Tri-Hospital Research Ethics Board

The Tri-Hospital Research Ethics Board (THREB) is a shared research ethics board serving St. Mary’s General Hospital, Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Grand River Hospital. THREB reviews all research involving human subjects at these hospitals, except for research reviewed by an alternate Board of Record for one of the hospitals (e.g. the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board).

In order to facilitate this review, all the necessary documentation must be included in the application (see forms below).

THREB meets the first Wednesday of the month except during July and August. A completed application package including the signed original and five copies (six copies in total) must be received by the second Wednesday of the month prior to the meeting date. A checklist outlining the required steps is included as the first part of the application form.

Minimal risk studies that may receive delegated (expedited) review instead of full board review have no deadline for receipt.

The primary responsibility of the THREB is to make decisions concerning the ethical acceptability of research proposed by the hospital(s), by researchers having an association with the hospital(s), or any research involving patients or staff at the hospital(s). For purposes of review by THREB, research is defined as “an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined or systematic investigation” (Tri-Council Policy Statement 2).

THREB is mandated to approve, reject, propose modifications to, or terminate any proposed or ongoing research involving human subjects that is conducted within the hospitals, again with the exception of research reviewed by an alternate Board of Record for the hospital(s). THREB complies with guidelines from:

  • The Tri-Council Policy Statement Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans 2 (2010)
  • The Good Clinical Practice: Consolidated Guideline of the International Conference on Harmonization
  • Division 5 Health Canada Food and Drug Regulations
  • Relevant Canadian health and privacy legislation

THREB also endeavors to facilitate compliance with the human subject requirements of two US federal agencies: The Food and Drug Administration and the Office for Human Research Protections, US Dept of Health and Human Services.

Additional administrative review

While THREB reviews all research, administration departments at each hospital also review research for financial, resource, and contractual implications (see administrative approval form application part 3).

St. Mary’s Research Proposal Approval Process is as follows:

  1. Research proposal is received by the Hospital Chair, Research Committee
  2. Chair, St. Mary’s Research Committee reviews documentation
  3. Research Proposal is placed on St. Mary’s Research Committee agenda
  4. Research Committee reviews proposal, implications for St. Mary’ and provides administrative approval to proceed to THREB
  5. Chair, St. Mary’s Research Committee, signs off on administrative approval and advises researcher that study may proceed to THREB
  6. Research proposal is reviewed by THREB

Please note: Each hospital has a unique process for administrative review and approval. This process must be completed before THREB review can be initiated. It is up to the Investigator to make contact with the relevant institutions to determine their requirements. Contact information for administrative review at the three hospitals can be found below and in the administrative approval form (application part 3).

Cambridge Memorial Hospital
Sandra Hett, Vice President, Clinical Programs and Chief Nursing Executive
700 Coronation Boulevard
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 3G2
519-621-2333 ext. 2416

Grand River Hospital
Sarah Laferriere, Research Office Administrator Grand River Hospital
835 King Street West
Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 1G3
519-749-4300 ext. 2876

St. Mary’s General Hospital
Sherri Ferguson, Vice President, Quality, People & Performance
911 Queen’s Boulevard, Kitchener, Ontario N2M 1B2
519-749-6578 ext. 6403

Both the administrative review and the research ethics board review must be completed and any outstanding issue resolved prior to the research being initiated.

For more information, or to send an application and other forms, contact:

Shelley Croth, THREB Administrative Coordinator, Tri-Hospital Research Ethics Board
Grand River Hospital, Kaufman Building room K415
835 King Street West
Kitchener, ON N2G 1G3
519-749-4300 ext. 5367
Fax: 519-749-4282

You can reach the THREB Chairperson, Dr. Michael D. Coughlin at:

More information is available under the following links:


In general, the THREB requires the original and five copies (six packages in total) of all documents that must be reviewed. To provide sufficient time for review, completed application packages and other items for review must be received by the second Wednesday of the month prior to the THREB meeting date. Please email an electronic copy of the submission to

Application forms

Forms for continuing review