Research involving the following requires ethics review and approval by a Research Ethics Board (REB) before the research commences:

  • living human participants;
  • human biological materials, as well as human embryos, fetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive materials and stem cells. This applies to materials derived from living and deceased individuals;
  • secondary use of data, health information, or biological materials.



Standard Operating Procedures

100 General Administration (101-108)

200 REB Organization (201-204)

300 Functions and Operations (301-303)

400 Reviews of Research (401-407)

500 Reviews Requiring Special Consideration (501-503)

600 REB Communication and Notification (601-602)

700 Informed Consent (701)

800 Responsibilities of Investigators (801)

900 Quality Management (901-903)


Research During the COVID19 Pandemic

Human Ethics applications that include in person data collection will require extra considerations to safeguard the wellbeing of the participants during the pandemic.

The Behavioural REB is now reviewing and approving some applications that include in person/face to face data collection. In order for the REB to approve in person research activities, please include with your Application a COVID Safety Plan. If your project has already been approved, please submit an Amendment Form with your plan and any updated documents, such as consent forms. It may help to consult the following guidance document and template when drafting your plan.

 Behavioural Application Form:

Behavioural Amendment Form:

Behavioural Consent Form Templates/Guides:

Behavioural Consent Form Templates/Guides for Research Using an Online Videoconferencing Service:

Behavioural Renewal and Closure Forms:

All research studies requiring access to Saskatchewan Health Authority resources or patients (including Personal Health Information) must obtain two types of approval prior to commencing:

  1. Research Ethics Approval
  2. Operational Approval

Research ethics approval is obtained from one of the Province of Saskatchewan's recognized Research Ethics Board (University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan or the Saskatchewan Health Authority REB). The ethics review ensures that the proposed study is scientifically valid, ethically sound, compliant with legislation, and most importantly, minimizes risk to participants (patients and staff).

As of January 29, 2021, under the terms of the Reciprocity Agreement between Saskatchewan's recognized REBs, applications for Research Ethics Board (REB) approval that (1) require SHA Operational Approval and (2) will be conducted at SHA sites outside of Saskatoon and Regina, will require SHA Local Ethics Committee (LEC) review at the applicable sites. This review is meant to provide a local context to the review of the proposed research.  The LEC reviews will be processed through the research ethics office and will not require anything further from the researchers. The REBs maintain the right to determine what is and is not included in the Notice of Ethical Review. This will not cause any interruption in the review/approval of research projects. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Research Ethics Office at

Operational Approval provides assurance that the research can be carried out safely by the impacted departments, within their current workload, and when possible, provides a mechanism for the Saskatchewan Health Authority to recapture the direct costs of supporting the research in a manner that is fair and transparent to researchers.

For more information about obtaining Saskatchewan Health Authority Operational Approval for Research, please email

For copies of the Operational Approval form, go to

NEW* As of May 15, 2020, anyone conducting a chart review will be required to book their time at any hospital in Saskatoon or Regina. Please call the following numbers to schedule your time:

Saskatoon - Aimee Goss, HIMA @ 306-655-1725 or

Regina - Nina Lindo, Manager @ 306-766-3747 or

How do I submit my ethics application to the USask Research Ethics Boards?

All submissions can be submitted via email at

Does your project require human ethics review and approval?

University of Saskatchewan Research Ethics Boards (REBs) operate in accordance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans Second Edition (December 2018) and the University of Saskatchewan Policies and Procedures for Ethics in Human Research (June 2013).

The following list represents a broad overview of the range of research projects or situations that would require review and approval by the REB:

  • Research that will be published.
  • Projects where participants are from inside or outside the university.
  • Research that is funded or unfunded.  Funding may be internal or external.
  • Research that is conducted by students or faculty.
  • Research projects that are conducted inside or outside the institution.
  • Information that is collected directly from participants or from existing records not in the public domain.
  • Projects that are conducted in person or remotely (e.g., mail, electronic mail, fax, online video conferencing, or telephone).
  • Research designs that are observational, experimental, correctional, or descriptive.
  • Review is still required even if a similar project has been approved elsewhere.
  • Pilot studies or fully developed projects undergo the same review process.
  • The primary goal of the research is for teaching or training purposes, or the acquisition of knowledge
**The Research Ethics Boards (REB) in the province of Saskatchewan have moved to a policy of full reciprocity. Approval by an REB at USask, U of R, or Saskatchewan Health Authority will be accepted by the REBs at the other two institutions without the need for additional REB review, provided the protocol is identical in its content and activities. Please note that there are criteria for determining which REB is the one that you must seek approval from (it is not necessarily your home institution), so before you begin preparing your REB application, please check in with the staff at your local REB office for guidance.



To which REB do I submit my application?

The University has established two Research Ethics Boards (REBs), which have defined Terms and Conditions of Appointment for Members and Chairs. The appropriate REB must approve any project involving the use of human participants.

The Biomedical Research Ethics Board (Bio-REB) is responsible for the review of all protocols involving human participants which include:

  • medically invasive physical procedures, invasive interventions and invasive measures (includes administration and testing of drugs); physical interventions that have the potential for adverse effects such as drug, exercise and dietary interventions; surgical procedures such as biopsies, the collection of blood or other specimens;
  • use of permanent charts or records in accordance with provincial legislation.

The Behavioural Research Ethics Board (Beh-REB) is responsible for the review of all protocols involving human particpants which include:

  • non-invasive interventions and measures including interviews, surveys, questionnaires, psychological, social or behavioural interventions, non-invasive physiological measures (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure);
  • observation or descriptive research, including drug, dietary, and exercise protocols that are observational in nature with no intervention;
  • audio and/or video recording or other monitoring.

The Research Ethics Office may determine that an ethics application is more appropriately reviewed by one REB than the other and reserves the right to move the ethics application to the REB with the most appropriate expertise to conduct the review. In those cases the researcher will be consulted and informed of the transfer. No new submission will be required, but additional information may be requested.

With the increasing numbers of multidisciplinary research projects and the use of mixed methods, research ethics submissions that combine elements of both biomedical and behavioural research are becoming more common. An ethics application using mixed methods will be reviewed by the REB with the best expertise in the methods that may impose the greater risk to a research participant from either a biomedical or behavioral standpoint. Where appropriate, the Biomedical and Behavioural REB may collaborate in the ethics review of the submission.

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