Research Ethics Board – COVID-19 Information and Updates

Consult this page regularly for the most recent information and updates on REB processes and approvals during the publicly declared emergency due to COVID-19.

Page Sections: 


Submitting to the REB

The Research Ethics Office at 250 Yonge is not accepting hard copy submissions at this time. All submissions should sent to the REB Inbox (researchethics@smh.ca).

  • Send only one form (with related attachments) per email
  • Include the REB number and submission type in the email subject line (e.g. REB xx-xxx – Amendment)

Investigator Signatures:

  • In lieu of a PI signature, all communications to the REB Inbox should be sent by the PI or by a research team member with the PI cc’d
  • The Co-Investigator signatures and attestations required on staff change forms and new submissions can be digital signatures or email confirmations provided to the Research Ethics Coordinator who is reviewing the submission


REB Approval of New Studies

COVID-19 Related Research:

  • The REB is prioritizing the review and approval of COVID-related research, and encourages researchers to contact the office to arrange a consultation

All other studies: 

  • Approvals for these studies are currently being issued; this is subject to change with the changing risk level of the COVID-19 publicly declared emergency.
  • Please be reminded that all clinical research studies are required to comply with the Unity Health’s guidelines related to on-site and in-person research. REB approval does not override any restrictions covered in those guidelines.


Permissible Research Activities for Clinical and Community Research Studies

At the present time, Unity Health is allowing on-site and in-person research activites are with limits on capacity and location.  For more information and details on permissible research activities, please consult the research microsite.

The microsite also has information on requesting essential or essential plus status for studies that meet the criteria (see below) but have not requested it to date (either through CR3C or through Research Leadership in March 2020).

COVID Research Evalulation Committee (CREC) and Clinical Research Restart Committee (CR3C) reviews have been eliminated and separate approval from this committees for, respectively, COVID research and onsite research is no longer required.


Notifying the REB of a Planned Protocol Deviation During the Publicly Declared Emergency

About: Use the Planned Protocol Deviation form to notify the REB of temporary changes to approved study procedures as a result of a publicly declared emergency. NOTE: Temporary stoppage of recruitment or of your study due to the publicly declared emergency do not require planned protocol deviation notification; please do not submit these. If your study or recruitment is being stopped for other reasons (safety, efficacy, etc.), please report this to the REB as you normally would.

Process: The planned protocol deviation form consists of two parts.

  • Part 1 of the form is to be completed during the publicly declared emergency and submitted electronically to researchethics@smh.ca
  • Part 1 and 2 of the form must be submitted to the REB in hard copy within 15 days of the end of the publicly declared emergency

Research Ethics Office (REO) Review of Part 1:

  • The REO will review the submission of Part 1 in a timely manner
  • If we have any concerns about your planned deviation, we will outline these in a response email
  • If we have no concerns, you will be notified that Part 1 has been acknowledged and noted to file; we will not be approving Part 1 or any documents that are specific to the planned deviation

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