TCPS 2 (2018) – Introduction


The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS or the Policy) is a joint policy of Canada’s three federal research agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), or “the Agencies.”

This Policy expresses the Agencies’ continuing commitment to the people of Canada to promote the ethical conduct of research involving humans. It has been informed, in part, by leading international ethics norms, all of which may help, in some measure, to guide Canadian researchers, in Canada and abroad, in the conduct of research involving humans.

This edition introduces the second set of substantive changes to the Policy since the second edition of the TCPS was launched in 2010. It reflects the commitment of the Agencies to keep the TCPS current and responsive to the ethical issues that arise in the course of research involving humans. Most importantly, it reflects the feedback, questions and requests for guidance expressed by the research community, and the responses generated by the Panel on Research Ethics and the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research. With these revisions to the Policy, as well their interpretation service and outreach functions, the Panel and Secretariat seek to facilitate the integration of ethics into the design and conduct of research involving humans.

Mandate of the Agencies

The people of Canada, through Acts of Parliament,Footnote 1 have created and funded the Agencies to promote and assist research within their respective legislative mandates. In discharging their mandates, the Agencies wish to promote research that is conducted according to the highest ethical standards. The Agencies have therefore adopted this Policy as a benchmark for the ethical conduct of research involving humans.

Compliance with the Policy

As a condition of funding,Footnote 2 the Agencies require that researchers and their institutions apply the ethical principles and the articles of this Policy and be guided by the Application sections of the articles. Institutions must therefore ensure that research conducted under their auspices complies with this Policy. Researchers are expected, as a condition of funding, to adhere to the TCPS. Institutions should support their efforts to do so. Failure to fulfill the requirements of the TCPS, by the researcher or the institution, may result in recourse by the Agencies, as set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

Organizations and entities not party to the Agreement are welcome to adopt this Policy to guide the ethical aspects of the design, review and conduct of research involving humans. Since the adoption of the original Policy in 1998, many bodies in Canada and abroad have adopted, adapted and been guided by this document. The Agencies hope that this Policy will continue to serve as a model and guide for the ethical conduct of research involving humans.

The Agencies recognize that considerations around the ethical conduct of research involving humans are complex and continually evolving. We welcome comments and discussion and commit to the continued evolution of this document.

The official version of this Policy is the online version, which is continuously updated and available to print.

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