VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

REB Directive #3

REB Directive for Research Involving Human Participants during the Provincial State of Emergency Related to COVID-19 (REB Directive #3, May 4th, 2021)

In accordance with Article 6.21 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) and the Vancouver Island University Research Ethics Board (the REB) Procedures for REB Review during Publicly Declared Emergencies, the REB issues the directive below to researchers conducting research and scholarly activity involving human participants under the aegis of Vancouver Island University.

This directive will remain in place until the Provincial State of Emergency Related to COVID-19 has been suspended or a new Directive is issued. 

All research shall be modified to avoid in-person interaction where possible

All research involving in-person interaction among researchers and participants shall be modified to avoid in-person interaction where possible. The REB will consider granting an exception to the imperative to limit in-person interaction where:  

  • Postponing the research would pose significant risks to participant health and safety (e.g. ceasing provision of an important service or entitlement); or
  • Proposed in-person activities among participants and researchers would occur regardless of the research, and thus risks associated with COVID-19 may not be research-attributable; or  
    • In-person methods are necessary for the research to be successful; and
    • In-person methods are warranted because the research is directly beneficial to participants and/or urgently required (see matrix below); and
    • Research-attributable risks associated with COVID-19 may be adequately minimized.

The REB will use the matrix below to guide its assessment of whether a proposed project shall be granted an exception to the imperative to avoid in-person interaction among researchers and participants.

benefit-and-urgency-matrix.jpg

Process for applying to conduct research involving in-person methods

The process for applying to conduct research involving in-person interaction among researchers and participants is as follows:

  1. Acquire approval of the relevant Dean, Health and Safety, and the AVP Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity, in accordance with VIU’s Procedure to Request to Resume Research;  
  2. Complete an REB Application to Conduct Research Involving In-person Interaction Form
  3. Complete and submit to the REB an Application for Ethical Review using ROMEO, with completed forms from steps one and two (above) and all other relevant documents attached (i.e., please complete steps one and two before submitting an application to the REB).

Modifications to previously-approved research

All previously-approved research involving in-person interaction among researchers and participants shall be postponed or modified to avoid in-person methods unless in-person methods have been explicitly approved by the REB. Modifications to previously-approved research must be approved by the REB prior to implementation. Please see the REB Guide for Applying to Amend an Ethical Protocol in ROMEO.

Ongoing research not involving in-person interaction may continue as approved provided that researchers employ strategies to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19, where applicable.

Multi-jurisdictional research

Where research is subject to the jurisdiction of multiple REBs, and where protocol for research involving in-person interaction differs between REBs, researchers associated with VIU, research intentionally involving VIU personnel, and research occurring on VIU campuses shall adhere to protocol established by the VIU REB.     

Research involving in-person interaction outside of BC

All researchers associated with VIU shall adhere to this REB Directive, and this includes researchers who propose to conduct research outside of BC, be it in other provinces, territories, or countries. Additionally, researchers who propose to conduct research outside of BC shall adhere to all applicable institutional, governmental, and public health orders and regulations that apply to the region in which the research is conducted. When reviewing applications that involve in-person methods, the REB will consider all information provided by the applicant regarding the region in which in-person research activities are proposed to take place, particularly information relating to research-attributable risks associated with COVID-19.     

Please contact the REB Office at reb@viu.ca or (250) 740-6631 if you have questions.