COVID-19 and Research Ethics & Compliance

Please note: the Research Ethics & Compliance Office remains open during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have, however, moved to full-time telework to protect our staff and their families. Therefore, all communication should be conducted through email. During this time we will do our best to respond to your communication and provide our normal level of service as efficiently as possible. Contact the Research Ethics & Compliance Office.

Current Research Ethics & Compliance Information Regarding COVID-19

June 2, 2020

We are now starting the gradual resumption of non-COVID-19 research at Island Health. Please refer to this notice for further information. To assist researchers with their applications, refer to this update about research ethics review, and resumption of research at Island Health

For a direct link to the Resumption or Initiation of Research at Island Health Form click here.

May 29, 2020

Health Canada issued an interim order regarding the conduct of COVID-19 clinical trials on May 23, 2020. Please review the following PDF for more details.

Information on Health Canada’s Interim Order Respecting Clinical Trials for Medical Devices and Drugs Relating to COVID-19

May 22, 2020

The gradual resumption of research including non-COVID-19 is now beginning. Additional guidance, policies and processes will be developed over the coming weeks. Please refer to the initial notice from Research Ethics & Compliance regarding conducting research at Island Health at this time.

Changes will be made given the circumstances of the pandemic.

More details will be posted at Research & Capacity Building

It is the responsibility of researchers to be familiar and act within the guidelines posted. To help researchers with their applications please refer to this update about research ethics review, approvals, and resumption of research at Island Health.

Use of virtual tools in research

Island Health’s Research Ethics & Compliance, together with our Research Privacy Specialist, has created a guidance for the use of virtual tools in research specific to Island Health requirements.

May 21

Clinical Research Training Requirements during COVID-19

April 27, 2020

Notification of Intent to Conduct COVID-19 Related Clinical Research at Island Health

Please refer to the memo Island Health – COVID-19 Clinical Research – Notice of Intent for a current notice regarding clinical research at Island Health.

April 17, 2020

Research Ethics BC (REBC) has announced a Rapid Ethical Review Process for Provincial Clinical Research Pertaining to COVID-19. This process has received agreement from all REBs in BC. You can find the details including guidance, FAQs, and a review flowsheet on their website.

March 30, 2020

Please refer to the most recent general Research Ethics Guidance from our office. The REBs have provided their own guidance and directions for researchers. Please review PRIOR to submitting your research ethics documents and applications.

Island Health Research Ethics Guidance, March 25, 2020

SOP 525 REB Review During Publicly Declared Emergencies, V 1.0

Operational Review of Research at Island Health

March 30, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Research & Capacity Building is focused on reducing risks for research participants and the public, and on proactively ensuring that health system resources are prioritized and available to fully respond to this public health emergency as it develops.

Therefore, until further notice, our department:

  • is suspending the initiation of new clinical trials and clinical/health research projects, with the exception of those related to COVID-19
  • is suspending recruitment into existing trials with the exception of those related to COVID-19
  • may delay the issuing of Institutional Approval due to limited resources at this time

Initiation of and enrollment into clinical trials, and research as well as health research studies that are a part of essential care or that have significant cost or time-related implications or other specific circumstances will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, in cooperation with the Sponsor (if applicable) where Island Health resources permit.

If you have questions or concerns about your research study and its operational review, please contact Kim Horie at If you have questions specific to research ethics and compliance, please contact E. Sarah Bennett at

Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB) and Health Research Ethics Board (HREB) Guidances


March 30, 2020

Island Health CREB Guidance During COVID-19 - March 27, 2020

COVID-19 ICF Addendum - March 26, 2020


March 30, 2020

HREB Guidance (HREB) Co-Chairs’ Bulletin 1 - March 27, 2020

HREB Review Process During COVID-19 - March 26, 2020

March 22, 2020

Please refer to this notice regarding clinical trials and research operations at Island Health in light of COVID-19.