The Tunnel at the End of the Light? A Critical Analysis of the Development of the Tri-Council Policy Statement

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Tri-Council Policy Statement, Research Involving Humans, Canada, Research Ethics, Democratic Values, Policy Development


In 1998, the three major government funding Councils put in place the Tri-Council Policy Statement to regulate all research involving humans in Canada conducted at institutions funded by them. In this paper, we examine the process of developing the TCPS, an historic and very important document in Canada’s research ethics landscape, and the application of the democratic values of legitimacy, transparency, representation, accountability, and community engagement in that process. We argue that efforts were made to ensure basic democratic values in the process, but that these attempts should have been taken farther. This examination is a timely exercise in light of the new draft now being prepared to replace the current version of the Tri-Council Policy Statement. We also consider this ongoing process of establishing a new edition and reflect on lessons to be learned.


Copyright © Canadian Law and Society Association 2011