Contact Information
Animal Care Committee
451, Smyth Rd.,
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1H 8M5 Canada

Tel : (613) 562-5444
Fax : (613) 562-5467

Animal Care and Veterinary
Service

451, Smyth Rd.,
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1H 8M5 Canada

Tel : (613) 562-5412
Fax : (613) 562-5467

Policy on Animals Used in Research and Teaching


Part I Animal Care and Use in Research and Teaching at the University of Ottawa

Part II Institutional Structures for the Animal Care Program at the University of Ottawa

Part III The Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching

Part IV Compliance with University Policy Concerning the Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching

Part V Declaration




Part I      Animal Care and Use in Research and Teaching at the University of Ottawa
  1. Preamble

    The University of Ottawa is committed to ensuring that the use of animals in research and in teaching conforms to the most rigorous ethical standards that are compatible with the goals of science. The University of Ottawa is equally committed to maintaining very high standards for all facilities which support research and teaching involving laboratory animals. As a result, methodology in support of animal care and use is constantly upgraded as are facilities. The standards for animal care and use conform with or exceed those outlined in the Canadian Council on Animal Care's Guidelines to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals Guidelines and Policies (the Guidelines)1. The University of Ottawa is a registered research facility under the Province of Ontario's Animals for Research Act (the Act)2.

  2. Summary

    Any project in which animal use (research and teaching) is contemplated must be reviewed by the Animal Care Committee prior to its commencement. Approval is granted only after the project proposal has been carefully examined. The Animal Care Committee ensures that no physical or psychological discomfort will be caused to an animal except where there is a clear and authoritative scientific or pedagogical justification for doing so, as determined by peer review. Where such justification exists, the Animal Care Committee ensures that the level of discomfort caused will be no higher than what is absolutely necessitated by the scientific or pedagogical purposes of the procedure in question and in so doing, that every animal will be humanely treated by providing anesthesia, analgesia and all other support as required. Wherever a non-sentient substitute is available and accessible, such substitutes will be preferred. The Animal Care Committee also ensures that the appropriate species has been selected; that the minimal number of animals will be used, a number appropriate to permit scientifically valid inferences to be drawn; and that personnel are qualified to work with the animals. The review process involves research and veterinary scientists, as well as Community Representatives who are not scientists, but are concerned about animal welfare. A failure to obtain approval from the Animal Care Committee means that a project involving animal use cannot proceed. Furthermore, once approval has been granted, failure to adhere to the conditions of approval for a project may result in loss of research privileges or rights.

    All animal care and use is reviewed and approved at least annually by the Animal Care Committee. Research laboratories and Animal Care and Veterinary Service facilities are inspected annually by the Animal Care Committee, more frequently and on an unannounced basis by a veterinary inspector in accordance with the Animals for Research Act and on a predetermined schedule by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. The Canadian Council on Animal Care assessments include a review of University animal care policy; research and teaching involving animals; Animal Care Committee operations; Animal Care and Veterinary Service operations; site visits; and research or teaching laboratory site visits.

    All Animal Care and Veterinary Service facilities are directed by the University Veterinarian who is also a member of the Animal Care Committee. The University Veterinarian is responsible for ensuring that the standards and policies established by the University for animal care and use in research and teaching are maintained and followed. The University Veterinarian has the authority to terminate any procedure or animal use which in his or her opinion causes undue discomfort to an animal3.


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Part II      Institutional Structures for the Animal Care Program at the University of Ottawa
  1. The Associate Vice-Rector (Research)

    1. is responsible for the Animal Care and Use Program at the University of Ottawa and is the Operator under the Guidelines and the Act.

    2. is the Chair of the Animal Care Management Committee;

    3. is an ex officio member of the Animal Care Committee;

    4. is the University Veterinarian's Supervisor; and

    5. delegates responsibilities for implementation of the Animal Care and Use Program to:

      1. the researcher;

      2. the Animal Care Committee;

      3. the Animal Care Management Committee; and

      4. the University Veterinarian.

