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Research Ethics

Research, education, and clinical care are the three essential activities of IWK Health. The Research Ethics Board (REB) serves to help members of the research community to conduct ethically-acceptable research involving humans.


On this page:

Introduction to the REB

All research that involves human subjects, their information, or their tissue, requires review and approval by the REB before it may begin. Research proposals are assessed for ethical acceptability using regional, national and international guidelines. The IWK Health Research Ethics guidelines and operating procedures provide direction in regard to research involving IWK families and personnel. Since research ethics is a continually evolving subject, these guidelines may be modified from time to time. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure that they are using the most recent version.

The REB Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) also provides important information on the Board's operations and requirements of investigators and research staff. The SOP’s should be read in conjunction with these guidelines. Guidelines, SOPs and related notices are regularly updated.

To facilitate the review of Full Board REB Submissions, Principal Investigators (or their designate) may be invited to attend the REB meeting. Investigators will be notified of the time and location of the REB meeting 10 days prior to the meeting date if their attendance is requested.

Investigators will be invited to make a short (10 minute) informal presentation of the research study and REB members may follow up with a few clarifying questions. Additionally, investigators may volunteer to come to the REB to briefly present their REB submission. This can be particularly helpful with unique or complex projects. Simply contact the research ethics office 10 days prior to the meeting to be added to the agenda.

The REB review and Summary of REB Issues will follow in the usual manner. Investigators will not be in attendance during the review of their submission.

IWK Responsible Conduct of Research Policy

The Responsible Conduct of Research policy establishes expectations for the responsible conduct of research at the IWK and outlines processes for handling allegations of research misconduct.

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IWK Research Ethics Board Membership (January 2024)

Megan Thomas, MD, PhD – Chair – Clinical Researcher, Developmental Pediatrics

Carol Digout – Vice Chair – Executive Director, APPHON

Eleanor Fitzpatrick, MN – Executive Chair – Clinical Researcher, Nursing

Angela Arseneault, MEd – Privacy Consultant, Mara Consulting

Steven Beyea, PhD – Innovation Strategic Advisor, Office of the VPRI

Christopher Blackmore, MD – Clinical Researcher, Pediatric Surgery

David Conrad, MD - Clinical Researcher, Hematopathology

Kellie Davis, MD – Clinical Researcher, Medical Genetics

Zara Forbrigger - Research Assistant, Hematology/Oncology

Isabelle French, LL.M. – Legal Representative, Dalhousie University

Katie Hollis, MHA, RPh – Director of Pharmacy, IWK Health

Richard Huntsman, MD - Clinical Researcher, Neurology

Emily MacLeod - Research Manager, Centre for Pediatric Pain Research 

Amanda Morvan, BCom - Lay Representative

Jill Mutch - Director of Clinical Operations, Canadian Center for Vaccinology

Kara Redden, M.Sc., RN - Research Manager, Canadian Center for Vaccinology

Kelly Ann Trask, M.Sc. - Research Coordinator, Emergency Medicine


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Submission & Meeting Dates

Submission dates 

January 30, 2024 for the February REB meeting
February 27, 2024 for the March REB meeting
March 26, 2024 for the April REB meeting
April 30, 2024 for the May REB meeting
May 28, 2024 for the June REB meeting
June 25, 2024 for the July REB meeting
August - no REB meeting
August 27, 2024 for the September REB meeting
September 24, 2024 for the October REB meeting
October 29, 2024 for the November REB meeting
November 26, 2024 for the December REB meeting

Meeting dates 

January 16, 2024 – REB Retreat 
February 20, 2024
March 19, 2024 
April 16, 2024
May 21, 2024
June 18, 2024
July 16, 2024
August – no meeting held in August
September 17, 2024
October 15, 2024
November 19, 2024
December 17, 2024

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REB Submissions Requiring Delegated Review (minimal risk)

These may be submitted at any time.

REB review comments are normally provided to the investigator within four weeks of submission.

It’s recommended that investigators avoid the deadline dates noted above when submitting delegated (minimal risk) projects, as reviews may be delayed if received on the deadline date for full board submissions.

Delegated submissions may be delayed during holiday periods or when the REB is experiencing increased volume, for example Summer Studentship applications. Please be sure to get your submissions in early!

