Ongoing reform of the Canadian ethics review system and fears for the potentially undemocratic nature of Research Ethics Boards (REBs) in Canada and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in the USA work led to an invitation summit – The Ethics Rupture in Fredericton, New Brunswick in October of 2012. This brought together leading researchers from Canada, USA, UK, Brazil, Italy, New Zealand and Australia who are committed to enhancing the practice of research ethics and to suggesting innovative alternatives to the status quo. The meeting resulted in the New Brunswick Declaration which champions the protection of research participants and researchers and declares as a truism that, even without formal ethics, research should respect persons, do no harm and privilege benefit over risk. The Declaration is aspirational, believing formal ethics review will only reach its full potential when policies, procedures and committees treat researchers in the same manner as researchers are expected to treat research participants – a culture of mutual respect. The point is to place the key responsibility for good research behaviour onto researchers themselves.