UBC Behavioural guidance for resuming in-person research after COVID-19 restrictions

*August 26, 2021*

The Offices of Research Ethics on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses continue to update guidance on the resumption of in-person behavioural research. BREB guidance will be updated as changes are released.

Effective August 25, 2021, a new order from the provincial health officer requires that anyone aged 12 and older wears a mask in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. The affected indoor settings include:

  • schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4-12
  • common areas of  non-profit organizations
  • all indoor areas of post-secondary institutions including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs
  • all retail settings, including malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, and grocery stores, liquor and drug stores
  • public buildings such as airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres
  • restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated)
  • public transportation and shared vehicles
  • office buildings where services to the public are provided
  • common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity

Effective September 13, proof of one dose of vaccine and effective October 23, proof of full vaccination will be necessary for research in some public spaces (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0053-001659).

Common Questions about Research Activities

1. Do masks need to be worn during indoor interviews or lab visits? Yes, Effective August 24th, masks are required for anyone older than 12, unless they are exempt for health reasons. Masks are encouraged for children aged two to 12.

2. Do masks need to be worn if research activities occur outdoors? No.

3. Do I need to update my ethics application if I already have a Safe Research Plan in place? Not immediately. You are required to adhere to the latest public health orders and will need to update your Safe Research Plan and other related documentation when you renew your ethics application or submit an amendment for other changes. The BREB does not require a separate amendment to resume the use of masks, but does expect that researchers will be fully aware of the new requirements before engaging with research participants. For more information about the recent order, please go to https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0053-001665.

This temporary order will be reassessed as the BC vaccine card requirement is fully implemented in certain social and recreational settings (for more details, please go to https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/proof). BREB guidance will be updated as changes are released.

You are asked to review the latest guidance before finalizing and submitting any new behavioural ethics applications, amendments, or annual renewals.

Other changes implemented in July 2021 include removing the requirement to have additional departmental sign off for in-person research (via the “COVID-19 Form” and “Supplementary Research Form”).

The safety of research participants continues to be a factor in how research ethics applications are reviewed. Requirements were eased in alignment with updates issued by the British Columbia Public Health Officer (PHO) on May 28, 2021.

The BREB will be reviewing ethics applications taking into consideration the conditions in the research region including:

  1. Vaccination rates
  2. Rates of COVID-19 infection
  3. Rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19

As of the August 23rd notification from the PHO, Health authorities are now enabled to introduce additional regional measures specific to individual schools or school districts in instances where community transmission rates are higher (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021EDUC0058-001663). Researchers should consult with area/community experts before finalizing or updating their Safe Research Plans.

In addition, proof of vaccination will be required for some activities starting September 13, 2021 (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0053-001659).

The BREB guidance will be updated as details are made available.

Researchers should continue to consider ways they can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within research teams and with participants. Both the Safe Research Guidelines and the Safe Research Plan template have been updated (June 2021). In all instances, researchers will need to describe their safe research protocols for both new and resuming research and attach their Safe Research Plan to page 9 of the ethics application. Existing safety protocols that do not address the safety of research participants (in addition to staff safety considerations) will not be sufficient. The BREB will not approve activities that do not adhere to the minimum standards imposed by the public health order for the community where research is taking place.

Researchers who are planning to conduct their research outside Canada are asked to contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation before they submit their ethics application. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.

To learn how your research may be affected, please find the sections below that most closely match your research scenarios. If you are unsure of which description applies to your research, please contact BREB staff. We continue to work remotely, but can be reached by email: BREB Vancouver | BREB Okanagan.

If your research requires the use of health authority sites, their policies will need to be followed. If there are concerns, please contact your Health Authority or Public Health Institution for guidance. Guidance on this page is for community and UBC-based behavioural research and does not apply to research taking place within Health Authority facilities.

Principles for the resumption of in-person research

  1. All in-person research that can be done safely may proceed.
  2. Researchers may not undertake research activities that will unnecessarily increase the risk to participants of contracting COVID-19.
  3. Researchers will provide details of their safe research plan in a document attached to page 9. Their plans will be based on the risk status of the region where in-person research is proposed and the nature of the research methods being employed..

Please note that an amendment is required to resume all previously approved in-person research that has been on hold, or to convert online studies to in-person research. Please see below for details.

Vaccination Status

*Effective September 13, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required for some activities taking place in BC (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0053-001659). This section will be updated once details are available. If you are unsure of how to proceed in the meantime, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca (for UBC-Vancouver) or lisa.shearer@ubc.ca (for UBC-Okanagan).

