The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) serves to approve proposed or ongoing research involving human participants 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 or resources for the college
One of the first things researchers should do before they design their protocol is complete the online Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE). The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) 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 (2018) before they apply for ethics approval. The TCPS 2 CORE provides the mechanism for researchers to become acquainted with the TCPS 2, and to provide proof that they have done so.
The Georgian College Research Ethics Board requires proof of completion of TCPS 2 CORE for all investigators. Please submit the TCPS 2 CORE certificates of completion with your application, and ensure all investigators have reviewed the updates made to the TCPS 2 information since their tutorial completion date with particular attention to the following requirements:
- TCPS2 CORE tutorials completed before April 2011 are no longer valid and must be redone.
- Note: The TCPS 2 CORE will not generate an updated certificate of completion. Researchers must provide a screen shot of their dashboard as proof that they have redone the modules.
- All researchers must confirm that they have read the following:
Do I need to get approval from the school or department in which I want to do research, or on whose behalf I want to do research, before I apply for Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) 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. Also, you will want to be sure that any resources you are counting on will actually be available to you. A REQUEST FOR PERMISSION FOR ACCESS TO RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH (RPARR) form is available on this GCREB website.
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 research ethics approval?
Researchers planning to conduct research involving Georgian College employees, students or community members as participants, or research involving humans under the auspices of Georgian College or using Georgian College resources, must obtain approval from the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB). The range of research activities requiring review by the GCREB includes research that involves living human participants, human biological materials, or human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive materials and stem cells. Please refer to the Georgian College policies on RESPONSIBLE PRACTICE AND ETHICS REVIEW IN RESEARCH for details.
Some research activities, and research-like activities, are exempt from ethics review. Please refer to Chapter 2 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) for more information.
Still 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 Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) before returning to the ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool. 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 and approved RPARR for discussion with the Chair. The Chair may also require information such as research questions and data collection tools (e.g. surveys, interview guides) to determine any eligibility for an exemption from ethics review.
May I begin my project before I receive Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) approval?
No. Research involving humans being conducted at or under the auspices of Georgian College must have GCREB approval before any recruitment or data collection may begin.
Where can I find the research forms?
Please go to the Forms section of this website to download the most recent version of the forms.
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; and
- may be eligible for delegated ethics review.
I am an instructor of a course in which students undertake minimal risk research. What are the processes involved in course-based approval?
See also: Course-based Research Ethics Review (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 tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) including the additional PDF modules and readings, and submit your certificate of completion, a REQUEST FOR AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT COURSE-BASED RESEARCH ETHICS REVIEW, and your course outline to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) for approval.
Once you have authority to conduct course-based research ethics review, students can submit their REQUESTS FOR PERMISSION FOR ACCESS TO RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH (RPARR), APPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH ETHICS APPROVAL, any CHANGE REQUESTS and FINAL REPORT forms to you for each project. As you receive the forms, you would review them and sign as the Principal Investigator. If a research project will involve more than minimal risk, you must submit its application to the GCREB for review.
Before recruitment or data collection begins, submit a GEORGIAN COLLEGE RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD SUMMARY OF COURSE-BASED RESEARCH with copies of all the APPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH ETHICS APPROVAL for the course to the GCREB. (If your entire class is completing one common project, submit one APPLICATION FOR RESEARCH ETHICS APPROVAL for the whole class and let GCREB know whether it is minimal risk research approved by you or research that requires GCREB review.)
If any changes are made to a research protocol, submit to GCREB a copy of the CHANGE REQUEST. If any adverse effects occur, report them to GCREB immediately.
Within two weeks of completion of the research projects or final grade entry, submit to the GCREB a fully completed GEORGIAN COLLEGE RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD SUMMARY OF COURSE-BASED RESEARCH with copies of all FINAL REPORT forms and any REQUESTS FOR RENEWALS.
Note: Instead of emailing large files, instructors may wish to save the electronic files for course-based research to a Georgian College OneDrive folder and provide access to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board Administrative Assistant.
I am a researcher who wants to do research involving humans at, or under the auspices of, Georgian College. What process do I follow?
- Complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) (Please note: If you have a TCPS 2 CORE certificate of completion from before April 2011, you must redo the tutorial and save a screen shot to prove you have completed it.)
- Read the following documents:
- The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018);
- Highlights of changes: Summary of revisions in TCPS 2 (2018);
- Module 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada; and
- Module 10: Multi-Jurisdictional Research Ethics Review.
