REB Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions were developed by the Fort Garry Research Ethics Boards to be used with the University of Manitoba's Policy 1406 governing research involving human subjects. If you have any questions, please email humanethics@umanitoba.ca

What are the different types of review processes?
How do you determine what type of review my protocol needs?
How long does the review process take?
How long is a protocol approved for? 
When can I close my study? 
I am a researcher from outside of the University of Manitoba. Do I need ethics approval if I want to recruit faculty, staff, students and/or alumni from the University of Manitoba? If so, what is the process.
How long can the research data be kept? 
I would like to give participants a gift/honorarium for participating in my study. When should these be given to participants?


What are the different types of review processes?

There are three types of reviews at the Fort Garry Human Ethics office.

  • Delegated review. This is the most common. Minimal risk ethics applications are processed on an ongoing basis and do not have a deadline.
  • Full board review. Studies that are more than minimal risk undergo full review. The deadline to submit a study for full review is two weeks before the REB Committee Meeting. Please check here for deadline dates. Protocols must be submitted by 4:30 pm. Protocols received after that date and time will move to the next month’s meeting. Please note, the REB Committees do NOT meet in August.
  • Chair review. Protocols that have been approved by another Canadian university may be reviewed by the Chair of the REB only. This process will only be accepted if the University of Manitoba faculty member is a co-Investigator.

How do you determine what type of review my protocol needs?

The TCPS 2 defines minimal risk research as ‘research in which the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research is no greater than those encountered by participants in those aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research.’ Studies that are minimal risk will undergo delegated review. Studies that are more than minimal risk will undergo full board review.

As per the TCPS 2, the default review is full board. If we are unsure, or on the fence, the study will undergo full board review.

When determining risk, the REB takes into account the study population, the extent and likelihood of a participant experiencing harm, and the type of risk.

If you are not sure of the type of review your protocol needs, please submit your protocol before the full board review deadline.

How long does the review process take?

The review process is typically about 3-6 weeks. However, due to the increase in volume and complexity of the applications, it may take longer to provide feedback.

Revisions and amendments take about 1 week to review.

If the application is inconsistent and unorganized, the review process will take longer as we may need to read the protocol a few times in order to understand the project. To avoid undue delay, please complete the application carefully and thoroughly.

How long is a protocol approved for?

Protocols are approved for one year only. If your study will continue past one year, please submit a Renewal Request Form before the expiry date. A study can be renewed up to 5 times. At the end of the fifth renewal, you are required to submit a new application for review if the study is continuing.

When can I close my study?

Ethics clearance is required until all communication with participants is complete (ie. recruitment, data collection, follow up, summary of findings etc..). If you will be in contact with participants again, even if it is just to send a summary of findings, you will need active ethics. If communication with participants in regards to this study is complete, you may submit the Study Closure Form and close the study.

Please note, once the study is closed, you cannot reopen it. A new application, which will undergo review, will need to be submitted in order to continue the study.

I am a researcher from outside of the University of Manitoba. Do I need ethics approval if I want to recruit faculty, staff, students and/or alumni from the University of Manitoba? If so, what is the process.

Protocols that have been approved by another Canadian university may be reviewed by the Chair of the REB only. This process may be accepted if University of Manitoba faculty, staff, students or alumni will be recruited, but there is no faculty member from the University of Manitoba on the research team.

Please submit the full application and approval certificate from your institution for our review.

How long can the research data be kept?

The TCPS 2 policy states ‘in considering the adequacy of proposed measures for safeguarding information during its full life cycle, REBs should not automatically impose a requirement that researchers destroy the research data. Stored information may be useful for a variety of future purposes. Appropriate data retention periods vary depending on the research discipline, research purpose and the kind of data involved.’

The REB does not have restrictions on data retention and destruction. Instead, we ask the research to provide justification for how long they will keep the data.

Data can be kept indefinitely. However, data should be anonymized when it is possible to do so. Furthermore, safeguards should be put in place to keep the information confidential.

Whatever you decide to do, this information needs to be expressed to participants in the informed consent form. 

I would like to give participants a gift/honorarium for participating in my study. When should these be given to participants?

TCPS 2 states that ‘because incentives are used to encourage participation in a research project, they are an important consideration in assessing voluntariness. Where incentives are offered to participants, they should not be so large or attractive as to encourage reckless disregard of risks.’

Payment to participants for participation in research studies should not be considered a benefit. It is a method for compensating research volunteers for 'out of pocket' expenses (such as parking, meals) and/or lost wages as a result of time spent in the study. Payment to participants should not constitute undue inducement by leading to an increase in voluntariness or a decrease in the understanding with which participants agree to participate.

The payment should be provided once the participant consents to participating. The payment amount can accrue as the study progresses but should not be contingent upon the participants completing the entire study. Payment of a small proportion as an incentive for completion of the study is acceptable, providing that such an incentive is not coercive. The REB will ensure that the amount paid is reasonable and not so large as to unduly coerce participants to stay in the study when they would otherwise have withdrawn.

The amount and schedule of all payments should be presented to the REB with the initial submission. The REB will review both the amount of payment and the proposed method and timing of disbursement to ensure that neither is coercive or presents undue influence.