About Ethics Hub

The Ethics Hub is the initiative of Thomas Burelli, Professor of Law at the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa.

The main objective of the Ethics Hub is to bring together and share a set of resources that can contribute to the establishment of more respectful and equitable relationships between researchers and Indigenous and local communities.

These resources stem from Thomas Burelli’s doctoral research completed in 2019 and from his experience since 2009 in the field of the fight against biopiracy and the development of ethical tools for research involving indigenous and local communities.

                 What the ethics hub contains

  • A list of instruments developed in Canada and elsewhere to guide research involving Indigenous Peoples (codes of ethics, collaboration agreements, etc.).
  • A presentation of the ethical issues of research involving Indigenous Peoples.
  • A list of best ethical practices identified from these instruments.
  • Tools for evaluating relations between researchers and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Methods for the creation of tools for framing research involving Indigenous Peoples.
  • Model instruments for guiding research involving Indigenous Peoples.
  • Awareness and training tools on research issues involving Indigenous Peoples.

Founder of the Ethics Hub

Thomas Burelli is a Professor of Law at the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa. His areas of expertise are environmental law, intellectual property, indigenous peoples’ rights, and ethics. His research focuses in particular on the decolonization of the relationship between scientists and indigenous communities.

Thomas Burelli was invited to work in the field of ethics of research involving Aboriginal Peoples by his mentor Régis Lafargue in 2008. As part of his research, Thomas Burelli has carried out several missions in French overseas territories (French Guyana, French Polynesia and New Caledonia). He has contributed alongside the Fondation France libertés – Danielle Mitterrand to reveal several cases of biopiracy (notably those involving Faux Tabac and Quassia Amara). With Tamatoa Bambridge (researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research – CNRS), he also drafted the first French ethical code for research involving indigenous and local populations.

Starting in 2012, Thomas Burelli became interested in the tools developed by actors in the Indigenous and research communities in Canada. As part of his doctoral research completed in 2019, he identified and analyzed in detail more than 120 instruments (ethical codes, collaboration agreements, consent forms, etc.).

Research assistant

Neelum Raja is a JD student at the Faculty of Common Law at the University of Ottawa. Her interest in Indigenous knowledge and legal systems originated in La Ronge, Saskatchewan where she received extensive exposure to Plains Cree culture, values and art. In 2019, Neelum Raja developed her knowledge on the intersection of intellectual property, Indigenous knowledge and Access and Benefit Sharing during her first year of law school. In 2020, she has written a major paper on the topic, assisted with game development (interactive stories), creation and translations for the Ethics Hub.