Ethics Communication Bulletin

Important Updates

In-Person Human Participant Research

  • Any previously approved in-person human participant research activity taking place in KFL&A only, and involving participants from KFL&A only, may resume
  • In-Person research involving human participants from outside KFL&A continues to be suspended with the following exceptions:
    • COVID-19 Research
    • Study involves in-person research where the participant is receiving a service that would be delivered/received regardless of the research (e.g., medical treatment)
    • Researchers currently in other regions or countries conducting approved in-person research, may continue, as long as they follow all applicable local public health directives and safety measures
    • Contact your Associate Dean of Research should you be unclear whether your human participant study can continue
  • New requests for in-person human participant research will be reviewed and approved by the central Research Response Team via your Associate Dean of Research. The process to start or resume in-person research can be found on Human Participant Research Guidelines and SOP page of the VPR website. Visit for the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19. 

Due to the current pandemic, The Office of Research Ethics Compliance will continue to work remotely until further notice. For faster responses to your inquiries reach out to either or

Virtual Research Guidelines

For all virtual research, project teams are expected to use Queen’s approved enterprise accounts which include Zoom and Microsoft Teams. For more information, please visit Queen’s IT Services.

View guidelines

Deactivation of GREB Multi-Jurisdictional Research Application Form

Read this bulletin

Communication Bulletin: Quality Initiative Screening Tool & Seeking PhD Candidate to serve on GREB

View this bulletin

Letter from Health Sciences and Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Ethics Board (HSREB) Chair – March 4, 2021

View March 4, 2021 HSREB letter

Letter from the General Research Ethics Board (GREB) Chair – March 4, 2021

View March 4, 2021 GREB letter

TRAQ users with an active ethics account (HSREB/GREB) are being contacted by the Office of Research Ethics Compliance regarding the proposed changes to the Panel on Research Ethics: Proposed Guidance for Public Consultation, Interpretation and Implementation of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2 2018).

The Office of Research Ethics Compliance will be drafting a response to send on behalf of the Research Ethics Boards and Queen’s University. We invite anyone from the Queen’s University research community who wishes to collaborate in this response to send written comments via email to Jennifer Couture, Manager Research Ethics Compliance no later than September 20, 2021. 

You can also submit your responses directly to PRE by email at by October 4, 2021, using the subject TCPS 2 CONSULTATION:

These documents (hyperlinked below) touch on the following themes:

  1. the review of multi-jurisdictional research;
  2. broad consent in research;
  3. the review of research involving cell lines; and
  4. research involving totipotent stem cells.

COVID- 19 Update - Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans TCPS 2 (2018) – 2020APR29

The Tri-Council released a statement for Research ethics review during COVID-19 publicly declared emergency. The update reminds REBs that even in a public emergency situation, full REB review is still required, and ethics clearance must not be bypassed. REBs can refer to the TCPS 2018 Chapter 6, Section D, Articles 6.21, 6.22 and 6.23.

View more information in the Tri-Council update 

Health Canada, FDA, OHRP COVID-19 Updates

  1. FDA Guidance on Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry, Investigators, and Institutional Review Boards  
  2. OHRP Guidance on Coronavirus | - Research Guidance on Coronavirus  
  3. Health Canada - Management of clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic: Notice to clinical trial sponsors  

Research Ethics Policy Updates
The HSREB has revised the Fee Policy, for more information view the HSREB Fee Policy webpage. 

Standard Operating Procedures
The following SOPs were updated to reflect changes in ethics training requirements due to implementing mandatory ethics training as of December 2, 2019.

The following resources were created to help researchers navigate virtually due to COVID-19.

The Ethics office is making an update to processing annual renewals and study closures. As of March 8, 2021, annual renewal letters will no longer be generated for GREB and HSREB. Instead this information will be communicated via email only. If you require records for auditing purposes refer to the email communication or in TRAQ select ‘Shared Communications’ and click the ‘preview’ icon. Study teams can also confirm the annual renewal or study status in TRAQ via the ‘Event Info’ in the ‘Note(s)’ box. 

In order to improve processing times, the HSREB will be moving forward with processing Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) and Protocol Deviations (PDs) through an official email acknowledgment. If your study sponsor requires a letter, indicate so in the shared comments. 

Indigenous Community Research Partnerships (ICRP) Training Resource is an online open education training resource . The Group for Ethics and Engagement in Indigenous Community Research Partnerships (EIP), author of the training resource, consists of partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, and Queen's University Arts and Science Online, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives . It is designed to assist researchers who are new to research in partnerships with Indigenous communities, or who are researchers-in-training, to:

  • Operationalize required regulatory policy requirements and research directives;
  • Ensure equitable inclusion of Indigenous and Western-oriented knowledge in research systems;
  • And, in the case of Indigenous-specific enquiry, to privilege or give primacy to Indigenous ways of knowing and doing;

The ICRP training is available online and on-demand and can be taken as a Queen's Certificate (available to those with a Queen's netID) or as an Open Access educational resource available to the public. The training resource is in the form of four modules, with a fifth module designed specifically for the Queen's University local context (coming soon!).  The training resource is designed to be completed at your own pace.  A certificate of completion will be issued to those who register and complete the training resource. 

New Application and Events HSREB GREB
New Research Applications  596 345
New COVID-19 Applications 89 46
New Clinical Trial Applications 41 N/A
New Health Canada Regulated Applications 16 N/A
Annual Renewals 1254 69
Amendments, adverse events, protocol deviations,  study closures 1957 358