Health Care Professionals

Ministry Research Funding Opportunities

Health System Research Fund (HSRF) Calls for Targeted Research

Detailed Full Application Instructions

  1. Before You Begin
  2. Steps and Instructions Required for Completing Your Online HSRF Calls for Targeted Research Application
  3. Contact Information

1. Before You Begin

Note: If you have previously submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the HSRF Program Awards, Capacity Awards, Targeted Calls and/or MOHLTC partnership funding for CIHR's PHSI competition, your login information remains unchanged.

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A. Grant Application Overview

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B. Eligibility

Applications to MOHLTC for the HSRF Calls for Targeted Research must meet the following criteria:

Project Leads employed by federal, provincial or territorial government departments or agencies and for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply for HSRF funding unless they hold an eligible academic or other institutional appointment, in which case the eligible institution must agree to be the sponsor.

Please consult the HSRF Guidelines for details regarding eligible sponsoring institutions.

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C. Mandatory Style Specifications for Attachments

The following specifications apply to all allowable attachments (for information on allowable attachments, see Step 4: Upload Attachments). The following mandatory style specifications must be adhered to for all allowable attachments:

Note that any text that exceeds the page limits set for the allowable attachments will be deleted from the application and not considered in the review of the application.

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D. Assessment of Full Applications

Applications will be assessed for:

These criteria will be used by the ministry Program Areas and Scientific Review Panel members in their assessment of each submission. In many cases, information from multiple sections will be used to assess a submission in relation to a criterion. How each section of the Full Application will be used by reviewers in relation to the criteria listed above is provided in detail under each section below.

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2. Steps and Instructions Required for Completing Your Online HSRF Calls for Targeted Research Application

A. Step 1: Enter Full Application Summary Details
1. Full Application Summary Page
2. Identification of Targeted Priority Area, Area of Focus, and Cross-Cutting Components
3. Contact Details
B. Step 2: Enter Project Details
4a. Lay Abstract
4b. Proposal Summary
5. Rationale
6a. Project Design and Methodology
6b. Milestones and Deliverables and Expected Outcomes
7. Declaration of Funding Overlap and Alignment with Leveraged Funding Opportunities from Other Sources
8. Sex and Gender-Based Analysis
9. Patient Engagement
10. KTE and Implementation Plan
11. Partners and Capacity-Building
12. Relevant Experience and Research Performance of Project Lead and Co-Lead, Where Applicable
13a. Data Access Plan, Where Applicable
13b. Data Sharing Plan, Where Applicable
C. Step 3: Enter Budget Information
14. Overall Budget Justification
15. Budget Template
D. Step 4: Upload Attachments
E. Step 5: Review and Submit

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A. STEP 1: ENTER FULL APPLICATION SUMMARY DETAILS

1. Full Application Summary Page (400 words)

The Full Application Summary page is one way the MOHLTC identifies and manages your application during the review process. Please provide the information requested to complete these sections.

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2. Identification of Targeted Priority Area, Area of Focus, and Cross-Cutting Components (400 words)

Select the targeted priority area, area of focus, and cross-cutting component(s) that the research project will address. The main priority must be the same as the main priority selected in the NOI submission. Areas of focus and cross-cutting priorities may change.

Definitions for the cross-cutting components can be found in the HSRF Guidelines.

Definitions for the Targeted Priority Areas and Areas of Focus are:

Targeted Priority Area

Areas of Focus

Definitions

Nursing
- Research findings in each of the areas listed should consist of a multi-method approach including, but not limited to, literature searches, focus groups, personal interviews, surveys (e.g., internet, email, telephone, mail), and analysis of historical and current data. Where possible, the research should include professional, patient, and public perspectives.

1. Rural and Remote

This research will improve our understanding of patient healthcare needs in Ontario's rural and remote areas, current gaps in access to quality care, and nursing/interprofessional care models that could address these gaps.

The knowledge generated will help inform assessment and policy development for current and future initiatives.

2. Transition to Practice for New Nurses

This research will improve our understanding of key barriers, and success factors for newly graduated nurses in meeting the needs of today's health care system and the challenges of an aging population with complex health care needs.

The knowledge generated will help inform supports to successfully transition new nurses into practice.

3. Registration of Internationally Educated Nurses in Ontario

This research will identify current and anticipated barriers in the registration process for internationally educated nurses (IENs) (e.g., educational requirements). This research will also identify effective initiatives, strategies, and approaches to support timely registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario.

The knowledge generated will help inform supports for IENs to gain registration as nurses in Ontario.

