The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) serves to approve proposed or ongoing research involving human subjects that is conducted within or by members of Georgian College.
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
One of the first things researchers should do before they design their protocol is complete the online TCPS2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE), including review of Modules 9 and 10.
Attach the TCPS2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE) completion certificates for all investigators when submitting your application for research ethics review.
View the tutorial.
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 Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) 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 Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) 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
Not sure whether your project requires ethics review? Try the ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool.
This is primarily a development/educational tool. It could assist researchers to know if their study requires Research Ethics Board approval. It is sometimes difficult to see the risks involved in your own study. If you find while completing the ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool that the ideas in the questions are unfamiliar or if you feel any hesitation, it is highly recommended that you complete The TCPS 2 Tutorial. Researchers should contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board Chair for guidance before deciding not to submit their study. Researchers are advised to save a copy of their ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool results.
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. You will also want to be sure that any resources you are counting on will actually be available to you. Please obtain permission from the dean or manager of the department you wish to study before applying for GCREB 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 Georgian College 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?
See also: Course-based Research Ethics Approval (Information for faculty)
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 Georgian College 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 that has a research project. What process do I follow?
- Complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE)
- Read Georgian’s policy on Responsible practice and ethics review in research
- If you wish to conduct research at, or on behalf of, Georgian College, contact the dean or manager of the applicable department to ensure the request to do research can be accommodated. This is referred to as requesting “administrative approval.” Note: A form and process to expedite administrative approval is currently being piloted, but if your instructor has course-based ethics authority, they will include your project on their summary form. Please contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for more information.
- Complete an Application for Research Ethics Approval
If your research is for a course in which the instructor has approval from GCREB for course-based ethics review, submit your Application for Research Ethics Approval to your instructor.
If your research is for a course in which the instructor does NOT have approval from GCREB for course-based ethics review, submit your Application for Research Ethics Approval directly to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.
If you are not sure whether your instructor has course-based ethics approval, contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board .
I am a researcher who wants to do research at Georgian College. What process do I follow?
- Complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE)
- Read Georgian’s policy on “Responsible practice and ethics review in research”
- Contact the dean or manager of the department where you wish to do research to ensure the request to do research can be accommodated. This is referred to as requesting “administrative approval.” Note: A form and process to expedite administrative approval is currently being piloted. Please contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for more information.
- Submit your completed Application for Research Ethics Approval to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for approval or, if you wish to conduct research at more than one college that accepts it, you may use the Ontario Community College Multi-site REB Application form. You must apply to the research ethics boards at each of the colleges involved.
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 or, if applicable, the Ontario Community College Multi-site REB Application form 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 included references to back up my rationale and my choice of methodology and tools?
- 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 for the Georgian College Research Ethics Board on the recruitment materials and/or consent documents that I am submitting to GCREB for ethics approval? Suggested wording: “This study has been approved by the Georgian College Research Ethics Board. If you have questions about the ethics of this study, please contact reb@GeorgianCollege.ca or 705.728.1968 ext. 5395.”
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.
The Georgian College Research Ethics Board requires proof of completion of The TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) for all investigators. Please attach the TCPS2 CORE certificates of completion to your application, and ensure all investigators have reviewed the updates made to the TCPS2 information since their tutorial completion date with particular attention to the following requirements:
- TCPS2 CORE tutorials completed before April 2011 must be redone.
- Note: The TCPS2 CORE will not generate an updated certificate of completion. Researchers must provide a screenshot of their dashboard as proof that they have redone the modules.
- Tutorials completed between April 2011 and December 18, 2014 are still valid, but researchers must confirm that they have read:
- All researchers must read the two new modules that have been released in .pdf format:
Where do I submit my application for research ethics approval?
Please submit an electronic copy of your application to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.
What format should I use?
Before you submit your application, please save your documents as editable Word/text/other documents just in case the GCREB requests that you submit revisions. Then, if you wish, you may save them as one or more PDF files for submission.
Please submit your application form and attachments as Word documents or submit the saved PDF documents (NOT scanned images).
Please DO scan all the pages with your initials and signatures and include them with your application. (Insert them into the PDF document or include them as attachments to your application email and the GCREB office will insert them into the document for you.)
When should I submit my application?
Please submit your complete application at least twelve working days prior to the next meeting of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (see online Research Ethics Board Meeting Schedule). Please note that the GCREB will often request that a researcher make changes and resubmit their application for reconsideration.
How long does it take to get a decision?
You can expect a response in about two to four weeks, depending on the level of review required. When GCREB responds, you may be asked to resubmit your application or portions of it with changes for additional review.
The best way to ensure a quick turnaround is to ensure your application is complete, contains sufficient information to demonstrate compliance with the TCPS2, and is submitted at least twelve working days prior to the next GCREB meeting. Applications will not be accepted as complete until necessary proof of administrative approval has been submitted.
When does the Georgian College Research Ethics Board meet?
The GCREB has regularly scheduled monthly meetings each month except July and August. Please see the online schedule or contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.
May the public attend Research Ethics Board meetings?
