Research Exempt from Review

When is Ethics Review Not Required?

Not all studies involving humans or animals require ethical review. Examples of research that is exempt from ethics review are listed below; however, ultimately, the Research Ethics Office makes the final determination as to whether or not ethics review is required.

If you have any questions about whether review is required for your study, please contact the Research Ethics Office before commencing your research. Ethics approval cannot be granted retroactively.

For funded researchers - if ethics approval is not required to start the research project, but will be required later, researchers must request and maintain a Release of Funds Agreement.


  • Relies exclusively on publicly available information that is legally accessible to the public and protected by law or where the information is publicly accessible and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Involves observation of people in public places where no intervention is staged by the researcher or direct interaction with the individuals or groups; the individuals or groups have no reasonable expectation of privacy and dissemination of research results does not allow identification of specific individuals
  • Involves the secondary use of anonymous information or anonymous biological materials. "Anonymous" means the information or samples never had identifiers associated with it (by anyone, anywhere) and the risk of re-identification of individuals is low or very low.
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  • The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) policy statement on Categories of Invasiveness in animal experiments exempts most Category A protocols from ethical review: this includes the use of tissue culture and tissues obtained at necropsy or from the slaughterhouse; the use of eggs, protozoa or other single-celled organisms; experiments involving containment, incision or other invasive procedures on metazoa.
  • There are also some " Other Activities" involving animal use which may not require ACUC review, but may still require that human and/or animal health and safety issues be addressed. This could include activities such as the Bar None parade, a petting zoo at University Open House, dog therapy for students at exam time, etc.
  • Complete the Exceptions to ACUC Review form to obtain a determination as to whether or not ethics review is required and to register your Category A and Other animal use activities with REO.