Research Ethics & Compliance Office

ocean waves crashing into rocks


Artificial Intelligence Systems: Island Health Research Ethics Guide
The Research Ethics & Compliance Office has released the first version of an AI guidance document that strives to provide Island Health researchers with advice and resources on how to prepare for a smooth research ethics review of projects using artificial intelligence by either of the two Island Health research ethics boards. As a living document, this guidance is meant as a starting point only. April 2024.

REB Review Deadlines
Full board review is generally required for research that involves surgery, clinical interventions, or the analysis of clinical data and research that is predominantly behavioural or social sciences related and above minimal risk. The monthly deadlines for full board review are listed here. Please be mindful of these deadlines if you are seeking research ethics approval. Applications submitted after 12 p.m. on the deadline date will be reviewed at the following full board meeting, 5 to 6 weeks later. December 2023

New Guide on Collecting Data on Race and Ethnicity
In June 2023, BC Stats, through the Ministry of Citizens' Services, released a Guide on Using Categorical Race and Ethnicity Variables to support anti-racism research in British Columbia. This tool will help users of administrative and survey data to appropriately and consistently incorporate race and ethnicity variables into their projects. August 2023

Case Reports and Research Ethics Review at Island Health
Individual patient case reports may not meet the definition of research, depending upon the intent of the report. Research Ethics Board (REB) staff should be contacted for a consultation and discussion if you are planning to conduct a case report, and prior to beginning. Please visit our page on Exemptions from Research Ethics Review for guidance and more information. March 2023

Staff change to Operational Review and Institutional Approvals
Julita Traylen will be in an Acting role as Research Administrative Coordinator and support the review and issue of Institutional Approvals. If you have any questions related to Research Operational Review, please email We appreciate your patience while Julita moves into this role. We are very appreciative of Julita for taking on this important task to support research at Island Health. February 2023

Research Ethics British Columbia (REBC) has launched a training webinar for the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP)
Navigating Harmonized Research Ethics. This webinar is designed to support Researchers through the Harmonized Research Ethics process. August 2022

Health Canada Notice
Period reduced for keeping clinical trial records for drugs and natural health products.
 The notice previously stated that the change in record retention applied only to trials authorized in the last 15 years. It now states that it is for any trials previously approved that still had on-going record retention requirements. April 2022

Updated Memo: April 5, 2022 – Retention Period Reduced for Keeping Clinical Trial Records for Drugs and Natural Health Products

Important COVID-19 Notice: Clinical Trials and Health Research Operations at Island Health 

Island Health research is focused on reducing risks for research participants and the public, and on proactively ensuring that resources are prioritized and available to support the COVID-19 response.

For information regarding Research at Island Health and COVID-19, please go to Conduct Research with Island Health.

For current information regarding COVID-19, Research Ethics, Operational Review, and Compliance please go to COVID-19 and Research Ethics & Compliance.

Researchers submitting a COVID-19 clinical research ethics application that includes or intends to include Island Health must notify the Manager of Clinical Research by email to at the time of submission to support coordination and planning. Please read this notice for further details. 

COVID-19 Operations Update 

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.

Approval to Conduct Research

In order to conduct research at Island Health, Principal Investigators must obtain:

Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2)

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS or the Policy) is a joint policy of Canada's three federal research agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), or "the Agencies."

This Policy expresses the Agencies' continuing commitment to the people of Canada to promote the ethical conduct of research involving humans. It has been informed, in part, by leading international ethics norms, all of which may help, in some measure, to guide Canadian researchers, in Canada and abroad, in the conduct of research involving humans.

This edition introduces the second set of substantive changes to the Policy since the second edition of the TCPS was launched in 2010. It reflects the commitment of the Agencies to keep the TCPS current and responsive to the ethical issues that arise in the course of research involving humans. Most importantly, it reflects the feedback, questions and requests for guidance expressed by the research community, and the responses generated by the Panel on Research Ethics and the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research. With these revisions to the Policy, as well their interpretation service and outreach functions, the Panel and Secretariat seek to facilitate the integration of ethics into the design and conduct of research involving humans.

NEW – TCPS 2: CORE-2022

Since, April 2020, Island Health has required the completion of TCPS 2 (2018) online tutorial “Course on Research Ethics” (CORE) for all researchers and study team members conducting research at Island Health.

