All human research conducted by members of Island Health, or involving Island Health facilities, patients, residents, clients, staff, physicians, current data holdings or other resources, requires ethical approval as part of the Institutional Approval process.
Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are independent committees authorized to review the ethical acceptability of research and to approve, reject, propose modifications to, or terminate any proposed or ongoing research involving human participants.
Island Health’s REBs are independent in their decision-making, and they are required to operate free of inappropriate influence, including situations of real, potential or perceived conflict of interest. Island Health may not override REB decisions concerning the ethical acceptability of a study.
There are two REBs providing review services for Island Health in accordance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS 2 2018), the International Conference on Harmonization Good Clinical Practice Guidelines (ICH-GCP) and the requirements of the US Department of Health and Human Services, as set out in the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, 45CFR Part 46, sub-part A.
Research taking place in additional locations in British Columbia may be eligible for harmonized ethical review. Applications for multi-jurisdictional research will no longer be accepted in any other format than PREP applications on RISe.
Determine your REB
Submit your ethics application to the appropriate Island Health REB.
- Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB)
The CREB reviews research that involves surgery, clinical interventions (the administration or testing of drugs, medical devices, medical imaging or diagnostic techniques, and the taking of blood or other specimens), and the analysis of clinical data. The CREB will also review clinical studies involving registries and/or the linkage of databases.
New research applications for CREB consideration will generally require review at a full board meeting. The deadlines for full board review are listed below. Please note that all electronic submissions are deemed received when they have been acknowledged by the Research Ethics & Compliance Office as fully complete and ready for review.
- Health Research Ethics Board (HREB)
The HREB reviews research that is predominantly behavioural or social sciences related. Studies may involve the study of patients or healthcare providers and retrospective chart reviews. Studies also may involve interviews, focus groups, observations, the administration of questionnaires or tests, or retrospective chart review (where no clinical interventions are performed as part of the study).
Minimal risk studies submitted to the HREB are sent for review as they are received. No meeting dates or deadlines apply. Above minimal risk studies are reviewed at the next scheduled HREB meeting. Researchers will be contacted if this is necessary. The deadlines for full board review are listed below. All electronic submissions are deemed received when they have been acknowledged by the Research Ethics & Compliance office as fully complete and ready for review.
CREB Membership Lists