studies; or
    • primary data collection (such as surveys or focus groups) designed and administered by Organizational Planning and Development for review and renewal of programs and college services
  • Georgian College student information gathering activities classified as skill development and not research where the intent is to:
    • use the information to provide advice, diagnosis, identification of appropriate interventions, or general advice for a client
    • develop skills which are considered standard practice within a profession (e.g., observation, assessment, intervention, evaluation, auditing)
    • collect information as part of the normal relationship between a student and the participants (e.g., classroom teacher and students, nurse and patient, lawyer and client)
    • teach about the design, conduct and process of research and might involve ‘practice’ data collection from or about a few students within their class and the research is considered minimal risk

What is considered “minimal risk”?

If potential subjects can reasonably be expected to regard the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research to be no greater than those encountered by the subject in those aspects of his or her everyday life that relate to the research, then the research can be regarded as within the range of minimal risk. Minimal risk research:

  • draws participants from the general adult population, who are capable of giving free and informed consent, and may not include vulnerable subjects such as children and persons who are who not legally competent to consent
  • does not involve any personal, sensitive or incriminating topics or questions which could place participants at risk
  • does not manipulate behaviour of participants beyond the range of “normal” classroom activity or daily life
  • does not involve physically invasive contact with the research participants
  • does not involve deception
  • does not involve undue or excessive offers of benefit, e.g., an offer of payment in relation to research participation that would exceed the normal range of benefits open to the research participant

Do I need to get approval from the school or department in which I want to do research before I apply for Research Ethics Board Approval?

Yes. Because Georgian College receives many requests to involve our students and employees in research, it is important to determine if there is capacity for another study. Please obtain permission from the dean or manager of the department you wish to study before applying for REB approval. This is referred to as requesting “administrative approval.” Note: A form and process to expedite administrative approval is currently being piloted. Please contact the Research Ethics Board for more information.

Can I begin my project before I receive Research Ethics Board approval?

Research on subjects must not commence until ethics approval has been received.

I am a professor who teaches a course that involves research of minimal risk. What are the processes involved in course-based approval?

To seek permission to oversee the conduct of students’ minimal risk research you must complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE) and submit a Request for Ethical Approval of Course-based Student Research Projects with a copy of your course outline to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for approval.

Approved course-based instructor requests expire after three years.

Students in courses at Georgian College for which an instructor has course-based approval submit their Applications for Research Ethics Approval to their instructor as part of their research projects. If a research project will involve more than minimal risk, the instructor submits the application to the Research Ethics Board on behalf of the student.

Before data collection begins, please submit a Summary of Course-based Research along with copies of the students’ Applications for Research Ethics Approval to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board. Within two weeks of completion of the research projects or the course, please submit a fully completed Summary of Course-based Research or copies of the students’ Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report forms.

I am a student taking a course at Georgian College which has a research project. What process do I follow?

If your research is for a course in which the instructor has approval from REB for course-based ethics review, submit your Application for Research Ethics Approval to your instructor. You may contact the Research Ethics Board if you are not sure whether or not your instructor has course-based ethics approval.

If your research is for a course in which the instructor does NOT have approval from REB for course-based ethics review, submit your Application for Research Ethics Approval directly to the Research Ethics Board.

I am a researcher who wants to do research at Georgian College. What process do I follow?

What if I already have research ethics approval from another institution?

Provided the research ethics body at the other institution is recognized by the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE), which is made up of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, you may qualify for an expedited approval process. Please submit the Georgian College Application for Research Ethics Approval and attach your original application along with the signed letter of approval from the other institution.

What should I ask myself before I submit my application?

  • have I addressed all questions in the application?
  • have I thoroughly explained my methodology, step by step, including processes that will be used to ensure confidentiality?
  • have I thoroughly explained the experience from the participants’ point of view, including the time commitment, risks and benefits, recruitment process, data collection, debriefing, sharing of results and any incentives that will be offered?
  • have I addressed confidentiality and secure storage and disposal of data in my research proposal?
  • have I included a copy of all recruiting, interview and debriefing scripts, consent forms, surveys and other supporting documents?
  • have I included proof of completion of the TCPS online tutorial?
  • have I signed the application form and initialed where required?
  • have I included the contact information of the Chair of the Georgian Research Ethics Board in consent forms?

