The following is an example of an information letter available to parents prior to any student participation in the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS).  This example letter is for reference only; actual letters will include school specific information, as well as who parents need to contact with questions or concerns.

Please do not use this example in place of an actual parent information letter.

Parent information letter

Date

Students at [your school] will be asked to be a part of the 2016/2017 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS). This survey will gather details about health and behaviours among youth. This project has been approved by your school board and school, and is funded by Health Canada. 

DETAILS ABOUT CSTADS:

  • It is a survey of students in Grades 7 to 12. It takes students 30 minutes to complete the survey. 
  • Students will complete the survey in a classroom with a teacher to supervise, on a date chosen by the school.
  • The survey asks students questions about tobacco use, bullying, mental health, school connectedness, drug and alcohol use.
  • Your child can refuse to take part in the survey at any time with no penalty.
  • Students will not be part of the survey if a parent decides they should not do so OR if the student does not agree to take part.
  • Although we do not anticipate any risks from participation in this study, you should be aware that taking part in the survey may expose your son or daughter to information on topics which are new.
  • You can see a copy of the survey questionnaire in the school's main office or at cstads.ca.

PRIVACY:

  • Student names will not appear with the answers they provide on the survey. 
  • There is no way to link or identify a student to their survey results.
  • Students will put their survey in a sealed envelope when it is complete.
  • The results of the survey will only be reported in group form. The school will receive a School Health Profile that outlines key results and actions the school may take. The survey team may also provide resources to the school. A summary of the school report will also go to parents and other community members. 
  • Data for this survey will be stored at the University of Waterloo for a minimum of 5 years. Only research staff will have access to the data.

YOUR CONSENT:

As a parent or guardian, you can decide whether or not you want your son or daughter to complete the survey. If a student is [defined age], they can decide on their own if they want to participate in the survey. Please indicate your consent in one of two ways:
1. COMPLETE THE CONSENT FORM ENCLOSED and return it your child’s classroom teacher soon.
OR
2. COMPLETE THE CONSENT FORM ONLINE at cstads.ca/permission. Use this online access code [Online Access Code] to complete the form.

CONTACT US:

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee as well as [local institution ethics review board]. However, the final decision about participation is yours. If you have any comments or concerns resulting from your participation in this study, please contact the Chief Ethics Officer, Office of Research Ethics, at 1-519-888-4567, ext. 36005 or ore-ceo@uwaterloo.ca.

In cases where researchers believe that a student may need protection from harm, we must by law report this to authorities.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. To view more project details visit the CSTADS website at cstads.ca or contact [site coordinator] at [phone number], email: [email address].


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