- Complete a REQUEST FOR PERMISSION FOR ACCESS TO RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH (RPARR) and check with any non-Georgian research sites regarding required approvals
- Submit your completed APPLICATION FOR RESEARCH ETHICS APPROVAL or ONTARIO COMMUNITY COLLEGE MULTI-SITE REB APPLICATION to GCREB (or to your instructor if applicable)
- Submit additional application components, forms and reports as required by GCREB (or by your instructor if applicable)
- Once you have ethics approval, conduct your research
- When your research is complete or before ethics approval expires (whichever occurs first), submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board FINAL REPORT or REQUEST FOR RENEWAL form to GCREB (or to your instructor if applicable)
What if I already have research ethics approval from another institution?
If the other research ethics board is at an institution eligible to administer grant and award funds by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), your project may qualify for a delegated approval process. Please submit the Georgian College APPLICATION FOR RESEARCH ETHICS APPROVAL or ONTARIO COMMUNITY COLLEGE MULTI-SITE REB APPLICATION, and attach your original application along with the signed letter of approval from the other research ethics board. Be sure to include the documents you plan to use at Georgian College.
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 tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) provides the mechanism for researchers to become acquainted with the TCPS and to provide proof that they have done so.
IMPORTANT! See also: Required Tutorial on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2 CORE) on this website.
What should I include in my informed consent form?
Chapter 3 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) sets out the ethical requirements for obtaining research participants’ “free, informed and ongoing consent”. For the most common data collection methods, e.g. questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, an informed consent form is used to obtain and document consent.
You may find the Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Research Ethics Board Requirements for Informed Consent Documents helpful. Their website includes an editable Microsoft Word document for a clinical trial. You can also find examples of informed consent documents on the University of Waterloo and University of Ottawa websites. Lakehead University’s Template: Letter of Information and Consent Form is available on the Lakehead University website; and Ontario Tech University’s template can be found on their ethics resources site. Remember to remove anything that does not pertain to your project, include the contact information for the research ethics board(s) that will review your study (e.g. the Georgian College Research Ethics Board), and to use appropriate letterhead. (Only use Georgian College letterhead or branding if you are conducting the research on behalf of Georgian College.)
If your research will undergo review by the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB), you must include the following statement as part of the contact information provided to participants during the informed consent process (preferred) and/or recruitment materials (as appropriate): “If you have questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board at firstname.lastname@example.org or 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.”
What categories should I use for participant self-identification?
Here are some sample demographic questions and categories.
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 (GCREB) on the recruitment materials and/or informed consent documents that I am submitting to GCREB for ethics approval?
Where do I submit my application for research ethics approval?
Student researchers: If your research is for a course in which the instructor has authority to conduct course-based research ethics review, submit the application and all forms for your project to your instructor. (Your instructor will sign as the Principal Investigator.) If your instructor does NOT have authority to conduct course-based research ethics review in your course, or if the research is not part of your course work, submit your application and forms directly to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB). If you are not sure whether your instructor has authority to conduct course-based research ethics review in your course, contact the GCREB.
All other researchers: Please submit an electronic copy of your application to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) via email to email@example.com .
Separate signature pages will be accepted provided they are submitted with the application from the email account of the Principal Investigator.
When should I submit my application?
Submit your complete application at least twelve working days prior to the next meeting of the GCREB. Please note that the GCREB will often request that a researcher make changes and resubmit their application for reconsideration, so a lead time of at least two months is recommended.
When does the Georgian College Research Ethics Board meet?
The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) has regularly scheduled monthly meetings each month except July and August. Please see the Meeting Schedule of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) on this website or contact the GCREB at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.
May the public attend Georgian College Research Ethics Board meetings?
No. Applications for research ethics approval are confidential and cannot be shared outside the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) 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.
How long does it take to get a decision?
You can expect a response regarding your ethics review in about two to four weeks, depending on the level of review required. When GCREB responds, you may be asked to resubmit your application 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 TCPS 2 (2018) and is submitted at least twelve working days prior to the next GCREB meeting. Applications will not be accepted as complete, and ethics review will not commence, unless accompanied by an approved REQUEST FOR PERMISSION FOR ACCESS TO RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH (RPARR) and/or documentation of similar administrative approval if the research will use resources of another institution.
What if my application is not approved?
You may be asked to address some questions or shortfalls in your application and resubmit it to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) for reconsideration.
