Requirement for Human Research Ethics Training

TCPS2 2022 and CORE 2022 Tutorial| CORE 2022 Training Requirement| Frequently Asked Questions

The research landscape is ever-changing and complicated, from our engagement with human-participant research to how we collaboratively engage with Indigenous Peoples and communities. Given recent changes in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2, 2022) and the accompanying tutorial, University of Waterloo researchers have an obligation to renew training by December 31, 2023.

The need to do so comes from both our external obligations to funders as well as our internal commitments to research excellence and equity. The University of Waterloo recognizes value in advancing knowledge, technology, and training and is committed to promoting the conduct of well-designed, responsible research. Thus, we must balance scientific inquiry and the protection of the welfare of those involved as research participants (University of Waterloo Statement on Human Research, 2011).

TCPS2 2022 and the CORE 2022 Tutorial

Researchers, institutions, and partnering organizations only receive funding from Canada’s federal granting agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR) if they agree to adhere to the ethical principles and articles of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2, 2022) which was released with updates in January 2023. The Agreement between the University of Waterloo and the three federal granting agencies, Section 4.3c, states that Institutions must “ensure that Researchers are informed of their obligations under the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and provided such training.” The agencies are committed to promote the ethical conduct of research involving humans and the TCPS2 provides researchers with this guidance.

The associated tutorial, TCPS 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE) 2022, now includes a section on research involving Indigenous Peoples. As part of Waterloo’s commitment to decolonization, Indigenization, and reconciliation, it is important that researchers learn about “a framework for the ethical conduct of research involving Indigenous Peoples. It is offered in a spirit of respect. It is not intended to override or replace ethical guidance offered by Indigenous Peoples themselves. Its purpose is to ensure, to the extent possible, that research involving Indigenous Peoples is premised on respectful relationships. It also encourages collaboration and engagement between researchers and participants” (Chapter 9, TCPS2). This training initiative is an important step towards the President's Anti-Racism Taskforce recommendation that faculty members, staff, and students engage in training in Indigenous research. 

The Course on Research Ethics (CORE) tutorial is free, self-paced, and online. The tutorial consists of nine modules and features interactive exercises with multi-disciplinary examples. The tutorial is designed to introduce TCPS2 and assist researchers in interpretating and applying TCPS2 to their research. Officially, the entire tutorial takes four hours to complete, but typically takes less time. Tutorial progress is automatically saved, so it does not have to be completed in one sitting. The tutorial includes a knowledge consolidation exercise/quiz at the end. The tutorial is a mastery-based session providing a certificate of completion that should be downloaded and retained for inclusion with all new research ethics applications.

CORE 2022 Training Requirement

To ensure an understanding of TCPS2, completion of the CORE Tutorial is a milestone for all researchers whose research with human participants falls under the auspices of the University of Waterloo. This milestone applies to all principal investigators, faculty supervisors, course instructors, post-doctoral fellows, graduate, and undergraduate students as well as research/laboratory staff, project managers, and research assistants who will be responsible for recruiting or interacting with human participants. Numerous other institutions across Canada have implemented mandatory ethics education training and the University of Waterloo uses the CORE tutorial to satisfy this requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Needs to Complete the CORE 2022 training?

As mentors and role models to students, principal investigators (or faculty supervisors or course instructors) have a responsibility to ensure that anyone conducting research under their authority has completed the CORE 2022 tutorial.  Principal investigators (or faculty supervisors or course instructors) must be duly diligent by ensuring the TCPS2 guides human-participant research conducted at the University of Waterloo. By submitting the research ethics application, a principal investigator (or faculty supervisor or course instructor) attests that the proposed research adheres to the TCPS2, and that ethics education training has been completed by themselves and all Waterloo members of their research team who are named on the application.

When Do I Need to Complete the Training?

 By December 31, 2023:

  • All faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting scholars will be required to complete the TCPS 2 CORE 2022 tutorial before submitting a research ethics application on which they are named.  
  • All undergraduate and graduate students (including PhD students), research/laboratory staff (including co-op or summer students and casual employees), project managers, and research assistants, will be required to complete the TCPS 2 CORE 2022 tutorial before submitting a research ethics application on which they are named. This requirement includes applications for independent studies, course credit, fourth year and master’s theses, PhD dissertations, and faculty research.
  • Instructors of undergraduate and graduate courses that require students to conduct a research project will be requested to integrate the TCPS 2 CORE 2022 tutorial into the course syllabus as a requirement for all students to complete as part of their course work. The tutorial should be completed before the student begins their research project. Students may be provided bonus marks for completing the tutorial, at the discretion of the instructor. A recommendation is that no more than two (2) percent of the final mark be allocated to each student.

Can I submit an ethics application without completing the CORE 2022 tutorial?

  • University of Waterloo faculty members who have not completed the 2022 version of the CORE tutorial will be notified in the Fall 2023 term.
  • After December 31, 2023, an incomplete TCPS 2 CORE 2022 tutorial by any Waterloo member named on the application will result in the application being returned to the principal investigator or faculty supervisor (for student research) to resubmit after the tutorial has been completed.

How often should I renew the tutorial?

I have already completed the TCPS 2 2022 version of the tutorial. Do I need to complete it again?

  • Waterloo members who have already completed the 2022 version of the CORE tutorial are not required to do the tutorial again. The top of the completion certification will look like the example below.


top of a TCPS 2 CORE 2022 certificate

Updated February 2023