Research Ethics & Safety: Human Subjects

Any research or study conducted at UNBC facilities (including affiliated research facilities) or undertaken by persons connected to UNBC involving human subjects, animals or biohazardous materials must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate board or committee, in accordance with UNBC policies and procedures. All researchers are expected to familiarize themselves with UNBC policies and procedures relating to research ethics.

Research Ethics Board (REB)

The REB is responsible for ensuring University-wide understanding of, and compliance with, all applicable external and internal requirements. Prior to commencement of research and teaching activities involving the use of human participants, the REB must review and approve the activities.

Please note that during summer months we cannot guarantee a specific turn around time for REB response to any applications submitted as they are reviewed upon the availability of REB members.

Research & Teaching Involving Human Subjects

All research or teaching conducted under the auspices of UNBC involving the use of human subjects, human tissue, human stem cells or data collected on human subjects must conform to the UNBC Policy on Research Involving Human Participants and must have the prior approval of the UNBC REB. In Canada, all human subject research is guided by the Tri-Council Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research involving Human Subjects.

Please note that research involving human subjects, either directly or indirectly, even if non-invasive to the person, should be submitted for prior approval by the REB. This includes all research involving interviews, focus groups, aptitude testing, internet surveys, telephone polls or psychological experiments.

Note also that this includes research conducted as part of a classroom project and work by students. Faculty members who are in any doubt as to whether REB approval is necessary must consult the Chair of the REB well before students begin classroom projects.


The Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics has developed an Online Tutorial, TCPS 2: Course on Research Ethics (CORE).  It was designed to support the Canadian research community's implementation of the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement for the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).

The Canadian Institutes for Health Research have a number of publications on ethics such as Best Practices for Protecting Privacy in Health Research and Aboriginal Ethics Policy. For more information about ethics at CIHR, visit the CIHR site.

To transfer research data pertaining to research involving humans, it has been recommended by UNBC Information Technology Services that faculty, staff and students use

Northern Health

If you are conducting research in conjunction with Northern Health, please contact their Research Review Committee for information on their review processes or visit their webpage at the link below. You are also required to complete and attach the Northern Health Authority Supplement form to your UNBC REB application, which can be found on our Forms page.