No. Applications for research approval are confidential and cannot be shared outside the Georgian College Research Ethics Board without the investigator’s permission. Since approvals comprise most of the business that is conducted at GCREB meetings, they are therefore closed to the public. However, the GCREB may invite researchers to provide clarification before conducting their deliberations.
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 (GCREB) and a letter requesting the review) in writing to the Chair of the REAB within four weeks of receiving the decision of the GCREB. 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 Georgian College 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 Georgian College Research Ethics Board.
If you decide not to complete your research, submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report form to the Georgian College 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.
Whom do I contact if I have questions about research ethics approval at Georgian College?
Please address any questions to Eleanor Gittens, PhD, Chair, Georgian College Research Ethics Board. Phone: 705.325.2740, ext. 3062.
You may also contact Mary Whittaker, Georgian College Research Ethics Board Administrative Assistant, at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.
Course-based Research Ethics Approval (Information for faculty)
The following information may help you to decide if your course requires course-based research ethics approval from the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB). Research ethics boards (REBs) may delegate ethics review of minimal risk, course-based research to non-REB members such as faculty.
A. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you need to obtain course-based ethics approval and you are required to complete the application and the TCPS2 CORE training modules.
- Are the assignment objectives connected to providing exposure to research methods?
- Do the assignments in your course require students to practise data collection methods (used in research) with people?
- Are these assignments structured to be low risk research activities? Note: the determination of low risk is from the perspective of the participant. Low risk research involves activities or data gathering that is similar to what the participant would experience in their day-to-day life and is unlikely to cause embarrassment, anxiety, be of a personal nature or about a topic that is generally considered private. Any research involving vulnerable populations or Indigenous peoples does not quality as low risk.
B. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you are not eligible for course-based ethics approval and you MUST submit an individual Application for Research Ethics Approval to the GCREB:
- Do your students collect data or engage in the research processes that contribute to your research?
- Will your students all be working on one common research project rather than individual or group projects?
C. The activities below do NOT require ethics approval:
- Students talking with a patient or client to learn about their experiences and then using this information to write an essay that will be graded by the teacher.
- Using publicly available information about a person or people to write an essay.
- Students talking with patients or clients in order to provide a diagnosis, identification of appropriate interventions, or general advice.
- Students talking with each other or their teacher to practice interviewing skills or therapeutic communication skills.
- Skills development activities which are considered standard practice within a profession (e.g. observation, assessment, intervention, evaluation, auditing).
- Practising research skills using de-identified data.
NOTE: For a full listing of exemptions, please see the TCPS2.
If you are still unsure if you need a course-based research ethics approval, please contact Eleanor Gittens, PhD, Chair, Georgian College Research Ethics Board. Phone: 705.325.2740, ext. 3062.
If you want talk with someone about the process of applying for course-based ethics approval, please contact Mary Whittaker or call 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.
If you need course-based research ethics approval for your course be sure to click on “requires course-based research ethics approval” in Curriculum Information Management (CIM) and submit your Request for Approval of Course-based Student Research Projects with your course outline and certificate of TCPS2 CORE completion before the submission deadline for the GCREB monthly meeting. Please see the Forms and Meeting Schedule sections of the GCREB website: www.georgiancollege.ca/researchethicsboard
- Application for Research Ethics Approval
- Request for Approval of Course-based Student Research Projects (See Course-based Research Ethics Approval (Information for faculty))
- Ontario Community College Multi-site Form (Recommended for research at more than one Ontario College)
Forms for reports
Georgian College Research Ethics Board Members
Eleanor Gittens, PhD (CHAIR)
Professor, School of Human Services and Community Safety, Georgian College
Richard Acton-Rinaldo, PhD
Professor, Liberal Arts/Research Analyst, Georgian College
Ruth Beatty, PhD
Faculty of Education, Lakehead University Orillia
Kara Brooks, M.Ed., BA
Research Analyst, Business Management Bureau, Ontario Provincial Police
Amanda Duncan, MA, BA
Institutional Research and Planning Analyst, Institutional Research,
Shane Ellis, LLM, JD, BA
Coordinator, Paralegal/Professor, Automotive Business School of Canada and Business and Management, Georgian College
Sara Lankshear, PhD, RN
Professor, Health, Wellness & Sciences, Georgian College
Leslie Lunstroth, HBA
Interim Manager, Transcription, Records Management, and Privacy/
Privacy Officer, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital
Maria Puigbonet, M.Sc., B.Ed.
Professor, Health, Wellness & Sciences, Georgian College
Victoria Shelep, HBA
Scott Staring, PhD
Professor, Liberal Arts, Georgian College
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.
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.
- view the full Research Integrity Policy
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.
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.
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.
Please submit applications for research ethics review at least twelve working days prior to the meeting to email@example.com . 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. 5395.
Upcoming meeting dates
- Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019)
- Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019)
- March 2019 TBD (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on TBD)
- Tuesday, April 30, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2019)
- Monday, May 27, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, 2019)
- Monday, June 24, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, 2019)
- Late August/Early September, 2019 TBD (To ensure no deadlines are missed, please submit applications for ethics review before August 1, 2019.)
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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org