Procedure for Disclosing and Assessing Conflicts of Interest
Approval Date: 2013-12-05
Effective Date: 2013-12-05
Responsible Unit: Office of the General Counsel
1. Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
1.1 Each Member has the duty to assess on an on-going basis the nature of his/her circumstances with respect to real, perceived or potential conflict of interest. If a Member is uncertain whether a conflict of interest exists or is likely to exist, the Member must seek the advice of the Unit Head who may consult with the Chair of the applicable COI Committee. In cases where a Unit Head has advised a Member in writing that a conflict of interest exists or is likely to exist and the Member refuses or fails to provide disclosure to the Committee in a reasonable time period, the Unit Head may advise the Committee.
1.2 Each Member, with the exception of the Unit Heads, the Associate Vice-Presidents, Vice-Presidents and the President, shall disclose, using the Conflict of Interest Disclosure form, to his/her Unit Head any real, perceived or potential conflict of interest that exists or might reasonably be perceived to exist. Where the Unit Head shares in the same conflict of interest, both parties shall disclose this in accordance with Section 1.6 below.
1.3 Where the real, perceived or potential conflict of interest relates to research involving the use of human subjects, see also Section 2. below.
1.4 Disclosure shall be made in each of the following circumstances, where appropriate:
1.4.1 As soon as any situation arises that creates, or may be perceived to create, a conflict of interest for a Member;
1.4.2 As required in any annual report of a Member's activities or plans or both;
1.4.3 Where required by a particular grant or contract;
1.4.4 Where otherwise required in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
1.4.5 When requested in writing by the Unit Head.
1.5 Potential conflicts of interest which may be averted by avoidance of the situation or by absenting oneself from the discussion/decision (e.g., those which may arise during committee meetings) shall be disclosed verbally in the particular situation. If such situations arise at committee meetings, the Member shall declare the potential conflict, absent him/herself from the meeting. This shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
1.7 The Unit Head shall consider the particulars of the situation as described in the Conflict of Interest Disclosure form and make a recommendation in writing as to the determination of whether a conflict of interest exists; whether it will be allowed to continue or must be disallowed; and, if it is to be allowed, what conditions, if any, should apply. The Unit Head submits this written recommendation along with the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form to the University COI Committee or in the case of situations at the Marine Institute, the Marine Institute COI Sub-Committee.
1.8 In the case of the Unit Heads, disclosure shall be made, as appropriate, to the Dean, Director, Associate Vice-President or Vice-President. In the case of the Associate Vice-President receiving a disclosure, he/she shall absent him/herself from the COI Committee's deliberations and the appropriate Vice-President shall act in his stead.
1.9 In the case of the Vice-Presidents and the President, disclosure shall be made to the Chair of the Board of Regents.
2. Disclosing Conflicts of Interest - Research Involving Human Subjects
2.1 Each Member shall disclose any real, perceived or potential conflict of interest that arises in the course of application for research funding, receipt of research funding, or in the carrying out of research. Where the research involves the use of human subjects, the disclosure should be made to the applicable Research Ethics Board, in accordance with the Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants Policy.
2.2 The applicable Research Ethics Board will issue a written decision to the Member who has declared the real, perceived or potential conflict of interest, with a copy to the Office of Research and either the University COI Committee or the Marine Institute COI Sub-Committee, as appropriate, setting out the issues assessed during the review and the reasons for the decision. Where the decision is to manage the conflict, a process for doing so will be set out.
2.3 If there are aspects of the project that involve matters other than research on human subjects i.e. not within the jurisdiction of the Research Ethics Board, for example, employment relationships, which could involve a conflict of interest, the Member should follow the steps outlined in Section 1 Disclosing Conflicts of Interest above as well. In these situations, the COI Committee or the Subcommittee will report its decision to the applicable Research Ethics Board.