Informed Consent

The University uses an informed consent to make parents/guardians aware of and ask them to accept the physical risks associated with an activity before their child participates. Insurance & Risk Assessment is responsible for assisting University of Alberta faculties, department, and administrative units with the development and administration of informed consents. Informed Consent forms should NEVER BE ALTERED without the express written permission of Insurance & Risk Assessment (refer to this list for departments with permission). No external group or third party except a Registered University of Alberta Student Group can be included in the informed consent.

Please note that Insurance & Risk Assessment does not issue informed consent forms for:

  • Disclosure of personal information, photographs, audio and video recordings - contact the Information and Privacy Office or review their online templates.
  • Registered Student Groups - submit an event to BearsDen as early as possible before the activity, and the Student Event Risk Management Coordinator will assist.
  • Research involving human subjects - contact the Research Ethics Office for information about informed consent documents and procedures for research.

The following guidelines will help the university community understand our institutional approach to informed consents for events and programs and will provide staff with important information about how to obtain and manage waivers on behalf of the University of Alberta. Faculty and staff may download the complete set of guidelines in PDF format (you must be signed in through your UAlberta Google account to access them) or view FAQs below.


Why do we need informed consent?

An appropriately worded and executed informed consent is an effective way to inform participants and their parents/guardians of the risks they may be exposed to when they participate in voluntary activities so they can make an informed choice about whether to participate.

When do we need informed consent?

Informed consents should be used to inform a parent or guardian of physical risks that their child may be exposed to when participating in a university program or event. Examples of activities organized by the University of Alberta requiring informed consents:

  • Sports camps
  • Science camps
  • Campus & Community Recreation programs
  • Student volunteers gaining work experience
  • First year students who have not yet reached the age of 18 may need to have a parent/guardian sign an informed consent when waivers have been issued for an activity

If you are not sure whether you need an informed consent, please feel free to contact Insurance & Risk Assessment or submit a Waiver Request Form and we can work with you to determine the best risk management tools for your activity.

Who should sign informed consents?

The parent or guardian of a minor (under the age of 18) should sign an informed consent before the minor participates in the activity.

A witness should also sign the informed consent in case we ever need to prove that the parent/guardian did, in fact, sign the form. Whenever possible, the witness should be a university representative and should be available to answer any questions the participant has about the form before signing. When the witness is not a university representative, it is important that they are not an immediate family member of the participant. Please see What To Do With Waivers and Informed Consents for more specific information about witnesses.

How do we get an informed consent for our program or event?

Registered Student Groups should submit their event to BearsDen as early as possible before the activity, and the Student Event Risk Management Coordinator will assist with informed consents.

Faculties, departments, or administrative units should take the following steps:

1. For activities including international travel, please use the Off-Campus Activity & Travel Planning Tool to complete a risk assessment of your trip before submitting the waiver request form. Please submit your request at least 1 month in advance of the trip, if possible.

2. For all other activities, complete the Waiver Request Form at least 15 business days prior to your event. This Google form will capture all informed consent requests and we will use the information collected for better communication with stakeholders, quality assurance, and oversight of informed consent usage.

3. You can expect a response from Insurance & Risk Assessment within 1 week.

4. If your faculty, department, or administrative unit frequently issues informed consents for the same activity or program, please contact Insurance & Risk Assessment and we will work with you to develop your own templates for use.

How often do we need informed consent?

In short, every time you run a new program or event.

The Assumption of Risks section of an informed consent needs to be different depending on the activity. This means that an informed consent should be tailored as much as possible to each event, program, or trip, in order to cover all of the risks associated with a specific combination of activities.

An informed consent has a maximum "usage" of one year. For example, if you have an informed consent for a drop-in activity that goes throughout the year, you are required to set up a system to ensure that each participant signs a new form at least once a year.

If you change any activities in the drop-in program or add activities that were not originally considered when the informed consent was built, you must contact Insurance & Risk Assessment or use the request form to request an updated informed consent. Once completed, all participants must sign the new form.

If your faculty, department, or administrative unit has your own templates for use, you must contact Insurance & Risk Assessment to have your informed consent updated any time you change the type of activity, location, or type of participants in your program. The only information you should ever change on an informed consent template is the activity date and name.

How do we administer the informed consent?

The way the informed consent is explained and administered by the organization is as important as the composition of the document when determining whether the participant had sufficient notice and information about the risks associated with the activity.

We have developed guidelines to give faculties, departments, and administrative units the "dos and don'ts" of distributing, collecting, and storing waivers or informed consents. Once you have your informed consent drafted by Insurance & Risk Assessment, please see What To Do With Waivers and Informed Consents for more specific information about the university's procedures (you must be signed in through your UAlberta Google account to access this document).

Registered Student Groups will receive a different version of this document from the Student Event Risk Management Coordinator once their event has been approved through BearsDen.

How long should we keep signed informed consents on file?

Signed informed consent forms should be kept on file for 10 years after the participant reaches the age of 18. For example, if the minor is 12 at the time of signature her form should be kept for 16 years. Signed forms should be kept in an organized filing system that would allow you to find them by activity date an/or event name, if required. Please consult What To Do with Waivers and Informed Consents for more information and tips on retention and storage (you must be signed in through your UAlberta Google account to access this document).

Please consult the Information & Privacy Office's website for information about reasonable security arrangements for safeguarding these files, since they contain personal information.

Request an Informed Consent