Review Process

Scientists Researching

Main Application Forms must be submitted by 4pm on Monday in order to be considered for review in the following two weeks. Late submissions will be put over to the next review cycle. An application cannot be formally reviewed until it is complete, and if necessary, all Pre-Screening Review requirements are met.

Please Note:

  • All applications require the submission of a TCPS2 certificate for all members of the research application.
  • Once an application is accepted for review the REB has up to  four weeks to review the application and provide feedback.

The University of Windsor has a proportional review process where an application is assigned a level of review based on assessment of risk or designation by the Chair.

The main delegated committee meets weekly, usually on Tuesdays, to review applications which qualify for the expedited process. Other speciality delegated review committees will meet as needed. Applications that meet the criteria for expedited delegated review include those that: 

  • Have been assessed as no more than minimal risk 
  • Do not involve deception 

If it is determined that the application rises to more than minimal risk, the application will be referred for review to one of the two full boards. 

Research, which involves greater than minimal risk, notable deception, and/or biomedical procedures, is reviewed by one of the two full boards. They usually meet once a month.

Research in which the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research are no greater than those encountered by participants in those aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research.

Applications involving the use of deception will be referred to one of the two full boards for review. Research employing deception can involve a number of techniques, such as giving participants false information about themselves, events, social conditions and/or the purpose of the research. For such techniques to fall within the exception to the general requirement of full disclosure for consent, the research must meet all the requirements of Article 3.7A (TCPS2 2022, Chapter 3).

Biomedical research is defined as studies designed to determine the consequences for individuals and communities of specific preventive or therapeutic measures and/or invasive procedures, and studies concerning human health-related behaviour and/or experiences in a variety of circumstances and environments.

Most applications undergo one or more rounds of revisions prior to being cleared. Once the application has been reviewed, the Office of Research Ethics contacts the researcher by email with the questions and comments raised by the reviewers. If revisions are minor, these can be reviewed expeditiously. If the committee or the board has requested that the revisions be returned to them their review, researchers can expect a longer review process. The timeliness of review of an application is highly dependent on the quality and completeness of the original submission and the researcher responses to the reviewers' comments. 

Revisions are submitted by email to the Office of Research Ethics. Researchers respond to questions and comments in the table provided and edit the original application using track changes. Both documents (the responses to the comments and the revised application) must be submitted to the office before the responses will be reviewed.


When the final clearance has been obtained, researchers are notified by email with a formal letter from the Office of Research Ethics on behalf of the Chair (student supervisors are copied on this correspondence). For research funding awarded 'pending ethics approval', an email is sent to the Office of Research and Innovation Services indicating ethics clearance, whereupon they authorize the opening of research accounts. Ethics clearances are issued for a maximum period of 12 months only.

Conditional Clearance will be provided in cases where there are additional approvals for research to occur. These can include other ethics committees' approvals, school board approvals, institutional approvals, or final contracts. Final clearance is given once the document(s) has/have been received by the Office of Research Ethics. 

All researchers must submit a progress report annually to the Office of Research Ethics in order to have their clearance extended beyond the initial twelve-month period. A Final Report must be submitted once the project is completed. It is the researcher's responsibility to ensure that a Progress Report is submitted prior to the expiry date and a Final Report is submitted at the end of the project. 

Researchers who do not submit an annual Progress Report or a Final Report when they are due will be considered out of compliance under the TCPS2. 

Progress Report and Final Report forms can be found under "Forms" link.

Any changes made to either the cleared research protocol (including changes to the study design, recruitment methods or materials, study population, surveys, questionnaires, or interview formats), the consent process or information, or members of the research team who interact with participants or their identifiable data must be submitted to the Office of Research Ethics for REB review and clearance prior to their implementation.

Researchers seeking a revision or to amend an application should submit one signed copy of the Request to Revise form along with:

  1. A brief description of the changes the researchers would like to make and a justification. The description should include any changes to the level of risks and/or procedures involving human participants.  
  2. Include any revised documents associated with the study (e.g. recruitment materials, consent forms, study instruments), with the modifications highlighted for comparison with the original versions on file.

Amendments can be very minor (in which case the Chair of the REB can authorize their clearance), or more substantial (in which case they are sent to additional reviewers). If the proposed amendment requires revision, or further information is needed, the researcher will be notified by email. Once the Request to Revise is cleared, the Office of the Research Ethics will notify the researcher on behalf of the Chair by email.

Applications will be closed on the receipt of a Final Report; or three months following the final clearance date if a Progress Report or Final Report has not been received; or once a file has been open for three years unless other arrangements have been made. Incomplete/pending files will be closed at the discretion of the Office of Research Ethics in consultation with the Chair after a period of 12 months. 

Researchers can request the re-opening of a closed application if they intend to continue with the same research. Such requests are submitted on the Request to Reopen a Closed File. Files that have been closed for more than 12 months may require a new application. Please contact the Office of Research Ethics to clarify if a closed file can be reopened or if a new application is required.  

Contact the UWindsor Office of Research Ethics

If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Office of Research Ethics 
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue, 2146 Chrysler Hall North
Windsor, ON  N9B 3P4
(519) 253-3000 Ext 3948