4. Addressing Vacancies in Nursing Positions

This research will improve our understanding of long-standing and/or re-occurring vacancies in nursing positions in Ontario and the attrition rates for different categories of nurses (e.g., registered nurses, registered practical nurses, and nurse practitioners) in all healthcare sectors (e.g., hospital, long-term care, primary care, home care, etc.). This research will include identifying and assessing initiatives, strategies, and approaches to promote the recruitment and retention of vacant nursing positions.

The knowledge generated will help inform supports for the recruitment and retention of nurses.

5. Implementing and Evaluating Nursing Scope of Practice Changes

This research will improve our understanding of how employers (e.g., hospital, long-term care, primary care, home care, etc.) have implemented approved legislative and regulatory changes to the nursing scope of practice and/or role and the strengths and weaknesses of different implementation approaches. This research will also improve our understanding of existing tools, methods, and/or frameworks to evaluate the impact of scope of practice and/or role changes.

The knowledge generated will help inform the implementation and evaluation of nursing scope of practice and/or role changes.

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3. Contact Details (1,200 words)

Provide contact details for the Project Lead, Co-Lead (if applicable), authorized signatory from the sponsoring institution, the Knowledge Translation and Exchange / Applied Health Research Question (AHRQ) contact, and the confirmed Knowledge User. The following information is required for each contact:

The Project Lead cannot change from the NOI submission. A Co-Lead can be added (either from the same organization as the Project Lead, or from a different organization). Please include contact details for the Knowledge User you identified at the NOI stage here. You will have an opportunity to identify other confirmed Knowledge Users under Section 10 - Partners and Capacity Building of the Full Application.

Authorization
No signatures are required to be submitted with the Full Application. By completing this section, the individuals identified in the authorization section (Project Lead, Project Co-Lead - if applicable, and the authorized signatory of the sponsoring institution) acknowledge that the information and documentation provided may be shared with MOHLTC staff and others for the purpose of administering the HSRF Calls for Targeted Research award.

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B. STEP 2: ENTER PROJECT DETAILS

4a. Lay Abstract (200 words)

Provide a brief description (maximum 200 words) of the proposed project using non-technical language. The information provided in section 4a may be made available to the public and may be used, in whole or in part, in press releases or similar communication material if the proposal is funded.

The lay abstract should provide information identifying:

For examples of lay abstracts, refer to the summaries of the ministry's 2013/14 HSRF Calls for Targeted Research recipients.

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4b. Proposal Summary (400 words)

State the goals and objectives of the proposed research project. Statements detailing short and long-term objectives should be clear and concise (i.e., one short sentence for each objective).

The research question(s) that will be addressed must be clearly identified. If a project will address multiple research questions, 2-3 sample research questions should be included along with 1-2 lines of text on the methods that will be used to address each research question.

The information provided in section 4b will be used to evaluate the extent to which the project objectives and identified activities will have an impact on health outcomes, practice, programs, and/or policy and ideally proposes a solution to issue(s) identified related to the priority area and area of focus specified in the application.

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5. Rationale (800 words)

This section should provide the overall rationale for the project. Specifically, the applicants should specify and substantiate the gaps in current knowledge, research methodology, knowledge translation strategies, policy or practice that create the need for the proposed project.

Up to 2 pages of references for in-text citations may be added as an attachment.

The information provided in section 5 will be used to assess:

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6a. Project Design and Methodology (1,200 words)

This section should outline how the project objectives identified in section 4b will be achieved by describing the project design and methods.

Applicants are encouraged to incorporate inter-disciplinary approaches and involve Knowledge Users throughout the project. In particular, applicants are required to describe how patients/clients (individuals, groups and/or organizations) will be involved in this work (e.g., patient/client-specified outcome measures, member of the review committee), if applicable. Applicants are also encouraged to include considerations of populations with specific health needs in their research design (e.g., identifying language and language preferences in the research design).

For all projects that will include/focus on Indigenous peoples, applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure the project is Tri-Council Policy Statement and OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) compliant prior to the submission of the Full Application. In cases where administrative data will be used, the intended data source, and detail on the data access plan, should be included in Section 12. ICES data-sets, for example, are subject to special governance procedures to release specific data related to Indigenous peoples.

The research question(s) addressed must be clearly stated. For each question, provide a detailed description of the research design and methodology, including relevant details such as data collection tools and methods, sampling frames and sample sizes (with justification for sample sizes), outcome measures, and statistical analyses (including any qualitative analyses).

Any studies proposing an intervention must sufficiently describe the mechanism of action (i.e., the process by which X [the intervention] has an effect on Y). For multifaceted interventions, the individual components must be clearly delineated and justified using appropriate evidence (either in totality or for each individual component).

