NOTICE: Aurora College Research Ethics Committee Guidance and New Procedure During COVID-19 Pandemic
The Aurora College Research Ethics Committee (REC) recognizes that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic poses an extraordinary and serious safety and public health threat to our communities. The REC will continue to operate normally as much as possible; however, some changes are necessary. Please also note that there may be delays in responding to e-mails and processing reviews at this time due to a high volume of requests. Your continued patience and cooperation is appreciated.
Effective immediately, the Aurora College REC will now require that investigators eliminate all personal contact, in-person data collection, or site visits with study participants. This also means that research involving physical assessments or the in-person use of equipment or devices must be suspended.
In-person participant interactions should, if feasible, be replaced with telephone, videoconference or other digital communication. In doing so, researchers should be mindful of the nature of their protocol and any additional risk that may arise from switching from in-person to virtual communication, including risks to privacy. Revised participant consents or consent addendums may be required (e.g. to update privacy considerations for the use of different communication channels).
The REC will only provisionally approve research that complies with TCPS but does not comply with recommendations and orders made by the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories (CPHO), including physical/social-distancing recommendations. These protocols will be moved to approval when CPHO announces that physical/social-distancing measures are relaxed and the REC agrees that participants will not be at risk from COVID-19.
The Aurora College Research Ethics Committee (REC) reviews research for compliance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Research Involving Humans (TCPS). The research licensing process in the Northwest Territories requires researchers to submit an approval letter from a research ethics board (REB) or committee before researchers are allowed to begin their studies.
There are a few cases where you may be required to seek approval from the Aurora College REC. You will require Aurora College REC approval if:
- your study involves human participants; AND
- you are a staff or student of Aurora College OR
- you do not already have approval from a different accredited REB, for example from your home university (unless your study involves Aurora College staff or students)
Please note: researchers without access to an institutional REB can obtain ethical approval through the Aurora College REC for a fee (please see “How to Submit an Application”). If you are uncertain whether your study requires a research ethics review from the Aurora College REC, please contact the Scientific Services Office at the Aurora Research Institute at (867) 777-3298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All new research is reviewed by the full committee at the next available monthly meeting. The process of ethics review can be time-consuming, as it requires some dialogue between the researcher, the research ethics office, and the REC. We strongly recommend submitting your protocol for review at least 8 weeks before the proposed start date of research activities. Please consult the REC Meeting Schedule for monthly meeting dates and plan your submission accordingly. The REC cannot accommodate expedited or emergency reviews, even in cases where research or funding timelines are short.
For more information, please contact:
Manager, Research Ethics & Regional Programs
Room 139, Aurora College
50 Conibear Cres
Fort Smith, NT