2023 President’s Annual Report
Indigenous Research Ethics Board sets nationwide precedent
Right the Future

The Board will review and approve research ethics involving Indigenous peoples

Announced July 2023, York University will soon be home to the first wholly autonomous Indigenous Research Ethics Board (IREB) for a non-Indigenous post-secondary institution in Canada. The board reflects York’s ongoing efforts in decolonizing research and will ensure appropriate sensitivity to cultural and community rights, roles, and responsibilities across any research project.

Research involving human participants at York is currently subject to mandatory review by the Human Participants Review Committee (HPRC), which ensures the health and safety of all participants, including Indigenous peoples. But Indigenous leaders on campus, including the Indigenous Council at York, identified a greater need for specific-knowledges and leadership within research supports, and greater Indigenous involvement in the approval and knowledge production process. This work prompted the creation of the IREB, which will also help advance several priorities of the University Academic Plan, including diversifying learning, working in partnership with Indigenous communities, and continuing action to support reconciliation.

The IREB will fully review and approve all research ethics involving Indigenous peoples from low to high risk and propose either approval, modification, or rejection. The IREB is unique in that they will only report to Senate and are constituted separately from the HPRC.

The IREB will consist of five University faculty members, and both undergraduate and graduate students who are representative of a diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples and gender identities. It will also include three external Elders or knowledge keepers and three non-University affiliated Indigenous community representatives. The board’s membership will be established in early fall 2023.