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Terms of Referenc


PRE is responsible for addressing the evolving needs of the three Agencies in promoting the ethics of research involving humans. It functions as an interdisciplinary and pluralistic advisory body, providing the Agencies with independent reflection and advice on human research ethics, consistent with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans, 2nd edition (TCPS 2)

PRE’s mandate is to:

  • promote high ethical standards of conduct in research involving humans;
  • advise the Agencies about the ongoing development and evolution of the TCPS 2;
  • establish or commission ad hoc expert groups to address specific issues;
  • provide interpretations of the TCPS 2 for its implementation and use;
  • learn from and respond to evolutions in research ethics issues and practices in a national and international context;
  • promote and support the implementation of the TCPS 2;
  • identify educational activities and mandate the Secretariat to implement and promote them;
  • participate in the ongoing national discussion regarding the development of an oversight system for the ethics review process;
  • recognize the diversity of approaches used in research involving humans;
  • report annually on its activities to the Presidents of the Agencies.

In carrying out its mandate, PRE is committed to openness and transparency.


PRE has 12 members. In addition, the Executive Director of the Secretariat and a representative from CIHR's Stem Cell Oversight Committee are ex officio members without voting rights. Observers may also be invited to participate in the meetings.

In addition to geographical and gender representation, PRE membership provides:

  • a balanced representation of researchers in biomedical and health sciences, social sciences and humanities, and those in the natural science and engineering fields undertaking research involving humans;
  • expertise or experience in ethics, law, REB operations and research administration at an institutional level;
  • representation from the Aboriginal community and research participants.

All members are volunteers. They do not receive honoraria in compensation for their contribution of expertise and time, though the Secretariat covers their expenses (such as travel and accommodation).


The Presidents of the three Agencies appoint PRE members. Initial appointments are for a period of three years, with the possibility of extension for one to three years for a maximum total of six years. The appointments are staggered to provide flexibility and continuity.

PRE’s Chair is also appointed by the three Presidents. The initial term of appointment is for two years with the possibility of one or more extensions.


PRE will usually meet at least once each year, communicating further in person or by teleconference as required. The Executive Director and staff of the Secretariat participate in the meetings.


A majority of its members (50% plus 1), which must include the Chair, or his/her designate.

Reporting Structure

PRE reports to the Presidents of the Agencies, providing recommendations regarding the TCPS 2. The Presidents then determine the appropriate action to be taken. The Panel Chair reports annually on PRE's activities to each of the Agencies' Councils.


Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans, 2nd edition (2010)