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FAQ

Applications - Which application should I use?

I plan to conduct research at several Ontario colleges – do I need to fill out a separate application form for each college? :
MCREB is one of 19 Ontario Colleges that have accepted the Common Ontario College application form. Simply complete the MCREB - Common Ontario College REB Application and follow the MCREB online submission process. You will need to check with each college you plan to include to verify their submission guidelines for the Common College form. The Common College process is not a coordinated review but a way to save researchers from having to complete numerous ethics applications.

Is there a process for conducting research with Nursing Students at Conestoga, Mohawk and/or McMaster? :
An MMC Coordinated Review is possible when a local researcher wants to conduct research on non local participants (e.g. A Mohawk researcher conducting a study on Nursing students who attend McMaster and who are part of the McMaster Nursing program) or if a researcher wants to conduct research on participants from more than one centre (e.g. A McMaster researcher conducting a study on Nursing students at Conestoga, McMaster and Mohawk). The researcher will complete the HiREB General Research Ethics Application , and submit it to the HiREB Ethics Officer according to the HiREB application instructions. The HiREB Ethics Officer will coordinate the ethics review process leading up to initial REB approval, however, local REBs remain responsible for ethics approval and continuing review of research that falls under their jurisdiction.

Before you complete an ethics application, you should know:

Does my study require ethics approval? :
Mohawk College Research Ethics Board (MCREB) adheres to the guidelines set out in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2-2014) which states that all research involving living human participants, human biological materials, as well as human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive materials and stem cells require ethics review and approval by an REB before the research commences. This applies to materials derived from living and deceased individuals. (Article 2.1) Articles 2.2 through 2.4 describe research that is exempt from REB review and Articles 2.5 and 2.6 outline activities that, though similar to research, do not require REB review. If after reading Article 2 of the TCPS2 you are still not sure whether your project requires ethics review, please contact the REB Coordinator

The TCPS2 says that quality improvement and program evaluation activities are exempt from ethical review. How do I know whether my project is Research, Quality Improvement or Program Evaluation? :
Although the TCPS2 lists Quality Assurance/Program Evaluation/Quality Improvement as projects exempt from ethics review, they must adhere to ethical principles and guidelines. Due to the fine line between research and QA, we strongly recommend all projects undergo a preliminary review by the REB. Please contact the REB Coordinator with any questions you may have.

What is a TCPS2 certificate and do all researchers need to have one? :
TCPS2 CORE Tutorial Certificate: The Principle Investigator needs to complete the free online TCPS2 training available through the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE) website. Once all modules have been completed, a certificate of completion will be issued to submit electronically with your ethics application form.

What other documents do I need to submit, in addition to the application form? :
All ethics submissions should include:

  • Research Protocol (required)
Plus any and all:
  • Information and consent forms, Assent forms, Consent pages for online surveys, etc.
  • Recruitment materials, e.g., posters, email or telephone scripts, letters, etc.
  • Data collection forms (surveys, interview guides, focus group questions, standardized measures, etc.)
  • Confidentiality Agreements, Data Sharing Agreements, etc.
  • REB approvals received from other Research Ethics Boards
Permission of the Department, Program, Institution or Organization where recruitment or research will occur. Research Ethics approval does not constitute Institutional approval. The MCREB ethics application includes a signature line for the Head/s of the Department/s where research will occur. If your research will not occur at Mohawk, the REB will need a letter of permission acknowledging support from the site/s where the research will occur or a copy of Ethics Approval from the REB of the site/s where research will occur. Common College Applications should include the MCREB Signature page with all required signatures.

What format should my ethics documents be in for online submission? :
We ask that you submit your documents in WORD format so that we can easily separate out the files to be stamped upon REB approval. Our application system only allows 5 files to be uploaded. Please group your ethics documents into the following file names:

  1. PI Lastname_Application This file will contain the MCREB, Common College or Course-based Research application, both student and/or faculty member TCPS2 certificates and any Letters of Permission or REB approvals from other sites.
  2. PI Lastname_Research Protocol This file will contain your Research Protocol. The Research Protocol gives the REB more details about your study methodology and plans for analysis than the application form. It helps to determine the soundness of your research.
  3. PI Lastname_Recruitment This file should contain any and all recruitment documents: letters, email or telephone scripts, recruitment posters, etc.
  4. PI Lastname_Consent This file should contain any and all information and consent or assent forms, including consent pages for online surveys.
  5. PI Lastname_Data Collection This file should contain all data collection materials - surveys, demographic questions, interview guides, focus group guides, standardized measures, screening documents, etc.
When uploading your files, please attach all 5 files first before clicking SUBMIT.

