VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

REB Application and Review Process

The VIU REB is a partner in Research Ethics BC, a consortium of REBs that facilitate harmonized ethical review among partner institutions in BC. Harmonized review streamlines the ethics review and approval process, allowing for submission of a single ethics application across all partner institutions.  If your project requires approval of multiple REBs in BC, and these REBs are members of Research Ethics BC, please see visit Research Ethics BC for information on how to apply for harmonized review.

The following outlines the VIU REB application and review process. Applicants are encouraged to contact the REB at if they have questions. 

Applications for Course-based Student Research are reviewed on a delegated basis, as described below. For information regarding REB approval of Course-base Student Research, see the webpage entitled Course-based Student Research.   

All research personnel — including supervisors — are required to the complete the TCPS2: CORE-2022 (Course on Research Ethics) prior to submitting an application for ethical review, and attached CORE certificates of completion to their application in ROMEO.

The REB application and review process is described below:

1. The Principal Investigator completes an Application for Ethical Review Form in VIU's ROMEO Researcher Portal. Guides for registering in the ROMEO Researcher Portal can be accessed via the VIU ROMEO webpage.  

Applicants are encouraged to consult the REB's guides, example consent forms, and the Guide for submitting an REB application using ROMEO.

Student researchers are expected to develop their REB application with support of their faculty supervisor. Student Researchers are to be named as the Principal Investigator on the application form. Faculty Supervisors are  required to read and endorse the applications of students under their supervision. All student applications must have attached a signed copy of the Confirmation of Faculty Supervisor Approval Form.   

2. The applicant submits a complete application for ethical review. A complete application includes:

  • The application form with all applicable questions answered;
  • Copies of certificates of completion for the Course on Research Ethics (CORE); and
  • Appendices such as participant recruitment instruments (e.g. posters, scripts, and emails), consent forms, interview questions/scripts, focus group scripts, and online survey URL, and, as applicable, a signed copy of the Confirmation of Faculty Supervisor Approval Form, etc.

3. The REB completes a preliminary screening of the application for completeness and coherence. Incomplete or incoherent applications are returned to the applicant with a request for clarification and/more information.

4. The REB completes a Level of Review Assessment of the application to determine whether the application will be reviewed at a monthly REB meeting or on a delegated basis by a subcommittee of the REB. The Level of Review Assessment evaluates risk and vulnerability of participants associated with the proposed research. Research involving a higher degree of risk and vulnerability are reviewed at a monthly REB meeting. Research involving a lower degree of risk and vulnerability are reviewed on an ongoing basis by a subcommittee of the REB.

5. Once an application has been reviewed, the REB provides the applicant an email indicating that:

  1. the application is approved as submitted, or
  2. the application contravenes the TCPS2 and/or requires additional information.

The REB typically issues an initial decision in three to four weeks. Applications missing information critical to review may require re-review. Applications missing information, or that fail to recognize and account for risks to participants, sometimes require multiple resubmissions before approved.

6. An approval email is issued to the Principal Investigator once the REB is satisfied that the application is compliant with the TCPS2. Once approved, the application becomes the ethical protocol with which researchers must adhere.

Approval is generally granted for one year, although duration of approval may be shorter where warranted. For research that continues past the one year approval, the Principal  Investigator is required to submit to the REB and Application for Continuing Review.

7. Principal Investigators are required to report to the REB any and all significant unanticipated issues that arise during the research.