Ethics board canned and replaced

By Thomas Carrozzier

June 5, 2003 the General Faculties Council decided to dissolve the Research Ethics Policy Committee upon recommendation of the Steering Committee and the REPC.

Created in September 1999 to ensure research at the University of Calgary complied with Tri-Council Policy Statement, the REPC seemed to have outlived its usefulness. Aside from acting as an appeal board, the REPC slowly lost the majority of its intended tasks to the two research ethics boards.

In fact, the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board, working closely with the Calgary Health Region, was reviewing protocols within the medical faculties while the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board would review research for all other faculties.

As for the appeal procedure, it was recommended a research ethics appeal board be created to handle the REPC’s remaining duty.

Associate Vice-President Research Dr. Pam Sokol declared the new body would not only be able to eliminate redundancy between the former REPC and the REBs, but that its new appeal procedure was improved.

"Now, if there are going to be any concerns or violations, we have created a mechanism to deal with that," said Sokol.

Students’ Union Vice-President Academic Demetrios Nicolaides did not foresee any problems with the transition, and added there was never strong opposition to dissolving the council.

"Most of its duties were already being done by the REBs," said Nicolaides. "The only issue was that there must be a body to handle appeals, but the REAB will replace the council in that."

U of C’s Summary Document Proposal for the dissolution of the REPC jokingly stated "The new REAB will hopefully do less work, if the REBs do their job properly!"

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