VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Does Your Project Require Ethical Review?

Approval of the VIU Research Ethics Board (REB) is required prior to engaging in Scholarly Activity involving human participants or biological materials and associated with Vancouver Island University.

Scholarly Activity is defined as “research, scholarship and professional activities associated with the university and consists of contributions made by a Researcher to his/her discipline or profession which result in the presentation of work for formal or informal peer or public review outside the institution” (VIU Policy 31.10: Integrity and Conduct in Research And Scholarly Activity).   

Human participants are those from whom information and/or materials are collected for the purpose of scholarly activity. This definition includes biological materials derived from both living and deceased individuals, including human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, stem cells, and human reproductive materials. 

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2022) defines research as “an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry and/or systematic investigation” (Article 2.1). 

Accordingly, activities involving human participants or biological materials require REB approval unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the proposed activity:

  • is not Scholarly Activity, as defined by VIU Policy 31.10, and
  • is not research, as defined by the TCPS, or
  • is one of the activities exempt from REB review described in TCPS (2022) Articles 2.2-2.6

Except for projects intended solely for pedagogical purposes, very few scholarly projects involving human participants are exempt from REB review.

If your project involves human participants and you are uncertain whether your project requires REB review, please contact the REB at

Please be aware that researchers involving human participants are responsible for complying with all TCPS guidance relevant to their research even if their research is exempt from REB review (Tri-Council Panel on Research Ethics).