How to prepare and submit a new ethics review board application
1. Confirm that your public health unit (PHU) has an existing board of record agreement with Public Health Ontario (PHO)
PHUs must have an existing board of record agreement (BOR) with PHO before accessing ethics review services.
If your PHU does not have a BOR agreement with us contact email@example.com.
Multi-site PHU Projects
A multi-site/multi-jurisdictional project involving more than one PHU may be eligible to use PHO as a single, centralized ethics review board. For more information, see PHO's Centralized Ethics Review Process FAQs or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Determine whether your project is an evidence-generating activity involving humans, their information or biological materials
PHO’s approach to ethics review applies to research as well other types of evidence-generating projects involving humans (e.g., evaluation, quality improvement and enhanced surveillance). Applicants should refer to their existing internal policies and procedures to determine whether a project is an evidence-generating activity that warrants ethics review. Contact your PHU’s ethics designate for additional information.
Completion of TCPS 2: CORE (Course on Research Ethics) online tutorial is mandatory for the lead applicant. This document is not required if it has previously been submitted to PHO Ethics Services. The online tutorial is an introduction to the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) and provides fundamental guidance on the ethics of research involving human participants.
4. Complete the Risk Screening Tool (RST) Questionnaire
A completed RST questionnaire is required for all project submissions to assess the appropriate level of ethics review. PHO’s Ethics Services will validate the RST score and determine the final level of review.
Our ethics review service applies to projects with a validated RST score of 2 (delegated review) or 3 (full board review). For low risk projects, Levels 0 and 1, we provide consultation services to support capacity development in the review and assessment of ethical risks. Please contact email@example.com to book a consultation.
For more information on how to complete the RST questionnaire, please refer to the Risk Screening Tool Guidelines and FAQs or contact your PHU’s ethics designate.
5. Complete the ERB application form
PHO’s ERB Application Form is the key source of information used by the Board to assess the ethical acceptability of a project. The form was developed in consultation with PHUs to ensure local applicability.
If you require assistance completing your ERB application and supporting material, contact your PHU’s ethics designate.
6. How to prepare and submit your application.
The following documents must be included in your application:
- completed Risk Screening Tool questionnaire
- completed Ethics Review Board Application form
- additional supporting material, such as consent forms, questionnaires, recruitment material, data collection tools, privacy assessments, etc. For assistance with consent forms, please refer to PHO’s ERB Consent Form Guidelines and ERB Information Letter and Consent Form Template.