All research involving human subjects at Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) must be reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Board (REB). Approval must be obtained in writing before the research begins.

Preparing your Application

You are encouraged to contact the REB Secretariat for guidance while preparing your application:

Please submit your final application package by email to the REB Secretariat:

The REB Secretariat will screen your application package to ensure overall completeness using the following checklist:

The Secretariat will identify outstanding items that are required for REB review and will follow up with the applicant and/or research coordinator to request the required information. Only once your application is deemed complete, will it be referred for board review.

Pre-submission Approval for PHAC Researchers

PHAC researchers must obtain departmental approval of research involving humans before submitting their application to the REB. For further information, please contact the Office of the Chief Science Officer:

Pre-submission Consultation with Privacy Management Division

Researchers who handle personal information (e.g., age, ethnicity, educational background, employment history, health history, life experience, religion, social status, human biological material) must consult the HC-PHAC Privacy Management Division (PMD) before submitting an application to the REB. PMD will work with the researcher to assess and mitigate privacy risks.

Privacy risks in research relate to the identifiability of participants, and the potential harms they, or groups to which they belong, may experience from the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. Privacy risks arise at all stages of the research life cycle, including initial collection of information, use and analysis to address research questions, dissemination of findings, storage and retention of information, and disposal of records or devices on which information is stored. Another risk is a privacy breach which involves the improper or unauthorized collection, use, disclosure, retention or disposal of personal information. A privacy breach may occur within HC or PHAC or off-site and may be the result of inadvertent errors or malicious actions by employees, third parties, partners in information-sharing agreements or intruders. Therefore, details about your study's collection, use, disclosure, retention and disposal of personal information must be provided to the HC-PHAC PMD for review.

PMD is responsible for providing REB applicants and research staff with guidance and recommendations to ensure that personal information is handled in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Privacy Act and Treasury Board Policies. These recommendations, along with a description of how you have implemented PMD recommendations, must then be included as a part of your application package when submitting to the HC-PHAC REB.

To reach the Privacy Management Division by email:

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