While student investigations of biological processes are encouraged, they are subject to the same laws, ethics, and regulations as any other research. In the Criminal Code of Canada and the Animals for Research Act of Ontario, all vertebrates are afforded protection. Also, schools and science fairs are explicitly included in the definition of 'research facility' in Ontario. The regulations described here, based on CWSF rules, are written in view of these laws.
Biological experimentation is subject to legal restrictions including, among others:
Criminal Code of Canada, Section 446, Cruelty to Animals;
Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species;
Canadian Wildlife Service;
Health of Animals Act, Bill C-66 Guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care; and
Animals for Research Act (Ontario).
Depending on the nature of the study, various forms will need to be completed and displayed at your project. Failure to comply with safety and ethical requirements may result in disqualification of the project.
Complete details and forms are found on the ethics page of the Youth Science Canada website. Safety and Ethics
Students may use invertebrate animals as defined here:
An animal lacking a backbone, such as an arthropod, mollusc, annelid, coelenterate, etc.
Note however, that Cephalopods are invertebrates with large, vertebrate-like central nervous systems and are treated according to the rules for Vertebrate Animals.
Students may use vertebrate animals as defined here:
An animal of a large group distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.
All human experimentation (Low Risk AND Significant Risk) requires participants to give their informed consent. This involves preparing the following:
Informed consent letter of information
Informed consent Permission Form for EACH participant
These forms must be displayed at your project.
All Projects involving Humans require a Scientific Supervisor and Adult Supervisor. (May be a parent or teacher.)
LINKS TO ETHICS FORMS
The links below will direct you to the appropriate pages at Youth Science Canada website. You will find a description of each type of research and, at the bottom of the webpage, the forms you may require.
Youth Science Canada Ethics policies
Request for Advice or Ruling Ethics Committee form – to get approval for your project from your teacher and/or regional science fair
Working with humans:
Working with animals:
If you have any questions, please email us at: