Institutional Approvals

Through a formal agreement with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Covenant Health, HREB is the conjoint board for all University health researchers, including faculty members, and trainees, whose studies involve the resources of AHS and Covenant Health. 

HREB operates as two panels: Biomedical and Health, and is designated under the Alberta Health Information Act to review research involving health information.

Alberta Health Services

Administrative Approval (Edmonton Zone) 

The Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre (NACTRC) is the designated administrative office for all clinical trials and clinical research that impacts AHS and the University of Alberta in the Edmonton Zone. Administrative Approval is the process of obtaining approval from the Institution where the research will take place. No clinical trial can take place until Administrative Approval is granted. NACTRC is primarily responsible to confirm:

  • HREB approval has been obtained
  • Operational approvals have been obtained from impacted AHS sites or departments
  • Data Disclosure Agreement finalized (if applicable)
  • Contracts have been finalized (if applicable)
  • Financial accounts have been set-up (if applicable)

Administrative Approval is automatically sent electronically from the NACTRC office once all of the requirements have been met.

For more information, email

Operational Approval (Outside of Edmonton Zone) 

All clinical studies utilizing AHS property or resources must have Operational Approval. Each study must be reviewed and approved by the affected site or department approver. This approval is for AHS sites or departments to manage risk, HR and cost.

Contact Health System Access (HSA) for information on obtaining AHS approval outside of the Edmonton Zone.

Covenant Health

The Covenant Health Research Centre (CHRC) leads Covenant Health's efforts to integrate research, develop research partnerships, facilitate inquiry and promote innovation. Specifically, the CHRC:

  • consults with researchers and coordinators;
  • maintains a database of all approved research;
  • produces and distributes the Covenant Health Research publication;
  • hosts research education workshops and knowledge transfer opportunities as well as research related events;
  • assists researchers with obtaining Covenant Health research grants; assists researchers with obtaining Covenant Health operational/administrative approval for research studies.

All research at Covenant Health requires ethics approval through the Health Research Ethics Board (HREB) and Operational/Administrative approval for Covenant Health,facilitated through the Covenant Health Research Centre (CHRC).

Operational/Administrative Approval

Operational/Administrative Approval is required when any Covenant Health facilities, resources, patients/residents, staff/physicians, data or health records are utilized. The recruitment or screening of Covenant Health patients/residents and/or staff/physicians on a Covenant Health site is also considered a research activity, even if the research study is taking place at a non-Covenant Health site.

The CHRC Operational/Administrative process involves the completion of a 2-page form. All signatures and approvals are secured through the CHRC on the researcher's behalf. Any clinical study agreements will be directed through the Covenant Health Risk Management/Legal department for review. And any lab budget/requirements will be directed to Lab Services for review and approval.


For assistance with any of these processes, please contact:

Covenant Health Research Centre