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COVID-19: SRC-Related Updates

Last Updated: April 6, 2020, 4:45pm

The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation will be sharing information relating to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus / 2019-nCov) that may impact the Ryerson scholarly, research and creative community.

Ryerson University will be suspending all non-critical SRC activity that requires access to the Ryerson campus after March 26, 2020 until further notice

Scholarly, research and creative (SRC) activity is a priority for the University.

OVPRI support is available during the shift to essential services.

All research-related updates will continue to be added to this page as needed and/or as they become available.

Ryerson University will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of public health agencies.  

Visit our Funding Opportunities page to view COVID-19 related SRC opportunities.

Search our Researcher Database to connect with experts in areas relating to COVID-19.

Ryerson Researchers — If you have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can be donated to front line workers or have equipment that can be used in the fabrication or sterilization of PPE, we ask that you provide a summary of your inventory by filling out the appropriate form below:

Ryerson Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Inventory Form, external link, opens in new window

Ryerson COVID-19 Equipment and Facilities Form, external link, opens in new window

 Update: Suspension of non-critical on-campus SRC Activities

Until further notice, Ryerson University is taking steps to reinforce the University’s position on supporting critical SRC activity on campus. The University will be suspending all non-critical SRC activity that requires access to the Ryerson campus. 

This action has been taken following consultation with other Ontario universities, and is consistent with public health policy. The aim of this suspension is to reinforce social distancing and to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Building systems, facilities and services will be maintained to support essential SRC activities.

 If you do not require access to your on-campus research laboratory after March 26, 2020, please review the Non-critical SRC activity section of this page for important information and procedures on closing your lab.

 If you do require access to your on-campus research laboratory for critical SRC activity, please review the Critical SRC activity section of this page for requirements and forms to be submitted by March 24, 2020 at noon for exemption.

Faculty that did not submit a PDF fileRequest to Continue Critical SRC Activity Form, opens in new window by Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at noon are not exempt from the request to suspend all non-critical SRC activity, and are asked to shut down their research laboratories before March 26, 2020.

If you do not plan to access your research laboratory while the University is operating essential services, please ensure that you are in communication with your department Chair / Associate Research Deans regarding lab closure procedures and requirements to shut down your SRC activity quickly and safely.

Ryerson buildings will be card access only. Authorized research personnel who have OneCard access to a building or space will have their OneCard access maintained, however we ask that you do not come to campus unless absolutely necessary for critical SRC activity.

For your safety, please inform Ryerson Security if you are entering a campus building, as most buildings will be empty. If you encounter an issue with access to your research laboratory, please contact Ryerson Security using the intercom at the building entrance, if available, or call 416-979-5040. Please be prepared to show photo identification.

Graduate students require permission from their faculty supervisor to access research laboratories and should regularly check the YSGS COVID-19 webpage for updates.

If you will be absent from your lab for an extended period, please purge your hazardous waste and schedule a pickup.

Please continue to use the online Chemical Waste Disposal Request Form to schedule a pickup before you shut your lab.

Researchers working with biohazardous materials are asked to email Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at chemical.inventory@ryerson.ca when they have placed biohazardous waste in the biohazardous waste disposal room on the second floor of Kerr Hall.

Laboratories are asked to suspend or reduce regularly scheduled deliveries of supplies, compressed gas, chemicals and biologicals in cases where usage will be reduced or cease.

Shipping and receiving activities will continue with reduced staff on site between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

If your laboratory is closed and you are expecting a delivery, we suggest you advise shipping and receiving and arrange for delivery or pickup. Shipping, Receiving and Mail Service requests can be sent to receiving@ryerson.ca. For immediate assistance, please contact the Shipping & Receiving Help Desk at 416-979-5000 ext. 7021.

