Research Ethics

York University is committed to the highest standards of integrity in research. All projects involving the use of Human Participants, Animals and Biohazardous Materials are subject to review by the appropriate University committee. York has formulated policies for the conduct of research involving all three of these areas.  More information on policies and procedures, as well as forms & documents, is available for the York University community on the YULink website.

The Office Of Research Ethics

The Office of Research Ethics (ORE) serves the research community at York University by providing oversight of and support throughout all ethics review processes.  ORE provides the resources and expertise necessary for faculty to complete the appropriate ethics review process in an efficient and timely manner.

Specifically, ORE provides:

  • Assistance with the completion of all ethics protocols and forms;
  • Pre-review of ethics documents to ensure timely review by ethics committee(s)
  • Resources and information regarding research ethics guidelines and requirements
  • Workshops and seminars on research ethics

ORE staff provides a variety of consultative and advisory services to researchers who wish to undertake research involving human participants (as well as animals and/or biological agents).  Broad advisory services are available so as to provide assistance and guidance on a one-on-one basis to researchers – both faculty and student -  with regards to ethics policy and its applications, the completion of protocols and the design of consent documents.

In addition, in continued furtherance of the goal of facilitating a broader understanding of research ethics policy and processes within the research community, ORE provides a variety of educational and outreach activities throughout the academic year.

Researchers may contact the Office of Research Ethics to book an appointment or request a presentation.

York Research Ethics Policies

York University research ethics policies are intended to serve as joint protection for the researcher, the study participant, and the University in order to ensure attention to various rights and responsibilities of the respective parties to the research endeavour.  It is the policy of York University to ensure the ethical conduct of research involving human participants and to comply in full with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Research Involving Human Participants (December 2014) as it may be amended from time to time. The policy – The Senate Policy on Research Involving Human Participants - applies to all Faculties and the University Libraries, and to all research involving human participants, human remains, cadavers, tissues, biological fluids, embryos, and fetuses.  Obtain the full text of the Senate Policy.

Research Ethics Review

All research involving humans, animals and/or biological agents/biohazardous materials conducted by faculty, staff or students, regardless of where the research is conducted, is subject to review and approval by the relevant ethics committee and /or its delegate ethics review committee in accordance with relevant guidelines, policies and regulations. It is the policy of the University that researchers conducting research involving human subjects, animals and/or biohazardous agents must obtain approval of their research from the relevant ethics committee prior to commencing research activities.  Please note that ethics approval is required regardless of whether the research is funded or not – this includes pilot and/or preliminary research.

How and where to get Ethics Review and Approval

View the Decision Chart- Full Board and Delegated Ethics Review Processes.

Responsibility and Authority

York University has three university-wide ethics review committees – the Human Participants Review Committee (HPRC), Animal Care Committee (ACC) and the Biological Safety Committee (BSC).  The committees are charged with the responsibility for conducting independent, multi-disciplinary review and approval of all research proposals involving humans, animals or biological agents/biohazardous materials.  They are subcommittees of the relevant Senate research committee (APPRC) and report to York University Senate through APPRC.

The ultimate responsibility for the administration of research ethics policies and procedures, resides in the Office of the Associate Vice-President Research.  Operationally, the Sr. Manager & Policy Advisor, Office of Research Ethics provides oversight, management and implementation of Senate Ethics policies as they relate to research involving humans, animals and or biological agents/biohazardous materials.  ORE faciliates compliance with all relevant ethics regulations within the university research context.


Should you have any questions, please contact Wendy Jokhoo at x 55201 or Alison Collins-Mrakas at x 55914.