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.
  • Investigators preparing Resuming Research Plan forms should continue with planning and submission of their documentation. The approval process as outlined and approved by Bruyère leadership will be followed; however, there may be delays due to unforeseen circumstances. Research operations managers will endeavour to keep investigators updated on the progress of their dossiers and decisions will be communicated to investigators as soon as possible.

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.


Following the development of extensive guidelines between the Research Institute, Bruyère’s Research Ethics Board, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), Incident Management System (IMS), PPE working group, and Bruyère’s Senior Leadership, onsite and community-based in person research activity has resumed.

The following process applies to any investigator who wishes to resume urgent face to face research, on or offsite. The process can be downloaded as a flowchart here.

  1. Investigator connects with their Research Operations Manager (ROM) and is directed to template for Resuming Research Plan
    • Your ROM will require: project name, project REB number, proposed restart date
  2. Investigator reviews Resuming Research guide and completes the Resuming Research Plan (RR Form)
  3. Investigator returns completed RR Plan to ROM for review
  4. ROM reviews, ROM sends completed RR Plan to Heidi Sveistrup and Trish De Fazio for review/approval
  5. Once approved by Heidi Sveistrup and Trish De Fazio, Trish De Fazio sends plan to the following Bruyère parties for review/approval:
    • Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) and PPE group prior to going to IMS [review and feedback]
    • Incident Management System Planning Committee (IMS) [recommendation to approve to SST]
    • Relevant Clinical Director, if not on IMS [approval]
    • Bruyère Senior Strategy Team (SST) [approval]
    • Research Ethics Board (REB) [final approval; will only be approved after SST approves]
  6. REB notifies investigator, Trish De Fazio, and ROM of final decision. If approved, Trish notifies Communications.
    • APPROVED: ROM will notify Investigator that application was approved and restart can begin
    • DECLINED: ROM will notify Investigator that application was declined and discuss potential next steps

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.






I want to come back onsite. How does onsite access and scheduling work for research spaces?

Onsite access to allocated research spaces across Bruyère’s campuses will be scheduled by the Research Institute. Scheduling is grouped by investigators’ teams, not by individuals. At this time, 30% capacity allows for all teams to be scheduled one day per week onsite. Teams are assigned a set day per week to come onsite. Scheduling will ensure physical distancing measures are met at all times; if offices have more than one desk and distancing cannot be maintained, individuals may be allocated to a different desk.

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.


Off-site meetings that involve face to face contact should be documented and approved through the same return to Resuming Research Plan Form provided by the Research Operations Managers. These plans should include all considerations on how to keep everybody safe at all times and how to mitigate any risks.

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