The development of knowledge and innovation is a project that lies at the heart of Québec's social and economic development. The strategic importance of research is reflected in the significant resources and number of stakeholders dedicated to its practice. This societal project will only succeed through continued support and the promotion of research excellence, and achieving research excellence requires the adoption of ethical reflection on research.
In Québec and abroad, this notion has contributed to establishing the fundamental principles of ethics in research. Concretely, it has led to the development of norms, rules and legislation defining socially and legally acceptable or unacceptable conditions for conducting research activities. Acknowledging that ethics and research excellence are inextricably linked demonstrates the constant evolution of a research community and its members, who view the promotion of these values as an additional guarantee of the quality of their work and of their reputation.
Québec and Canada: examples…
For many years, federal and provincial government departments and agencies, as well as international organizations, have published action plans, laws, tools and research ethics guides to help research actors navigate in research. Compliance with the standards set out in these documents has become a criterion for receiving grants from public sources such as government departments and public granting agencies.
… In Québec
In Québec, the early 1990s were marked by a significant rise in social research, which raises several important ethical issues on which research actors are called to reflect. Social research organization models, in particular for research conducted in partnership with practice and intervention settings, place researchers in a variety of situations that may pose ethical dilemmas to which the scientific community must continuously adapt to. Québec government departments and research funding agencies became concerned with these issues as early as in 1998, in particular following the adoption of the Québec Policy on Science and Innovation, which redefined their roles. Following this, the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC) adopted temporary guidelines for ethics in social research (Orientations – Éthique de la recherche sociale, 2002).
… In Canada
Canada's three granting agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) – were established to promote, facilitate, support and sustain research projects in their respective fields. Together, the three Councils adopted a series of ethical rules (Tri-Council Policy Statement (1998, updated in 2010 and revised in 2014)) that provide rigorous guidelines for the support and funding of research involving human participants.