The revised online tutorial TCPS 2: CORE-2022 is designed as an introduction to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethics Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2 2018), which was originally released in June 2019. The new version consists of nine (9) modules and is applicable to all research involving humans, regardless of discipline or methodology. Changes in this version include integration into the CORE tutorial of “Module A9 – Research Involving Indigenous Peoples.” The CORE-2022 tutorial will be required for all researchers and study team members conducting research involving humans.


The CORE-2022 tutorial will be required for all researchers and study team members conducting research involving humans.

Deadline for completion: July 1, 2023

Single Jurisdiction - Submitting through Island Health’s Research Services Portal only

If submitting a research ethics application through Island Health’s Research Services Portal, attestation by the Principal Investigator (PI) to the completion of the CORE tutorial for all research team members, including the PI, can be found within the research ethics application.

Multi-Jurisdiction – Submitting through UBC’s RISe 

If submitting a multi-jurisdictional (harmonized) research ethics application through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP) on UBC’s RISe, further information on TCPS 2 (2018) training requirements can be found on UBC’s Office of Research Ethics ‘Online Tutorials + Training’ page.

Registration for CORE: 2022 Tutorial

When registering, please affiliate with ‘Vancouver Island Health Authority’, if not affiliated with another institution already.

Training Documentation

CORE: 2022 completion certificates for all research team members will be held within the Investigator’s training documentation. Review of certificates may be requested by the Research Ethics Boards or Research Compliance.


TCPS2 2018 Policy Statement
CORE 2022 tutorial
Memo: March 11, 2022 – RE: TCPS: CORE-2022 Training 
Memo: December 17, 2021 - RE: New TCPS 2 Course On Research Ethics (CORE) Tutorial Launching January 2022
Visit the Training & Compliance page to review the Guidance for Research Training Requirements

Research Ethics Harmonization for Multi-Jurisdictional Studies at Island Health

Researchers who must obtain multiple ethical approvals from separate BC research ethics Boards (such as UVic, UBC, BC Cancer, or another BC health authority) must now do so using the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP). All new research projects that involves both UVic and Island Health must be completed in PREP.

UBC Family Practice Resident Research, UBC Dietetic students, UBC Pharmacy Residents and UBC Faculty of Medicine Summer Student Research Program (FoM SSRP) must also use PREP to submit their ethics application. Refer to the UBC Guidance document.

Please visit here for instructions on how to get started.

Further Considerations for Clinical Trials:

  1. Clinical Trial Agreement between Island Health, Principal Investigator, and Sponsor
  2. Health Canada Letter of No Objection (NOL)
  3. Clinical Trial Registration number with a non-profit clinical trials registry, e.g.
  4. CIHR Policy Guide for CIHR-funded clinical trials – Requirements for Registration and Disclosure of Results from Clinical Trials

QI/QA and Program Evaluation Projects

Although Quality Improvement (QI) and Quality Assurance (QA) projects do not undergo a formal review by a research ethics board (REB), they still require appropriate organizational oversight. As per TCPS 2 (2018), Article 2.5, they fall outside the scope of research ethics review but they may still have ethical considerations. Institutions may implement review processes in order to address these and indicate the project has been exempted from REB review. Island Health offers the QI Ethics consult process.

If you are unsure if your project would be considered QI or Research, please consider completing the Quality Improvement (QI) Ethics Decision Making Tool and Registry created by Island Health.

Additional approvals for grant-funded studies:

  1. Grant Contribution Agreement

Additional approvals for external affiliated researchers:

  1. Research Affiliation/Collaboration Agreement (inter-institutional)
  2. Study Specific Researcher Affiliation Agreement


Research Ethics & Compliance Office 
Queen Alexandra Centre
Main Building, Room 205
2400 Arbutus Rd
Victoria, B.C.
V8N 1V7



E. Sarah Bennett
250-519-6706 ext. 36706 

Health Research 

Victoria Philibert, Research Ethics Coordinator (Health Research Ethics Board)
250-519-5300 x 36212

Clinical Research 

Karen Medler, Research Ethics Coordinator
250-519-5300 ext. 36207

Joey Pearson, Administrative Assistant, Research Ethics (CREB, General Inquiries)
250-519-5300 ext. 36210

Operational or Institutional Approval

Julita Traylen, Research Administrative Coordinator
250-519-6726 ext. 36726

Research Compliance

Tracy Wong, Research Quality Assurance Specialist
250-519-5300 ext. 36220  

Looking for forms?