Research Guidelines

Providence Health Care Society is a multi-site Catholic teaching and research hospital organization affiliated with The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Providence Health Care Research Policy is written to be as consistent as possible with UBC Research Policy. The purpose of this policy is to describe the authority, responsibility and procedures for all research involving humans at PHC. 

These policies are effective across all PHC sites and apply to all PHC staff, physicians, UBC faculty, SFU faculty, and students/trainees who work at a Providence site. They also apply if (a) any services are provided by PHC, (b) any part of the research takes place at a PHC site, (c) any part of the research involves PHC patients or staff, and (d) requests for data or tissue are involved, regardless of where the research is being conducted.

The term “Hospital” shall hereafter refer to any and all sites of Providence Health Care Society, and “UBC” shall indicate The University of British Columbia and “SFU” shall indicate Simon Fraser University.


To encourage biomedical research and to set out the authority, responsibility and procedures for all aspects of research activity conducted at any Providence Health Care site.

Definition of Research Involving Humans

Research involving human subjects is defined as an undertaking (including pilot studies, exploratory studies, and course-based assignments) intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry or systematic investigation that includes the following:

  1. Living human participants; and/or
  2. Human biological materials including tissue and biological fluids. This applies to materials derived from living and deceased individuals.

Providence Health Care will not sanction any research involving the use of embryos or foetuses/foetal tissue.

Research involving human subjects does not involve:

Quality assurance and quality improvement studies, program evaluation activities, and performance reviews, or testing within normal educational requirements when used exclusively for assessment, management or improvement purposes. Determination of exemption is based on regulatory and institutional criteria. Researchers are encouraged to utilize the ARECCI screening tool to help determine whether their project is research vs. QI/QA.

If in doubt about whether a research project is categorized as that involving human subjects, researchers are asked to contact the Manager, Ethical Reviews at Providence Research for clarification.

Responsible Functional Officer

The responsible functional officer for research at Providence Health Care is the Vice President, Research and Academic Affairs. This person holds a dual appointment and is also the Associate Dean Research, UBC Faculty of Medicine.

Providence Policies and Procedures

All PHC associated researchers must be familiar with the Providence Policies and Procedures. To download the complete Policy and Procedures document, click on the file below.

Download Providence Policy and Procedures