The criteria for critical SRC activity are:

  • Adequate personnel available to safely conduct the research while respecting social distancing measures (at least 2m distance apart); and
  • A demonstrated critical need to continue on-campus SRC activity after March 26, 2020, such as:
    • COVID-19-related SRC activities
    • Maintenance of critical infrastructure and equipment that cannot be safely shut down
    • Prevention of material and data loss (e.g., longitudinal studies, long-term maintenance or storage of biological materials)
    • Imminent project end dates (i.e., up to two months)

If your SRC activity meets any the critical criteria, you must complete and submit a PDF fileRequest to Continue Critical SRC Activity Form, by Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at noon.

The form must be reviewed and signed by your Department Chair or School Director, Dean or delegated Associate Dean of Research (ADR), and the Vice-President, Research and Innovation in order for you to continue your critical campus-based SRC activities.

  1. Submit your completed PDF fileRequest to Continue Critical SRC Activity Form to your Department Chair or School Director in order to maintain access to your facility. 
  2. Your Chair/Director will forward the signed form to your Dean, or their delegated ADR, for their review and signature.
  3. Your Dean or delegated ADR will forward the form to Richard McCulloch, Executive Director, Research Services, at richard.mcculloch@ryerson.ca (please use subject line Request to Continue Critical SRC) for review and signature by the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. This must be submitted by Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at noon.
  4. You will be notified of your exemption to continue critical on-campus SRC activities by email.
  5. Only authorized personnel with critical SRC activity approval will be provided access to research laboratories after March 26, 2020.

Ryerson buildings will be card access only. Authorized research personnel who have OneCard access to a building or space will have their OneCard access maintained, however we ask that you do not come to campus unless absolutely necessary for critical SRC activity.

For your safety, please inform Ryerson Security if you are entering a campus building, as most buildings will be empty.

If you encounter an issue with access to your building or research laboratory, please contact Ryerson Security using the intercom at the building entrance, if available, or call 416-979-5040. Please be prepared to show photo identification.

Please contact Ryerson Security at 416-979-5040 or security@ryerson.ca if you wish to enter alarmed research labs, so that system schedules can be adjusted accordingly.

Ryerson Security will be available to provide emergency access.

Graduate students require permission from their faculty supervisor to access research laboratories and should regularly check the YSGS COVID-19 webpage for updates.

Research personnel are encouraged to review the google docWorking Alone or in Isolation Program, external link, opens in new window materials if they will be on campus during the essential services period.

While working alone or in isolation is not always hazardous, some activities and tasks may present risks when performed alone due to the nature of the work.

It is important that when working in research labs you continue to practice social / physical distancing and be aware of the recommendations outlined by Health Canada, external linkOntario Ministry of Health, external link and Toronto Public Health, external link.

If you are not feeling well, please do not go into the lab. Refer to Ryerson’s COVID-19 resource page for additional information.

Please review your laboratory safety resources available on the Facilities Management and Development website.

Please ensure your emergency contact information submitted to your department Chair or designate is up to date.

In the event of a major chemical spill, contact the Facilities Help Desk at fixit@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5091 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. They will coordinate response efforts with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Outside of hours, contact Ryerson Security at 416-979-5040.

In the case of an emergency, call 911.

Researchers and Principal Investigators (PIs) are asked to re-familiarize themselves with:

We ask all researchers and PIs to review these procedures with their graduate students as the available staff on campus will be limited.

If you have equipment in one of the affected buildings that requires access to maintain the continuity of operations and you have not previously indicated that you require access, please email security@ryerson.ca so they can assess your needs and provide assistance.

During essential services operations, building services will be maintained on a holiday schedule with essential staff only.

Washrooms, garbage pickup and general cleaning in public spaces will be maintained. Cleaning activities within labs will cease, but for general clean-up or maintenance issues, the Facilities Help Desk will continue to accept service requests. 

The Facilities Help Desk will be available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Please contact the Facilities Help Desk at fixit@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5091.

A maintenance and operations on-call supervisor will be available for urgent after-hours concerns and may be reached by contacting Ryerson Security at 416-979-5040.

