HOME 5 Building Capacity 5 Working with Researchers


There are established ethical codes regarding research. This page introduces ethical codes that third party researchers may be required to follow when working with your government.


A leading code is the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2)(2018). The TCPS 2 is a required policy for Canada’s three federal research agencies, and is applicable to research conducted through or funded by these agencies:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

As a condition of receiving funding from CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC, university researchers and their institutions must comply with TCPS 2. TCPS 2 has a dedicated chapter on research involving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples of Canada.

This chapter begins:

Research involving Indigenous peoples in Canada has been defined and carried out primarily by non-Indigenous researchers. The approaches used have not generally reflected Indigenous world views, and the research has not necessarily benefited Indigenous peoples or communities. As a result, Indigenous peoples continue to regard research, particularly research originating outside their communities, with a certain apprehension or mistrust. (p. 107)

The goal of this chapter is to:

serve as 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. (p. 107)

This chapter sets out a comprehensive list of requirements that researchers must comply with in addition to other relevant aspects of TCPS 2:

  • Engage the community in Indigenous research;
  • Determine the nature and extent of community engagement jointly by the community and researcher;
  • Demonstrate respect for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis governing authorities;
  • Engage with organizations and communities of interest;
  • Document engagement with complex authorities (councils, knowledge keepers, community agencies);
  • Recognize diverse interests within communities;
  • Respect cultural norms if conducting critical inquiries;
  • Respect community customs and codes of practice;
  • Require Research Ethics review;
  • Require that Research Ethics Board be advised on a plan for community engagement;
  • Recommended to have a written research agreement;
  • Adopt collaborative research;
  • Ensure research relevant to community’s needs and priorities;
  • Build capacity in research in the community;
  • Recognize role of elders and knowledge holders;
  • Ensure privacy and confidentiality;
  • Collaborate with community in interpreting and dissemination research results;
  • Include intellectual property provisions in the research agreement;
  • Specify legal and proprietary rights of individuals and community regarding collection of human biological materials involving First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis peoples in the research agreement; and
  • Address secondary use of information or human biological materials identifiable as originating from First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis communities or peoples in the research agreement.

Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research

A companion to the TCPS 2 is the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2016)(RCR). The RCR does not apply to SGIGs, but the RCR is used in the event of an alleged breach against a researcher on a research project funded by CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. The RCR sets out requirements for research integrity, including:

  • Rigour in scholarly and scientific research
  • Recordkeeping
  • Accurate referencing
  • Authorship
  • Acknowledgement of research contribution
  • Conflict of interest management

It is a best practice for you to be familiar with the RCR in the event you find relevant evidence of a breach of the RCR by a researcher with whom your government has a contractual relationship. That way you can be informed if you wish to make a complaint under the RCR.

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