Implication of the Lock Down Measures in Toronto & Peel on Research Activities

A message from Professor Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research (Oversight and Compliance) November 21, 2020 (updated Nov. 27)

The Government of Ontario has announced that the City of Toronto and Peel Region will enter the Grey Zone (lockdown) on November 23, 2020, for a minimum of 28 days. This announcement impacts all three campuses. This maximum measure was taken to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in these regions.  

For all on-campus lab research: the regulations allow organizations that conduct research to continue and therefore all researchers may continue with their approved on-campus research plans. They must continue to follow the public health measures already in place and the processes currently in effect, such as scheduling of time and people in the lab.  As before, if researchers can work remotely (from home) they should continue to do so, only coming to the campus as necessary. Anyone coming to campus must complete a COVID-19 Self-Assessment.

For human participant research: Given the increased levels of community transmission and the risk for human participants, effective 12:01 am Monday November 23, 2020, all face-to-face (in-person) research involving human participants, that was approved by the University (e.g. U of T REB is the Board of Record), must stop, until further notice except for the exceptions below. This includes all in-person recruitment of human participants; in-person data collection involving human participants for on-going research; as well as studies involving human participants that have recently received REB approval. Online and virtual research may continue as usual.
 

Exceptions

  • COVID-19 research
  • Where the U of T REB is the Board of Record and the study involves in-person research where the participant is receiving a service that would be delivered/received regardless of the research (e.g. client receiving dental services). Please contact the Human Research Ethics Unit at ethics.review@utoronto.ca for confirmation that your research falls into this category.
  • Where the U of T REB is not the Board of Record (e.g. TAHSN REB is the Board of Record), researchers should follow the applicable direction of that institution (assuming the in-person research is not on our campus)
  • Researchers currently in other regions or countries conducting U of T REB-approved in-person research, may continue, as long as they follow all applicable local public health directives and safety measures. If you have any questions/concerns regarding safety while conducting in-person research, please contact EHS.office@utoronto.ca
     

Please visit the University’s Human Research Ethics Webpage for more details. 

For field research: Researchers currently in other regions or countries conducting approved field research, may continue, as long as they follow all applicable local public health directives and safety measures. If you have any questions/concerns regarding safety while conducting research, please contact EHS.office@utoronto.ca

Please note, research and associated research staff in Grey Zone regions may not travel at this time to other regions or countries to conduct field research activities without a risk assessment being conducted by Occupational Health and Safety prior to travel; please contact EHS.office@utoronto.ca for further information and guidance. Final approval will be provided by the divisional research restart process, where there will need to be a justification for essential travel and essential research. If approved, please note, field researchers must ensure they are aware of and abide by any travel restrictions and local public health requirements at their research host location.

Please continue to visit this page for any updates.

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