Frequently Asked Questions


In order for an application to be considered at an upcoming meeting, it must be received by the REB via email no later than 12 (noon) on one of the designated monthly deadline dates (see Submission Deadlines).

What kind of change requests can I expect from reviewers?

The reviewers may ask you to change or clarify anything they find is unclear or ambiguous. The idea is that the perspective participant is clearly informed before agreeing to take part in your study. They may also ask you to change things that may put undue stress or inconvenience on your participants. 

Requests for changes are made at the discretion of the Board and can be different for every application. However, there are some changes that are requested more often than others. A list of "Commonly Requested Changes" can be found here.

The dates of REB meetings are typically set at the beginning of the Fall and Winter terms and are dependent on the schedules of the current REB members. The REB does not hold monthly meetings during the summer (July and August).
The deadlines for submitting applications can be found under Submission Deadlines.
Application forms are available on this website under Forms and Templates. Email the completed application to
Undergraduate applicants see below "Who approves undergraduate research applications?"
In accordance with Tri-Council policy, all honours students' projects involving research with human participants are to be approved by the University Research Ethics Board. All course-based and other undergraduate research involving human participants will continue to be reviewed by the departmental or program REB. Each department or program will normally establish an REB committee to provide timely review of such applications and decisions. The departmental REB will report its decisions to the University REB. 
In the case of honours student applications, these are first reviewed by the Departmental REB. The chair of this committee should then forward the application, including an "Honours Cover Page and the departmental decision, to the chair of the UREB for final deliberation and approval. This submission may be done through email attachment. This two-part process is intended to recognize Departmental expertise in subject areas and to meet the Tri-Council guidelines. Every effort will be made to review these projects in an efficient manner. Special attention will be paid to research projects involving high risk and/or particularly vulnerable groups of participants.
Protocol changes to honours student projects may be approved by departmental REBs, provided the research is deemed low risk. As well, departmental REBs can issue annual renewals of approved minimal risk research for honours student research (TCPS 2014).
If you are intending to do research involving human participants you will likely need REB approval. If your project involves a review of existing procedures or is being conducted for quality control purposes you may not need REB approval (TCPS 2 - Article 2.5). There are some other situations where REB approval is not required (TCPS2 - Article 2.2 - 2.4) but it is best to contact the REB if you are at all uncertain about requiring ethics approval.
Quality assurance studies, performance reviews or testing within normal education requirements are not subject to REB review. This includes course evaluations and routine institutional assessments. If, however, the person doing the assessment is intending to use it for research purposes then he or she should seek REB review. The opinion of the REB should be sought whenever there is any doubt about the applicability of this Policy to a particular research project.
When you submit an application you should include, as numbered appendices, all letters of correspondence, forms, flyers etc. that are pertinent to the application. For example, if you require approval from a school or hospital to conduct research on their property, you should include the letter you sent requesting permission as well as the letter you received in response. If you have been in contact with Mi'kmaw Watch you should include that correspondence. 
You are also required to include copies of Letters of Invitation (as many individual letters as are necessary for your project), Consent Forms, Assent Forms, copies of questionnaires or a list of the questions you intend to ask (to the best of your abilities). If you intend to use flyers to attract participants, a copy should be included as well.

Can I apply to the REB before my funding has been granted?

If you have applied for funding and are waiting for confirmation, you may simply indicate this on the form under the section regarding funding. If you are intending to apply for funding you can indicate this on the form as well. Once the decision on funding has been made we ask that you update this information with the REB using the Protocol Request template.
If you receive funding at any point after you have received REB approval, you are required to notify the Chair. Similarly, if your source of funding changes you are required to notify the Chair of the REB. This is done to ensure that there is no conflict of interest (either real or perceived) between the funding agency and the research at hand. 
You will typically hear from the REB within two weeks of the respective submission deadline date regarding any concerns or suggestions relating to your project. You are not to start research with participants without approval from the REB so be sure to take into account the review time and the time it will take for you to address the concerns of the REB.
After the meeting, the Principal Investigator (PI) will receive an email letter from the Chair outlining the concerns of the Board. Once the PI addresses these concerns, either with changes or clarifications to the material, approval can be granted. The PI will then receive an email letter of approval from the Chair.
If an application has received funding, the REB Administrative Assistant will notify the RGO and the Finance Department when ethics approval has been granted and when approval has been extended for another year.
Anniversary dates: If a project is not officially closed with the REB before the next anniversary date, the PI will receive a Notice of Approaching Anniversary. You will be asked to submit an update to the REB on or before the anniversary date. If applicable, the project can be formally declared as completed at this time. This update will be required each year following approval until the project is reported to be completed. It is the responsibility of the PI to have these reports completed and submitted on time.
Protocol changes: The Principal Investigator (PI) is obligated to inform the REB as soon as possible with respect to protocol changes that affect the informed consent of participants (TCPS 2 - Article 3.3). PIs should consider the changes in the levels of risk and vulnerability of the participants and how the PI plans to address these changes.
Changes to the funding associated with your project also requires the submission of a protocol change. If you receive funding at any point after you have received REB approval, or if your source of funding changes, you are required to notify the Chair of the REB. This is done to ensure that there is no conflict of interest (either real or perceived) between the funding agency and the research at hand.
All protocol changes must be approved by the REB before they may be implemented.
Please use the email template to request a change in protocol. You will need to fill in the information specific to your project.

What if I already have approval from another REB?

All researchers conducting research through St.FX will require approval from its REB. If you have already received approval from another REB you may qualify for an expedited review (see the next question). All projects approved outside of St.FX will be reviewed by the St.FX REB Chair before ethics approval will be granted.
If you think you may qualify for an expedited review please send an email to the REB Chair (Dr. David Young) at with a formal request. Several documents should be attached to your email. These include a copy of the application and the letters of approval by another institution, any other relevant REB approvals, and letters of support from any relevant parties.
All PIs from other institutions are asked to contact the StFX REB before conducting research on StFX campus (TCPS2 - Article 8.3(b)). You will require approval from the StFX REB before contacting research participants.
You should contact Dr. David Young (StFX REB Chair) with any documentation you currently have relating to approval from your home institution. 
You need to seek administrative approval from our Office of the Academic Vice President to be on campus and/or conduct research involving members of our campus community. A copy of your approval must be forwarded to the St.F.X. University Research Ethics Board office.