Research Ethics Board

Research Ethics Board

Welcome to the website of the Saint Mary's University (SMU) Research Ethics Board (REB).

The SMU REB reviews and provides clearance for research involving human participants under the jurisdiction of Saint Mary's University and NSCAD University as well as serves as the Appeals Board for Mount Saint Vincent University; as determined by the federal Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, TCPS 2.  

All research with human participants must be reviewed and cleared by the REB before it is conducted, before the recruitment of participants commences.  For general and contact information relating to the Saint Mary's University Animal Care Committee, please visit our Contacts page.

This website has been designed to help you learn about the ethical principles and preparations that are involved with conducting research with human participants, determine what policies and procedures relate to your own work, review previous questions from your peers, note when education sessions are being held, opportunities for consultation, and to utilize the resources and forms needed for a submission to the SMU REB.

Upcoming SMU Community Research Ethics Education Session:

Community-wide education sessions, "Understanding the Research Ethics Review Process", are held at the beginning of each Fall and Winter terms.  In addition to these sessions, in-class or group sessions of various lengths are frequently requested and one-on-one consultation to supervisors with their students or alone are available daily by appointment.

The session is tailored to all researchers, students, faculty and staff attend.

Visit our Education page for details, updates and to request a session for your class.


Ottawa, ON (April 25, 2017)

In October 2016, the Panel on Research Ethics released proposed changes to TCPS 2 (2014) to the public for comment. Written comments were accepted until January 31, 2017. All comments received are posted online unless the contributor requested that they remain confidential. (Of the 72 comments received, 65 are posted.) Comments are posted in the language in which they were received.

The Panel appreciates the thoughtful responses submitted by Canada’s research community. This valuable feedback will now be taken into consideration as the Panel and Secretariat prepare recommendations to the federal research Agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) that are responsible for approving revisions to TCPS 2 (2014).


"A message from the three federal research agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), or “the Agencies” –

 The Presidents of the Agencies are pleased to announce the release of TCPS 2 (2014) – the revised version of the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2). TCPS 2 (2014) replaces TCPS 2 (2010) as the official human research ethics policy of the Agencies."

The Policy

Canada's three federal research agencies, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, jointly created the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE of the Panel) as part of a collaborative effort to promote the ethical conduct of research involving human participants.

The Panel develops, interprets and implements the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) and requires that all faculty, student, staff, funded or unfunded research proposals that involve human participants and fall under the TCPS 2 be brought before the REB for review and approval. Please note that the electronic version of the TCPS 2 is the official version of the Policy. The TCPS 2 replaced the 1st edition of the TCPS on November 29, 2010.  The newest version is the TCPS 2, December 2014.

The REB advises all prospective applicants to read the Tri-Council Policy Statement and complete the TCPS 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE) online tutorial. The tutorial will help applicants familiarize themselves with the TCPS 2 and consider their research in this light.

As of September 1, 2017, the SMU Research Ethics Board (REB) requests that all those who sign Form 1 complete the latest Course on Research Ethics (CORE) and include a printout of the CORE certificates with any new Form 1 application package. Ensure to pick "Saint Mary's University" under the affiliation drop down menu when registering.

The Board

The Saint Mary's University REB is mandated to review and provide clearance for research proposals that involve human participants.  The REB provides a service to the University community by working together with researchers to identify and resolve ethical issues in their research in order to protect the interests of research participants, maximize the benefits of the research and minimize harms.

The Board consists primarily of faculty members, staff, graduate students, as well as members from the community non-affiliated to the University. The REB is tasked to clear, reject, propose modifications to, suspend or terminate research activity that involve human participants and fall under the jurisdiction of Saint Mary's University. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions or to better understand how policies relate to your research and feel free to contact the Office of Research Ethics at or 420-5728.

We seek to improve our procedures for implementing the TCPS 2 and our SMU REB policies and appreciate comments and recommendations you may have.


No research with human participants shall begin before clearance is received from the University's Research Ethics Board. Research protocols must have a valid Certificate of Research Ethics Clearance/Continuation. This includes the recruitment of research participants. Please seek our guidance whenever necessary.