Implication of the Ontario Provincial Roadmap to Reopen Plan on Research Activities

A message from Professor Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research (Oversight and Compliance) April 8, 2021 (updated June 14, 2021)

On June 11, the province of Ontario transitioned into Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen framework.

All researchers are to continue to follow their divisional research recovery approval processes, and all researchers that can work remotely (from home) should continue to do so. Those who come to campus must continue to follow the public health measures already in place and the processes currently in effect, such as the proper use of appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. masks), maintenance of physical distancing, scheduling of time and people in the lab, and following recommended entry and exit routes in buildings. Anyone coming to campus must complete a COVID-19 Self-Assessment.

Face to Face (F2F) Human Participant Research (On or Off Campus)

As of June 11, 2021 the University’s Research Ethics Boards (REBs) are now reviewing research proposals of all risk levels for face-to-face human participant research. Once both the Face-to-Face COVID-19 Review Committee (F2FCRC) and the REB approve the study and the research can start per the F2F Research Roadmap (below), an F2FCRC approval letter will be issued to the Principal Investigator to allow them to start or resume their study.

Face-to-face (F2F) Research Roadmap

COVID-19 Research Risk Research Method Direct contact / close contact? Approximate start (Provincial Roadmap)
Level 1 Interaction / observation None or minimal contact, physical distancing can be easily achieved (e.g., interviews, computer-based experiments, non-invasive methods) Step 1
Level 2 Intervention Some physical contact (e.g., biospecimen collection, body measurements), physical distancing sometimes challenging to maintain Step 1
Level 3 Physical treatment / manipulation Sustained physical contact, participant breathing heavily, physical distancing not possible Step 2-3

Human research that can be done through virtual (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom), remote (e.g. phone, email) or online (e.g. MTurk, REDCap) methods should be conducted through these methods.

For details on the review processes, please see the Review of Face-To-Face and Off-Campus Research webpage.

For Off-Campus Research (No Face-to-Face Human Participant Component)

Researchers currently conducting approved field research may continue, as long as they follow all applicable public health directives and safety measures, including all provincial and local directives. If researchers can work remotely (from home) they must do so, only going in the field as necessary. If you have any questions/concerns regarding safety while conducting research, please contact ehs.office@utoronto.ca.

Please note that new proposals to conduct field research activities must demonstrate why both the research and the travel are essential, and require approval of the new Face-to-Face and Off-Campus COVID-19 Review Form by Occupational Health and Safety. Detailed instructions on this process can be found on the Review of Face-to-Face and Off-Campus Research page. All researchers are to follow their divisional research recovery approval processes. 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.

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