Standing Committee on Ethics (SCE) meeting highlights: March 2-3, 2017

Issues discussed at the SCE

  • Final Recommendations of the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) Accreditation Working Group, and the Joint Response from the CCTCC Executive Committee
    The SCE was supportive of the Working Group's Final Recommendations but was disappointed at the lack of progress over many years in improving efficiencies in multi-site REB review, which has reduced the international competitiveness of Canada. 
  • Disruptive Technologies (DTs) and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC)
    An SCE subcommittee will be set up to develop substantive ethics guidance for researchers on DTs and DURC.
  • Gene Drive Research
    The SCE requested an update at its next meeting on: international funders' discussions of the gene drive issue, gene drive research funded in Canada, and existing mechanisms that could foster broader Canadian discussions on the issue.
  • Ethics of Patient Engagement
    The SCE was updated on the progress of the CIHR Working Group on Ethics in Patient Engagement in Research, and provided positive feedback on the proposed Roles-based Framework for ethics guidance.

Implementation of the Ethics Action Plan

  • Communication and Engagement
    The SCE discussed plans for a joint SCE-CIHR panel session at the Canadian Bioethics Society's Annual Conference in May 2017 to provide an update on recent activities, and for an adjoining Café Scientifique on Personalized Health/Precision Medicine in collaboration with relevant strategic leads.


  • The SCE Chair will propose to Governing Council that the number of Canadian ethics experts on the SCE be increased from three to four, and adding one member representing Indigenous communities.
  • The SCE Vice-Chair, Dr. Lisa Schwartz, will be cycling off the committee in June 2017. A Canadian ethics expert on the SCE, Dr. Judy Illes, will become the new SCE Vice-Chair as of July 2017.
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