FAQs (Updated May 30, 2023)

Below is a list of questions or common misconceptions from the REB survey conducted in 2022 to early 2023, and some frequently asked questions that the Ethics Office receives.



REB = Research Ethics Board

TCPS2 = Tri-Council Policy Statement

UAlberta REO = University of Alberta Research Ethics Office

HPRC = Human Participant Research Committee


No. We have made a decision to transition human ethics applications to the ARISE online platform hosted by UAlberta.

We view the current environment as a pilot test for what future options we have for supporting safe and ethical research with humans. Feedback will be sought throughout 2022 and 2023 to learn more about the benefits and challenges of sharing human ethics review and approval functions with UAlberta vs. hosting all functions solely at ULethbridge (while continuing to use the ARISE online platform).  Many options exist for a hybrid UAlberta-ULethbridge REB and we want to consider and discuss all options before making a decision.

Decisions will not be made without an extensive pilot period, consultation and feedback options, and consideration of both researcher workload and TCPS2 requirements.

The “Getting Started” document (linked here: Getting Started - University of Lethbridge applicants) lists the steps you need to follow. You will first complete the CCID request form (linked here: CCID Request Form), following which the UAlberta Research Ethics Office will send you an email containing a temporary password.  Once you set your permanent password, it may take 24-48 hours for the ARISE system to be updated, and then you will be able to sign in and use the ARISE system.

You can find a link to the ARISE login page on our website: Link to ARISE Login Page | University of Lethbridge (ulethbridge.ca). Click on the link, then sign in using your UAlberta CCID.

Contact the UAlberta Research Ethics Office at reoffice@ualberta.ca to troubleshoot your CCID. Do NOT contact the general IT help desk through UAlberta, as they will just direct you to the ethics office.  

You may have forgotten to change your preferred email address in ARISE to your ULethbridge email. Please check the “Getting Started” document (linked here: Getting Started - University of Lethbridge applicants) for steps on how to do this.

Your supervisor must also have access to the ARISE system (i.e. have a UAlberta CCID and be able to log in) AND have selected the “REB Supervisor” role to appear in the “supervisor” section of the form. Students must enter their supervisor before the ARISE application form will let them proceed beyond the first page. You will want to ensure that your supervisor has completed the first two steps in the “Getting Started” document at least one week before you plan to fill out your ethics application form to avoid delays.

The current average time from initial submission of a minimal risk ULethbridge ethics application to approval is around two weeks, with most ethics applications receiving approval in approximately one month. The REB specialist(s) and delegated reviewer(s) may request revisions as part of this process, so some of this timeframe depends on how quickly you are able to revise and submit the requested revisions.  Review times are also impacted by submission volume and reviewer availability.

Yes, ethics approval is required for all research involving human participants, their data, or their biological materials. The requirement for ethics approval rests on whether or not the project meets the definition of human participant research, regardless of whether the project is funded or not.

Yes, all research or activities that meet the criteria for human participant research, including student projects, require ethics approval prior to participant recruitment, data collection, or working with human biological materials.

Yes, all research or activities that meet the criteria for human participant research (including student projects that are part of courses such as independent studies or honours theses) require ethics approval prior to participant recruitment, data collection, or working with human biological materials.

Yes, all research or activities that meet the criteria for human participant research require ethics approval prior to participant recruitment, data collection, or working with human biological materials.  However, for student “mini” projects there is an abbreviated “Instructor/Course-Based” research project application form in the ARISE system that can be filled out by the instructor prior to the beginning course and/or prior to the students conducting their mini research projects. To access this abbreviated form, log into ARISE, create a “New Human Study”, and on the first page for “Type of research/study” in Section 1.1 (6.0), select “Instructor Course-based (where all students in a class, individually or in groups, conduct the same or similar MINIMAL risk research assignments, following project guidelines provided by instructor)”. For more information, please refer to the Course Based Guidelines. If you have additional questions about this process or would like assistance, please reach out to us at research.ethics@uleth.ca.

Please consult the following guidance Differences between Research, Quality Improvement and Quality Assurance for information on what qualifies as quality assurance/quality improvement.  It is advisable that you complete a Request a Determination of Ethics Review Form to receive an official determination from the REB.  As per the TCPS2, the REB has the final say as to the requirement for ethics approval. Erroneous self-determinations can lead to academic or other legal consequences.

Please fill out the Request a Determination of Ethics Review form (linked here: Request a Determination of Ethics Review (google.com)) and the UAlberta Research Ethics Office will get back to you with an official determination of whether or not your proposed project would require ethics approval.

At the beginning of November 2021, multiple issues suddenly arose that made it impossible for our REB (called the HPRC) to continue to function in accordance with the mandatory requirements from the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2). Since health/biomedical research at ULethbridge had been reviewed by the UAlberta Research Ethics Office (REO) since 2014, we arranged for the UAlberta REO to support all of our human ethics protocol revisions and approvals so as not to disrupt and halt research falling under these requirements. At this time, we have an ongoing temporary agreement with the UAlberta REO for them to review and approve all our human research ethics protocols, and we are strategizing a long-term solution.

