University of Saskatchewan

September 23, 2014   

Biosafety Program

The Canadian Federal Agencies that set guidelines and regulations to ensure the safe use of Biological Substances are Health Canada (HC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). They are responsible for certifying all Level 3 and 4 facilities as well as regulating the importation of all animal and human pathogens into Canada. There are also Provincial regulators that mandate different areas of the safe use of biological substances such as; Saskatchewan Labor (notification of Genetically Modified Micro-Organisms), and Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (proper disposal of biologicals). The University of Saskatchewan’s Biosafety Code has been written and implemented to ensure that all of these guidelines and regulations are being met. Under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health, Safety and Environment (DHSE), the Biosafety Office administers the use of biological substances through the Biosafety Program. The Biosafety Program is at the peak of its implementation, with the end goal of it becoming an efficient system that meets international standards, ensures a safe environment for workers, and ultimately facilitates documentation for the research community. These tasks are being accomplished by conducting training courses, workplace inspections, inventory audits and acting as a resource with campus community.

Under the authority of the President, the Biosafety Advisory Committee (BAC) was established. The BAC is authorized to advise in the safe use of biological substances, make recommendations on policies, and approve procedures and guidelines. Further, a subcommittee of the BAC, the Biosafety Protocol Approval Committee (BPAC), is authorized to issue biological substance permits, as required by the University’s Biosafety Code.

In accordance the Biosafety Code the Principal Investigator is required to obtain a permit from the BPAC prior to the use of the following substances:

  • Infectious materials or organisms (Risk group Level 2 and up),
  • human blood, tissue, cells, and body fluids,
  • unfixed diseased animal blood, tissue, and serum,
  • Non-indigenous entities, transgenic plants or animals,
  • Large scale productions, and
  • Notifiable biological substances (GMO’s, Recombinant DNA work etc.)

The following items are required to be facilitated through the Biosafety Office:

  • Level 1 research (includes healthy animal blood, tissue and serum)
  • Biosafety cabinet purchasing, use and certification

All individuals must adhere to the University’s Biosafety Code for the acquisition, use, storage, transportation and disposal of biological substances.

Please refer to the Biosafety page on the DHSE website for more details:

If you have any questions or require guidance, please call DHSE @ 966-8496.