  2. The Researcher

  3. satisfies the criteria established by the University for the care and use of animals in research and teaching by:

    1. holding an academic appointment at the University of Ottawa;

    2. assuming responsibility for the humane and ethical use of animals in research and teaching and compliance with University Policy 31 on animals used in research and teaching;

    3. submitting to the Animal Care Committee, a request for permission to use animals in research projects (including field studies) and teaching with the Animal Care Committee;

    4. initiating or changing procedures involving the care and use of animals in research and teaching only upon confirmation of approval of the Animal Care Committee;

    5. informing the Animal Care Committee of adverse events encountered during a procedure or study or of significant new information which becomes available after the Animal Care Committee ethical review either of which may impinge on the ethical appropriateness of continuing with a procedure or study;

    6. assuming responsibility for all persons, whether students, visiting scientists or others, who will be carrying out their work in accordance with approved Animal Care Committee protocols, and ensuring that such persons are competent to do so;

    7. ensuring that all persons associated with a project are thoroughly knowledgeable about the standards for the care and use of animals and applicable requirements as articulated in the Guidelines, the Act and University Policy 31 on animals used in research and teaching and are technically skilled to perform all procedures in keeping with enunciated ethical norms;

    8. ensuring that all persons associated with a project respect and care for the material and physical resources put in place by the University in support of animal care and use and maintain these at all times to the standards of the Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals, the Animals for Research Act and of the University Policy on animals used in research and teaching

    9. serving, as may be reasonably required, on the Animal Care Committee and in this capacity contributing advice with respect to protocol review, animal care and use policy, facilities planning or as otherwise required;

    10. complying with University Media Relations Program with respect to the care and use of animals in research and teaching; and

    11. complying with the University Emergency Response Program concerning Animal Rights Activism.

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  4. The Animal Care Committee

    1. is established by the University's Administrative Committee;

    2. is a statutory committee under s. 17 of the Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.22;

    3. ensures that the care and use of animals in research and teaching conform to ethical standards that are compatible with the goals of science and education;

    4. coordinates and reviews standards, activities and procedures relating to the care and use of animals; the facilities available for their care and housing; procedures for the prevention of unnecessary pain in animals including the use of anesthetics and analgesics; and the training; and qualification of persons working with animals.

    5. implements University Media Relations Program with respect to the care and use of animals in research and teaching in cooperation with the University Veterinarian and Public Relations and Information Services; and

    6. implements the Animal Rights Activism Emergency Response Program in cooperation with the University Veterinarian; Protection Services; Public Relations and Information Relations Services; Faculties and/or Scientists.

  5. The Animal Care Management Committee
    1. is established by the University's Administrative Committee; and

    2. is responsible for policy development and implementation through the Associate Vice-Rector (Research).

  6. The University Veterinarian,

    under the supervision of the Associate Vice-Rector (Research) and in cooperation with the Animal Care Management Committee and the Animal Care Committee:

    1. advises the Vice-Rector (Research), the Animal Care Management Committee, and the Animal Care Committee on matters of policy concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching;

    2. is an ex officio member of the Animal Care Policy Committee;

    3. is an ex officio member of the Animal Care Committee;

    4. holds statutory office under the Act as a person licensed to practice Veterinary Medicine as regulated by the College of Veterinarians's of Ontario under the Veterinarian's Act4;

    5. enforces University Policy 31 on animals used in research and teaching with respect to the care and use of animals in research and teaching;

    6. interprets "established" and "acceptable" veterinary practices in the Guidelines and the Act;

    7. ensures compliance with all other statutes concerning animals;

    8. is Director of the Animal Care and Veterinary Service;

    9. may enter any area where animals are kept or thought to be kept;

    10. ensures animal health and well-being through implementation of University Policy 31 concerning minimum health standards for incoming animals, as well as through the delivery of veterinary care;

    11. may order the cessation of any procedure causing an animal unnecessary pain or other suffering and in addition will refer this matter to the Animal Care Committee for review and further action;

    12. may order the immediate treatment or euthanasia of any animal for any professional reason;

    13. will order the treatment or euthanasia of an animal where the animal is suffering unnecessary pain or other suffering that cannot be relieved whether as a consequence of a procedure or for any other reason; and

    14. will review and initial every research or teaching project involving animals to qualify these for examination and consideration by the Animal Care Committee.


