Research Ethics

Research ethics review is a process of initial and ongoing review and monitoring of research involving human participants.

UBCO Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB)

The UBC Okanagan Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) reviews behavioural research conducted by investigators at the Okanagan campus, including behavioural and social science and humanities research and research that may have privacy implications or involve patient studies and clinical trials.

Behavioural studies do not involve the use of invasive procedures. They do include research involving interviews, observations, and the administration of questionnaires and tests.

Research involving clinical interventions such as the testing of drugs, medical devices and rehabilitation exercise programs, and/or the analysis of clinical data obtained from medical records or studies of a clinical nature involving the linkage of data from existing databases are reviewed by the Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB) housed at the Vancouver Campus.

UBCO BREB Procedures

  • All study members must complete the TCPS2 tutorial prior to submission; see full details below.
  • Above Minimal Risk applications: If your application is above minimal risk, please submit your application in RISe by midnight on the specified deadline date (dates are below) in order to have your application reviewed at the corresponding meeting. Note that meeting and deadline dates may change; review often.
  • Minimal Risk application: Applications that meet the criteria for minimal risk qualify for expedited review and are reviewed on an ongoing basis; there are no deadlines for expedited reviews.
  • Ethics applications will first go to your department head for review and approval; this may add extra time to your submission. Therefore, for above minimal risk studies, it is suggested that you submit your application at least THREE days before the deadline to allow for department review and approval.
  • Ethics applications are adjudicated by full-time faculty members who volunteer on the BREB. The review process for full board applications from submission to receipt of certificate of approval typically takes six to eight weeks. Minimal Risk applications are typically reviewed and approved within four to five weeks depending on volume.
  • Most correspondence related to a Full Board Review is sent out within two weeks of the meeting. Applications that meet the criteria for Minimal Risk projects typically take two weeks from submission to response. Amendments, renewals and replies to provisos typically take one to two weeks, although very minor amendments may be approved within a day or two.
  • If your application is incomplete or requires revisions because required information is not provided your application will be reviewed in chronological order by re-submission date. To avoid undue delay, please complete the application carefully and thoroughly prior to submission and if you have questions, please contact Lisa Shearer.
  • The UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) continues its concern for the safety of research participants, but it no longer requires researchers to submit Safe Research Plans for in-person research, except in the following circumstances:
    • Research with immunocompromised individuals
    • Research taking place internationally
    • Case by case high risk situations (researchers will be notified by the BREB)

    See for further information.

  • A Post-Approval Activity (PAA) for Annual Renewal should be submitted prior to the expiry date on the current Certificate of Approval.  The online database will send two email reminders before the Certificate expires. If the approval is not renewed, on the date of expiry, a notice will be sent to you and to your department head, advising you that the study is expired.  You will be given seven days to complete the renewal, after which the approval and the study will be suspended.

Failure to respond within seven days of the date of the notice of expiry will result in the suspension of the Study, and in one or more of the following actions being taken:

  • The REB may hold the review/approval of current or future submissions by the Principal Investigator or the Department until the status of these studies has been addressed.
  • The REB may be required to notify the funding agency/industry sponsor of the expiry of ethics approval for the study.
  • The REB will terminate the ethical approval on the RISe system.  Reactivation of the study thereafter will require a new application for ethical review.


After due consultation with the REB Chair and senior administration, the funding for the study will be frozen.

Renewal is not required to analyze data or write a paper; see information below on study completion.

After a study is approved changes can be made by submitting a Post Approval Activity for an Amendment in RISe. Amendments to studies should be changes within the scope of the original study, not new studies that are simply related to the original study.  They must be submitted for review prior to their implementation. Describe the changes in the PAA coversheet, revise the original application and attach revised versions of the letters or consent forms that have been affected by the change. Please do not remove information regarding currently approved procedures if you have actually used those procedures in the study, even if that component of the study is now complete.  The application should outline all aspects of the study, not merely the new elements you are requesting approval for.  Review of minor amendments will have a turn around time of one to two days. Amendments to studies should be changes within the scope of the original study, not new studies that are simply related to the original study.  If the procedures and data collection described in the original application for ethical review have now been completed, changes that involve new research questions and also entail new procedures, measures, or study populations should be submitted in a new application for ethical review.

If you are at the point where you will no further contact with participants for the purpose of data collection or research (e.g. for follow-up or verification) before the Certificate’s Expiry date please complete a Post Approval Activity (PAA) Completion of Behavioural Study. This will inform the BREB that the remaining research no longer requires certification because all data collection procedures described in the previously approved project have been completed. Article 6.14 of the TCPS states that “At minimum, continuing ethics review shall consist of an annual status report on the research, followed by an end-of-study report.” Submission of a Completion PAA is required to formally close your study.

  • Carolyn Szostak, Chair
  • Carlos Teixeira
  • Eric Li
  • Gillian Crawshaw, Community Member
  • Lisa Masini, Student Representative
  • Sarah Dow-Fleisner
  • Carla Hilario
  • Deanna Simonetto
  • Taryn Moore, Alternate Community Member (Legal Representative)
  • Kalee De France
  • Adam Saifer
  • Miranda Wardman (alternate Legal Representative)
Application Submission Deadline in RISe BREB Meeting Date
January 3 January 15
February 14 February 26
March 6 March 18
April 3 April 15
May 15 May 27
June 5 June 17
July 3 July 15 (Cancelled)
August 7 August 19
September 4 September 16
October 9 October 21
November 6 November 18
December 4 December 16

Lisa Shearer
Manager, Administration and Compliance
Office of Research Services
250-807-8832 | ADM006G

Rachel Howard
Research Ethics and Compliance Officer
Office of Research Services
250-807-8467 | ADM006 (WK02)