Research Ethics Board

The Research Ethics Board (REB) exists to ensure proper ethical procedures are employed in research that involves human participants. Our guidelines are extracted from the Tri Council Policy Statement (TCPS (2018). For more information see Canadian Guidelines). Researchers wishing to conduct research involving human participants must have their project approved by the REB before active research begins.  

The following tutorial will give both researchers and members of the REB very helpful insight into the criteria considered in the process of granting ethics approval.

TCPS 2 (2018) Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE)    

NB: All forms and templates mentioned below are available in the link "Forms and Templates."

Submitting an Application for REB Approval  

Researchers interested in submitting an application for ethics approval must do so by using the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal. Applications must be received by the  "Submission Deadline" in order to be considered at the next meeting. You are encouraged to download and review the application template before completing your application online. Instructions:

1. After logging in to ROMEO, click Apply New (upper right).

2. Choose Research Ethics Board (REB) Application.

3. Follow instructions, complete all sections, upload file attachments. 

4. You may save and close and exit at any time, but to continue editing in a new session, go to Role: Principal Investigator, select Applications: Drafts, then Edit. Continue editing. 

5. Save, press submit. In the pop up box type “OK”. You will receive a confirmation of submission email message.

6. Be sure to always click on “log out” in the upper right corner, whenever you finish a ROMEO session.

Please ensure that your submission is free of spelling, grammatical and typographical errors. Applications found to contain multiple errors may be returned to the researcher for revisions prior to being reviewed by the Board.

Please consult the following documents:

  • "Guidelines and Requirements for Invitation to Participate and Consent Forms" contains templates and useful REB checklists.
  • "Commonly Requested Changes" (1 April 2016).
  • Fleisch-Kincaid analysis: Question 6 on the REB application deals with Plain Language Usage. If you are concerned about the reading/comprehension level of your participants, Microsoft offers an analysis tool that can assess the grade level of a document. You may find this useful to determine if the content of your research is appropriate for the participants involved. Click here for instructions on how to activate this feature in Microsoft word.

Expedited Reviews 

If you are external to STFX and already have a project approved by another institution, or you are internal to STFX and are part of a team where you already have a project approved by another institution, you may request an expedited review. All changes and events (protocol, funding, file renewal, closure, etc) should be reviewed at the first approving institution and StFX should be notified when these changes have been made.  Instructions:

1. After logging in to ROMEO, click Apply New (upper right).

2. Choose Research Ethics Board (REB) Application (expedited, external).

3. Follow instructions, upload file attachments. 

4. You may save and close and exit at any time, but to continue editing in a new session, go to Role: Principal Investigator, select Applications: Drafts, then Edit. Continue editing. 

5. Save, press submit. In the pop up box type “OK”. You will receive a confirmation of submission email message.

6. Be sure to always click on “log out” in the upper right corner, whenever you finish a ROMEO session.

What do I need to know once approval has been granted?

The REB administrative assistant notifies the Research Grants Office (RGO) and the Finance Services when ethics approval has been granted and when REB approval has been extended for another year.

Anniversary dates: You are required to submit reports to the REB on or before the anniversary date. This will be required each year following approval until the project is reported to be completed. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to have these reports completed and submitted on time. You will be reminded of this obligation as the anniversary of original approval approaches. 

If a project is not officially closed with the REB before the next anniversary date, the principal investigator will receive a Notice of Approaching Anniversary. The project can be formally declared as complete at that time.

Protocol changes: The principal investigator is obligated to inform the REB as soon as possible with respect to protocol changes that affect the informed consent of participants (TCPS 2 (2018) - Article 3.3).

Requests for changes in protocol can be made by submitting the REB Protocol Change Request event form in ROMEO (see FAQ for detailed instructions). Principal investigators should consider the changes in the levels of risk and vulnerability of the participants and how they plan to address these changes. The addition of new funding also requires the submission of a REB Protocol Change Request. 

StFX REB Approval for Undergraduate Research Projects
Ethics approval is required for all undergraduate research with human participants.

Honours Students. In accordance with Tri-Council policy, all honours students' research with human participants must be approved by the University Research Ethics Board. Honours students must download this WORD STFX Research Ethics Board (REB) Application Form, and complete and submit to the departmental or program Ethics Committee. Once that review is complete, the chair of the departmental or program REB, on behalf of the student, forwards the application using the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal. It is important to note, the chair will have to be entered as the PI in order to submit the application.  This will be updated to the student's name once the REB has received the application and the chair will no longer have access to the file.  Once REB review is completed, the approved protocol and approval letter will be made accessible to both the student and supervisor in ROMEO. This two-part process is intended to recognize departmental expertise in subject areas and to meet the Tri-Council guidelines. The StFX REB does not wish to delay honours students' research, so every effort will be made to review these projects in an efficient manner. However, special attention will be paid to research projects involving high risk and/or particularly vulnerable groups of participants.

Other Undergraduate Research. Ethics approval for other undergraduate research and for course-based research will continue to be reviewed at the departmental level only.

Further information

REB Policy Statement (St.FX)

More information on Canadian consultation, deliberative bodies, and ethical research as it pertains to Aboriginal peoples can be found in the menu near the top left of this page.

Questions or concerns 

If you have any general or specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the REB as indicated in the menu on this page.