The Behavioural REBs (and all UBC-Affiliated REBs) endorse the BC provincial COVID-19 vaccination program and recommend that all researchers be vaccinated as a layer of protection for themselves and the participants with whom they interact. The relationship between researchers and participants is not the same as an employer-employee relationship; it is both legal and ethical. The ethics of trust articulated in the Tri-Council Policy Statement TCPS 2 (2018) – i.e. respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice – applies to the researcher-participant relationship. Researchers also have an obligation that in some cases may require them to act in the best interests of their participants, in much the same way that physicians should act in the best interests of their patients.

It is the BREBs' position that researchers - if asked - should disclose their vaccination status to research participants. Further, the BREB may require that researchers disclose their vaccination status in their safety protocols and to their proposed participants in instances where:

  • Research activities increase the number of in-person contacts experienced by participants
  • Research interactions need to take place over an extended period of time
  • There are challenges to mitigating the risk to participants

In other instances, researchers who are not required to do so, may elect to disclose their vaccination status in their ethics application (as part of their safety protocols).

Research Context

The Behavioural REBs will review ethics applications and related safety protocols in view of the specific research context and the risks entailed for both research participants and researchers. Safety protocols developed for facility and departmental use at UBC are unlikely to have sufficient detail to account for the resumption of in-person contact with research participants. The following sections provide more detail about the information researchers will be required to provide and instructions for submitting new or resuming ethics applications. If you don’t find the information you are looking for, please contact BREB staff for a consultation: BREB-Vancouver or BREB-Okanagan.

Open All  

You are submitting a new ethics application

All new ethics applications must be submitted through RISe following usual procedures. Turnaround times have returned to pre-COVID levels and, unless requested to do so, the behavioural REBs are no longer prioritizing COVID-19 related research. Turnaround time for minimal risk applications is 3 - 4 weeks and for full board applications is around 6 weeks (including researcher response times). For full board meeting dates and deadlines: BREB-Vancouver | BREB-Okanagan.

For specific details that apply to your research program, please review the requirements below.

You are conducting new in-person research on-campus or in an institutional setting

This guidance applies if you are conducting your research in a regulated facility such as on a university or college campus, or in a school or community centre where COVID-19 safety protocols are in place. Please note, however, that safety protocols developed for departmental use at UBC or for regulated facilities are unlikely to have sufficient detail to account for in-person contact with research participants.

  • Follow the facility requirements.
  • Ensure that your ethics application specifies the locations where your research will be conducted in Section 4.2. Institutions and Sites for Study.
  • Indicate in Box 5.6 which safe research protocols you are following and attach your Safe Research Plan to Box 9.7.
  • For research being conducted outside UBC (e.g. on school property) or Health Authority facilities, attach the facility’s safety protocol, if available, to Box 9.7.
You are conducting new in-person research in a public setting that is off campus but within Canada

This guidance applies if you are conducting research that involves meeting participants in locations where safety protocols are unknown, such as a café, participant’s home or office.

  • Ensure that your ethics application specifies the locations where your research will be conducted in Section 4.2. Institutions and Sites for Study.
  • Attach your Safe Research Plan to Box 9.7.
You are conducting new in-person research outside Canada

This guidance applies if you are conducting research outside Canada. Before submitting your ethics application, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation to ensure your study can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca. The BREB will consider current circumstances in the region where the research is being undertaken, so please ensure that your Safe Research Plan includes as much detail as possible about current public health directives, vaccination rates, rates of COVID-19 infection, and rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the region/s where you will be conducting research.

All students are required to apply for an exemption through the Safety Abroad program to travel outside Canada. Students should also contact the BREB before finalizing their application. See below for further details. All other researchers will be required to:

Resuming Previously Approved or On-Hold research
  1. All researchers intending to resume in-person research will need to submit an amendment that includes a Safe Research Plan (attached to Box 9.7).
  2. Researchers will need to conduct a COVID health check with participants before each interaction.
  3. Researchers will need to provide the Notice of COVID-related risk to invitees/participants.
  4. If you are intending to conduct research outside Canada: before submitting your ethics application, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation to ensure your study can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.
  5. For research conducted outside Canada, the BREB will consider current circumstances in the region where the research is being undertaken, so please ensure that your Plan includes as much detail as possible about current public health directives, vaccination rates, rates of COVID-19 infection, and rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

For specific details that apply to your research scenario, please review the instructions below.

Your research received conditional approval using in-person methods, and you are ready to apply for full approval

If you received conditional approval for your research during the period of COVID-19 restrictions - and your study is in a Provisos Pending state - please ensure your application is up to date. Follow the instructions provided in the provisos issued before you resubmit for approval. Please feel free to contact the BREB office if you have any questions about beginning your research. Vancouver campus | Okanagan campus.

