PHO Ethics Review and Support Services for Public Health Units


22 May 2019

Research and evaluation projects led by Ontario public health units (PHUs) are integral to informing the development and delivery of programs and services to Ontario communities. Until last summer, many PHUs did not have access to a TCPS2-compliant Research Ethics Board to review these projects. In July 2018, PHO began offering ethics review and support services to all PHUs in order to enhance the ethical conduct of research and evaluation projects in Ontario.

Our ethics services review the ethical acceptability of research and evaluation projects by:

  • providing a unique public health lens, 
  • focusing on communities and populations, and not just individual participants.

For example, we consider interactions between project teams and their communities, such as issues surrounding conflicts of interest and the role of community members on project teams.

PHO’s Ethics Services include:

Ethics review and oversight services 

  • TCPS2-compliant ethics review of public health projects
  • Delegated or full board review regardless of the type of project (e.g. research, evaluation, quality improvement and enhanced surveillance)
  • A single, centralized ethics review board for projects involving multiple PHUs

Capacity Building and Support Services

  • Ethics consultations on project-related issues 
  • A forum for ethics designates to share and learn from each other
  • Supporting and developing capacity in the assessment of ethical risks and review of low risk projects

Resources and Education

  • Easy access to service information, tools and resources
  • Regular education sessions

For more information check out our:

Or contact us at:

Chat icon



Updated 22 May 2019