March 20, 2020Print | PDF
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Wilfrid Laurier University has cancelled all research activities involving face-to-face interactions with members of the public. In some settings, in-person interactions can be replaced with telephone or online communications. Considerations include the nature of your protocol, the type of participants engaged in the research and any additional risk that may arise by switching from in-person to virtual communication.
Revised participant consent forms and processes and/or other materials may be required.
While Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) 2 typically requires review and approval of modifications to approved projects prior to implementation, an exception can be made where the change is necessary to eliminate an immediate risk to participant(s) (article 6.15). Should researchers determine that changes in their approved procedures are required to eliminate risks related to the COVID-19 outbreak, they can implement them immediately, without prior notice to or approval from the Research Ethics Board (REB). In such cases, researchers will need to ensure that they are not increasing the level of risk to participants and may need to ask participants to sign revised informed consent forms. Such changes must be reported to the REB as soon as possible (no more than 10 business days from occurrence).
To report these changes, please submit the Reporting Changes Made to Approved Projects to Eliminate an Immediate Risk to Participants event form now available on Romeo (see Connect or the Students website for instructions). The form requires researchers to outline the changes to approved protocols, why changes were necessary to eliminate risks to participants and to upload any revised materials. Please note that this is not a blanket approval for protocol changes and this correspondence only applies to changes made in response to COVID-19 precautions.
This is a fluid situation which we are monitoring closely. Please check Health Canada’s website for up-to-date information.
REB review of research projects will continue at this time. However, please also note that there may be delays in responding to e-mails and processing reviews due to a high volume of requests and limited resources. Your continued patience and cooperation is appreciated.
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