Multi-Jurisdictional Research

SFU Policy R20.01 “Ethics Review of Research Involving Human Participants”, Article 20, now permits the University to accept reviews undertaken by an external REB. Where there is a formal agreement between Simon Fraser University and the other institution(s) involved, and this agreement includes a commitment to adhere to the requirements of the Tri-Council Policy Statement, 2.

Such arrangements allow for alternative models for ethics review with the express purpose of facilitating collaborative research projects involving researchers, data or participants from more than one institution, helping to avoid redundant research ethics reviews.

The SFU research community should refer to the two following processes when preparing to submit their application for research ethics review that involves multi-jurisdictional Minimal-Risk research.

1) The BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative

BCEHI is a collaboration among the provincial health authorities and BC’s four major research universities, who collectively conduct 80 percent of the province’s human participant ethics reviews. These include Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Northern Health, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia (representing multiple institutions, Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care, BC Cancer Agency, Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of BC), University of Northern British Columbia, University of Victoria.

For more information on the BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative and for current news and updates please visit the BCEHI website

2) Previously Reviewed and Approved Minimal-Risk Research

If the research qualifies as Minimal-Risk research according to SFU criteria and it has been reviewed and approved by another Canadian research ethics board complaint with the TCPS 2, a research ethics application must still be submitted via the SFU ORE Database.

1. The SFU principal investigator (PI)* of the study must submit all documents approved by the other institution (protocol, consent forms, data collection tools, other research study materials, etc.) as well as the certificate of approval from that institution.

2. The SFU PI must submit a cover letter stating what their role in the research will be. If his/her role includes recruitment of participants, or conducting any of the study procedures with participants, or, the SFU PI is the grant holder of the study or the nominated PI the following must appear on the consent forms:

  • The SFU Logo, if other institutional logos appear on the consent form;
  • The contact information for complaints related to the study as follows: If you have any complaints about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, you may contact Dr. Jeffrey Toward, Director, Office of Research Ethics at jtoward@sfu.ca or 778-782-6593.

If for some reason the SFU PI cannot comply with the above stipulations, the SFU PI must explain why this information cannot or should not appear on the consent form (e.g. the SFU PI and his/her research assistants, graduate students etc. will not have any direct involvement with participants and s/he is not the nominated PI for the study).

If there are no substantial issues that arise after a review of the documents submitted and point 2 has been addressed satisfactorily, then a SFU letter of approval will be issued to the PI of the study.

* The SFU PI is considered the PI for the purpose of the submission of the study, but may not be  the overarching PI of the multi-jurisdictional study (e.g. the SFU PI is a co-investigator for the study, but is considered the PI for the purposes of the ethics application at SFU, because the PI of the multi-jurisdictional study is affiliated with another institution).

If you have any questions about these processes, please contact Sarah Bennett, Manager at:

778.782.3447 or sarah_bennett_2@sfu.ca