What is the TCPS tutorial and why do I have to do it?

The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (TCPS 2) describes the policies of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Researchers are required to be familiar with the TCPS 2 before they apply for ethics approval. The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE) provides the mechanism for researchers to become acquainted with the TCPS and to provide proof that they have done so.

Where do I submit my application for research ethics approval?

Please submit an electronic copy of your application to the Research Ethics Board . Submitting your application as a single PDF document containing all attachments will ensure timely review.

When should I submit my application?

Please submit your application at least two weeks prior to the next meeting of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (see online Research Ethics Board Meeting Schedule). Please note that the Board will often request that a researcher make changes and resubmit their application for reconsideration.

How long does it take to get a decision?

If an application is approved the first time it is submitted, approval will take between two to four weeks. If changes are requested, it can take significantly longer. The best way to ensure a quick turnaround is to ensure your application is complete and submitted two weeks prior to the next REB meeting. Applications will not be accepted as complete until administrative approval has been obtained.

When does the Georgian College Research Ethics Board meet?

The REB has regularly scheduled monthly meetings each month except July and August. Please see the online schedule or contact Mary Whittaker  or 705.728.1968 ext. 1774. Note: If there are no applications requiring REB review by the application deadline, the monthly meeting may be cancelled.

May the public attend Research Ethics Board meetings?

No. Applications for research approval are confidential and cannot be shared outside the Research Ethics Board without the investigator’s permission. Since approvals comprise most of the business that is conducted at REB meetings, they are therefore closed to the public.

What if I don’t get approval?

You may be asked to address some questions or shortfalls in your application and resubmit it to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for reconsideration.

You also have the right to appeal the decision of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board to our Research Ethics Appeal Board (REAB), the Niagara College Research Ethics Board.

Such appeals may only be initiated by the research applicant. The research applicant will submit all required materials (the original proposal, the letter of rejection from the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (REB) and a letter requesting the review) in writing to the Chair of the REAB within four weeks of receiving the results of the REB. The research applicant requesting the appeal must follow the procedures outlined in Georgian College’s procedures on Responsible Practice and Ethics Review in Research and Niagara College’s practice on Research Involving Human Subjects. The decision of the REAB is final.

What if my project changes?

Please notify the Research Ethics Board of any changes to your project. If changes to your study might affect ethics standards, you must reapply for ethics approval.

Do I need to report back to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board about the results of my project?

Yes. On or before the date your ethics approval expires please submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report form and a copy of your final research report to the Research Ethics Board.

If you decide not to complete your research, submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report form to the Research Ethics Board.

If your research project will go on longer than one year, you must apply for renewal on or before the date your ethics approval expires.

Who do I contact if I have questions about research ethics approval at Georgian College?

Please address any questions to:

Dr. Jacqueline Limoges Chair, Georgian College Research Ethics Board One Georgian Drive, Room M330i Barrie, ON L4M 3X9 705.728.1968, ext. 5486.

You may also contact the Research Ethics Board assistant Mary Whittaker at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.

Research Ethics Board Members

Research Ethics Board members

  • Jacqueline Limoges, Chair, Research Ethics Board and Professor, Health, Wellness and Sciences, Georgian College
  • Kara Brooks, Research Analyst, Business Management Bureau, Ontario Provincial Police
  • Amanda Duncan, Institutional Research and Planning Analyst, Institutional Research, Georgian College
  • Eleanor Gittens, Professor, School of Human Services and Community Safety, Georgian College
  • Tareyn Johnson, Indigenization Coordinator, Aboriginal Services, Georgian College
  • Tim Krywulak, Professor and Program Coordinator, Research Analyst/Big Data Analytics Programs, Georgian College
  • Maria Puigbonet, Professor, Dept. of Health, Wellness and Sciences, Georgian College
  • Scott Staring, Professor, Liberal Arts/University Partnership Centre, Georgian College

Research Integrity Policy


This policy outlines the expectations for ethical conduct in all scholarship and research initiatives, principles of research integrity and describes procedures for misconduct.  Research is defined as an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry or systematic investigation.


