Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board

Researchers in the following faculties will submit their ethics applications to the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board (CFREB):

  • Arts
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Design
  • Haskayne School of Business
  • Law
  • Science
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Institutes associated with any of these faculties
  • Libraries and Cultural Resources

Applications are created and submitted online using IRISS. There are no paper application forms.



(403) 220-4283 or (403) 220-6289



Applications judged to be of minimal risk or no risk are typically reviewed in approximately 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the application and the number of applications under review (the CFREB reviews approximately 500-600 new applications per year). When submitting your proposal, please provide a start date for data collection that is no sooner than six weeks from the date the application was submitted. Minimal risk/no risk applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the year by the Chair and the Research Ethics Analysts. The CFREB will only consider requests for expedited review under extraordinary conditions where unanticipated circumstances not under the researcher’s control precluded earlier submission.

Applications judged to be greater-than-minimal risk are reviewed by the entire CFREB during its monthly meeting, as required by the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) regulations.

The schedule of monthly CFREB Meetings is listed here: CFREB Meeting Dates.

Student research

Research carried out by undergraduate students for course projects may be reviewed by the student’s Faculty or Department ethics committee where such exist (e.g., the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics Committee) and not by the CFREB.

However, if an undergraduate student is conducting research under the supervision of a faculty member (e.g., an honours thesis or directed study; a student with a PURE award or Markin award) and the research is directly related to the faculty member’s research program, then the faculty member would either 1) submit a regular application to the CFREB for ethics review and identify the student’s role in the application, or 2) submit a Modification to an existing CFREB-approved application to add the student to the research team.

Graduate and undergraduate students must complete the Tri-Councils' Course on Research Ethics (CORE) tutorial in order to be a co-applicant on an ethics application (as a member of the research team or as a masters/doctoral thesis student pursuing supervised research). Students must upload their CORE certification into the IRISS application before the CFREB can approve the application.

Submission deadlines

The CFREB experiences a high volume of applications that coincide with the academic calendar as researchers prepared to conduct research in the field or the classroom. If your anticipated research dates align with the start of a semester, please allow for sufficient review time and observe the following application deadlines. Applications that seek to begin collecting data at the start of a new semester should be submitted at least 6 weeks before research is expected to begin.

Submission deadlines:


Changes to the course-based ethics application

As of August 11, 2017, the CFREB course-based ethics application has been revised in IRISS. The changes reflect the need to better assess pedagogical activities in classes that are part of student research methods training in their field of research.

The course-based form is to be completed by instructors who have designed a course assignment for students that involves interaction with human participants.

Contact the CFREB for questions on whether a course-based application or a full application should be submitted for review:


As of September 1, 2018, human ethics training is mandatory for all Principal Investigators. This application is being returned to you, and cannot be reviewed by the REB, until one of the following training certificates has been completed and uploaded into the PI's Researcher Profile:

  • TCPS2 CORE Tutorial; or
  • CITI Human Subjects Research Course (Biomedical or Social Behavioural-Educational module, whichever is most relevant to your discipline)

Please see the user guide for assistance uploading the certificate into your Researcher Profile

Reportable events

Please follow the Reportable Events User Guide when reporting an event for an approved study.

Local SAEs are adverse events experienced by research participants at the site(s) under the jurisdiction of the REB. A local SAE is reportable if the Principal Investigator (PI) believes it is an unanticipated problem related to the research, and places research participants or others at a greater risk of harm.

  • Complete the Local SAE Report when the local SAE meets the definition of an unanticipated problem.
  • Local SAEs that are fatal or life-threatening must be reported within 7 calendar days of the PI becoming aware of them. All other local SAEs must be reported to the CFREB within 15 calendar days of the PI becoming aware of them.
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required

Protocol Violation/Deviations are departures from the procedures set forth in the CFREB approved application.  These include departures that:

  • Compromise the scientific integrity of the study, and/or
  • Constitute or may constitute a potential safety risk to participants enrolled in the protocol or others affected by the research, and/or
  • Are non-compliant with applicable regulations governing human research, and/or
  • Are non-compliant with the requirements or determinations of the CFREB, or an allegation of such non-compliance, and/or
  • Consist of any unauthorized collection, use, or disclosure of participant personal information*
    • Complete the Protocol Violation/Deviation Report when the protocol violation/deviation meets one or more of the above criteria.
    • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required
    • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
    • Changes to eliminate immediate safety risks to the study participants  should be reported within 7 calendar days, all other violations should be reported within 15 calendar days of the PI becoming aware of the deviation/violation

*The University of Calgary also has specific procedures for responding to a privacy breach: for responding to a privacy breach. This states that researchers are directed to report the breach to the Access and Privacy Coordinator. 

Follow-up reports are requested by the CFREB if/when more information becomes available, and/or if the issue remained unresolved in the initial report.

  • Follow up reports may be required after the initial submission of an SAE, Protocol Deviation/Violation, Audit, Suspension or Participant Complaint
  • Upload a new copy of the relevant form (i.e. SAE, Protocol Deviation/Violation, Audit, Suspension or Participant Complaint) containing the follow-up information
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required.

Audit, inspection, or inquiry by a university, provincial or federal agency.  Only reports with information relevant to the CFREB should be submitted.

  • Upload a copy of the audit; there is no CFREB form to complete
  • Audits should be submitted within 15 calendar days of the PI receiving the audit or inspection report
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • The PI will be contacted if more information/action is required

Suspension of active and ongoing research by the sponsor, PI, REB or institution. This report is to capture suspended studies that have been approved by the CFREB.

  • Complete the Suspension Report
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required

Complaints made by participants or others affected by the research concerning their well-being (psychological or physical) and/or respectful and fair treatment from the researchers. Participant complaints should be submitted for review as soon as possible.

  • Complete the Participant Complaint Report
  • Receipt by the CFREB will be acknowledged
  • PI will be contacted if more information/action is required