Research Ethics

The UBC PHC REB (Research Ethics Board) is a UBC-affiliated research ethics board that oversees all research involving human subjects conducted under the auspices of Providence Health Care to ensure that such research meets the highest scientific and ethical standards in order to protect patients, investigators and the institution.




Overarching Principles of Ethical Review

Ethics are principles of right conduct guiding "what ought to be done". The Board’s membership and procedures fully conform to the current requirements of the bodies regulating research ethics boards in Canada and North America. In the context of the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Research Involving Humans (TCPS2 – 2022) the Board subscribes to the following ethical principles that are commonly held and valued by diverse research disciplines:

  • Respect for human dignity
  • Respect for free and informed consent
  • Respect for vulnerable persons
  • Respect for privacy and confidentiality
  • Respect for justice and inclusiveness
  • Balancing harms and benefits

All research involving humans or material or information derived from humans within Providence Health Care (PHC) requires approval of the UBC Providence Health Care Research Ethics Board (UBC PHC REB) prior to the initiation of a research project. Accordingly, UBC's Policy LR9 mandates that all research involving human participants that is conducted under the auspices of the University must be approved by and overseen by a sanctioned Research Ethics Board.

In the event that an investigator cannot determine whether an intended investigation constitutes research (for instance, quality assurance studies do not constitute research), the investigator should contact the Ethics Office.

Providing such consultation on ethics matters is part of the responsibility of the Board.

Compliance with US Regulations

All UBC Research Ethics Boards have an assurance of compliance approved by the United States Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). The Assurance obligates UBC researchers who conduct research supported by the US Federal government or regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration to comply with applicable US Federal Regulations. UBC’s Research Ethics Boards share a common set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that comply with these regulations.