Technical Assistance Contact
Exempt Review
Initial Research Ethics Review
Continuing Research Ethics Review
Preparation Tools
Important Information to Applicants Submitting Requests During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Important Information to Applicants Drafting Requests to the REB
Review Process - Tips
Working with Forms - Tips

Technical Assistance Contact

For technical assistance while working with the forms please contact the Software and Application Support Centre (SAS) at The SAS can assist SMU users with resolving technical issues.  See further SAS Technical Instructions Tips and Tricks FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Request for Exempt Review: (Direct to


The general categories of research that require REB review (Form 1) in accordance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans are defined in TCPS2, 2018, Chapter A. Article 2.1.:  "A determination that research is the intended purpose of the undertaking is key for differentiating activities that require research ethics review by an REB."  Non-research activities do not require REB review (Form 1) even if they employ methods and techniques similar to those in research.  The TCPS2 suggests that when in doubt about the applicability of the Policy to a particular project, the researcher shall seek the opinion of their home REB.  This process is not mandatory. 

Initial Research Ethics Review request forms: (Direct to:

To correctly work with the forms:
1.  Right-click on the form,  2.   Select "Open With",  3.  Select "Adobe Acrobat Reader." 

  • Form 1    - Application for Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans
  • Form 1 C - Application for Ethics Review of Research Involving Humans Currently Cleared by Another Canadian REB

Continuing Research Ethics Review request forms: (Direct to:

Preparation Tool: Sample language for drafting Informed Consent Forms/Scripts and Feedback Letters


Important information to applicants submitting requests during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The REB has transitioned to virtual operations as part of the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The REB will continue to provide research ethics related support to faculty, students and staff, including review and clearance of research applications.  All forms and related documents are directed to  Please keep in mind that members of the REB, the REB Vice Chair, REB Co-Chairs, and Research Ethics Officer are all working at home during a pandemic.  Some of us are working in circumstances that are challenging.  It may take up to 10 business days to respond to emails. Normally, researchers who submit a Form 1 application to the REB receive word from the REB chair 6-8 weeks after the application is submitted.

If you are a researcher with a time-sensitive COVID-19 application, then please contact Ms. Orshy Torok at and indicate why your application merits expedited review.  Research ethics review during the COVID-19 pandemic demands greater attention and consideration because volunteers, researchers and even the members of the REB may be in a position of greater vulnerability. 

We will endeavour to process time-sensitive COVID-19 applications within 10 business days.  Although we cannot guarantee this turn around time, we will work hard to accomplish this goal.  Please note that in some circumstances, the review process may exceed this time frame. 

We thank you for your patience.
REB Team

Important information to applicants drafing requests to the REB:

Keep in mind that members of the Research Ethics Board (REB) review the Form 1 application.  Please make sure your application is complete and that the proposed research is demonstrated in detail and in non-technical language.  The process is much like a peer –review process for grant applications and manuscripts, etc. 

If the application is incomplete or lacks sufficient detail, it will need to be returned to the research team, the research ethics review process for the proposal will be delayed until materials and information are received.  REB reviewers can only accept complete proposals.

Complete applications receive an initial acknowledgment of receipt by the Office of Research Ethics followed by a note from the REB Chair within 6-8 weeks after submission, sometimes within a shorter time-frame.  Usually the REB Chair will have questions.  A prompt and thorough response to the REB Chair enables the review process to continue.  Please submit all materials in PDF or Word format without the use of compressed folders.  This ensures proper accessibilty and visibiliy, as the materials would appear to research participants, and avoid delay in the review process.

Student research: If the proposed research is a student research (e.g., thesis, directed study), the faculty supervisor must submit the application (and subsequent continuing review requests) to the REB.  The REB will communicate directly with the faculty supervisor (students can be copied on all communication).  All subsequent communication to the REB must also arrive to the REB directly from the faculty supervisor.

The Office of Research Ethics can walk you through this process and help with the application, review draft work to identify potential difficulties that could be easily fixed before it is submitted to the REB for review.

Please contact the Research Ethics Officer to book a consultation at, office hours are Tuesdays/Thursdays 10 am to 12 pm.