In cases where administrative data will be used, this section should state the intended data source, and detail on the data access plan should be included in Section 12. This information will be used to assess the scientific rigour, innovation, and originality of the project design and methodology.

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6b. Milestones, Deliverables, and Expected Outcomes (800 words)

Describe 2-5 major milestones and deliverables per year for each of the objectives identified for the project. These should be examples of tangible accomplishments, demonstrating progress towards the stated objectives of the project. Provide an estimated date of completion for each milestone/deliverable identified.

Milestones and deliverables for research projects may include: specific research activities; expected dates of completion for obtaining Research Ethics Board (REB) approval; recruitment of team members; data collection; anticipated dates for interim findings, major meetings/forums with partners and Knowledge Users; a targeted number of peer-review publications and interim and final reports. Research projects should also include at least one KTE milestone or deliverable for each year.

In cases where publication in a peer-reviewed journal is a milestone, please note that the findings of ministry funded research must be publicly accessible at no cost, e.g., in an open access journal, in a report posted on the internet or in a free full text author's manuscript.

This section should also identify up to 3 of the main expected outcomes resulting from the project. For each outcome identified, applicants should provide a proposed plan on how each outcome will be documented and evaluated.

The identification of outcomes of the project differs from milestones and deliverables, which emphasizes the processes and outputs of the project. Outcomes focus on the expected impacts of the project and how the applicant(s) proposes to evaluate each impact. Information on what made the impact (e.g., type of product/process), who will be impacted (e.g., targeted group), how the targeted group will be impacted (e.g., the benefit) and the level of the impact (e.g., regional, provincial) should be provided.

Examples of potential outcomes include: KTE activities/products that will result in enhanced patient/client/consumer awareness and knowledge, and/or influenced behaviour related to health care services access and usage; products or processes that provided solutions to address a key knowledge gap in the health care system or has the potential of being adopted by health system provider organizations; and research and/or KTE activities that influence a program or policy process (e.g., cited as a the basis for new regulation or legislation).

The information provided in section 6b will be used to evaluate:

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7. Declaration of Funding Overlap and Alignment with Leveraged Funding Opportunities from Other Sources (400 words)

This section should identify sources of funding currently in place that directly support this project or elements of this project. If multiple sources are contributing to this project, clearly describe how the HSRF funding will be used to expand scope of research and/or demonstrate that the sources of funding will not overlap with the HSRF funding from a scientific, budgetary, and staffing perspective.1

This section should also specify sources of leveraged funding opportunities that applicants have already secured (but not yet received) and/or plan to apply for, if successful, by selecting the appropriate sources provided in the online Full Application form. In the space provided, applicants should also provide details on how these funds will be used to promote the sustainability of the HSRF Calls for Targeted Research award by maximizing its impact and benefits while capitalizing on other existing resources (e.g., use leveraged funding to fill budget gaps needed to scale-up the project to access resources not readily available from the HSRF, etc.).

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is a key source of leveraged funding for Ontario researchers. It is recommended that applicants consult CIHR's website for information regarding its research priorities, competitions, initiatives, etc.

A strong assessment of this section (or the Full Application in general) is not solely contingent on the applicant's ability to leverage funding but also the strength of the applicant's proposed strategy to obtain and utilize leveraged funding should the project be in a position to bring in leveraged funding.

This information will be used in the assessment of the anticipated productivity or yield from the budget requested, e.g., the return on investment provided by leveraged funding plan.

1Sources: CIHR Grants and Awards Guide and Supplementary Information for Nature 493, 588-589 (2013)

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8. Sex and Gender-Based Analysis (400 words)

In this section, answer the following questions, as appropriate:

To effectively complete this section, it is recommended that applicants consult the Women's Xchange for resources on Sex and Gender Based Analysis. Applicants may also wish to consult the POWER study, CIHR's Gender, Sex and Health resource and the ministry's Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) tool.

Applications will be assessed on the extent to which sex and gender have been considered in the proposed research project (i.e., rationale, methods, and KTE plan). If a sex and gender based analysis is not included in the project plan, applicants must show that they have considered the relevance of sex (biological) and gender (social) to the research project in the rationale, methods and KTE plan (e.g., literature review, recruitment strategy, data collection and analysis, KTE tools/plans/strategies).

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9. Patient Engagement (400 words)

In this section, describe how patients will be meaningfully and actively involved in the project. Applicants should identify who will be involved and explain how they will be involved. Details regarding the recruitment process, plans for compensation, training and evaluation should also be specified.

Applications will be assessed on the extent to which the project's patient engagement plan considers the inclusion of patients. This engagement may include participation in the development of the research questions, consultations throughout the research process, and contributions to shaping elements of the KTE implementation plan from the patients' perspectives.

