Guidelines for Using Draws as an Incentive for Human Participant Research

  • Note: This method of compensating/incentivizing study participants should only be used where participants are all in Canada. The laws referenced in the text are specific to offering this draw here in Canada. Offering the draw to someone in another jurisdiction may engage gaming laws in those jurisdictions. In addition, trying to pay someone outside Canada the winnings from such a game may present added hurdles. Please get in touch with the REB if further discussion is desired.
  • The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits awarding prizes for participation in any game of chance, or mixed skill and chance, where the entrant must pay valuable consideration to enter the draw. Completing a task, including filling out a survey, may be considered valuable consideration. To avoid this scenario, the draw must be open to those who choose not to participate in the research activity. Regardless of participation, all entrants must have an equal chance of winning the prize. 
  • In accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) , collecting information from participants to provide an incentive also requires the informed consent of the individuals to whom the information pertains. The informed consent must indicate what information is being collected and what the collected information will be used for.
  • For privacy purposes and to comply with PIPEDA, contact information collected to provide an incentive must be stored separately from research data. For example, if conducting an anonymous survey, a link at the end of the research-based survey must be included to direct participants to an external survey link so contact information for the draw can be provided. 
  • All contact information collected for the draw must be used only for that purpose and destroyed after the draw is completed and the prize(s) collected.

To be compliant with the Competition Act , the letter of information provided to all participants in the draw must include the following:

  • The number and value of the prize(s)
  • Any regional allocation of the prize(s). NOTE: It is your responsibility to ensure you comply with all legislation/institutional policies as applicable. Note that Quebec law may prescribe additional requirements where participants reside in that province.
  • The chance of winning (for surveys where the number of participants is yet unknown, state, “the odds of winning depend on the number of entries received”). Ensure all individuals, regardless of participation, have an equal chance to win the prize(s).
  • The contest closing date 
  • Any other known fact(s) that may affect the chances of winning (e.g., early-bird draws or the awarding of a series of prizes).

Additionally, the LOI/ICF must include the following statements:

  • “The draw will be held X days after the closing date and conducted by [available impartial third party]. The researcher will contact the winner. If the winner has not responded in [established timeline], the winner will forfeit the prize, and another draw will be held to determine a winner.”
  • “The prize(s) must be accepted as awarded or forfeited and cannot be redeemed for cash.”

Survey Wording for Entry into Draw

Research Survey Language: 

Thank you for participating in the survey. We want to offer you the opportunity to be included in a draw for [INCENTIVE/PRIZE] by adding your contact information when you are directed to a second survey. Your survey data will not be linked to any of the contact information you provided for the draw. 

Second Survey Language: 

Your name and email will remain confidential and will not be linked to your survey answers. The contact information collected for the draw will be stored separately from your survey responses. It will be permanently erased once the draw is completed and the prize(s) are awarded. Your odds of winning are based on the number of people participating in the survey. Entry into the draw will close on [DATE]. If you wish to be included in this draw, provide the following: 


Language for the Letter of Information/Consent Form: 

After submitting your survey responses, you will be directed to a separate survey and can enter your contact information to be entered into a draw for a chance to win [PRIZE]. Your odds of winning are based on the number of individuals who participate in the survey (approximately X people). You do not have to answer any questions if you do not want to, and you will still be directed to the second link to enter your contact information for the draw. Your name and email will be stored separately from your survey responses and permanently erased once the draw is complete. The survey will close on ‘X DATE.’ 

The Ethics Office recommends using bot prevention measures to ensure that you have actual human participants instead of bots entering these draws for compensation when conducting online surveys. 


REB Guidelines for Using Draws as an Incentive for Human Participant Research

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