Biohazardous Material and the Biosafety Program

The use of potentially pathogenic organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, protozoa, biotoxins etc...) and potentially biohazardous material (blood, mammalian cell lines) may have a negative impact on an individuals health, or if released, on the community or environment at large. Biohazardous agents are defined as potentially pathogenic organisms which may affect humans, animals, aquatic organisms and plant and plant pests.   In Canada work with these types of organisms are regulated by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Trent University recognizes that the use of these organisms needs to be done in a safe and secure fashion while still advancing our scientific knowledge. Trent University maintains a Pathogen and Toxin License with the Public Health Agency of Canada and with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Tri-Council Memorandum of Understanding with the University relating to biohazardous research funded by the three federal granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) requires compliance with all applicable legislation and regulations, which includes the Canadian Biosafety Standards (CBS). In addition, the University has adopted the CBS (ed. 2) , whether or not the work is externally funded and whether or not the sponsoring agency requires such certification. As such, the University has a policy on working with biohazardous material.

 Please read the policy prior to planning your project.


Trent University Biosafety Work Permit Policy»

Biosafety Program

In order to meet the requirements of working with Biohazardous

The Biosafety Program consists of:

»Biosafety Work Permit

»Biosafety Manual

»Biosafety Course and Training

»Working with Human and Terrestrial Animal Pathogens

»Working with Aquatic Pathogens and Plant Pests

»Purchasing Biohazardous Material

»Autoclave Validation and Verification SOP


Biosafety Work Permit

A biosafety work permit is required for all work with biohazardous materials as defined in the Policy.

How to Apply for a Biosafety Work Permit

1.  Login to MyTrent Portal

2.  Select Romeo Research Portal

3.  Choose "Apply New"  on the blue bar.

4. Choose Biosafety Project Work Permit Application

5.  Complete the application and submit.

The Biosafety Officer will review the application with the Science Safety Committee and issue a permit.  The permit application will be reviewed lwith respect to regulatory requirements and a local risk assessment.  A work permit may be issued with conditions of work  which will need to be complied with.

Biosafety Manual

The Biosafety Program Manual outlines the entire Biosafety Program and contains information on:

Pathogen Risk Groups

Risk Assessments

Lab Containment Levels

Work Procedures

Disinfection and Decontamination

Biohazardous Waste Disposal

as well as other useful information related to Biosafety.

The Biosafety Course is based on the Biosafety Progam Manual and the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines. 

Biosafety Program Manual» ( MS WORD file)

Biohazardous Materials Lab Door Poster» 

Biosafety Training

Formal training is required for everyone wishing to work with biohazardous material.  The current format for this training is a 3-4 hour in class training session and completion of a knowledge quiz on Blackboard.   Attendance at the course and a succesful completion (80%) of the quiz is mandatory for supervisors and workers (including students) in a lab.  The course is offered 3-4 times a year and is advertised via email to Faculty and Staff and Graduate Programs.

Working with Human and Terrestrial Animal Pathogens

Working with human and terrrestrial animal pathogens are governed by the following Acts, Regulations and Standards. 

»Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. (HPTA)

»Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations(HPTR). 

»Health of Animals Act (HAA)

»Health of Animals Regulations (HAR)

»Canadian Biosafety Standards (CBS ed.2). **

»Canadian Biosafety Handbook (HTML version)

Working with Aquatic Pathogens and Plant Pests

Work with aquatic pathogens and plant pathogens and pests (insects) require complying with different regulations and guidelines than human and terrestrial animal pathogens.  While similar in scope these regulations and guidelines are different than then Canadian Biosafety Standards. In addition, working with Plant Pests can be more complicated as there may be geographical restrictions.

Personnel who wish to work with Aquatic Pathogens or Plant pathogens and pests should read the following documentation from the CFIA.

Aquatic Animal Pathogens:

»Containment Standards for Facilities Handling Aquatic Animal Pathogens

Plant Pathogens and Pests:

»The Containment Standards for Facilities Handling Plant Pests

»Import Requirements for Potentially Injurious Organisms (other than plants to Prevent the Importation of Plant pests in Canada

»Domestic Requirements for Potentially Injurious Organisms (other than Plants) to Prevent the Spread of Plant Pests Within Canada

Principle investigators and any personnel involved in research with these materials should read the appropriate documentation to ensure that they are familiar with the regulatory requirements outlined in these documents.

Purchasing and importing biohazardous material


The acquisition and/or importation of Human, Terrestrial Animal, Aquatic Animal pathogens and Plant Pests  requires the possession of a valid work permit, the signature of the BSO and may require additional documentation from Federal Agencies.  Contact the BSO for more iinformation

Other Resources

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Office of Laboratory Security

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Office of Biohazard Containment and Safety (OBCS)

Pathogen Safety Data sheets and Risk Assessments (PHAC)

Canadian Association of Biosafety CABS

Americian Biological Safety Association ABSA

For questions on the Biosafety Program  contact the BSO

Chris Williams

ESB A 203

ext. 7061