A Standing Appeal Board shall be established by the President to adjudicate any1 appeal of a decision reached by the McMaster University Research Ethics Board (MREB), or the joint Hamilton Health Sciences/McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Board (HHS/FHS REB) or the St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton Research Ethics Board (SJHH REB), provided that decisions rendered by the latter two REBs are specific to an appeal by a McMaster University faculty member under the auspices of their University appointment.
The REBs are guided by principles of natural justice in their decision making. Such principles include providing a reasonable opportunity to the researcher to be heard, a written explanation of the reasons for opinions or decisions, an opportunity for rebuttal, fair and impartial judgment, and reasoned and written grounds for the decisions.
To this end, the REBs encourage ongoing discussion with researchers prior to the submission of new human ethics protocols and during the review process, with provision for reconsideration of a decision affecting a research project. When a researcher and the REB cannot reach agreement, the decision of the REB may be appealed by the researcher. Such appeals will be considered by an Appeal Panel, drawn from the membership of the Standing Appeal Board as defined below.
1 except for appeals of decisions rendered by Student Research Ethics Committees, in which case, the appeal will be considered by the MREB. The decision of the MREB will be final and binding.
The Appeal Board, from which the Appeal Panel will be formed, shall consist of a minimum of eight (8) members, including both women and men, drawn from the broad range of disciplines and faculties in which research with human participants takes place. All members of the Appeal Board will have the appropriate background and be without conflict of interest. Membership will include at least:
For meetings of the Board, at least 50 per cent of the membership of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
Chair and Vice-Chair
A Chair and a Vice Chair shall be appointed from the Board membership by the President, upon the recommendation of the Vice President, Research and International Affairs. These appointments will be for two years, renewable terms.
To hear an appeal, the Chair or Vice-Chair shall select four members, including both women and men, with a minimum of one and up to two McMaster University appointed faculty members, from the Appeal Board membership and, together, these five shall constitute the Appeal Panel. Composition of the Appeal Panel shall meet the requirements of the Tri-Council Policy Statement. Chairs of the REBs may serve only on an Appeal Panel reviewing a decision not made by their respective REB.
The members of the Appeal Panel shall have appropriate background and be without conflict of interest. In the case of a conflict of interest or absence on the part of the Chair, the Vice Chair will chair the Appeal Panel.
The mandate of the Appeal Panel is:
In the event a majority vote is not rendered, the Chair or the Vice-Chair shall cast the deciding vote.
2 May include the original ethics application, the original REB decision, all subsequent written communications, documents and records, including REB Minutes pertaining to the submission, a copy of a research proposal for funding of the proposed research, if applicable, relevant references or copies of pertinent guidelines, internal and external policies and legislation.
Recognizing the merits of and mutual interest expressed in having a single, university/hospital appeal process for McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton (SJHH), provision is made for McMaster University to broaden, through agreements with its affiliated hospitals, the mandate and structure of the Standing Appeal Board. Such agreements between McMaster University and its affiliated hospitals will enable the mandate and structure of and terms of reference for the Standing Appeal Board and Appeal Panel to be expanded to include the adjudication of any appeal of a decision reached by the joint HHS/FHS REB and the SJHH REB and to include appropriate representation from these REBs and from HHS and SJHH.
The agreement(s) between McMaster University and its affiliated hospital(s) shall define communication and repository procedures and designated administrative resources.
Subject to the execution of agreement(s) with the affiliated hospital(s), the Chairs of the MREB, HHS/FHS REB and SJH REB will serve as ex-officio members on the Appeal Board. Chairs of the REBs may serve only on an Appeal Panel reviewing a decision not made by their respective REB.
Subject to the execution of agreement(s) with the affiliated hospital(s), the Vice-President, Research and International Affairs shall consult with the heads of the affiliated hospitals prior to making appointment recommendations.
Representation from affiliated hospitals will be added to the membership of the Appeal Board under separate agreements and will include at least:
The members from the hospitals (item 4. above) will be appointed by their respective Trustees, upon the recommendation of their respective Chief of Staff.
Subject to the execution of agreements between McMaster University and its affiliated hospitals, the full composition of the Single Regional University / Hospital Appeal Board shall constitute at least the following 15 positions:
The chairs of the MREB, the HHS/FHS REB and the SJH/REB
All decisions made by the REB are communicated in writing to the researcher via the REB Secretariat. Copies of all applications, associated correspondence and decisions are kept on file by the REB Chair and/or the REB Secretariat.
In the event that a researcher and the REB do not reach an agreement through discussion and reconsideration, the researcher may appeal the final decision of the Board. This may be an appeal against refusal to approve a protocol as submitted, or against amendments or additions required as a condition of approval.
Administrative support for the Appeal Board and Appeal Panel will be provided through the REB Secretariat.
3 may include the original ethics application, original REB decision, all subsequent written communications, documents and records, including REB Minutes pertaining to the submission, including a copy of a research proposal for funding of the proposed research, if applicable, relevant references or copies of pertinent guidelines, internal and external policies and legislation.