For references on patient engagement, applicants can consult various resources including:

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10. KTE and Implementation Plan (400 words)

In this section, describe the integrated and end-of-grant KTE strategies, tools, methods, etc., the project will use to disseminate, transfer and exchange knowledge. Applicants should identify target Knowledge User groups and any tailored strategies to engage with these groups. Applicants must also demonstrate the use of evidence-based approaches, where feasible, when designing their KTE plans.

Where applicable, this section should also assess and describe the feasibility of implementing any intervention or policy that may result from the knowledge generated and/or mobilized from the proposed project, as well as its scalability and sustainability (at the regional level or higher). KTE activities funded by the ministry must make a measurable impact on the Ontario health system and further the objectives of the research project.

The information provided in this section will be used to evaluate the strength of the KTE plan in mobilizing information innovatively and effectively; the potential to influence change in practice/policy; active inclusion of relevant partners, collaborators, Knowledge Users, and/or patients/clients (individuals, groups, organizations); and the scalability and sustainability of any intervention or policy resulting from the knowledge generated/mobilized from the proposed project. All research projects are also required to use 25% of funding for Applied Health Research Questions (AHRQs). This section should describe how the AHRQ process and other KTE activities will ensure that research findings have their maximum possible impact.

The information provided in section 10 will also be used in the evaluation of the anticipated productivity or yield from the budget requested, e.g., the return on investment provided by the project. Reviewers may provide recommendations to increase/decrease the proposed budgets based on the information from this section.

Applicants are advised to review the MOHLTC Applied Health Research Questions (AHRQ) Guidelines to learn more about the role of Knowledge Users.

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11. Partners and Capacity Building (800 words)

Provide the information requested to complete this section.

For information on collaborating researchers: List the names and institutional affiliations of up to 5 collaborating researchers and a brief description of the roles, responsibilities, and contributions of each partner in the project team. The team can consist of more than 5 researchers; however, the Full Application only requires information on up to 5 of these members.

For information on Knowledge Users: List the names and institutional affiliations of 1 to 3 Knowledge Users, and a brief explanation of the ways in which the person and his/her organization will benefit from and/or be involved in the research project. For more information about the role of Knowledge Users, see the MOHLTC Applied Health Research Question Guidelines.

For information on capacity building: List up to 5 of the most relevant specific target groups that will be engaged in this work (e.g., students, junior researchers, and other professionals), information on the group's involvement, and the capacity building outcome(s) (e.g., the skills that they will develop). In order to build research and KTE capacity in Ontario, the training and mentoring of new investigators, health professional scientists and KTE specialists is a goal of the HSRF.

For all projects that focus on Indigenous populations, it is strongly recommended that Indigenous communities and/or representative organizations are consulted and/or are key partners in the development of the application and project design.

The information provided in this section will be used to evaluate the strength of the leadership team, i.e., Lead and, where applicable, Co-lead, including capacity to manage a project grant. It will also be used to evaluate the comprehensiveness of the project team, including the involvement and role of Knowledge Users and/or patients/clients (individuals, groups, organizations) in the team's activities, and potential to build inter-disciplinary and inter-professional capacity and mentoring of new researchers/KTE specialists.

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12. Relevant Experience and Research/KTE Performance of Project Lead and Co-Lead (Where Applicable) (1,200 words)

Provide the information requested to complete this section.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care research awards in the past 5 years: Provide information on all competitive and non-competitive research awards that the Project Lead and Co-Lead have applied for and/or received from the ministry in the past 5 years. Provide information on the name of the award, name of the program/project, status, and impact(s). If work in the proposed project has been funded previously, the applicants should specify the status of the proposed project (e.g., aspects of the project are new, continuation of previous work).

Most relevant competitive research awards in the past 5 years (non-ministry): Provide information for up to 5 research awards received by the Project Lead and/or Co-Lead, where applicable (i.e., 5 total, and not 5 awards for each applicant) that are most relevant to the proposed project. Information on the source of the award, total amount awarded, duration and purpose of the award should also be provided.

Relevant research activities in the past 5 years: Provide information for up to 5 relevant research activities the Project Lead and/or Co-Lead, where applicable (i.e., 5 total, and not 5 for each applicant) that are most relevant to the proposed project. Information including the title of the project/activity, budget, duration, objective(s), scope, and key outcomes, etc. should be provided.

Relevant publications in the past 5 years: Provide the complete citation for up to 5 (i.e., 5 total, and not 5 publications for each applicant) of the most relevant publications to the proposed project in which the Project Lead and/or Co-Lead, where applicable, was a co-author. For example: Smith, J., Jones, K., & Wood, L. (2010). Improving the health system. Health Journal, 22, 221-243.

