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About the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines

The Government of Canada's Canadian Biosafety Standard (CBS), 2nd Edition, 2015 was developed jointly by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This standard is used by laboratory researchers and workers in facilities possessing, handling, storing or using human and terrestrial animal pathogens and toxins.

The second edition of the CBS updates the biosafety standard originally published as Part I of the Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (CBSG), 1st Edition, 2013. The CBSG was developed to update and harmonize three previously existing Canadian biosafety standards and guidelines for the design, construction, and operation of facilities in which pathogens or toxins are handled or stored:

  • Human pathogens and toxins: Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines 3rd Edition, 2004 (PHAC)
  • Terrestrial animal pathogens: Containment Standards for Veterinary Facilities 1st Edition, 1996 (CFIA)
  • Prions: Containment Standards for Laboratories, Animal Facilities and Post Mortem Rooms Handling Prion Disease Agents, 2005 (CFIA)

The CBS sets out the physical containment, operational practice, and performance and verification testing requirements for the safe handling or storing of human and terrestrial animal pathogens and toxins. The CBS updates many requirements to be more risk-, evidence-, and performance-based, as well as incorporating new information in the field of biocontainment engineering. In addition, the CBS includes several new requirements and information to support the full implementation of the Human Pathogens and Toxins ActExternal link (HPTA) and the Human Pathogens and Toxins RegulationsExternal link (HPTR). On December 1st, 2015, the HPTR came into force and the CBS came into effect and replaced the CBSG.

The Canadian Biosafety Handbook (CBH), 2nd Edition, 2015, updates the guidelines originally published in Part II of the CBSG. 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.

In addition, the Canadian Biosafety Guidelines are a series of biosafety and biosecurity themed guidance documents developed by the PHAC and the CFIA that provide more details and recommendations on more specific topics.

The CFIA has also developed separate containment standards for handling aquatic animal pathogens and plant pests.

Date Modified: 2015-12-01