Ethics & Conduct

Applicants and administrators, by signing our application forms, accept responsibility for ensuring that all OMHF-funded research is carried out within the applicable guidelines for ethical conduct outlined below. Institutions also accept responsibility for withholding OMHF grant funds until they have issued the required approvals, which should be indicated on the signed, submitted Facesheet. 

The Ontario Mental Health Foundation reserves the right to withdraw funding if these guidelines are not met. We look to other agencies for guidance in matters of ethics and conduct, and reserve the right to modify our requirements to be consistent with these agencies. 

Guidelines to Follow

Investigations Involving Human Subjects

The sponsoring institution and the principal investigator are responsible for ensuring that research involving human subjects is carried out in an ethical way. The OMHF’s judgements about ethics is guided by the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans available from the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics.

The OMHF requires that all research projects be approved by a Research Ethics Board (REB) or an equivalent body. Each applicant must arrange to have the chair of the REB certify:

  • that the institution's REB has met to examine the research protocol, and
  • that the REB has given approval for the project to go forward.

Approval by the REB is important, but applicants are still required to provide all materials necessary for the OMHF’s review committee to make its own assessment. For example, applications that propose the use of human subjects in an investigation must include a copy of the consent form (a draft is acceptable if this is all that is available at the deadline), and any letters of explanation or other material to be given to potential subjects or others whose consent is sought.

Institutions without an REB should call or write to the OMHF for guidance about how to satisfy the requirement for an ethical review.

Investigations Involving Animals

Applicants whose work involves the use of animals as research subjects must get a letter or a certificate from the Chair of the institution's Committee for Animal Care verifying that the use of animals in their research is in accordance with the Animals for Research Act.

Laboratory Biosafety

The OMHF accepts the guidelines of the Canadian Biosafety Standards available from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Any research involving agents identified in these guidelines must be approved by the institution’s applicable review committee.

Final Authority

On the advice of a review committee, or at its own discretion, the OMHF may reject an application on ethical grounds even though it has been approved by the sponsoring institution.