Update on the Research Participant Education Sub-Committee (RPES)

Nov. 3, 2015

A ‘Hold the Presses’ directive has been issued by the Panel on Research Ethics (PRE) to RPES.  PRE is the group that RPES is a ‘sub-committee’ to.  The PRE are the federal government authorized folks who provide guidelines for the human research industry in Canada.  Those guidelines are encompassed in their Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, second edition (2014) – TCPS 2, for short.  Note that these are guidelines, only – not regulations.

Your only real protection when signing on to any type of human research experiment or study is your own due diligence.  It is up to you to verify every aspect of the commitment that you are making to the researchers.  Your difficulty lies in determining the veracity of the commitment that the researchers make to you.  Remember, the language used by researchers may appear to be ‘plain English’ but, often it is not.  E.g. a ‘safety study’ is a ‘toxicity study’ - an experiment to determine the lethal dose; ‘life threatening’ means ‘risk of death’; etc.

In June of this year, PRE was presented with the collective efforts of a year of once a month cross-country conference calls between RPES members and Laura-Lee Balkwill of the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR). A new SRCR facilitator, Hanan Abdel-Akher, will be at the helm come December, 2015.  All members and our facilitator generated copious amounts of copy covering every angle of concern judged to be of importance to people joining as ‘guinea pigs’ in experiments on humans. 

This past October, the SRCR informed RPRS members that the website utilizing RPES’s work – tentatively scheduled to be launched January, 2016, will be delayed for another year.  A couple of reasons were given – ‘need to choose a different platform’; ‘scale back scope of the project’; etc.

So a new round of once a month conference calls began October 27th.  The current focus is to develop a download-able brochure.  If this project does actually ‘come off’, RwR will certainly provide a link.