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Part III    The Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching
  1. Obtaining Animal Care Committee Approval

    1. A researcher may not begin a project involving animals without the PRIOR approval of the Animal Care Committee.

    2. The Animal Care Committee will review and approve a new project or an application for the renewal or amendment of a previously approved project where the work:

      1. meets the criteria for scientific or pedagogical merit as determined by a peer review process; and

      2. ill be executed in the spirit of reduction, refinement and replacement of animals.

    3. The Animal Care Committee will grant approval to a new project or renew or approve a change in a previously approved project with or without condition, through review by:

      1. the Executive Committee, the decision to be subsequently ratified by the Protocol Review Group; or

      2. the Protocol Review Group meeting monthly, the decision to be subsequently ratified by the Animal Care Committee meeting twice yearly; or

      3. the Animal Care Committee meeting twice yearly or by special meeting if, on the recommendation of the Executive Committee or the Protocol Review Subgroup, the project is potentially sensitive as a result of the nature of the work, anticipated difficulty with monitoring the conduct of the work or other issues that may arise.

    4. The Animal Care Committee will reconsider the ethical merits of a prior decision by:

      1. reviewing the proposal along with supplementary material, which if it were available at the time of the original review may have influenced the outcome of the decision; or

      2. seeking an opinion on the matter being reconsidered from the Canadian Council on Animal Care, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food or such other competent authority and taking such opinion into consideration in its deliberations.

      A decision rendered as a result of this ‘reconsideration of the ethical merits of a prior decision’ is a final decision of the Committee.

    5. The Animal Care Committee may review or limit approval of a protocol at any time.

    6. The Animal Care Committee may revoke any prior authorization in the event of inappropriate or unauthorized use of laboratory animals.

    7. The Animal Care Committee may order the immediate treatment or euthanasia of any animal where the animal is experiencing unnecessary pain or other suffering that cannot be relieved as a consequence of a procedure.

    8. The Animal Care Committee will document the competency of any individual to work with laboratory animals.

    9. The Animal Care Committee may enter any area where laboratory animals are kept or are thought to be kept.

    10. The Animal Care Committee will document all of its activities and prepare reports as required by law or otherwise.

  2. The Acquisition and Transportation of Animals at the University of Ottawa

    1. The Animal Care and Veterinary Service is responsible for the acquisition, transportation and care of all animals at the University of Ottawa and does so on behalf of the Associate Vice-Rector (Research).

    2. All documentation required by law or otherwise for the acquisition, capture, importation, exportation and transportation of animals to or from the University will be prepared by the University Veterinarian and the Animal Care and Veterinary Service.

    3. The Animal Care and Veterinary Service must receive advance notification from the researcher of an intention to acquire animals in order to prepare and obtain, as required by law or otherwise, the necessary documentation to safeguard the health status of resident animals and to ensure that sufficient space, materials and human resources are available to receive and support the animals being acquired.

    4. As required by law or otherwise, the Animal Care and Veterinary Service must receive advance notification from the researcher of an intention to ship animals from the University to allow sufficient time for the sampling and testing of animals to permit the issuance of health certificates; to prepare or obtain the required documentation which may include export permits and to arrange for the transportation of the animals including the acquisition of shipping crates, food and gel-type water delivery systems.

    5. The Animal Care and Veterinary Service will only acquire and maintain the number and species of animals that University facilities and resources can receive and accommodate. The approval of a project by the Animal Care Committe or the authorization of a research grant or contract is no guarantee that the Animal Care and Veterinary Service will be able to acquire, house and care for animals if, at the time an approval is granted, there is no vacancy in Animal Care and Veterinary Service facilities. Under such circumstances, the project may have to be modified or rescheduled, or funds allocated for the needed facilities, material or human resources. In this regard, the signature of a University Officer on a grant application or a contract indicates only that the University will exert its best efforts to provide the appropriate and necessary resources for the execution of a project.

