University of Calgary

New regulations under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act

UToday HomeMay 3, 2013

The Public Health Agency of Canada will be consulting with the campus community to outline new federal requirements that regulate the use of pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi), potentially infectious materials (blood, cell lines and prions), and microbial toxins (pertussis, botulinum toxin) in Canada. The new regulations, which fall under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act, will have a significant impact on research activities at the University of Calgary.

The consultation will take place on May 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Taylor Family Digital Library, Gallery Hall. Participation from individuals and faculty representatives is valued and welcomed.

The Public Health Agency of Canada assumed responsibility for developing the new regulations to expand on the scope of the Human Pathogens Importation Regulations enacted in 1994. Going forward, all activities that involve the use of human pathogens, other biohazards and toxins will be regulated - regardless of whether the materials were imported or domestically acquired. All members of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities have been classified as having activities that meet each of three high-risk scenarios as defined under the new regulations.

The campus visit comes as part of a phased consultation process that began in January 2012. The university’s Biosafety Committeeand principal investigators have embraced the opportunity to highlight the concerns of the research community during previous consultations, and have provided a collective response regarding the new regulations.

The development of regulations under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act is inextricably linked to the development of the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (first edition) pertaining to work with human and terrestrial animal pathogens, and microbial toxins, which will be published in June 2013. Implementation of the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines will commence in 2013, and will be phased in over a number of years.

Additional questions may be directed to the university’s Biosafety Officer, Eoin O’Grady, PhD, at epogrady@ucalgary.ca or 403-220-7509.

 

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