You received approval pre-COVID for in-person research but it has been on hold since the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions

 If you are conducting research on a campus or in an institutional/regulated setting, please be aware that the safety protocols issued by the institution may not be sufficiently detailed to address considerations for interaction between research team members and research participants. This section applies to facilities on campus as well as off-campus (regulated facilities such as a school or community centre):

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • Follow the institutional and facility requirements and, in addition, use the Safe Research Guidelines and the Safe Research Plan template to develop a plan that addresses research participant safety in particular.
  • ​​​​In Section 4.2. Institutions and Sites for Study, ensure that your ethics application specifies the locations where your research will be conducted.
  • In Box 5.6 include a note that indicates which safety protocols you are following (facility protocols + research specific safety plan); confirm that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
  • For research being conducted outside UBC (e.g. on school property) or Health Authority facilities, also attach the facility’s safety protocol, if available, to Box 9.7.

 If you are conducting research in a non-regulated setting, off-campus but within Canada (e.g. café, participant home or office):

  • Ensure that your ethics application specifies the locations where your research will be conducted in Section 4.2. Institutions and Sites for Study.
  • Complete a Safe Research Plan and attach to Box 9.7.
  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of Box 5.6, e.g. “September 2021 resumption of research amendment” and describe any changes to your methods since pre-COVID approval. Do not overwrite previously approved content describing your research procedures.
  • Include a note that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related Risk will be included in the consent form package.

 If you are conducting research outside Canada:

  • Before submitting your amendment, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation to ensure your study resumption can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.
  • Complete a Safe Research Plan and attach to Box 9.7. The BREB will consider current circumstances in the region where the research is being undertaken, so please ensure that your Plan includes as much detail as possible about current public health directives, vaccination rates, rates of COVID-19 infection, and rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the region/s where you will be conducting research.
  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • In Box 5.6 confirm that you intend to resume in-person research and include a note that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
You converted your previously approved in-person methods to online in response to COVID-19 and want to resume in-person research

 If you are conducting research on a campus or in an institutional/regulated setting, please be aware that the safety protocols issued by the institution may not be sufficiently detailed to address considerations for interaction between research team members and research participants. This section applies to facilities on campus as well as off-campus (regulated facilities such as a school or community centre):

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • Follow the facility requirements and, in addition, use the Safe Research Guidelines and the Safe Research Plan template to develop a plan that addresses research participant safety in particular..
  • In Section 4.2. Institutions and Sites for Study, specify the locations where your research will be conducted .
  • In Box 5.6 include a note that indicates which safety protocols you are following (facility protocols + research specific safety plans); confirm that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
  • For research being conducted outside UBC (e.g. on school property) or Health Authority facilities, also attach the facility’s safety protocol if available to Box 9.7.

 If you are conducting research in a non-regulated setting, off campus but within Canada (e.g. café, participant’s home or office):

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • In Box 5.6 provide details of your safe research protocols and include a note that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction. You may alternatively use the Safe Research Plan Template to describe your safe research protocols and attach to Box 9.7.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.

 If you are conducting research outside Canada:

  • Before submitting your amendment, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation to ensure your study resumption can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.
  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • Complete a Safe Research Plan and attach to Box 9.7. The BREB will consider current circumstances in the region where the research is being undertaken, so please ensure that your Plan includes as much detail as possible about current public health directives, vaccination rates, rates of COVID-19 infection, and rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the region/s where you will be conducting research.
  • In Box 5.6 include a note that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
Your research received full approval using online-only methods and you want to change to (or add) in-person methods

 If you are conducting research on a campus or in an institutional/regulated setting (such as a clinic or long-term care facility), please be aware that some campus safety protocols may not be sufficiently detailed to address considerations for interaction between research team members and research participants.

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application
  • If changes are needed to documents attached to page 9, do not remove previous versions that were put into use. Add new versions of documents using track changes to make edits.
  • Follow the facility requirements and, in addition, use the Safe Research Guidelines and the Safe Research Plan template to develop a plan that addresses research participant safety in particular.
  • Ensure that your amendment specifies the locations where your research will be conducted in Section 4.2. Institutions and Sites for Study.
  • In Box 5.6 include a note that indicates which safe research protocols you are following (facility protocols + research specific safety plans); confirm that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
  • For research being conducted outside UBC (e.g. on school property) or Health Authority facilities, attach the facility’s safety protocol if available in Box 9.7.

 If you are conducting research in a non-regulated setting that is off campus but within Canada:

This guidance applies if you are conducting research that involves meeting participants in locations where safety protocols are unknown, such as a café, participant’s home or office.