When should I submit my application? :
The Home Page of the MCREB website contains the Submission Deadlines and the corresponding REB Meeting Dates. Identify the Submission Deadline that best meets your timeline. You will need to submit your signed application form and supporting documents through our online system by 4:30 pm on the Submission Deadline.

How do I access the online application system from the MCREB website? :
From the Log In page of the MCREB website you can register as a Researcher with the Mohawk Research Ethics Board (MCREB). Create a new account using your email address. You will receive an email acknowledgement of your registration (Username and Password). Please check your junk mail folder as the confirmation is an automatically generated email. You only need to Register once. Next time you can simply log in to submit a research ethics application. REMEMBER to keep your Username and Password for future use.

How long does the MCREB ethics approval process take? :

  • Ethics approval usually takes 4 - 6 weeks from the time of submission. Please consult our website for Submission Deadlines and Meeting Dates in order to plan your project accordingly. Please note that all reviewers, including the Chairs, are volunteering their time on the Research Ethics Board. For this reason, reviewers are given 2 weeks to review an ethics application and last minute submissions will not be accepted.
  • Upon submission of your application and all necessary supporting documents, applicants will receive a Submission Confirmation email. The REB Coordinator will contact you immediately if any required components of the application are missing.
  • Researchers can expect to receive feedback from the REB review within a week of the Meeting Date.

MCREB Ethics Process

Now that I have registered, how do I submit my documents? :
Upon receipt of your registration confirmation, Log In to the MCREB website and click on Projects to upload your files. Our system only allows for 5 files to be uploaded so please group your files as described in the FORMAT section above. Attach all 5 files first before clicking SUBMIT. Once you have clicked SUBMIT, you will no longer be able to access your documents. All applications uploaded by 4:30 pm on the Submission Deadline will be put on the agenda for the corresponding REB Meeting. Should you have any issues, please contact REB Coordinator.

How do I know whether my online submission was received? :
You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Should you experience any difficulties during the upload process, please contact the REB Coordinator to confirm that your files have been received.

When will I hear the outcome of the ethics review? :
Within a week of the REB Meeting Date, you will receive an email with any comments or suggested revisions from the REB. At this time you will have access to your application documents for the purposed of making revisions and resubmitting the documents for final approval. Don’t forget to change the date in the document filename to indicate that the file has been revised.

How will I know that my application has been approved ? :
Upon approval, you will receive an Ethics Clearance certificate by email. You will also receive copies of any recruitment materials or consent forms with the MCREB stamp of approval.

My ethics application was not approved. Can I appeal the REB decision? :
Where researchers do not receive ethics approval, or receive approval conditional on revisions that they find compromise the feasibility or integrity of the proposed research, they are entitled to reconsideration by the REB. If that is not successful, they may appeal using the established appeal mechanism in accordance with the institution’s procedures. You will find more information on the Appeal process here - TCPS2 (2014) Chapter 6, Section C, Article 6.19

Ongoing Review - after your study has been approved, you should know:

Now that I have approval, what if I need to make changes to my study? :
You will need to complete an MCREB/Common College Change Request form to seek approval for any changes you wish to make to your study. The signed Change Request form should be emailed to the REB Coordinator following the instructions on the form for changes to supporting documents.

I know that I am responsible for completing an Annual Review, what if I forget? :
Researchers are responsible for ensuring REB files are kept up to date and that certification is current throughout the study. The REB will send the following alerts:

  • Expiry date minus 6 weeks – reminder to PI to submit study completion report or request for annual renewal
  • Expiry date minus 1 week – 2nd reminder to PI
  • Expiry date – 3rd and final reminder to PI
  • Expiry date plus 1 week

What is Annual Review/Renewal? :
MCREB approval is good for one year. For studies that have been approved to continue longer than one year, Researchers will need to renew study approval by completing the MCREB/Common College Status Report form. The Status Report form should be submitted on or before the anniversary date of the original ethics clearance.

What if I need to extend my study beyond a year? :
If a Researcher wishes to extend the research beyond the first year, it is necessary to submit an MCREB/Common College Change Request form before the REB Expiry Date. The REB Coordinator will send reminders of your upcoming Expiry date following the schedule outlined above.

What happens if I do not submit an Annual Review/Renewal form? :
Mohawk staff – a letter will be sent to the PI’s Supervisor/Manager alerting him or her that certification has lapsed. External researchers – a letter will be sent to the PI’s institution (the research office) alerting them that certification has lapsed.

What do I do when my study is completed? :
Please complete the MCREB/Common College Status Report and email it to the REB Coordinator.