Human Research Ethics

If your research involves human subjects, you must obtain approval from a University of Alberta Research Ethics Boards before commencing your research. Visit the Human Research Ethics website and the University of Alberta Research Ethics Policy for further information.

Animal Ethics

If your research involves observation, handling, trapping etc. of animals, you will need to obtain approval of your proposed research from a University of Alberta Animal Care and Use Committee and your staff/students will need to obtain animal care training. For more information visit the Animal Research Ethics page. Also please see the University of Alberta Animal Ethics Policy , which is the policy on research, teaching and testing involving animals.

Access to Lands

Whether you are going to be on public lands, private lands, travelling across grazing lease lands, or on Crown Land, you will need to consider whether and from whom you need permission to be on these lands.  Even on Crown or public lands you may need approval; for example if companies have a disposition, the land is leased for grazing or a trapper has a line.  In each of these cases, it is important to understand and comply with any conditions for entering on to the property.   Is that body of water a slough or a pond/lake?  If it is a slough, you will need permission but if it is not, do you still need permission?  How are you getting to the body of water? If you are walking across someone’s property or if the shoreline is private land, you need to seek permission.  It is strongly recommended by the University that you always get written approval to be on the property from the landowner. If you require a certificate of insurance (as per a request from the landowner or a collaborator), please see Office of Insurance and Risk Assessment's requirements.

The University of Alberta Real Estate and Property Management Services has created a simple "Letter of Agreement"  to record the use of third-party owned lands by UAlberta researchers.  Please note that the
Director of the Real Estate Office must sign this agreement before research commences on third-party owned lands. To request a copy of the "Letter of Agreement", please contact FRO.

In the event that the owner of such lands requires an alternative agreement, and/or when the land use or access is complicated by other issues, a review of the use agreement by the Real Estate Office is
required.  The Real Estate Office, in consultation with the Office of Insurance and Risk Management, can also assist if assistance is required in dealing with risk or liability issues. Sometimes, access to lands can get more complicated, especially when you are dealing with corporate owned lands who have intellectual property to protect or strict guidelines for workers to follow before coming on site. We strongly encourage people to be proactive and approach the collaborators or landowners a few months in advance of showing up at the site to get these issues ironed out.  If matters get complicated, the agreement may have to be reviewed and signed by the Office of the General Counsel, delaying your ability to get out and start your field research.

Alberta, from the latitude and longitude you can obtain the legal land description and from that, you can obtain the names of the registered owners of the property or their contact information.  Here’s how to do that:

To find an Alberta legal land description from the longitude and latitude, see Alberta Geological Survey site for a conversion tool. 

To find the owner you can enter the Alberta legal description and do a search on: SPIN 2 Information Systems:   Follow the search function and then use either the Titles and Registered Documents tab or the Map Search Tab.  The Map Search Tab shows the land so it is often better to get a visual.  To pull a title, the cost is $10.00.  A user can pay by credit card or can set an account and then link it to a Land Titles Account, if your faculty has one.

Alberta Environment and Parks now are in control of access to Agriculture public lands. They have a page on Agricultural Land: What you need to know" about accessing public lands.  There is a online tool to find out contact and access condition information for lands you wish to access. 

To find out what companies have dispositions on Alberta Crown lands or what trappers have lines there, visit Alberta Energy Services .   In order to do searches, you must access their Electronic Transfer System (ETS) and therefore set up a User Account and Password.  Each search costs $5.00 and uses the ATS grid system.


Most all field researchers require permits to allow them to conduct their work.  FRO has started to compile a list of frequently needed permits for local domestic research, mostly in Canada and the western provinces. This is not an exhaustive list but a place for the researcher to start their search.  This spreadsheet gives links associated with where to apply and other guidelines. Is the permit that you need not listed there? Contribute and help out other researchers by filling out the permit form.


If you are planning to conduct research in one of Canada's national parks, park reserves, marine conservation areas, historic sites, or the Pingo Canadian Landmark, Parks Canada has an online Research and Collection Permit System and this website provides an orientation to the Parks Canada Agency Online system, gives a summary of what is needed to apply for a research and collection permit and has a FAQ component. There is also a list of Heritage Area Research Coordinators available on the Parks Canada Site. You can also visit Parks Canada to search for a national park within Canada.


Within Canada, most provinces require permission if you plan to conduct research within a provincial protected area, see Alberta Parks .