Review Process- Instructions, Tips and Common Mistakes

Initial Research Ethics Review:

  1. Form 1 (holds no current research ethics clearance from another Canadian REB):

    Applications are considered complete when the following criteria is met:
    1.  All Form 1 fields are completed;
    2.  All materials requiring REB review are attached;
    3.  All SMU affiliated parties, including the Faculty Supervisor for student research, have signed Form 1;
    4.  Applications are directed to  For student research, applications are sent by the Faculty Supervisor. For faculty or staff research, applications are sent by the Faculty or Staff Principal Investigator.

  2. Form 1C (currently holds research ethics clearance from another Canadian REB):

    a) Up-to-date requirments are provided on top of Form 1C.  Common mistakes involve applicants failing to encolse required documents.  For example, applicants may only submit the research ethics clearance letter/certificate from the other Canadian REB that has granted research ethics clearance.  Please note it is necessary that the application also include all communication that has taken place between the Principal Investigator and the other Canadian institution's REB Chair during the review process.  Omitting these required documents would result in an incomplete application package causing delay.  This communication or set of communication qualifies as evidence of the other Canadian REB's "research ethics review" that applicants are asking their home REB to review at the present time via the Form 1C process.   If you have any questions or need additional guidance, please don't hesitate to contact the Research Ethics Officer at to book a time to go through draft work and questions. Office hours are Tuesdays/Thursdays 10 am to 12 pm.  Feel free to bring the details of your circumstance to our attention.

  3. Research materials:
    Research materials refer to all supporting docuemtns that applicants are asking the REB to reveiew.  Generally, research materials are items such as recruitment scripts/posters, interview protocols, surveys, questionnaires, scales, scripts, tests, draft interview questions, invitation letters, letters of support, feedback forms, debriefing forms, advertisements, other research tools as relevant to the research, letters of support, other REB or government clearances, safety reports involving devices or materials used in the research evidencing compliance to Canadian standards, etc.  

    Form 1 lists common options for documents that must be included in the submission as well as provides a custom field to enter any other additional documents applicants wish to detail they are submitting for their research.  As a tip, at the minimum; a Form 1, an Informed Consent Form/Script, recruitment material and questions to partipants in some form are submitted.  

    Research proposals vary extensively and each research will normally consist of different set of materials.  As a rule of thumb, applicants must submit all documents that participants would be exposed to for research ethics review and clearance.  

  4. The REB request forms are routinely updated to comly with Canadian standards and the local research community's needs.  Be sure to download the most current version of the application form directly from this web page at every request.  Outdated versions of requests forms cannot be registered for research ethics review.

Continuing Research Ethics Review Requests

Reports of Unanticipated Issues, Requests fo Changes to Cleared Research (Form 2), Annual Status Report (Form 3) and End of Research Report (Form 5) requests:

  1. All requests are directed to due to the time-sensitive nature of these requests.  Requests are accepted from the Principal Investigator of the research or, in case of student research, from the Faculty Supervisor.  Student researchers must ask their Faculty Supervisors to submit requests to the REB.  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Working with the Forms - Technical Instructions, Tips and Tricks

Working with Request Forms - Technical Instructions and Tips

The REB forms are Adobe fillable, savable, PDF forms – they must be opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader to ensure that they look and function correctly.

Additional blank space is available on Form 1.  If applicants have further additional information to convey, additional supporting documents are welcome.

Tips and Tricks - FAQs

1. How do I open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader?

To open the form on a Windows PC or MAC, using Adobe Acrobat Reader:

  1. Right-click on the form
  2. Select Open With
  3. Select Adobe Acrobat Reader.

2. I don’t have Adobe installed on my computer. How do I proceed?

You can download a free non-trial version of Adobe Acrobat Reader here.

3. Can I save the form and edit my answers at a later time?

Yes, with Adobe, you can save the form and re-open it later to complete it or edit your answers.

4. Why can’t I use other programs to open the forms?

Opening the Forms in a web browser or other programs such as Preview (on MAC) may cause issues with saving and editing the forms.

For technical assistance while working with the forms please contact the Software and Application Support Centre (SAS) at The SAS can assist SMU users with resolving their technical problems.


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