Permit Application

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Biosafety Permit Application

The Principal Investigator (PI) intending to work with biohazardous materials (as defined in SFU policy R20.02) is required to submit a biosafety permit application. Each permit application allows the PI to identify the risks and outline responsibilities of all personnel involved with the project. Each project requires a separate permit but may include more than one title or location. Projects between two or more PI's require the permit application to be submitted by the PI who has the authority to institute changes in the lab. A project (joint or otherwise) in which the research is conducted at another institution will require a copy of that institution's biosafety permit only and no SFU biosafety permit will be issued.

Research Services will hold grant money until a valid permit is on file with EHS. A research permit may be applied for prior to applying for grants. Depending on the project, a PI may also require permits for ethics, animal care, and radiation.

Teaching Permits

Any SFU undergraduate or graduate course that involves work with biohazardous materials (as defined in SFU policy R20.02 ) requires a biosafety teaching permit.

The biosafety teaching permit must be approved prior to the start of the course. It is recommended that the faculty member (lecturer) or lab instructor apply for a biosafety teaching permit in the semester preceding the course (at least 6 weeks in advance). There is one teaching permit per course.

SFU’s Biosafety Permit Application is accessed online at After logging in with their username and password, the faculty member will be added to their Department’s “PI” group (e.g. “Biology Teaching Permit” for Biology teaching permits). Each PI group will include all teaching permits associated with that department (e.g. TP- BISC 303, TP-BISC 272 etc) with each teaching permit being associated with a particular course (e.g. BISC 303, BISC 272).

The faculty member will then be able to either edit or renew an existing teaching permit or create a new teaching permit.

SFU Definition of biohazard

Biohazardous Materials are defined as biological agents and materials that are potentially hazardous to humans, animals and other forms of life. They include known pathogens and infectious agents including bacteria and their plasmids and phages, viruses, fungi, mycoplasmas, and parasites; cell lines, animal remains, and laboratory animals (including insects) which might harbor such infectious agents, primate body fluids and plant materials. Also included are nucleic acids used in procedures such as recombinant DNA and genetic manipulations.

Application Process and permit status

Once you have completed the first section of the application in full, you are able to save your permit (without submitting) at any time throughout the remainder of the online application. This allows you to skip a section and come back to it later. If you submit an application without the required information, EHS will return your application and request completion before you can proceed to the next step of the application process.

Permits which have been saved, but not submitted, will remain in the "pending" state. Once all of the required information has been completed, click the submit button. Once submitted, the PI will receive a confirmation email and the permit will be shown in the "submitted" state. PIs are required to print and sign the signature page of the application and send to Monica Szczepina in EHS. Once this is received, the biosafety permit application will undergo a preliminary review and the status will be shown as "under review EHS". Once EHS has determined that all the required information has been included and the signature page received, the permit will be sent for review to the Biosafety Committee and the status will be shown as "under review Biosafety Committee". During the review process, the PI may be contacted for additional information "user action", or the application will be sent to the Biosafety Officer for final approval, at this stage the status will be shown as "under review Biosafety Officer". The Biosafety Officer approves the permit when all follow up actions identified in the review process have been addressed by the PI. Once the permit is approved, the status will show "Approved". The PI will be sent an electronic version of the approved biosafety permit showing all information required for Research Services to release grant funds.

If the Biosafety Committee or Biosafety Officer deems that a permit is not required, the Principal Investigator will be notified. The PI is responsible for ensuring that all work involving biohazardous material is conducted in accordance with applicable guidelines:

Permit Duration

Unless noted on the permit, biosafety permits are valid for four years. After four years, the permit must be renewed, or if work is no longer ongoing the permit will be marked as closed and is no longer active. Any changes to permit information must be sent to the EHS office.

How to Update your Permit

  1. Go to: and log in with your username and password.
  2. Select "Active Permits" from the Biosafety Permits drop down menu.
  3. Click "Edit" beside the permit you would like to update or renew.
  4. Proceed to edit the relevant sections of your biosafety permit.
  5. Select "Save Changes" at the bottom of page to submit all new changes, select "Exit without Saving" to cancel all new changes.


Questions during or following the application may be directed to Monica Szczepina in Environmental Health and Safety. (Tel. 778-782-7265, Fax 778-782-5678, email: