Research Ethics Appeal Process

Procedure Number: 
Policy Number: 
Vice-President, Academic
Vice President, Academic
November 17, 2009
Last Amended: 
October 2, 2012
September 2, 2016
Procedure Statement: 

NOTE:  This procedure is consistent with the Tri-Council Policy Statement TCPS2 Chapter 6: Governance of Research Ethics Review, Section C, Reconsideration and Appeals

In situations where the Research Ethics Board (REB) rejects the original Request for Ethical Review, the Chair, REB will notify the Dean, Office of Applied Research & Graduate Studies (OARGS) of the decision. The Dean, OARGS will review the REB decision and notify the Researcher, in writing, within 10 working days of receipt of the decision.

1.    Informal Appeal Process

a.  Within 20 working days of receipt of the REB decision, the Researcher may request informal reconsideration of the decision.

b.  The REB will only reconsider those cases where the Researcher(s) can clearly demonstrate the proposal has been adapted or adjusted based on the reasons given for the negative decision.

c.  The REB decision regarding the informal appeal will be communicated in writing to the Dean, OARGS. The Dean, OARGS will communicate the decision to the Researcher and to the Chair, REB.

2.    Formal Appeal Process

If, after reconsideration, the REB’s decision remains negative, the Researcher(s) may challenge the decision by submitting a Notice of Appeal to the Vice President, Academic.

a.  The Notice of Appeal must be in writing and delivered to the Vice President, Academic with a copy to the Dean, OARGS, within twenty (20) working days from the time that the appellant is informed of the REB decision. The Notice of Appeal must include:

  • A copy of the decision by the REB;
  • The Appellant’s reason(s) for challenging the decision of the REB must be based solely on:
    • the criteria for ethical review;
    • patently unreasonable decisions based on material fact;
    • want of procedural fairness in the ethical review process;
    • the resolution being sought; and
    • any additional relevant information, not previously submitted, that would help the Vice President Academic understand the matter at issue.

b.  Within twenty (20) working days of receiving the Notice of Appeal, the Vice President Academic or delegate will establish a three-person appeal committee to hear the appeal (the “Appeal Committee”). Members of the Appeal Committee must include a person or persons with similar background and qualifications to the members of the REB, but not having been involved with the original Request for Ethical Review process. It may also include: a Dean; a Divisional Director; Director, Human Resources; Registrar; persons with knowledge of the area of research or any other such person that the VP Academic may choose. The Vice President Academic will chair this Committee.

c.  The Appeal Committee will review the Notice of Appeal and supporting documentation and respond within ten (10) days of receiving the Notice of Appeal. This will include procedures giving the Appellant an opportunity to present his or her submission of appeal in writing or in person. It may also include:

  • A request for written submissions from any interested person, including the Dean, OARGS and the researcher’s colleagues;
  • An opportunity for the Appellant to attend before the Appeal Committee to make submissions and answer questions; and
  • Such other procedures as the Appeal Committee may deem appropriate.

d.  The Appeal Committee will function impartially, provide a fair hearing for the Appellant and provide reasoned and appropriately documented opinions and decisions. The Committee will:

  • dismiss the Appeal; or
  • Declare the REB decision void and direct the REB to reconsider the Appeal, ensuring that the REB is compliant with the terms and references upon which it is established.

e.  The Appeal Committee will render a decision, in writing, within ten (10) working days of the completion of the appeal process.

f.  The decision of the Appeal Committee is final and binding.

g.  The Vice President Academic will inform the Appellant of the decision, with a copy to the Dean, OARGS and to the Chair, REB.

3.    Privacy and Confidentiality

a.  The Dean, and the Administrative Assistant, OARGS will be responsible for keeping and controlling access to records. Such records will be kept in accordance with the Institute’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Policy.  

b.  The privacy of the Researcher and any associated colleagues, funding agencies or other organizations will be protected.

Last updated July 30, 2015