BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative

The BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative (BCEHI), funded and facilitated by MSFHR, spearheaded a harmonized approach to health research ethics review, allowing researchers to submit a single ethics application regardless of the number of BC jurisdictions involved in a project.

The initative: The BCEHI was a collaborative effort between eight partner organizations representing BC’s provincial health authorities and major research universities. MSFHR provided core funding to the BECHI from 2010 to 2016. At the end of this period, the BCEHI had developed a harmonized approach to health research ethics review including two working harmonized models for the ethics review of both minimal risk and above minimal risk research studies.

A Summative Evaluation of the BCEHI completed in fall 2016, showed that harmonization is having a positive impact on making BC a more attractive research environment through more timely and efficient processes.

To build on BCEHI’s achievements MSFHR provided additional funding in the fall of 2016 to support the BCEHI partner organizations with ongoing management and sustainability of the BCEHI as well as the development of a shared technology platform for harmonized ethics review. 

Research Ethics BC: In early 2018, the BCEHI was integrated into BC Academic Health Science Network as an established provincial resource to facilitate transformational health system research that crosses institutional and geographical boundaries. Under BC AHSN, this resource is now known as Research Ethics BC.