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The ROMEO Research Portal

The IWK REB uses the online ROMEO Research Portal for the management of ethics applications and grant/award applications. The Research Portal provides researchers and study team members including co-investigators, research coordinators, and other study staff, the ability to see and manage the submission and approval process for their research studies. Through a single login, you may review all existing projects underway at the IWK and NSHA.

Login here

If you require an Investigator Profile to gain access to ROMEO, please take a few moments to fill out the form below. Note that we process the forms Monday to Friday (8am-4pm); please plan ahead.

New User - Registration Request

The IWK has several user guides to help with the management of your study:

Registering in ROMEO & Intro to Managing Study Review Activities

Registering in ROMEO & Intro to applying to IWK Research Programs

Amendment or New Ethics Application Guidelines

Managing Amendments

Managing Annual Renewals

ROMEO Training:

If you would like to schedule a training session on using the Research Portal, please email Joanne Street at

Questions: If you have any questions regarding ROMEO and the Research Portal, please email Joanne Street, Ethics Coordinator, Research & Innovation Advancement at

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Guidelines and Templates

New Applications

Case Report Review

Consent and Authorization Documents - General Requirements - Guidelines

Consent and Authorization Documents General Requirements (Minimal Risk) - Guidelines

Delegation Log

Industry Sponsored Research - Ethics Review Fee - Guidelines

Industry Sponsored Research - Requisition for Ethics Review - Form

Letter of Support Template

Registering in ROMEO & Intro to Managing Study Review Activities

Self-Declared Income Statement for Research Participants - Form



PHIA – Personal Health Information for Research Guidelines

Data Types Quick Guide

How to De-Identify Data

Impracticability Guideline 

Pledge of Confidentiality (on Pulse)

Privacy Impact Assessment (on Pulse) - use the assessment tool to find out if you need a PIA for your research

Waiver of Consent - EAS Addendum (Old Submissions) - use for previously approved studies only


REB Reviewers' Tools

REB Review Template

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TCPS2 Tutorial - Self-paced course featuring interactive exercises and multi-disciplinary examples.

CITI Online Courses - Collaborative Institutional Train Initiative (CITI) online training courses.

NIH Funded Projects - All researchers receiving NIH funding MUST complete the NIH intramural on-line module.

Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) - Human Subject Assurance Training.

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Recommended Reading

Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2)

The Belmont Report (USA)

Nuremberg Code (USA)

Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE)

The Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects (HRIHS) (abridged version - full version available here)

Good Clinical Practice: Consolidated Guideline

Health Canada: Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, Division 5

World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki

International Ethics Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects

Canadian Bioethics Society

Office for Human Research Protections (USA)

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Research Review

Our Primary Purpose:

The IWK is committed to the health and well-being of women, children, youth and families. From a research perspective, the population we serve is an integral part of how we investigate, implement and evaluate how we deliver care. As important stakeholders, we are committed to our research participants by ensuring that research is carried out with their interests and safety at the forefront. The Research Review (formerly referred to as the Research Ethics Audit) is designed to ensure that as researchers we are engaging in due diligence and complying with the ethical standards laid out by the Tri-Council.

The Review process is intended to fulfill the commitment of Research & Innovation Advancement (RIA) to ensuring the safety and privacy of our research participants, but also to ensure that IWK Health:

consistently conducts research with high quality scientific and ethical standards,

complies with the requirements that are laid out locally, nationally and internationally, and

maintains internal systems that are comprehensive and sensitive enough to guarantee the highest quality of ethical standards in research.

The Review should not be considered a penalty but rather a quality assurance process through which both RIA and the Research Team can benefit.

If your project is selected for audit you will receive notification several weeks in advance of the scheduled date and time. Every effort will be made to accommodate your schedule. The Principal Investigator is invited to attend the Audit session but research assistants or coordinators are also encouraged to take part.

The document linked below provides further information about the IWK REB Audit Committee and process. Feel free to contact RIA if you have any questions.

Email Address:

IWK Research Review Guidelines

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  • Contact

    IWK Health Research & Innovation Advancement (RIA)

    5850/5980 University Ave.
    PO Box 9700
    Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 6R8

    If you are looking for a specific individual from one of our departments or facilities please visit our Research Team (RIA) page.

    If you have a general question about research, our services, facilities or programs, please email us. You can also sign up for our weekly IWK Research E-Bulletin by contacting us via the email below.

    Research & Innovation Advancement (RIA)