You also have the right to appeal the decision of the GCREB 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 GCREB and a letter requesting the review) in writing to the Chair of the REAB within the allotted time of ten working days. 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 submit a GEORGIAN COLLEGE RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD CHANGE REQUEST if you wish to make any changes to your approved protocol.
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 and a copy of your final research report to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB).
If you decide not to complete your research, submit a GEORGIAN COLLEGE RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD FINAL REPORT to the GCREB to close the file.
If your research project will go on longer than one year, you must submit a GEORGIAN COLLEGE RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD RENEWAL REQUEST at least two weeks 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 at 705.325.2740, ext. 3062.
You may also contact Mary Whittaker, Georgian College Research Ethics Board Administrative Assistant at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.
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 Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE).
- 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)
- Research skills using de-identified data
NOTE: For a full listing of exemptions, please see the TCPS 2 (2018) – Chapter 2: Scope and Approach.
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 GCREB REQUEST FOR AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT COURSE-BASED RESEARCH ETHICS REVIEW with your course outline and certificate of TCPS 2 CORE completion before the submission deadline for the GCREB monthly meeting. Please see the Forms and Meeting Schedule sections of the GCREB website.
Forms for access to resources
Forms for research ethics
Research ethics application forms:
GCREB Request for Authority to Conduct Course-based Research Ethics Review (This form is for Georgian College instructors who want to request authority to conduct ethics review of their students’ minimal-risk course-based research.)
Forms for reports
GCREB-Summary-of-Course-based-Research-2020-v2.2 (Excel form for instructors who have been authorized by GCREB to conduct course-based research ethics review. Each term, well BEFORE research recruitment or data collection begins, complete Part A and submit it to GCREB with the application files for each project. AFTER research ends or within two weeks of submitting final grades, complete Part B and submit it with the Final Report forms for each project.)
GCREB Final Report (Must be submitted before approval expiry.)
Note: Forms will open in a new window where you can download them. File sizes vary from 30 to 5,000 KB. Save your form as a Word document with a unique file name before you begin work on it.
Multi-College Research Ethics Board (Expert Panel) Process and Forms (For projects occurring at more than one Ontario college.)
Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) pandemic policies and procedures
The GCREB continues to apply a proportional approach to ethics review, and currently has the ability to form quorum for ethics review via web conference and/or teleconference.
GCREB will prioritize review of ongoing research as per section 5.3 of the SOP 501.003: REB Review During Publicly Declared Emergencies.
If you wish to submit a protocol for GCREB review, please submit your application for research ethics approval with all the required documents to firstname.lastname@example.org . The GCREB will prioritize review of new applications for research ethics approval according to the guidelines in sections 5.4 and 5.5 of the SOP 501.003: REB Review During Publicly Declared Emergencies. If the new research is related to or arising from the publicly declared emergency, please put “URGENT” in the subject line of your application email and/or call 705.728.1968, Ext. 5395 to flag the application for prioritized review.
If you have any questions, please contact Mary Whittaker at email@example.com or call 705.728.1968, Ext. 5395.
Meeting dates for full reviews
|Meeting date||Application deadline|
|Wednesday, Jan. 13||Monday, Jan. 4 at noon|
|Tuesday, Feb. 16||Wednesday, Jan. 27|
|Tuesday, March 16||Thursday, Feb. 25|
|Tuesday, April 12||Wednesday, March 24|
|Tuesday, May 11||Thursday, April 22|
|Tuesday, June 15||Thursday, May 27|
Georgian College Research Ethics Board Members
Eleanor Gittens, PhD (CHAIR)
Professor, School of Human Services and Community Safety, Georgian College
Isabelle Deschamps, PhD
Faculty, Early Childhood Education, Georgian College
Laura Dickie, MA
Research and Program Evaluation Specialist, Ontario Provincial Police
Shane Ellis, LLM, JD, BA
Coordinator, Paralegal/Professor, Automotive Business School of Canada and Business and Management, Georgian College
Leslie Lunstroth, HBA, CIAPP-P
Manager, Information Technology & Privacy, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital
Jenna Peters, BA
Research Analyst, Institutional Research, Georgian College
Richard Rinaldo, PhD
Professor, Liberal Arts/Research Analyst, Georgian College
The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) seeks employees of Georgian College, and volunteer community members with no current affiliation to the college, to serve as GCREB members.
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
GCREB 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 GCREB members must also complete, in a timely manner, the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE), including and additional research ethics readings before participating in ethics reviews.
- Meetings are scheduled monthly from late August/early September through June and are typically held on the Barrie or Orillia Campus with web conferencing for those who cannot attend on-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