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The Animal Care Committee (ACC) is responsible for the review and approval of teaching and research protocols to ensure that all animal use within Bishop’s jurisdiction is in compliance with institutional, municipal, provincial and federal regulations, and the guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. The guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care include the consideration of animal welfare needs and the practice of the “The Three Rs” (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) to guide educators on the ethical use of animals in science and teaching.

The ACC also ensures that no research, testing, field work, or teaching activities involving animals commences without prior ACC approval of an animal use protocol and that no animals are acquired or used before such approval is granted. While animal use is very limited at Bishop’s, animal use activities may include Biology Science labs for which there is no pedagogical alternative, or field work, predominantly for teaching handling skills and standard operating procedures.

The Terms of Reference outline the composition and procedures of Bishop’s University’s Animal Care Committee and are based on the 2006 “Terms of Reference for Animal Care Committees” as established by the Canadian Council on Animal Care.

For any protocol submitted to the ACC, Principal Investigators, either teachers or researchers, keeping animals in captivity for over twelve hours in indoor or outdoor facilities on or off campus must ensure appropriate care of those animals, by complying with the Procedure for Animals Kept in Captivity over 12 Hours in Indoor or Outdoor Facilities On or Off Campus.

New Protocols

Any teacher or researcher working with vertebrate species (including behavioural observations in the field – please refer to the CCAC categories of invasiveness) and with invertebrate species with a more highly developed nervous system (i.e. cephalopods) must submit a protocol to the ACC using the appropriate Animal Utilization Form (either for teaching  exercise or research) available in the BU Research Portal. A copy of all relevant permits should be submitted with the application.

Bishop’s students conducting animal research do not have to submit their own Animal Utilization Form if they are working under a supervisor from Bishop’s who has received approval for their research from the ACC. In this situation, the supervisor must submit a Protocol Modification event form to add the student to the list of research personnel. This form is can be accessed by clicking the “Events” button on an active protocol in the BU Research Portal. If the student is conducting research not already approved by the ACC, the supervisor must submit the Animal Utilization Form, as BU students must conduct research under the supervision of a supervisor.

Peer Review for Scientific Merit (For Research Projects)

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), which oversees animal-based activities in research, teaching and testing, requires that all animal-based research projects undergo scientific peer review by at least two independent experts prior to their review by an animal care committee. Studies funded by major external granting agencies are considered to have undergone successful peer review during the granting process. Studies that are not peer-reviewed as part of the granting process, or are internally funded, require peer review for scientific merit.

If the protocol has not been reviewed for scientific merit, the PI must submit a Research Summary that justifies the project from a scientific perspective. The Research Summary (including references) must explain the research background, objectives, hypotheses, potential contributions, and methodological approach of the study. Research administration will then ensure that the scientific merit of the proposed research is reviewed by two experts in the field in question, chosen by the ACC Chair (in collaboration with the PI as required), who will be asked to complete the following form. Any concerns raised by the review should then be addressed by the principal investigator, working with the research administration, before the animal care committee can receive confirmation from the research administration that the project has scientific merit.

Pedagogical Merit Review (For Teaching or Training Projects)

Pedagogical Merit Review of live animal-based teaching or training must be undertaken for every new teaching or training course, and reviewed at least every four years for ongoing teaching or training, even if there are no changes to the course, as per CCAC guidelines. If you are working with vertebrate species, please complete the Pedagogical Merit Review of Live Animal-based Teaching or Training form and include it in your completed Animal Utilization Form for Teaching Exercise in the Research Portal, under the Attachments tab. Please allow 4 months for the Pedagogical Merit Review.

Research Internships Outside Bishop’s

Bishop’s students have the opportunity to do internships at other universities within the core of their studies. When a project involves animals, students must ensure that the supervisor at the host university has received all the necessary certificates to undergo his/her research project. Prior to undertaking their work outside Bishop’s, students must submit a Research Internship Outside Bishop’s form in the BU Research Portal. A copy of the host institution’s ethics certificate must be provided.

If the project involves animals and cannot receive ethics approval from the host institution, students must submit a research protocol, via the Research Portal, before the works begins.

Multi-institutional Projects

Even if a researcher is working as part of a larger team that has already received approval from another institution (i.e. another university or a government agency), the researcher must still submit an Animal Utilization Form to the BU ACC via the BU Research Portal. The researcher should clearly indicate where the research fits into the larger project, and should specify what consist the researcher own work, and what work is being conducted by the group. A copy of all relevant permits and animal care protocols and approvals submitted by, or awarded to, the group by other ACCs should also be submitted to the BU ACC with the application.

Renewal and/or Amendments

The renewal procedure can be used for research projects and teaching exercises. All modifications must be approved and documented by the ACC before being initiated by the investigator. Please note that a new submission is required after three consecutive renewals or for any major changes to a protocol.

Annual renewals and minor amendments to the original protocol of ongoing projects must be approved by the ACC using the Animal Utilization Form for Renewal/Amendments event form. This form is can be accessed by clicking the “Events” button on an active protocol in the BU Research Portal.

