Research ethics

More and more research is being conducted within Vitalité Health Network. It is necessary as it :

  • Contributes to improving the population’s health and well-being;
  • Contributes to improving services;
  • Promotes skills maintenance.

Research must however meet nationally and internationally recognized ethical standards. The Network has therefore formed a Research Ethics Board responsible for maintaining /complying with the highest standards of research ethics and scientific integrity.

The Research Ethics Board (REB)

The REB evaluates research projects being conducted within Vitalité Health Network.

Terms of reference

The mandate of the REB consist in evaluating the ethical acceptability of research projects involving human subjects and of research involving human biological materials before authorizing them to be implemented or continued. The REB is guided by principles set out in the Tri-Council Policy Statement as well as by all other nationally and internationally recognized ethical standards.

The Tri-Council Policy Statement is a joint policy of three federal research agencies:

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Its principles are:

  • respect for research participants who serve as human subjects;
  • the participants’ well-being;
  • justice.

Responsibilities

The REB is responsible for:

  • protecting research participants who serve as human subjects;
  • Protecting participants’ rights, safety, well-being and dignity;
  • Monitoring approved research projects;
  • Educating researchers and REB members.

Which projects need to be examined by the REB of Vitalité Health Network?

The REB reviews all research projects featuring at least one of the following characteristics:

  • The project will be at least partially conducted within one or several facilities;
  • Subjects will be recruited from the patients or staff or from records retained;
  • Some subjects recruited as part of an external research project will become patients of the Network because of the utilization of resources of one or several facilities;
  • The project will use human remains, cadavers, tissues, body fluids, embryos, or foetuses available in one of the facilities;
  • The researchers state that one or several facilities are participating;
  • The researchers state that they are affiliated with one or multiple facilities;
  • The project will use human, physical or financial resources belonging to one or several facilities.

Project evaluation

The REB has adopted a proportional ethical evaluation method based on the general principle that the more invasive the proposed research, the more carefully it must be evaluated.

The REB has two levels of evaluation:

  • Full evaluation of projects by the REB (full committee);
  • Delegated evaluation of projects performed by the chair and two members of the REB.

The Ethics Office determines the circumstances under which delegated evaluation of a research project is appropriate. The decision is based on the minimal risk threshold: whereby prospective participants, by participating in a research project, will incur no more inconveniences than they would normally face during daily life activities.

What authority does have the REB?

The REB has the authority to approve, reject, recommend changes to, or discontinue any research proposed or under way. The decision rendered can be one of the following:

  • final approval;
  • conditional approval (which needs final approval)
  • rejection;
  • order to discontinue a research that was already given final approval.

Any research involving human participants must be
examined and approved by the REB before research
activities are undertaken.

Committee Membership

The REB is made up of individuals who have the training and expertise required to adequately judge the ethical aspect of research projects submitted. The REB is made up of at least 10 members:

Chair
Mrs. Pierrette Fortin

Vice-chair
Mr. Mark Sinclair

Quantitative research expert member
Mr. Michael Kemp

Qualitative research expert member
Mrs. Jacinthe Beauchamp

Ethics expert member
Mrs. Pierrette Fortin
Mrs. Marie-Noëlle Ryan (alternate)

Expert in research methods and fields
Mr. Mark Sinclair
Mr. Michael Kemp

Member with a legal background
Mrs. Marie-Andrée Mallet
Mr. Marc Deveau (alternate)

Clinical member (medicine)
Dr. Lucie Morais
Dr. Sylvie Katanda

Clinical member (nursing)
Mrs. Marie-Noëlle Paulin
Mrs. Anne Pelletier

Community member
Mrs. Linda Thériault Godin

When does the REB meet?

For the dates of REB meetings, please contact the Ethics Office: