All facets of healthcare and human services practice should be conducted in an ethically responsible manner. Interaction with or use of individual information can present ethics risks. In improving healthcare and human services, individuals (whether the public or employees) may be asked to participate, to provide input or for their information to inform decisions. These activities may involve ethics concerns; individuals may potentially experience burden or risks as a result of participating, some may benefit at the expense of others, or there may be potential conflicts of interest.   

For research projects, ethical oversight is conducted through the Research Ethics Board, but the path is not as clear for quality improvement and evaluation projects in health and human services. The ARECCI program addresses this gap by arming project leads, sponsors, and organizations with training, tools, and guidance to minimize and mitigate ethics risks. 

Each project utilizing ARECCI tools helps protect individuals and their information, develop strong networks dedicated to incremental and immediate improvements, and represents the foundation for sustainable system change. 

Project ethics 

Project ethics is about applying ethics considerations across a range of knowledge generating projects including quality improvement, evaluation, or needs assessments. These projects are conducted to monitor, assess, and improve patient and public outcomes, access, safety, and the effectiveness of healthcare and human service systems.  

Our impact 

ARECCI helps project leaders address and mitigate ethical risks using decision support tools, training opportunities, and project ethics consultation. This strengthens projects and reduces ethics risks while building public trust. 

ARECCI decision support tools 

ARECCI supports two complimentary tools to assist project sponsors and organizations: 

These tools have been co-developed and validated by the ARECCI community consisting of experts in quality improvement, evaluation, data, privacy, clinical and research ethics. Through a process of consensus, the ARECCI community identified and defined three key considerations: 

  • Project risk level  
  • Types of ethical risks 
  • Appropriate type of ethics review

Each tool aids in the identification of ethical areas of concern. 

ARECCI Project Ethics Course

This course is designed to help participants develop and apply practical knowledge and skills in ethics to projects currently underway. Attendees will gain an increased awareness of ethical risks jeopardizing projects and develop a structured approach to identifying and addressing ethics issues.

Training information available here.


Protection of patients and their information from unintended harms apply to quality improvement and evaluation projects in health and human services. ARECCI provides Second Opinion Review (SOR) for Alberta-based projects that have been identified as above minimal risk by the ARECCI screening tool. 

The consultation process matches project leads with an independent, trained Second Opinion Reviewer. The reviewer will contact the project leader(s) to discuss project ethical risks and mitigation strategies. Afterwards, the project team will receive a Second Opinion Review Letter that summarizes the discussion. 

Second opinion review requests. 



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