Shipping and receiving activities will continue with reduced staff on site between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

If you are expecting a delivery, we suggest you advise shipping and receiving and arrange for delivery or pickup. Shipping, Receiving and Mail Service requests can be sent to receiving@ryerson.ca.  For immediate assistance, please contact the Shipping & Receiving Help Desk at 416-979-5000 ext. 7021.

Laboratories are asked, if possible, to suspend or reduce regularly scheduled deliveries of supplies, compressed gas cylinders, chemicals and biologicals in cases where usage will be reduced.

For any questions about Facilities operations or if you require assistance, please contact the Facilities Help Desk at fixit@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5091.

We recommend using a Ryerson Purchasing Card (P-card) for payment whenever possible while Ryerson is operating essential services only. For additional information please visit the Financial Services Purchasing and Payment webpage.

Biohazardous and chemical waste will continue to be picked up, however there will be a reduction in staff and scheduling.

Please continue to use the online Chemical Waste Disposal Request Form to help schedule pickups.

Researchers working with biohazardous materials are asked to email Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at chemical.inventory@ryerson.ca when they have placed biohazardous waste in the biohazardous waste disposal room on the second floor of Kerr Hall.

If you will be absent from your lab for an extended period, please purge your hazardous waste and schedule a pickup (see above).

Please ensure you have access to the biohazardous waste room in Kerr Hall. If not, please coordinate with Ryerson Security at 416-979-5040 to gain access. 

 Research taking place off-campus

It is the responsibility of all researchers, their personnel and students who are undertaking research off campus to follow any policies, protocols and procedures relating to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus / 2019-nCov) belonging to the facility or location where they are undertaking the research. This includes requirements and responsibilities of research personnel accessing and conducting research on the premises. Please continue to check for updates from the institutions.

If you have not received communication on this subject from the institution you are working with (other than Ryerson), we suggest you consult with your point of contact at the organization and/or check their website.

 Funding and award submissions

Support for grant proposals, award submissions, partnership agreements and all other forms of funding applications and reporting will continue.

A list of OVPRI staff can be found on our department directory or you can search Ryerson’s main directory.

Funding questions

OVPRI continues to reach out to SRC funding agencies and sponsors regarding changes to funding and reporting deadlines impacted by COVID-19. We will communicate any new information through this website as it becomes available and connect with researchers individually.  

Should you have questions or concerns regarding a specific funded SRC project, please reach out to your Grants/Contracts Officer or Applied Research & Innovation Advisor.

OVPRI is updating the Funding Opportunities page as updates become available. Please check back frequently as new updates are coming in daily.

A number of funding agencies are releasing statements relating to COVID-19. OVPRI is posting funding agency updates on this page.

If you have any SRC funding-related questions, please contact Richard McCulloch, Executive Director, Research Services at richard.mcculloch@ryerson.ca.

 Research ethics

Please be advised the Ryerson Research Ethics Board (REB) has provided guidance on the implications of the current situation relating to COVID-19 for research ethics protocols.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ryerson Research Ethics Board (REB) advises researchers to:

  • Consider postponing data collection if possible; or
  • Modify study protocols in order to limit personal contacts, laboratory visits or trips to clinics and hospitals. Social distancing practices are needed in order to limit transmission of the virus in the wide variety of settings where we conduct research. Specifically, in some research settings, in-person participant interactions (lab visits, interviews, focus groups) should be reduced and/or replaced with telephone or online communication. Considerations include the nature of your protocol, the type of participants engaged in the research, and any additional risk that may arise by switching from in-person to virtual communication.

The REB is currently operating as usual through telework. If the situation changes, the REB’s turnaround times may lengthen, as COVID-19-related submissions are being prioritized.

Before modifying the method of data collection under these circumstances, revised participant consents or consent addendums/amendments may be required (e.g., to update privacy considerations with the use of different communication channels). The REB will work to expedite these requests in order to minimize research disruption.

While federal guidelines typically require review and approval of modifications prior to implementation, an exception (Article 6.15), external link can be made when the change is necessary to eliminate an immediate risk to participant(s). Such changes may be implemented but must be reported to the REB at the earliest opportunity (within five business days as a guide).