Section 12 will be used to assess:

Note: Applicants will also be required to submit a Generic Canadian Common CV (CCV) for the Project Lead and Co-Lead (where applicable).

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13a. Data Access Plan - Where Applicable (400 words)

This section is to be used for research projects where there is a plan to access Personal Health Information (PHI) held by the MOHLTC or the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). The purpose of this section is to assess whether the data access plan is feasible. Please note that acceptance of this section by the MOHLTC does not constitute approval to release data.

Provide information detailing how the research team proposes to manage the regulatory and legal requirements associated with accessing PHI.

List all needed databases/datasets from the MOHLTC or ICES, and also identify other data sources (primary and or secondary), and the intended unit of analysis (e.g., individual record level, institution level, geographic area). Confirm Research Ethics Board (REB) approval has been obtained or describe the steps that will be taken to secure REB approval.

Applicants should note that accessing PHI through the MOHLTC or ICES will require an application process separate from the HSRF Calls for Targeted Research competition and therefore, it is recommended that these considerations should be taken into account during planning. Applicants may be required to provide specific information to access data held by the MOHLTC or ICES (where applicable). For example, applicants may be asked to provide a rationale for specific data requested; submit details on how ministry or ICES data will be linked to other data sources, and/or describe the steps proposed for managing consent to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Applicants should leave the page blank in the online application template for Section 12 if no data access plan is presented.

The information in this section will contribute to the assessment of the scientific rigour of the project design and methodology, as well as the feasibility including appropriateness of the budget and timelines, and any other considerations than may affect the ability for the project to meet key objectives/deliverables/outcomes.

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13b. Data Sharing Plan - Where Applicable (400 words)

To leverage and maximize the impact, productivity, and return on investment of data collected under HSRF funding, the ministry is encouraging the broader sharing of data by funded researchers. Data includes primary data, samples, physical collections and other materials created or gathered in the course of work under the HSRF grant. Data sharing plans must also comply with any and all applicable legislation.

Applicants are requested to respond to the following questions:

  1. What particular data would you share?
  2. With whom would this data be shared (e.g., any interested party without a formal agreement regarding the use of the data, only with interested parties willing to enter into a data-sharing agreement, etc.)?
  3. Under what terms would this data be shared (e.g., specified timelines)?
  4. If you would not be interested in sharing any/all of the data collected under HSRF funding, please explain why (e.g., limited resources, type of data is not amenable to be stored/shared, etc.).

Section 13b will be used strictly for informational and planning purposes by the ministry regarding its data sharing plans. The information in Section 13b will not be shared with, or assessed by, the Program Area Review or the Scientific Review Panel in their respective evaluations.

C. STEP 3: ENTER BUDGET INFORMATION

14. Overall Budget Justification (400 words)

This section should provide an explanation of the appropriateness of the budget (i.e., why is the requested budget realistic and feasible for the conduct of the proposed project?).

This section should also provide an account for any requests that may exceed pre-determined budget constraints, or any other issues that the applicants may want to address that the budget template does not permit (e.g., justifying the need for X to achieve Y).

The information in this section will be used in the evaluation of the appropriateness of the budget and the anticipated productivity or yield from the budget requested, e.g., the return on investment provided by the project. Reviewers may provide recommendations to increase/decrease the proposed budgets based on the information from this section.

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15. Budget

It is recommended that applicants use the Budget Template provided by the ministry to submit the information required. Applicants should refer to the Calls for Targeted Research Budget section of the HSRF website for detailed instructions, constraints, and technical guidance to complete the budget. This information will also be available on the online grant application system.

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STEP 4: UPLOAD ATTACHMENTS

Please attach mandatory and allowable attachments only. All attachments must be submitted as PDF files, with the exception of the budget. MOHLTC will remove all non-allowable attachments before sharing the application with reviewers.

Mandatory Attachments

Allowable Attachments

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STEP 5: REVIEW AND SUBMIT

Once every section of the online application form is completed, carefully review all components of the application. If any mandatory sections are incomplete, you will be prompted to provide the missing information before you can successfully submit your application.

You will be able to save your application and return to it at any time, prior to the application deadline. You will also be able to preview the full application before you submit.

Review the checklist that is part of the online Full Application. Any section of the Full Application that is completed incorrectly or is incomplete can result in delayed funding.

The ministry has the right to request any changes to the Full Application submission, including the budget(s), prior to awarding the grant, regardless of the Scientific Review Panel's decisions.

When you are ready to submit your application, click 'Send'. You will receive a confirmation email from the ministry when your application is received.

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