  • college-wide


Research integrity is a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for one’s actions. Researchers must follow research practices that characterize the responsible and ethical conduct of research. As an institution accountable to the public, we must foster an environment that promotes integrity in the conduct of research.  In order to maximize the quality and benefits of research, a positive research environment is required. For researchers, this implies duties of honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to the dissemination of research results, and adherence to the use of professional standards.

Responsible Practice and Ethics Review in Research


To establish clear and defined procedures for those wishing to undertake research at Georgian College involving human participants, ensuring that research completed at Georgian College meets the standard for integrity as defined by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).


The range of research activities involving human participants includes all research, regardless of whether the research is funded or non-funded, is performed by Georgian College students, faculty, support staff, or administrative staff, is a collaborative research undertaking with strategic college or university partners, or is for commercial or information purposes. This also includes individuals not associated with Georgian College who wish to complete research that involves Georgian College staff, students or community members. The scope of this policy encompasses ethical responsibility to human participants as well as responsible research practices.

Research integrity is a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for one’s actions. Researchers must follow research practices that characterize the responsible and ethical conduct of research. As an institution accountable to the public, Georgian College fosters an environment that promotes integrity in the conduct of research.  The College is guided by its Research Integrity Procedure.

All research involving human participants that is associated with Georgian College, including that conducted by external organizations or individuals shall be subject to the policies and procedures described within this policy.

For more information, download the Responsible Practice and Ethics Review in Research document.

Intellectual Property Procedure


This procedure is to outline Georgian College’s position on the creation and development of works of intellectual property (IP) within the College, the ownership of intellectual property within those works, and academic recognition and revenue sharing of proceeds from commercialized intellectual property created and developed within the College.


All students, faculty and employees, full time or part time and any external creators of intellectual property who develop material on behalf of the College and who are not covered by other agreements.


Georgian College strives to encourage, promote and foster innovation, the sharing of ideas and the creation of knowledge in activities engaged in by its faculty, employees, students and external associates.

More about the Intellectual Property Procedure.

Conflict of Interest Procedure


The potential for conflict of interest has always existed in college communities because of the diverse interactions of staff with external organizations.  However, the increasing complexity of society and the changing role of colleges in that society, the multiplicity of inter-college, college-industry and college-community relations have created a new awareness of the need for guidelines for conflict of interest.   More than ever before, College staff are being asked to engage in a diverse range of economic development activity, increasing the potential for conflict of interest.

This Procedure is meant to protect both the individual employee and the College.  Its fundamental tenet is that employees should, of their own volition, take the initiative in disclosing conflicts or potential conflict of interest situations.  The mere existence of a conflict or a potential conflict does not necessarily imply that the activity or relationship should cease.  Indeed, conflicts may cover a broad spectrum from those that are minor and easily controlled to those whose consequences could be very serious.  There are situations sufficiently complex that judgements may differ as to whether a conflict exists.

View the Conflict of Interest procedure.

Meeting Schedule of the Research Ethics Board (REB)

The Georgian College Research Ethics Board meets monthly (except in July and August) to review applications for research ethics review.

Please submit applications for research ethics review at least ten working days prior to the meeting to . Please note that projects must have administrative approval before they can proceed to ethics review. For more information please contact Mary Whittaker at 705.728.1968, ext. 1774.

Upcoming meeting dates

  • Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018)

Volunteer to be a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Community Member

The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (REB) is seeking a volunteer community member with no current affiliation to the college. Criteria for member selection:

  • respect for ethics and responsible practice in research
  • willingness to learn and follow college policies and guidelines
  • willingness to attend meetings and pursue learning opportunities
  • willingness to read learning materials related to ethics and responsible practice in research
  • ability to work with a team
  • ability to respond quickly to requests for review
  • demonstrated commitment to fostering ethical research practices
  • previous experience as a research participant
  • not involved in work as a researcher

REB members are expected to be versed in the procedures and language of research policy and to read any relevant information provided to them by the Chair (including documents provided by the applicant in support of their proposal). All REB members must also complete, in a timely manner, the TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) before participating in ethics reviews.

Additional details

  • meetings are scheduled monthly from late August/early September through June and are typically held on the Barrie Campus
  • in between meetings members take turns conducting delegated review of applications
  • members are asked to assume a two-year term that may be renewable for a maximum of four consecutive years
  • to be considered for this volunteer position, please submit a resumé or CV – including any research experience – to