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The REB makes the final decision on exemption from research ethics review. Even if you believe your research to be exempt from ethics review, the REB's strongly suggest that you fill out an ethics application or contact the ethics office with a short description of your project, before you begin your research, to confirm if it meets the exemption criteria, as retrospective ethics review is not possible. If the research is deemed to be exempt, the REB will issue a letter of exemption for your records.

Research exempt from Research Ethics Board (REB) review:

  • Research that relies exclusively on publicly available information does not require REB review when:
    • The information is legally accessible to the public and appropriately protected by law,
    • The information is publicly accessible and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • REB review is not required for research involving the observation of people in public places where:
    • It does not involve any intervention staged by the Researcher, or direct interaction with the individuals or groups,
    • Individuals or groups targeted for observation have no reasonable expectation of privacy, and
    • Any dissemination of research results does not allow identification of specific individuals.

  • REB review is not required for research that relies exclusively on secondary use of anonymous information, or anonymous human biological materials, so long as the process of data linkage or recording or dissemination of results does not generate identifiable information.

Activities not requiring REB review:

  • Quality assurance and quality improvement studies, program evaluation activities, performance reviews, or testing within normal educational requirements when used exclusively for assessment, management or improvement purposes, do not constitute research as defined by the Tri-Council Policy Statement and do not fall within the scope of REB review.
  • Creative practice activities, in and of themselves, do not require REB review. However, research that employs creative practice to obtain responses from participants that will be analyzed to answer a research question is subject to REB review.

Questions? Contact Research Excellence and Innovation (REI) at 306-966-2975 or