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Faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students who feel their field research should be deemed “essential,” and permitted to be conducted are asked to fill out a Request to Continue Essential Field Research Form, and submit this to their department Chair. In the case of a graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, or field research personnel, the supervisor or PI should submit the form making the request on their behalf as an indication of support. Should the Department Chair agree that the work should continue, the request will then be forwarded to the appropriate Dean or delegate for review and approval of the Chair’s decision, and finally a copy of the form must be sent to the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies (VPRGS). The decision should be transmitted to the faculty member within a week of submitting the request.

Please review the criteria carefully when determining if the field research is critical, time-sensitive and able to be performed in a manner that does not jeopardize the health and safety of the broader community or person(s) performing the work.


The following criteria will be considered in the deliberation:

  • The time-sensitive nature of the project (i.e., the variable of interest can only be observed, measured, evaluated during the spring/summer season)
  • The variable of interest is time-sensitive and part of a longitudinal study
  • The field research can be conducted while complying with physical distancing and hygiene protocols as required by the guidelines set forth by all federal, provincial, and municipal governments and Public Health authorities and taking into account the following:
    • Transportation plan (location will be a key factor due to restrictions on travelling between regions and cities)
    • Accommodation/lodging/food procurement and preparation plans
    • The requirements of some protocols to have multiple people working together, or the safety considerations of potentially working alone
    • Adequate arrangements for cleaning and disinfecting work tools, instruments, equipment etc.
    • The possibility of injury in the field
  • The project does not, in most cases, require face-to-face interaction with human participants
  • The project does not require new animals to be cared for in the Animal Care Facilities
  • There is a mitigation plan to return safely from the field if any member of the research team becomes ill or injured 
  • Travel can be domestic only, given current suspensions on international travel
  • All ethics, EHS, animal care, etc. approvals have been fulfilled as with normal field research activities
  • Community approvals have been fulfilled as with normal research involving Indigenous peoples
  • The impact of any delays on program completion and career advancement

While we recognize the serious and long-lasting impact fieldwork restrictions may have on research projects and personnel, our priority is the health and safety of our researchers, staff, and students. We appreciate the creativity, perseverance and cooperation of faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and Chairs as we seek ways to transform research activities so that productivity and forward progress is maintained.

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