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “September 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • If changes are needed to documents attached to page 9, do not remove previous versions that were put into use. Add new versions of documents using track changes to make edits.
  • Complete a Safe Research Plan and attach to Box 9.7.

 If you are conducting in-person research outside Canada:

This guidance applies if you are conducting research outside Canada.

Before submitting your amendment, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation to ensure your study resumption can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.

The BREB will consider current circumstances in the region where the research is being undertaken, so please ensure that your Safe Research Plan includes as much detail as possible about vaccination rates, rates of COVID-19 infection, and rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the region/s where you will be conducting research.

All students are required to apply for an exemption to travel outside Canada. Students should also contact the BREB before finalizing their application. See below for further details.

All other researchers will be required to:

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • If changes are needed to documents attached to page 9, do not remove previous versions that were put into use. Add new versions of documents using track changes to make edits.
  • Complete a Safe Research Plan and attach to Box 9.7.
  • Include a note in Box 5.6 that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
You received full approval for in-person research with a Safe Research Plan and you want to relax your safety protocols

Although it may be possible to relax some safety measures, the most recent BC PHO orders will need to be reflected in your Safe Research Plan. This section will be updated as more details are available.

  • Add a dated sub-heading at the bottom of any boxes that need to be amended, e.g. “July 2021 resumption of research amendment.” Do not overwrite previously approved content in the ethics application.
  • Describe the changes being proposed in Box 5.6 and attach your updated Safe Research Plan to Box 9.7. 
  • Attach updated consent forms and/or letters of invitation if amendments are needed. Do not remove earlier versions if they were put into use.
You are beginning or resuming research in-community* (includes rural and Indigenous research)

"In community” in this context refers to sustained in-person engagement with research populations over a period of time, beginning prior to the onset of formal data collection. In all cases, the BREB will be looking for demonstrated community support for the researchers being present and carrying out in-person research activity.

If your research will take place outside Canada, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation before submitting your ethics application. This will allow us to ensure your study can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.

Research in non-Indigenous communities

 If you are conducting research within Canada:

  • Allowed at the discretion of the community
  • Submit a Safe Research Plan co-created with the community and attach to Box 9.7.
  • Include a note in Box 5.6 that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.

 If you are conducting research outside Canada:

  • Before submitting your ethics application or amendment, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation, to ensure your study can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.
  • ​​​​Following consultation, research will be allowed at the discretion of the community.
  • Submit a Safe Research Plan co-created with the community and attach to Box 9.7. The BREB will consider current circumstances in the region where the research is being undertaken, so please ensure that your Plan includes as much detail as possible about current public health directives, vaccination rates, rates of COVID-19 infection, and rates of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the region/s where you will be conducting research.
  • Include a note in Box 5.6 that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction and prepare a translation to the language in which the research is being conducted.
  • Note that students are required to have an exemption to travel. See below for details.
Research in Indigenous communities

The guidance provided here was drafted for the Canadian context. However, there may be relevant content for research conducted in other Indigenous communities. If you are conducting research in communities outside Canada, please contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation before submitting your ethics application or amendment. This will ensure your study can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.

You are advised to review the guidance, Culturally Safe and Trauma-Informed Practices for Researchers during COVID-19 before finalizing your research logistics. You should also review Section 4 “Research Involving Indigenous Communities” in the Safe Research Guidelines.

Research will be reviewed once there is agreement from the community, as demonstrated through an attached research agreement, MOU or other proof of approval. If you have a previously existing MOU with a community, this agreement should be re-affirmed.

  • Attach your Safe Research Plan co-created with the community
  • Include a note in Box 5.6 that a COVID health check will be used for all participants at the start of each interaction.
  • Confirm in Box 6.6 that the Notice of COVID-related risk will be included in the consent form package.
You are a student conducting research outside Canada

AnchorStudents whose research involves travel outside Canada, are asked to contact the BREB office to schedule a consultation before submitting their ethics application or amendment. This will ensure your study can be considered. For UBC-Vancouver, please email maria.valente@ubc.ca. For UBC-Okanagan, please email lisa.shearer@ubc.ca.

In addition, while travel advisories are in place, students must apply for a high-risk authorization to travel.

We are recommending that students, after consultation with their supervisor, first submit their ethics application on RISe for an initial review that will determine whether it is possible to approve the research under the current conditions for the area where research will take place. Once BREB responds with provisos, the student should then initiate their application to Safety Abroad through Go Global.

Please go to https://safetyabroad.ubc.ca/ and contact safety.abroad@ubc.ca for information on requesting a travel exemption.

