COVID-19

Research Ethics and Compliance (IRB)

UPDATE February 10, 2021:   Some limited research with in-person human participants may resume on campus, with the exception of research conducted with participants identified by the provincial government as being at higher risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 (people aged 70 or older and those with the following underlying conditions: chronic heart diseases, chronic pulmonary diseases, diabetes, cancer and/or weakened or deficient immune systems).

 
Research with in-person human participants may take place on campus if:
  • It is conducted under conditions specified in an approved research resumption plan during non-curfew hours, and;

  • All McGill health and safety directives are followed.

For off-campus research:
  • Research in Quebec: Subject to any travel restrictions, in-person research with human participants (excluding higher risk participants noted above) may take place in locations off-campus in Quebec. If the research is carried out in a third party host organization, any additional authorization must be obtained and health and safety regulations imposed by this host organization must be adhered to.

  • Research in other provinces or countries: Travel for all University business remains suspended. For McGill researchers or their staff who are located in other provinces or countries, in-person research with human participants (excluding higher risk participants noted above) may take place subject to EOC approval. The research must be conducted in accordance with country, regional and locally-specific public health directives and safety measures. Any additional approvals from local authorities to conduct the research must be obtained. Faculties will present resumption plans for out-of-province/country research to EOC and faculties will communicate EOC decisions to researchers.

Complete directives can be found at

https://www.mcgill.ca/coronavirus/resources/directives-resumption-research-human-participants

 

Resumption of research with human participants and IRB/REB procedures

Research with human participants respecting 2 metre distancing
  1. Faculty authorization required.

  2. If the study already has a valid ethics certificate in place, no additional IRB/REB review is required. However, Principal Investigators will be required to provide this letter to participants (adult participant letter, or  youth participant letter) explaining the health and safety protocol in place for the study, which should include a reminder that the participants are free to decline to participate or defer participation, as well as an acknowledgment that they have been informed of the health and safety protocols in place and will follow them.

  3. All new submissions must have Faculty authorization before initiating research.

 
Research with human participants where 2 metre distancing is not possible
  1. Faculty authorization required prior to resuming research.

  2. If the study already has a valid ethics certificate in place, an amendment must be submitted to the IRB along with a revised participant consent form outlining the health and safety protocols in place, what participants will encounter when they arrive and a renewed reminder that participants are free to decline or defer participation is required. Changes to informed consent and any changes to study protocol must be approved by the appropriate Research Ethics Board.

  3. All new submissions must have Faculty authorization and approved resumption plan before initiating research.

 
Research with human participants done remotely
  1. Faculty authorization is not required.

  2. Should researchers need to make changes to their research method to conduct data collection by phone or other virtual communication in order to eliminate risks related to COVID-19, then this change must be submitted using the Amendment form. IRB/REB approval must be obtained before implementing the changes.

 

For all new study submissions, the above procedures will apply when the researchers want to begin their research with human participants right away.  Should they wish to defer the start of their research until all sanctions have been lifted or use remote methods to conduct the research, they can still submit and obtain ethics review without adhering to the above procedures.

 

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IRB scales The Research Ethics Office (Institutional Review Board) promotes the highest level of scholarly and ethical conduct in research involving human participants carried out by Faculty, staff and students on campus, off campus and/or in more than one of its affiliated hospitals, by:

  • Facilitating the review process through guidance and support to the researchers in the preparation and submission of their proposals;

  • Developing and implementing policies and procedures that ensure research compliance with provincial, national and international guidelines;

  • Promoting education and ongoing training for researchers and IRB members.

 

 

Coming soon.....  

eRAP 

Electronic Research Admin Portal 

(online management system for ethics submission, review and approval of research involving humans)

 

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