Ethics Approval

Does your science fair project involve humans or animals? 

If so, you will need to obtain ethics approval in order to qualify for VDSF (and GVRSF).


What do I need to do? 

  1. Use the INTERACTIVE ETHICS FLOWCHART to find out which policies and procedures apply to your project.

  2. Do you need to obtain INFORMED CONSENT from your participants? If so, write a Letter of Information and print out permission forms to give to your participants. You can download both documents below.

  3. Do you need to submit a RESEARCH PLAN? If so, download and complete the template below and e-mail it to the regional ethics chair at (please CC as well).

  4. Ask your teacher supervisor to sign off on your project by filling out the appropriate APPROVAL FORM (download 4.1A, 4.1B, or 4.1C below). Make TWO copies of this form — give one to your teacher supervisor and bring the other with you to VDSF.

  5. IMPORTANT! Fill out a REQUEST FOR ADVICE OR RULING FORM and e-mail this to the regional ethics chair at (please CC as well and include Form 4.1A, 4.1B, or 4.1C). If your project involves human subjects, attach your letter of information and consent forms to the e-mail request for review.

  6. Check your registration status on to see if you have been granted ethics approval.

Ethics Deadlines

INFORMED CONSENT (permission forms) before the end of the experiment (completed forms to be kept by the teacher supervisor in a secure place and shredded after the fair)
FORM 4.1A, 4.1B, 4.1C complete and sign form, include in e-mail request to ethics committee

(leave 1 copy with teacher, bring the other copy to VDSF)

E-MAIL REQUEST TO ETHICS COMMITTEE before registering for VDSF (GVRSF recommends at least 4 weeks before the fair)

NOTE: It takes 1-2 weeks to get a reply but you can proceed with the rest of the registration in the meantime





[Last updated: Nov. 17, 2019]

Ethics Forms 


Letter of Information (docx) | Letter of Information SAMPLE (pdf)

Participant Permission Form (docx) | If you want to minimize the number of forms, try this Group Participant Permission Form (docx) NOTE: This form is formatted for legal sized paper


Request for Advice or Ruling Ethics Committee (doc)

Research Plan template (doc) | This form is only required for high risk projects.


Form 4.1A Humans – low risk (doc) | Form 4.1B Humans — high risk (doc) | Form 4.1C Vertebrates & Cephalopods (doc)

[Last updated: Oct. 16, 2018]

Links to Ethics Resources

NOTE: VDSF follows the same ethics guidelines as the regional and Canada-wide science fairs.

Do you plan to use humans or animals in your science fair project? | GVRSF interactive flowchart

Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair ethics guidelines

Youth Science Canada ethics policies

Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines


[Last updated: Jan. 18, 2019]