Students should allow 6-8 weeks for securing the required signatures for the exemption, AND allow a minimum of 4 weeks for ethics review and approval. The review and approval steps for each can be carried out in parallel. Final research ethics approval will only be granted once the exemption to travel has been attached to page 9 of the ethics application.

Safe Research Documentation

Attach the Safety Abroad Safety Planning Record to page 9 of your ethics application after it has been approved. In addition, please also review the BREB Safe Research Guidelines for ethics requirements and complete sections of the BREB Safe Research Plan template that are missing from the Safety Planning Record. These include sections related to the safety of research participants.

See requirements for conducting in-person research outside Canada in the scenarios provided above for further information.

You are submitting or amending an ethics application for Course-Based Research Projects

This guidance applies to initial applications as well as to renewals/amendments for course-based research projects where the instructor/PI is submitting one ethics application for all students in the course. If a student will be submitting an ethics application for a personal research project, these instructions do not apply. 

Please be aware that some campus safety protocols may not be sufficiently detailed to address considerations for interaction between a student and their research participants. In addition to following the facility requirements, use the Safe Research Guidelines and the Safe Research Plan template to develop a plan that addresses research participant safety in particular.

Please also see Course-Based Research Project Guidelines.

  1. If the course will continue to use exclusively online methods for the research projects, an amendment is not needed.
  2. All previously approved course-based research that uses in-person methods will require an amendment.
  3. Students will need to conduct a COVID health check with their participants, including with their family members if confining their research to their own household.

What amendments are required?

  • Amendments for previously approved applications must be submitted before any in-person research starts. The instructor will need to include details of the safety measures that students will be instructed to follow in Box D.3.A (methodology).
  • As applicable, supporting templates/documents (consent form, introductory emails, etc.) will need to be modified and uploaded to page 9.
Forms and Resources

AnchorSafe Research Guidelines | Designed to provide detailed requirements for completing a Safe Research Plan. Updated in June 2021.Anchor

Safe Research Plan | Template for developing your Safe Research Plan; updated in June 2021. Please review the updated guidelines before creating your plan, and ensure that you have incorporated the latest orders from the BC Public Health Officer, as applicable.Anchor

COVID-19 Health Check | Researchers are required to have participants and research team members complete a questionnaire at the onset of each in-person engagement. We provide a link to the latest BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool (multiple languages are available from this link). This tool or a similar set of questions must be used. The questionnaire does not need to be attached to the ethics application, but confirmation of its use needs to be provided in Box 5.6. See the scenarios described above for instructions.Anchor

Notice of COVID-Related Risks during Research | The information in this document explains contact tracing practices, including what information will be retained by the research team and how it may be used. Attach this document to the information package sent to participants or invitees and confirm in Box 6.6 that you will be using it.Anchor

Culturally Safe and Trauma-Informed Practices for Researchers during COVID-19 | Published by the First Nations Health Authority in collaboration with Research Ethics BC (REBC) and offered here as a resource for all researchers who wish to conduct research with First Nations people or communities. The document provides extensive resources and additional readings.

Zoom Conferencing in Research | BREB resource to assist researchers using conferencing platforms for research data collection. This document is designed for researchers; relevant details from it should be shared by the researcher with invitees and participants (i.e. do not provide a link to this document in your consent forms or other participant materials).

Documentation Guidelines for COVID-Related Research

While questions related to COVID-19 have become more common for researchers and research participants alike, the BREB continues to recommend that special care be taken when introducing COVID-related questions into behavioural research. The following applies to new studies and amendments. Please include in recruitment materials (ads, posters, letters of invitation, etc.) and in consent forms and scripts:

  • A clear statement that the research involves discussion/consideration of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If questions about the pandemic are not optional, make this clear in recruitment materials so invitees can choose to opt out.
Registries of COVID-Related Research in BC

In order to have an accurate listing of COVID-19 related research in BC, UBC has joined with other research institutions and agencies in compiling these studies in a publicly available registry. The collaborators include BC Academic Health Sciences Network (including Clinical Trials BC and Research Ethics BC), the Ministry of Health, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the BC Centre for Disease Control. In support of this initiative, the BREB will be providing information about your study for publication in the inventory, including: Principal Investigator, study title and description. For more information please go to: https://www.bcahsn.ca/initiatives/covid-19-response/research-inventory-including-por-studies/covid-19-research-inventory. A separate registry of COVID-related studies is also being compiled by UBC and is meant to assist researchers in connecting with other researchers working in similar areas. for more information, please go to: https://COVID19.research.ubc.ca/research-projects. If you have any objections to your research information being listed, please let us know during the ethics application review process. The BREB encourages researchers to review both registries for potential collaborations.