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Biosafety involves the development and implementation of administrative policies, work practices, facility design, and safety equipment to prevent transmission of biological agents to workers, other persons, animals, plants and the environment.
Contact Information
Contact Person: Dr. Rhoda J. Speare, Biosafety Officer
Phone: (902) 620-5071

Biosafety in Research and Teaching

The University of Prince Edward Island (“UPEI”) is committed to incorporating health and safety practices governing all personnel working with biohazardous materials in research and teaching activities at UPEI and hereby protecting the safety of University faculty, staff and students, the public at large, animals and the environment.

Therefore, UPEI requires that all Principal Investigators/Faculty members assume the primary administrative responsibility for the proper acquisition, storage and disposal of biological/biohazardous material in research and teaching.

In addition, all individuals working with these materials must adhere to the procedures and rules for the acquisition, use, handling, storage, transportation and disposal of these materials.

When do I need a permit?

Under the UPEI Biosafety in Research and Teaching Policy the following types of material used in research and teaching require a Biosafety Permit:

  • Organisms or materials classified under Risk Group 1, and organisms, materials, or pathogens classified under Risk Group 2;
  • Unfixed animal (or human) blood, tissues, cells and body fluids which may be biohazardous;
  • Non-indigenous entities or life forms (i.e. animals, plants, micro-organisms not known to be found in PEI);
  • Procedures involving large-scale (>10 L) production of micro-organisms; and
  • Genetically modified micro-organisms, animals or plants.

* Very low risk animal research and teaching projects may no longer require Biosafety Permits (See the attached Exemptions).

All activities require compliance with the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines, 1st edition, and UPEI Policies and procedures.

To protect faculty, staff, and students, the public at large, animals, and the environment, members of the Biosafety Committee are authorized to review and monitor all research and teaching involving biohazardous materials. Failure to comply with this policy will result in a review by the Biosafety Committee and may result in disciplinary action.

Additional online resources for more information on biosafety guidelines and best practice.

UPEI Biosafety Links:

What is:

Authorized worker: A person who is authorized to work with permitted materials under the supervision of the Biosafety Permit Holder. Authorized workers can be faculty, staff, contract personnel, graduate students, undergraduate students, or authorized visitors.

Biosafety: Development and implementation of administrative policies, work practices, facility design, and safety equipment to prevent transmission of biological agents to workers, other persons, animals, plants and the environment.

Biosafety permit holder: a Principal Investigator/Faculty Member who has been authorized by the UPEI Biosafety committee to work with biohazardous material within the scope of his/her permit.

Biohazardous material: Biohazardous material is any biological material which is potentially harmful to humans, animals, plants and/or the environment. These include but are not limited to any organism [bacteria, mycoplasma, viruses, parasite (both metazoan and protozoan), fungi, algae, and human blood, cells, body fluids and tissues] or their toxic metabolites believed to be potentially harmful to humans, animals or plants. Certain types of nucleic acid, such as DNA derived from pathogenic organisms and human oncogenes, are also considered to be biohazardous materials. Any cases where it is uncertain whether the material is a biohazard should be referred to one of the academic members of the UPEI Biosafety Committee.

Containment Level: The containment levels are based on the level of risk or hazard to be encountered when working with biohazardous material as well as on the engineering, operational, technical and physical requirements for manipulating a particular material safely.

Risk Group: Biohazardous materials are classified on the basis of their particular characteristics such as: pathogenicity, infectious dose, and mode of transmission, host range, availability of effective preventative measures and the availability of effective treatment. Risk Group 1 presents the lowest risk, and Risk Group 4 presents the highest risk. (See Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines, 3rd Edition).

Supervisor: A person who is authorized by the University to oversee or direct the work of employees and students by virtue of their job function.

Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (CBSG)

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have released the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (CBSG), 1st edition. The CBSG provides the biosafety requirements for the safe handling and storing of human and terrestrial animal pathogens, toxins and prions and is the product of the harmonization and update of the Agencies’ previous standards and guidelines. The CBSG will replace the Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines, the Containment Standards for Veterinary Facilities, and the Containment Standards for Laboratories, Animal Facilities, and Post Mortem Rooms handling Prion Disease Agents.

The electronic version of the CBSG is available at