Biosafety Permits

Any activities conducted at UBC facilities or affiliated institutions that involve biological materials requires a biosafety permit.

Biosafety Permit

What are the Biosafety permit application types?

Any faculty member with a valid Biosafety Course Certificate is eligible to apply for a UBC Biosafety Permit. Registered Biosafety permit holder click here.

Any activities conducted at UBC facilities or affiliated institutions that involve biological materials must be reviewed and approved by the UBC Biosafety Committee prior to the start of the research project.

Definition of applicable Biological Materials is:

  • Genetically modified organisms that may be hazardous to humans or the environment; ‘infectious’ biological products; microorganisms; and human/animal tissues, cells, blood and bodily fluids.
  • The term ‘infectious’ includes biological toxins, viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other organisms/genetic systems that, by virtue of their replicative properties, are potentially harmful to humans, animals and the environment.

For more information on how to apply for a Biosafety Permit visit the Office of Research Services – Biosafety.

  1. RG1 – this includes RG1 microorganisms, animal cells or cell lines, genetically modified RG1 organisms, recombinant DNA
  2. RG2 – this includes RG2 microorganisms, human cells or cell lines, other primate body fluids and tissues, genetically modified RG2 organisms, toxins listed in HPTA. The hyperlinks provide guidance but are not complete lists.
  3. RG3 – this includes RG3 microorganisms. An example: cultured HIV is RG3 but HIV positive blood is considered RG2 with special precautions.
  4. Environmental Hazards – this includes invasive plants, plant pests, aquatic pests, plants with novel traits, and genetically engineered organisms – that are not classified as RG1, RG2 or RG3. Contact the RMS Research Safety Office to determine if your organism is considered to be invasive.
  5. Teaching Labs – Teaching labs involving any of the materials listed in the other categories. This simplified expedited application, allows UBC to meet its regulatory tracking requirements, and ensures that each of our students is being trained in safety from the start.

Note for applicants:

  • If you are using both RG1 and RG2, only a RG2 application needs to be filled out.
  • If you are using plant pathogens then please fill out an RG1 application.
  • Use the provided Environmental Hazard Tool, to determine if your organism is considered an invasive plant, plant pest, or aquatic pest.

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What are the Biosafety documentation requirements?

If filled out properly, each Permit Application fulfills the following documentation requirements. For detailed information on documentation requirements review the Canadian Biosafety Standards.

  1. Local Risk Assessments – identifying the risks of the proposed work and mitigation strategies.
  2. Authorized Users – the individuals approved to handle the materials listed.
  3. Training Record – documented valid institutional biosafety training
  4. Inventory – a basic list of where the approved materials are used and stored.
  5. Biosecurity – documented plan to prevent the intentional mishandling of approved materials.

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What is required for a Biosafety permit termination?

When a Permit Holder is planning to move away from the use of biological material or away from UBC, their permit must be terminated. To end a permit, Permit Holders select termination in the RISe system with a statement of intent to end the permit. Additionally, they must provide proof that they have followed the UBC Lab Decommissioning Protocol (WORD). This means an official statement of either the destruction or transfer of the biological materials and the sign off of a Departmental Representative, Risk Management Services (RMS) Representative (Biological and Radiation Safety Advisor).

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What is required for working with animals, humans or their samples?

Animals and their Samples

Working safely with experimental animals encompasses not only the people and the animals, but also the facilities, equipment, procedures we use, and environment. Understanding how all the elements work together is essential for determining the risk of the work being done. It is important for everyone to understand the risks from the animals, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cleaners, biologicals, radiologicals, equipment, and environmental emergencies.

  • Biosafety permits are required if animal tissues, cells, blood or other fluids are removed from the animal for the purposes of further study. Please note that procedures such as ear notching are exempt.
  • All individuals working with animals must register with Occupational and Preventative Health, to assess what preventative measures are available to prevent the development of disease or allergies.
  • Animal Ethics Approval is required for all in vivo or live experimentation with animals.

Humans and their Samples (excluding cell lines)

Research involving primary (or direct) human samples in most cases fall under the UBC Biosafety Program. Materials that are extracted as part of regular patient care and processed by the Health Care Labs are exempt from the Biosafety Program. Any researcher (clinical or not) performing tests on human blood, tissues, cells, and other body fluids in UBC research space will fall under the Biosafety Program and require the following:

  • Biosafety permits are required if human tissues, cells, blood or other fluids are removed for the purposes of further study. If the testing and work is all performed by an accredited lab (like LifeLabs) then biosafety is not required.
  • All individuals working with Human Blood and Bodily fluids must register with Occupational and Preventative Health, to assess what preventative measures are available to prevent the development of disease.
  • Clinical Human Ethics Approval is required for all experiments involving the extraction of human samples.

For more information regarding clinical specimens contact the RMS Research Safety Office.

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