Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Tri-Agency Statement:
Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information

November 17, 2011

Canada’s federal granting agencies—Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)—are committed to fostering and maintaining an environment that supports and promotes the responsible conduct of research. In early December 2011, the agencies will be releasing the Tri-Agency Framework for the Responsible Conduct of Research, which sets out to:

  • ensure that funding decisions made by the agencies are based on accurate and reliable information;
  • ensure public funds for research are used responsibly and in accordance with funding agreements;
  • promote and protect the quality, accuracy and reliability of research funded by the agencies; and
  • promote fairness in the conduct of research and the process for addressing allegations of policy breaches.

Statistics on the agencies’ Web sites indicate that standards of integrity in the agencies’ research communities are very high, and that serious breaches are extremely rare. Until now, the agencies have not disclosed the names of individuals who have committed serious breaches. In order to ensure full accountability and transparency for the proper use of public funds in supporting research, the agencies will now require all researchers applying for funding to provide a Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information, allowing them, in cases of a serious breach of agency policy and subject to applicable laws, including the Privacy Act, to publicly disclose: 1) the name of the researcher; 2) the nature of the breach; 3) the name of the institution where the researcher was employed at the time of the breach; and 4) the name of the institution where the researcher is currently employed.

In determining whether a breach is serious, the agency will consider the extent to which the breach jeopardizes the safety of the public or would bring the conduct of research into disrepute. We believe the introduction of consent will further strengthen Canada’s reputation for excellence and responsible conduct in research.

For further information about the Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions.

Yours truly,

Alain Beaudet, President, CIHR
Suzanne Fortier, President, NSERC
Chad Gaffield, President, SSHRC

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