Research Ethics Board

Guidance for research during COVID-19: 

NOTICE: All non-essential on-site research activities at Osler are suspended until further notice

Please note that during the COVID-19 outbreak, in accordance with Ontario Government and Osler Policies regarding COVID-19, recent action taken by other Research Institutions in Ontario and Canada, and FDA Guidance, all non-essential on-site research activities involving human participants are temporarily suspended. Research activities involving recruitment or direct contact with participants may only continue if ceasing such activity might pose risks to participant safety, or if it is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Where possible, Investigators are encouraged to explore virtual options for participant visits or communication with research participants and seek REB approval for such changes.

The REB will continue to review and approve submissions during this time, but initiation or implementation of newly approved submissions will be contingent upon evolving institutional policies and recommendations. Principal Investigators are encouraged to consult with their Department Heads for further guidance.

Osler REB will be operating as normal, with modified procedures as per SOP 501.002. Clinical research studies that are part of essential clinical care and/or are related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be given priority.

Until further notice, the REB Office will be closed. Please submit all REB applications to the ethics inbox at

  • Include in the subject line: REB#, PI Name, Type of submission

Continuously refer back to this page for further updates. Please see our COVID-19 FAQs for more details.

William Osler Health System’s Research Ethics Board (REB) exists to ensure all research meets current scientific, regulatory, and ethical standards. All research involving patients, physicians, staff, students (i.e., research within the institution or using institutional resources), volunteers or visitors, must obtain ethical approval from the REB before research can begin. The REB has similar responsibility for investigators from other institutions who may wish to carry out research on Osler premises or with Osler patients. The REB reviews and approves research studies that meet acceptable ethical, regulatory and scientific standards and for which adequate facilities and resources are available. The REB also provides advice on the ethical, scientific and technical aspects of planning research projects. Heads of Departments / Divisions / Programs are responsible for ensuring that all such research is submitted for ethics review. To apply for Osler REB review, please visit our conducting research at Osler webpage for more details.

The REB operates in compliance with the Tri Council Policy Statement 2 (TCPS2): Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (2010), the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Guidelines, Part C Division 5 of the Food and Drug Regulations of Health Canada and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA-Ontario 1998, updated through November 2005).

General Questions

In the event that an investigator cannot determine whether an intended investigation constitutes research (for instance, quality improvement studies do not constitute research), the investigator should contact the REB.

Ron Heslegrave, PhD
Corporate Chief of Research 
(905)494-2120 ext. 57767

Michelle Dimas, MSc
Research Ethics Board Coordinator 
(905)494-2120 ext. 50448

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