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Helpful Resources

Looking for tips to help move your research forward while minimizing privacy risks? Check out the resources below.

‎There are a number of secure teleconferencing and video conferencing services you can use for your research studies. Blue Jeans and the UBC teleconferencing options can also record if you need this option. 

‎The Data Stewardship Committee endorses, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, requests from researchers to contact B.C. residents before the request is submitted to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia. The Process is outlined on the BC Ministry of Health website.

  • The Ministry of Health grants access to ministry data to academic researchers on a case-by-case basis. Population Data BC provides support for academic researchers requesting access to ministry data including PharmaNet or a health information bank. For researchers who are planning a study using Ministry of Health administrative data, BC Data Scout™ provides information about available health data. It generates summary reports through an online tool. Information about Data Scout, PharmaNet Data Requests, and other services can be found on its website.
  • Data Access - Health Data Central: The Data Management and Stewardship branch (DMS) of the Ministry of Health is responsible for processing most of the applications for data access for a legally authorized purpose. These requests involve the provisioning of individual level data. DMS also helps individuals or organizations that do not conform to the regular requestors identify the right avenue for obtaining data access, if the request is legally sanctioned. DMS does not process requests for aggregate data but it can facilitate, on occasion, the participation of other Ministry of Health areas for executing such requests on a discretionary basis. Data BC is a potential source of administrative health data aggregate reports. Aggregate reports generated online are also available for BC elective surgeries wait times and BC hospitalization information. More information can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

‎Ministry of Health data could be obtained using one of the avenues described above. However, other public organizations in B.C. hold administrative health data or other data relevant for public health that could be used for evaluation or research and could be accessed by following and fulfilling the respective organization’s processes and requirements. Health authority employees who require data from a public body such as Vancouver Coastal Health, or Fraser Health are encouraged to start the process of data request with the help of PHSA’s privacy office. More information is provided on the Ministry of Health website.

Population Data BC (PopData) holds 19 data sets from two federal and 6 provincial sources. These data are linkable to each other, and to external data sets, where approved by the data provider. They also provide access and linkage to two external data sets, PharmaNet and the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS). Spatial data can also be used in conjunction with data sets held in-house. Approved users can also access file and field level summaries for BC Cancer, Human Early Learning Partnership EDI, BC Ministry of Health and BC Vital Statistics Agency via Metadata Central, their new online system.

‎The BCCH BioBank was established to provide biological samples from patients for researchers. They also provide important services that you might find helpful. The BCCH biobank collects and stores biospecimens and associated clinical information from children and women seen at BC Children’s and BC Women’s for REB approved research. Stored samples include: 

  • Pediatric samples: tissue, blood derivatives, bone marrow & more
  • Pregnancy related samples: placenta, cord blood derivatives, maternal blood derivatives
To apply for use of these samples please go to and click on “Research”. And for more information about the biobank and what samples they might have for your research, please contact:

Tamsin Tarling 
BC Children's Hospital BioBank Administrative Manager
Department of Pediatrics
Room 208C - 950 West 28th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 4H4
604 875 2000 ext 6423

Collaborative data services are tools or software provided by a party outside of PHSA to create and maintain data such as text, spreadsheets, images, communication and presentations. A few popular examples of a collaborative data service are Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Amazon Drive.

‎The Standard for the Use of a Collaborative Data Service from Outside PHSA for Research was developed by the PHSA Research IT Working Group to enable collaboration with external parties using tools not internally available. The standard is intended for both researchers and research administrators, and provides guidance on using these tools.

This standard is intended for shared data such as: administrative data, grant proposals development, publication, and presentation authoring.  The sharing of research study data or intellectual property should be evaluated on a case by case basis by your IT support team and the PHSA research privacy advisor. Identifiable data must not be shared on third party collaborative services.

If you are unsure if your data can be shared, you should consult with your IT support team. If your IT support team is unsure, they should consult the PHSA research privacy advisor.

Prospective study participants may need more information to know if your study is right for them. Resources by the Panel on Research Ethics ‎(PRE) can help them determine what questions matter to them and can facilitate a conversation with study investigators and staff. Consider printing copies of PRE's brochure and placing them where prospective participants can take a copy, such as in your clinic. Reviewing these resources can help you anticipate questions and concerns participants may have.

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