Submission Deadlines

To give the committee ample time to review and approve new protocols, the ACC has designated three annual submission dates: August 31, December 31 and February 15 (or the Monday immediately following) of each year.

Annual renewals and amendments for previously approved protocols should be submitted using the same deadlines.

Animal User Training Certification

Since January 2003, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) has made training mandatory for all individuals who are working, or intend to work, with animals. This includes all research and teaching personnel from Bishop’s listed in the protocol: investigators, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, technicians and students. Until personnel have had their competency assessed and been found to be competent to perform the relevant tasks or procedures, any work with animals should be carefully supervised.

Thanks to an agreement with McGill University and Université de Sherbrooke, Bishop’s University’s animal users may obtain a theoretical training in either French (Sherbrooke) or English (McGill) by using the training programs developed by these institutions. They will need to know the material covered in McGill or Université de Sherbrooke websites and successfully pass a multiple-choice test. Practical training is to be obtained through the Principal Investigator who submitted the protocol. Any other training method must be approved by the Animal Care Committee.


  • Go to the McGill website.
  • Read the material included in these Web pages under “Basic Level”.
  • If you will have invasive contact with the animals (such as injecting or surgery), or if you are the Principal Investigator: read the material included under “Advanced Level”.
  • If you will be doing field studies, read the material under “Wildlife” and specify that you need the wildlife questions to be added to your test.
  • Send an email to animalcare@mcgill.ca to request that the test be sent to you. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU INDICATE THAT YOU ARE A BISHOP’S STUDENT or PROFESSOR IN YOUR EMAIL.
  • Once completed, submit the test by reply email. Please note that EACH participant must make the request using his/her own email account. There are different versions of the test and a specific one is assigned to each person. The test must not be passed on to someone else.
  • Some information on the McGill website may not apply to Bishop’s researchers and students.


  • Go to the UdeS website.
  • Read the information on animal care (4 sections: La réglementation, L’hébergement, L’expérimentation et La santé et la sécurité).
  • Contact CIPA@USherbrooke.ca to obtain an I.D. number, a password and guidelines on how to proceed with the test. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU INDICATE THAT YOU ARE A BISHOP’S STUDENT or PROFESSOR IN YOUR EMAIL.

Once the theoretical training has been successfully completed, copies of your animal user training certificate will be issued and emailed to you and to the Bishop’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

For new ethics submissions, theoretical training certificate(s) should be uploaded to the Attachments of the protocol, in the BU Research Portal. If you need a replacement copy of your certificate, please contact the Animal Care Training program officer at the appropriate institution. If the training is done after a protocol is approved by the ACC, this training must be declared to the ACC via the Declaration of Training event form, in the Research Portal. This form can be accessed by clicking the “Events” button on an active protocol.


Please note that theoretical training should be successfully completed prior to practical training. Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that all personnel working with animals under their supervision are named on an approved Animal Use Protocol and are adequately trained to carry out procedures on the animals in their care.

The Principal Investigator, in collaboration with the Biology Laboratory Technician, is responsible for training the personnel working with animals, and to verify this training.

The BU ACC is responsible for verifying that personnel working with animals have the training necessary to appropriately and humanely carry out procedures on animals. The post-approval monitoring program will include assessments of animal users’ competence and may include recommendation for additional training.

Practical training must cover these four components: Basic Biology of the Studied Species, Handling and Restraint, Euthanasia, and Zoonoses and Human Safety. In situations where the BU ACC has given approval for members of research teams to undertake some animal care tasks, the Husbandry component must also be covered during practical training. For wildlife studies, if animals are to be held, the Husbandry component should also be covered. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) relevant to the project must also be covered during practical training.

Please note that Principal Investigators who do not carry out procedures on animals can only provide the Basic Biology of the Studied Species component of the practical training to their personnel working with animals. Trained, experienced personnel named on an approved Animal Use Protocol are allowed to carry out practical training of personnel working with animals, alongside the Biology Laboratory Technician. To have a better understanding of the topics that should be included in each Training Component, Appendix 1 – Section 2 of the CCAC Guidelines on Training of Personnel Working With Animals in Sciences is a helpful resource. If the expertise to provide adequate practical training to personnel working with animals is not present at the university, other trainers can be suggested by the Principal Investigator. They must be approved by the BU ACC.

Personnel working with animal who have been trained in animal care and use at other institutions may present evidence of comparable training. If so, the Principal Investigator should provide this evidence in the Ethics submission, in the BU Research Portal. The BU ACC may require additional training for these personnel.

Once the practical training has been successfully completed, the Declaration of Training event form must be filled out by the Principal Investigator in the BU Research Portal (this can be accessed by clicking the “Events” button on an active protocol) and reviewed by the ACC Chair, in collaboration with the ACC Veterinarian or other competent personnel.


An annual report form is required for all completed or continuing research projects utilizing animals. This event form can be accessed by clicking the “Events” button on an active protocol in the BU Research Portal. This form must be submitted by January 15, or the following business day if the 15th of the month falls on a weekend or holiday.


For further information, please contact Mr. Jeffrey MacDonald, ACC Chair (jmacdona@UBishops.ca) or the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (researchoffice@UBishops.ca).