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Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines

Please note: The Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (CBSG), 1st Edition, 2013 has been replaced by the Canadian Biosafety Standard (CBS), 2nd Edition, 2015 and the Canadian Biosafety Handbook (CBH), 2nd Edition on December 1st, 2015. Please refer below to the information on and links to these current standards and guidelines for the design, construction and operation of facilities in which human or terrestrial animal pathogens or toxins are handled or stored!

Canadian Biosafety Standard

The 2nd edition of the standards and guidelines originally published in Part I of the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (CBSG), 1st Edition, 2013, have been published as the Canadian Biosafety Standard (CBS), 2nd Edition, and is now available in electronic formats (HTML and PDF). The CBS sets out the physical containment, operational practice, and performance and verification testing requirements to ensure the safe handling and storing of human and terrestrial animal pathogens and toxins. The CBS continues the vision of the CBSG by updating several requirements in a risk-, evidence-, and performance-based approach, as well as incorporating new information in the field of biocontainment engineering and information to support the full implementation of the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA) and the Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR).

On December 1, 2015, the CBS replaced the CBSG and is used by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to monitor and verify the ongoing compliance of regulated facilities with a licence for controlled activities with human pathogens and toxins or importing or transferring terrestrial animal pathogens.

Biosafety Directives, Advisories, and Notifications

Biosafety directives, advisories, and notifications are developed by the PHAC and the CFIA for specific pathogens or groups of pathogens when the containment requirements and risk groups do not align, or when the risk assessment indicates changes to the physical requirements and/or operational practices to work safely with a known or a new or emerging pathogen. The biosafety directives, advisories, and notifications are to be used in conjunction with the requirements outlined in the CBS.

Canadian Biosafety Handbook

The 2nd edition of the guidelines originally published in Part II of the CBSG, have been published in the Canadian Biosafety Handbook (CBH), 2nd Edition, which is now available in electronic format (HTML and PDF). The CBH is a companion document to the CBS that provides the core information and guidance on how the biosafety requirements outlined in the CBS can be achieved. The CBH is structured to systematically address the concepts required for the development of a comprehensive risk-based biosafety management program. The CBH provides general guidance for containment zone personnel rather than specific guidance or standard operating procedures (SOPs) for individual pathogens.

Canadian Biosafety Guidelines

The Canadian Biosafety Guidelines are a series of biosafety and biosecurity themed guidance documents developed by the PHAC and the CFIA that expand upon a variety of biosafety concepts in the CBH. These guidelines aim to provide stakeholders with further support and guidance on how to mitigate risks when handling pathogens, toxins, or other infectious material, or to describe best biosafety practice and tools in certain areas outlined in the CBS.

Topics include:

CBS Biosafety App

The free CBS Biosafety App lets you see the CBS in a different way: You can find the containment requirements specific to your facility! The CBS Biosafety App v2.0 has been updated to include the CBS 2nd Edition.


  • NEW!: Updated to incorporate all requirements from the CBS 2nd Ed
  • NEW!: Includes full-text view of the CBS
  • Sort requirements to your specific laboratory, prion work area, large scale production area, or small or large animal containment zone
  • Sort all biosecurity-related requirements
  • Save lists for different locations (e.g., laboratory, wing, or entire facility)
  • Add comments to the requirements displayed
  • Check box for verified requirements
  • Ability to display only unverified requirements

The CBS Biosafety App v2.0 is currently available as a free download for the following devices:

  • Android (including phones and tablets)
  • Apple (including iPhones and iPads)
  • Web (coming soon).

Additional updates will be released in the future as additional guidance is incorporated into the application. Please contact us if you encounter any technical problems, have a suggestion, or just want to tell us that you find the application useful.

For more information about the Biosafety Standards and Guidelines, you may contact us by telephone, fax or email using the contact information given below.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
100 Colonnade Road, 
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9
Phone: (613) 957-1779
Fax: (613) 941-0596

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
1400 Merivale Road
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Phone: 613-773-6520
Fax: 613-773-6521

Date Modified: 2016-08-17