Research Ethics Board (REB)

At Nova Scotia Health, all research projects involving patients, staff, resources or data are reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Board (REB) before the research begins. This requirement also applies to research involving 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.

The Nova Scotia Health REB has the authority and resources to review research protocols that will be conducted within Nova Scotia Health. Board membership includes representatives from each zone who meet via video conference on a weekly basis. The Nova Scotia Health REB is a paperless enterprise and the ROMEO database is the platform for on-line submissions to complete the research ethics review process.

The goals of the Nova Scotia Health REB are to:

  • Meet the requirements of the Tri-Council Policy Statement Guidelines, ICH-GCP Guidelines, and Health Canada Division 5 Food and Drug Regulations which protect the safety and well being of research participants
  • Reduce review timelines and simultaneously maintain a high quality research ethics review
  • Increase the capacity throughout the province to conduct health research of all kinds
  • Attract and retain health professionals interested in research throughout the province
  • Create a competitive research environment that attracts research to Nova Scotia

Research, Quality Improvement, or REB Review Exemption?

Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish which projects are research, which are quality improvement, and which ones are exempt from REB review. 

Here are some tools to help you:

  • Consult TCSP2 Chapter 2, Articles 2.1 – 2.5 for research studies that are exempt from REB review 
  • Quality Improvement and the REB office created a new NS Health specific decision tool
  • The REB office created an intake/consultation form in ROMEO called the REB Review Exemption Form to help with this process.  If you are unsure whether your project requires REB review, please fill, and submit the form.  The REB office will provide you with a response within one week of receiving your form.
    • If you require a letter from the REB stating that your project has been exempt form REB, please fill out the REB Review Exemption Form and we will provide you with a formal letter within a week’s time.
    • If you do not have a ROMEO account and wish to have one, the REB office will create an account for you.  Follow directions under ROMEO Access. 
  • Please consult the Quality Improvement and Safety intranet for more information