SFU has a comprehensive biosafety program to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements and is governed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee under the Vice President, Research.

SFU faculty and staff members intending to conduct research, teaching and testing involving biohazardous material, under the auspices of SFU and/or using SFU resources, are required to submit a biosafety permit application through the biosafety permit database. An approved biosafety permit must be in place in advance of such work.

Compliance & oversight

SFU follows overarching federal and university regulatory requirements that must be satisfied when working with biohazardous materials.

Federal regulations

Activities in Canada involving human and animal pathogens and toxins are regulated by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in accordance with:

  • The Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA);
  • The Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR);
  • The Health of Animals Act (HAA); and
  • The Health of Animals Regulations (HAR).

Biosafety Standards and Guidelines

To review the national standard for the handling or storing of human and terrestrial animal pathogens and toxins in Canada, reference the following harmonized publications:

SFU Biosafety program

The SFU Biosafety Program has been developed to:

  • Ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff, the community and the environment when using biohazardous materials under the auspices of SFU and;
  • Facilitate research, teaching and testing in compliance with all applicable regulations, standards and guidelines from the PHAC, CFIA and all other provincial and municipal regulatory bodies. 

The Program is underpinned by the Biosafety policy, Biosafety Administrative Oversight Plan, Biosecurity Plan and Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Institutional SFU Biosafety Policy

Simon Fraser University's Biosafety Policy R20.02 establishes the terms of reference, policies and procedures concerning the safe use of biohazardous material in accordance with all relevant standards, regulations and other Simon Fraser University policies and procedures. The policy also defines:

  • The Institutional Biosafety Committee terms of reference and procedures;
  • The biosafety permit application as an administrative requirement;
  • The biosafety inspection protocol;
  • Biosafety Officer (BSO) responsibilities;

For more information, contact Environmental Health & Safety

SFU Biosafety Administrative Oversight Plan and SFU Biosecurity Plan

The SFU Biosafety Administrative Oversight Plan provides an overview of the how SFU manages and controls biosafety and biosecurity risks as a Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR) license holder.

The SFU Biosecurity Plan is based on published PHAC guidelines. The plan outlines biosecurity measures such as:

  • controlled access to labs;
  • pathogen accountability;
  • accurate pathogen inventories for all labs that work with biohazardous materials on campus;

Institutional Biosafety Committee

The Vice-President, Research and International (VPRI) is the ultimate authority for the use of biohazardous material at SFU. The VPRI appoints a Biological Safety Officer and an Institutional Biosafety Commitee (IBC), and delegates authority to the SFU IBC to oversee and enforce the SFU Biosafety Program. Members of the IBC are persons drawn from key units across the University or other research entities and the chair is nominated and elected by the members.

The SFU IBC is responsible for  ensuring the development, implementation, and compliance with biosafety policies, regulations, and procedures for all activities involving biohazardous materials under the auspices of SFU: approving all procedures and protocols that involve the use of biohazardous materials, monitoring compliance, inspecting laboratories, and immediately halting any use of biohazardous material that deviates from an approved protocol, or is deemed to be non-compliant.

Biosafety Laboratory Inspection

In accordance with regulations and to ensure that laboratories at SFU are in compliance with all applicable biosafety standards and guidelines, periodic inspections and re-inspections by the BSO and/or their designate(s) are required for all laboratories at SFU storing, handling or using biohazardous materials. These biosafety inspections are in addition to the monthly lab safety self-inspections.

The main criteria used in the inspections are those found in the PHAC and CFIA standards and guidelines. Other guidelines may be imposed as required. Shared labs or rooms with multiple projects at different containment levels will be assessed at the highest containment level assigned to the shared space.

Representatives from PHAC or CFIA may also conduct periodic inspections of SFU laboratories that fall under their jurisdiction.

Biohazard Warning Signage

As per the updated requirement of Canadian Biosafety Standard 3rd Edition, biohazard warning signage posted at the entry point of the containment zone (Containment Level 2 and above) should include the following:
a) International biohazard warning symbol;
b) containment level;
c) required PPE;
d) entry requirements, if applicable; and
e) emergency contact information.

A PDF copy of the customizable biohazard warning signage for Containment Level 2 and above lab is available here.  Please use this template to print signage for laboratory space. 

Similarly, in areas where RG2 or higher samples are stored outside the containment zone, biohazard warning signage to:
a) be posted at points of entry to these areas or on equipment in which regulated materials are stored;
b) include the international biohazard warning symbol;
c) include the risk group of the regulated materials; and
d) include emergency contact information.

A PDF copy of the customizable biohazard warning sigange for the storage room or equipment outside the containment zone is available here.  Please use this template to print signage for storage room or storage equipment (like a freezer) outside the containment zone.