This is certainly a possibility! Our office is diligently working towards seeing if this would be feasible by Spring 2024 or 2025. Our current arrangement with the UAlberta Research Ethics Office extends until Spring 2024, at which time our current arrangement would need to be renewed or our own REB would need to be fully up and running.

The most important requirement for getting our own REB back is having enough ULethbridge faculty members volunteer to serve on the REB. According to the TCPS2-2022 (linked here: Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2022) (ethics.gc.ca)), all REBs in Canada are required to have a minimum of 5 members with various types of expertise (in research, ethics, and relevant laws), and to have additional members in proportion to the number and types of ethics applications received. Here at ULethbridge, we would require a minimum of 10 members with various areas of research ethics expertise to meet the TCPCS2-2022 minimum requirements and to support the number and diversity of ethics applications we receive. 

*Note that health and biomedical research applications would continue to be reviewed by the UAlberta REB as mandated by the Minister of Health and the Health Information Act Designation Regulation. 

We are always looking for additional ULethbridge faculty members to serve on the current UAlberta/ULethbridge Shared REB! This is an excellent way to fulfill the service requirements of your faculty position. Faculty serving on the shared REB can generally expect to spend 4-6 hours per month reviewing ethics applications and attending regular meetings (depending on the specific REB they are serving on). For more information, or to volunteer, please contact our Ethics and Grant Coordinator at research.ethics@uleth.ca

The UAlberta Research Ethics Office has some great tutorial videos on their website that can be helpful for learning to complete a variety of functions in the ARISE system (linked here: Alberta Research Information Services (ARISE) System | Research + Innovation (ualberta.ca)). They are also able to provide ARISE training workshops on request (contact research.ethics@uleth.ca if interested), and our Ethics and Grant Coordinator is happy to meet with any ULethbridge researchers (including faculty, students, post-docs, and external researchers) to provide one-on-one or small group assistance either in-person or virtually. If you require assistance, please reach out to us at research.ethics@uleth.ca and we would be happy to assist you!

Yes, the change from the old paper-based system to the new online ARISE system was permanent and ongoing. Whether ULethbridge continues in our current agreement with the UAlberta Research Ethics Office or gets our own REB back, we will use the online ARISE system for the foreseeable future.

One of the main purposes of human research ethics review is to prevent the harm of participants or society as a result of research. Many of the past harms to human participants from research activities were within the realm of medical research, and these atrocities led to international guidelines for the treatment of human participants in research. Here in Canada, our national guideline is the Tri-Council Policy Statement for Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2-2022), and this policy takes a proactive approach to preventing the harm of human participants in research by upholding the three core principles: Respect for Persons, Concern for Welfare, and Justice.  In upholding these principles as defined in the TCPS2-2022, issues such as informed consent, voluntary participation in research, data confidentiality, assessment of the risks versus the benefits of participating, addressing real or potential conflicts of interest, and others are applicable to both medical research and non-medical research (such as interviews or surveys). While some of the requirements of the TCPS2-2022 may seem overly strict for human participant research in the social sciences and humanities, the same three core principles apply and must be upheld to protect human participants, society, and researchers.

While some of the questions in the ethics application form may seem daunting, it is important to keep in mind that the process requires us to consider these important and complex questions for good reasons that will ultimately improve the outcomes of our research, the validity of our data, and the safety of everyone involved.

It is also important to recognize that our current human research ethics process reflects a colonized, Eurocentric point of view. Going forward, we are hoping to incorporate more Indigenous values such as knowledge sharing, but we acknowledge that we have a long way to go. 

Tutorial videos for using the ARISE system have been created by the UAlberta Research Ethics Office and are linked here: Alberta Research Information Services (ARISE) System | Research + Innovation (ualberta.ca).

The ARISE ethics application is a “smart form”, meaning that relevant sections of the form will appear based on what you select in previous sections. Thus, the length of your ARISE application form will depend on the type of research you are planning to conduct. A typical application is approximately 10 pages.

Yes, these types of projects usually require human research ethics review and there is a specific short form tailored to these types of projects. In an ARISE ethics application, select “Instructor Course-Based Research” in Section 1.1 (6.0) and the ARISE “smart form” will appear on the following page for you to fill out once you click “Continue” from the first page. Once approved, this type of ethics application provides “blanket approval” for each of the mini research projects within a single course under the supervision of the instructor.

The ULethbridge contact for human research ethics questions is the Ethics and Grant Coordinator, Haley Dennis. Haley can be reached at research.ethics@uleth.ca or 403-329-2464. Her office is B633, which is inside the Office of Research & Innovation Services (B610). 

The UAlberta Research Ethics Office can be reached by emailing reoffice@ualberta.ca, or if you have questions about your submitted ARISE application, you can send an email to your REB Specialist within ARISE or find their email address through the ARISE system by clicking on their name.

Yes, we would be happy to arrange this! Please contact our office at research.ethics@uleth.ca to discuss what type of presentation you would like to have.