Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada's (PHAC) Research Ethics Board

The information presented in this section is designed to help you with an application to Health Canada and PHAC's Research Ethics Board (REB).

Health Canada and PHAC's REB was created to formalize the ethics review process. It became operational on September 1, 2002. On April 1, 2010, the REB became fully operational as a joint REB for both institutions. The REB Secretariat will be responsible for managing and communicating with the REB members on all research proposals received for ethics review from both institutions.

The Operational Policy Framework of the Research Ethics Board (REB was approved by the Deputy Minister (DM) of Health and the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) in 2010. The Policy Framework should be read in conjunction with the REB's Administrative Procedures Manual which provides important information on the procedures adopted by the REB for reviewing research applications.

The DM and CPHO have delegated their decisional authority functions to a senior official within Health Canada and the Agency respectively, each of whom will be referred to as the "Decisional Authority in Research Ethics" (hereinafter Decisional Authority).

Research is defined as a systematic investigation to establish facts, principles or develop generalizable knowledge. The REB reviews all research involving human subjects that is:

  • Carried out by Health Canada or the Agency (intra-mural);
  • Performed by Health Canada or the Agency in collaboration with external researchers;
  • Carried out on Health Canada or the Agency premises;
  • Conducted under contract to Health Canada or the Agency; and/or
  • Funded by Health Canada or the Agency through grants and contributions to external researchers.

The REB helps ensure that this research meets the highest ethical standards, and that the greatest protection is provided to participants who serve as research subjects. It is guided by the principles of the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS), Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, which sets the standard for research ethics boards in Canada. For further information, see TCPS 2--2nd edition of Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.

Where there is uncertainty as to whether or not ethics review is required, the REB Secretariat should be contacted.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact the Manager, Research Ethics Board Secretariat.

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