Celebrating BC’s harmonization journey

24 April 2024

Research Ethics BC's logo

Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Emily Carr University research ethics boards recently joined BC’s research ethics harmonization process. Being part of a province-wide, harmonized system increases their research capacity and simplifies the review process by using a single platform across institutions.

Guiding research: the importance of ethics harmonization in BC

Researchers must ensure that their studies involving humans are respectful, fair, and compassionate. Research ethics review maintains the highest ethical standards for such studies. The harmonized model of review in BC is unique. It has a streamlined approach for research occurring across multiple jurisdictions. This, in turn, nurtures open collaboration and consistency. It makes it easier for researchers from different areas to connect, share knowledge and adopt best practices.

Breaking down barriers: VCC and Emily Carr University’s path to collaboration

Emily Carr University is an art and design-based institution. Its ethics board brings expertise in how creative methods intersect with research. “Our researchers have already described how pleased they are with a single review process for multijurisdictional research,” says Lois Klassen, coordinator, research ethics board, Emily Carr University.

VCC brings its own insights to the process. It emphasizes commitments to innovation and inclusivity. “We’re pleased to share the diversity of research expertise in our research ethics board, our efforts towards decolonization, including an Indigenous community member on our ethics board, and a focus on workshops in this area,” says Jennifer Kelly, chair, research ethics board, VCC.

Looking ahead: a growing harmonization process

Later this spring, North Island College will also join the ethics harmonization process. This growth means our harmonization efforts reach 27 ethics boards in the province. This marks an important milestone. It strengthens collaboration among institutions and helps move research into action faster.

The Research Ethics BC team plays a key role in uniting ethics boards across the province. It provides education, training, and resources to help build capacity. This shows Health Research BC’s dedication to creating a unified research ethics landscape in the province.