If you are unsure as to how to proceed with your research, please get in touch with the REB at rebchair@ryerson.ca for further guidance.

A reminder that when the research involves physical assessments and use of equipment (e.g., metabolic carts, face masks, mouthpieces, nose clips, straps, turbines, valves, tubing, cannula, treadmills, etc.), disinfection according to manufacturer’s standards where applicable is paramount and use of single-use accessories is advisable. In the absence of the manufacturer’s standards, thorough cleaning of equipment shared between participants is advised.

When research staff are feeling unwell, care should be taken to stay home to prevent transmission of any illness. If COVID-19 is known or suspected, Toronto Public Health protocols, external link, opens in new window should be followed.

Please note that the REB in-person office hours will be suspended until further notice, but our team is available to support you through virtual appointments on an ongoing basis. To make arrangements, please send a note to rebchair@ryerson.ca.

If you are enrolled in a graduate program and have an approved protocol for research involving human participants as part of your thesis or other degree requirements, Ryerson’s Research Ethics Board (REB) strongly advises that you pause your data collection at this time.

If you are concerned about meeting your degree requirements under the current deadlines, please note the following:

  1. The final date to clear outstanding graduation requirements for Spring Convocation (including submission of the Major Research Project (MRP)/thesis/dissertation) has been moved from May 8 to May 22, 2020 (at 12 p.m.).
  2. Please consult with your faculty supervisor in order to consider whether data collection requirements are essential and necessary. This applies particularly to Major Research Projects (MRP) in master’s programs. Your faculty supervisor may suggest a modification of your methodology in order to avoid the involvement of human participants in your research at this time.
  3. If the empirical component of your research is essential and cannot be postponed or eliminated, please contact rebchair@ryerson.ca for further guidance. The REB will endeavour to review amended protocols within 48 hours.

 Travel for research

All faculty travel to level 3 countries, external link is cancelled until August 31 or further notice.

All university-sanctioned international travel by students and staff is cancelled until August 31 for further notice.

Information on level 3 countries can be found on the Government of Canada website, external link.

All other international travel by faculty is strongly discouraged.

 Ryerson Research Accounting

The Research Accounting Team will continue to support the Research Community remotely as Ryerson shifts to essential services only. All information regarding Ryerson Research Accounting can be found on the Financial Services website.

Policy regarding travel insurance

Information regarding travel cancellations can be found on the Financial Services website under Eligible Research Expenses / Travel Cancellations.

 Funding agency updates

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have released a statement on April 2, 2020.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has released a statement on March 30, 2020.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has released a statement on March 20, 2020.

Mitacs has released a statement on March 19, 2020.

The three federal granting agencies (CHIR, NSERC, SSHRC) have released a statement on March 16, 2020.

The Tri-Council has also released a statement regarding travel fees relating to travel disruptions caused by COVID-19 on March 6, 2020. The statement can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Funding Opportunity updates.

 Professional Expense Reimbursement Funds (PERF) and Fund-13 Internal Research Funds

Similar to the federal granting agencies advisory of March 6, 2020, regarding COVID-19, Ryerson University will allow eligible reimbursements for cancelled trips in cases such as cancelled conferences, travel advisories, or a personal choice due to health or other concerns.

Non-refundable travel expenses related to research are eligible for reimbursement when purchased through internal research funds or Professional Expense Reimbursement Funds (PERF). Also, academic/pedagogical currency-related travel expenses claimed through (PERF) are also eligible for reimbursement. Travel/conference cancellation insurance is also an eligible expense if paid for through PERF or internal research funds.

To be clear, if someone is not traveling to a conference, the non-refundable expenses are eligible for reimbursement. The individual will not receive any additional funds in their PERF or internal research account. Questions regarding PERF expenses can be directed to vpfa@ryerson.ca.  Questions regarding internal research fund expenses can be directed to Aimee Kozai (akozai@ryerson.ca).