Bruyère Research Institute

Research During COVID-19 

  • Research projects involving virtual or no-contact participation are permitted to continue.
  • All on and offsite research plans involving face-to-face participation will be reviewed by Heidi Sveistrup and Trish De Fazio, who will work with each investigator, their Research Operations Manager, and Bruyère to determine when the research can resume.

At every step of the way, the return to in person research will follow Bruyère and Ottawa Public Health’s processes. We are committed to ensuring the safety of everyone impacted by research activities.

This page will be updated as information changes. All updates will be communicated through the Research Institute’s newsletters, Mailbag and Roundup.


All Bruyère Research Institute research teams whose studies require conducting face-to-face research at any Bruyère campus or in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic must follow the process as outlined below.

  1. Review the latest version of this document, “Procedure Manual on Conducting Face-to-Face Participant Research on Site or in the Community during the COVID-19 Pandemic."
  2. Revise their study plan to comply with the latest version of this document.
  3. Discuss their revised study plan with their assigned Research Operations Manager.
  4. Complete the Restarting Research Approval Spreadsheet contained in Section 3.1 Process in the Procedure Manual on Conducting Face-to-Face Research.
  5. Await notification from their Research Operations Manager that their study has been approved or check the status of the plan in the Restarting Research Approval Spreadsheet.
  6. Submit their amended protocol to the Bruyère Research Ethics Board and receive approval.

For investigators who are considering starting research within a timeline of a few months, we recommend beginning to prepare immediately to avoid any unnecessary delays. This process can take up to four weeks for approval.

Research that does not involve face to face interaction with participants does not require a return to research plan; however, ensure any necessary amendments to your protocol are submitted and approved by the Research Ethics Board.





How does screening and PPE work at Annex E?

Unlike other Bruyère sites, Annex E will not have a screening station at its entrance. Anyone entering Annex E is required to report to Saint Vincent Hospital (SVH) for screening and to receive a single use surgical mask before entering the building. At this time, cloth or reusable masks are not permitted. Spot audits will be conducted to ensure the health and safety of all our staff.

What is “urgent research” defined as?

Urgent research is determined on a case by case basis and must be approved by the Research Institute leadership team and the Research Ethics Board. Generally, urgent face to face participant research means one or more of the following: research that is COVID-19 related, is part of a Clinical Trials Research Unit study that requires patient follow-up, or needs to restart as timelines due to funding or partnership agreements are not extended.

Can we have visitors or community partners onsite at Bruyère? Can we hold offsite meetings?

Currently, all Bruyère sites are closed to external guests unless they are research participants. We realize there are unique circumstances where face to face meetings are most desirable. While the weather is still suitable, we encourage these meetings to be held outside, keeping people at a safe physical distance from each other.


See section 4.3.1 Important Considerations of Community Research Visits and Appendix B in the Procedure Manual on Conducting Face-to-Face Research.

Do I have to wear a mask in research spaces?

The City of Ottawa has mandated that masks must be worn in all indoor spaces. Staff must be masked at all times when in Bruyère buildings. If a person is not sharing an office, they are permitted to remove their mask while in their office. However, if someone enters the office, everyone must put a mask on. For those who are sharing office spaces, maintaining distance might be difficult or not even feasible; IPAC recommends everyone in a shared office to wear a mask at all times.

How do I start new face to face research?

For all new studies requiring face to face interaction with participants, the template for restarting research must be completed along with the regular Research Ethics Board submission. These templates can be obtained from the Research Operations Managers.


The Bruyère Research Ethics Board continues to operate as usual. Please continue to submit all ethics applications, amendments, addendums, deviations, serious adverse event forms, and other documentation for review. Please note that approvals are subject to any COVID-19 research restrictions

Who can I contact for more information?

All members of the Bruyère RI – investigators, staff, trainees and students – are invited to ask questions or raise concerns. Open dialogue and collaboration is encouraged and will be vital to ensuring we provide a safe and healthy working environment while advancing research. Please address your questions to the following person:



Questions about

Who to contact

Working onsite

Kaitlyn McGuire




Your Research Operations Manager

Alex Cornett

Helen Niezgoda

Kerry Moloney

Mary Ellen Sellers

Conducting in-person research

  • Restarting or beginning a new project that involves face-to-face interactions with participants
  • Meeting with research teams in person

Research Operations Manager

Alex Cornett

Helen Niezgoda

Kerry Moloney

Mary Ellen Sellers

General Inquiries related to handling of COVID-19

Trish De Fazio

Building access-related question

Kaitlyn McGuire

General feedback on the handling of COVID-19

Trish De Fazio