Guide on Handling Documents Used in Peer Review

Application and peer review documents contain personal information as well as information whose unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause serious injury (such as prejudicial treatment or loss of reputation or competitive advantage) to an individual, organization or government. As such, these documents are subject to regulations under the Privacy Act, the Access to Information Act and the Policy on Government Security (PGS). Measures must be followed to ensure that information contained in applications, internal and external reviews and committee discussions remain strictly confidential. Improper or unauthorized collection, use, sharing (verbal or written), retention and /or disposal of this information can result in a privacy breach.

Document Handling Procedures

All documentation and information that CIHR entrusts to peer reviewers and observers must be maintained in strict confidence at all times. It must be used only for the purpose for which it was originally collected-namely, to review applications and make funding recommendations as applicable.

The identity of successful applicants and the details of the grants/awards must remain confidential until a decision is made by CIHR and officially announced to the applicants and the public. The identities of unsuccessful or ineligible applicants are not made public and must not be divulged unless required by legislation or the courts.

1. Storage

All materials used in the peer review process must be stored in a secure manner to prevent unauthorized access:

  • Do not print copies of applications and peer review documents.
  • Avoid saving copies of applications and peer review documents on your organization’s network. Open/view them online.
    • If electronic versions of peer review information are required, please save them on your computer hard drive or IT media, using security measures such as secure passwords on your desktop, laptop and / or at the file level.
  • Delete electronic files as soon as you are finished with them.

2. Transmission

As information contained in peer review documents is confidential1, its transmission should be restricted to times when it is absolutely required:

  • All reviews should be posted on ResearchNet and not sent via e-mail.
  • Applications and/or peer review documents must be transmitted using your peer review MS Teams private channel2.
  • Do not share any information related to application and peer review documents with unauthorized stakeholders.

Written materials used in the review process are generally made available to applicants when they are notified of the funding opportunity results.

3. Destruction

When no longer required, applications and peer review documents and files must be destroyed using a secure method:

  • All locally saved electronic documents must be deleted as soon as no longer needed.
  • The peer review committee MS Team private channel will no longer be available once all reviews are completed.

Privacy Breach Process

If you suspect that application or peer review documents have been compromised (e.g. stolen laptop, misplaced application document), please inform your peer review coordinator immediately.

For more information, please contact:

CIHR Contact Centre

Officers are available Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178


Footnote 1

The use of the term ‘Confidential’ is strictly to ensure comprehension and is not used in accordance with the Government of Canada Policy on Government Security (PGS) Glossary. The information contained in an application is actually designated as ‘Protected B’ within the context of the PGS.


Footnote 2

List of documents must be transmitted via MS Teams Private channel: Committee Expense Claim Form, Service Contract(s) if including home address with a SIN number, Review Quality Assurance (RQA) Feedback Forms, Streamline Report and Agenda for Chairs and SOs


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