    6. All laboratory animals MUST meet University animal health standards to qualify for acquisition and entry to Animal Care and Veterinary Service facilities. Animal health standards will be established for each animal species by the University Veterinarian and will be in keeping with established veterinary practice in the specialty discipline of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

    7. The acquisition of animals unauthorized by the Animal Care Committee or the Animal Care and Veterinary Service may result in loss of research privileges or rights.

    8. An acclimatization period of at least four clear days (96 hours) MUST follow the acquisition of rodents unless an exemption has been granted by the University Veterinarian and the Animal Care Committee.

    9. An acclimatization or quarantine period for species other than rodents may be imposed and MUST be respected by researchers and all personnel unless an exemption has been granted by the University Veterinarian and Animal Care Committee.

  3. The Animals

    1. Animals acquired by the University or maintained by the Animal Care and Veterinary Service are the property of the University.

    2. The University Veterinarian, the Animal Care and Veterinary Service, and the Animal Care Committee will monitor the physical and behavioral well-being of animals by means of quality assurance testing. In addition, the Animal Care and Veterinary Service may enrich the animals' environment to meet species-specific social and behavioral needs.

    3. All animals experiencing pain or other suffering will receive analgesics or anesthetics or other appropriate treatment as required by the Guidelines, the Act, University Policy 31 on animals used in research and teaching and in accordance with instructions contained in Animal Care Committee documentation.

    4. The University Veterinarian will act in the best interest of an animal and order treatment or euthanasia where an animal is:

      1. observed to be in pain or otherwise suffering; and

      2. where treatment instructions have not been filed with the Animal Care Committee or the Animal Care and Veterinary Service; and

      3. the researcher (or designate) is unavailable for consultation.

      Under such circumstances, the decision of the University Veterinarian will be final.

    5. All procedures involving animals will be performed in accordance with established veterinary practices or in compliance with the Guidelines, the Act or standards established by the University.

    6. All surgical procedures, regardless of the subject species, are to be performed using aseptic techniques in accordance with the Guidelines, the Act or standards established by the University unless exemption is granted by the Animal Care Committee.

    7. All surgical procedures will be performed in facilities meeting surgical standards as determined by the Animal Care Committee and the University Veterinarian in accordance with the Guidelines, the Act, and standards established by the University unless otherwise specified by the Animal Care Committee.

    8. No animal may be kept in a laboratory beyond a working day (overnight), unless prior approval has been granted by the Animal Care Committee.


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Part IV    Compliance with University Policy Concerning the Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching

  1. The University considers the improper use of animals in research and teaching to be a serious matter and subject to disciplinary action.

  2. Where a Researcher is judged to be in non-compliance with University Policy 31 concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching as the result of an honest mistake, the Animal Care Committee will remedy the situation.

  3. Where a Researcher is judged to be in wilful non-compliance with University Policy 31 concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching, the Animal Care Committee will revoke any privilege or right that in its judgment should be revoked in light of the extent of non-compliance. The Animal Care Committee may refer the matter to the Dean of the Faculty concerned for disciplinary action. If the well-being of any animal has been compromised, the Animal Care Committee and University Veterinarian will intervene to protect the interests of the animal.

  4. A person judged to be in wilful non-compliance with University Policy 31 concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching may appeal such decision as provided by the University through a Collective Agreement or otherwise.

  5. Researchers are responsible for the conduct of all persons in their charge.

  6. The University's Policy 31 concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching will be reviewed and may be amended from time to time.


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Part V Declaration

I have read, understand and commit to comply with University Policy 31 concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching.

I understand that failure to comply with University Policy 31 concerning the care and use of animals in research and teaching will engage consequences which may include loss of privileges or rights and/or disciplinary action.


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Footnotes

1 Canadian Council on Animal Care, Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals,  Vols. 1 and 2, Ottawa ON (1980-1993).

2 Animals for Research Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.22.

3 University of Calgary, University Policy and Procedures, Animal Care, Calgary AB (1993).

4 Veterinarians's Act, R.S.O. 1980, c. 22.


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Last updated: 2009.06.23