The University of Toronto Biosafety Program is designed to protect lab personnel and the public from potential exposure to infectious agents, and to prevent the release of agents harmful to plants or animals. The program includes a number of components such as determining laboratory containment requirements (physical and operational controls); medical surveillance (including immunization where appropriate); classroom and online training; and compliance with regulatory requirements for importing and shipping biological agents.

Overall control of the program is through the University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee with administrative and technical support provided by the Biosafety Team in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

SARS-CoV-2 Information

Biosafety Guideline for Research Laboratories

This biosafety guideline is intended to assist laboratories in planning and implementing their research with SARS-CoV-2 (the causative viral agent of COVID-19) or related biological materials at the University of Toronto. This guideline is based on currently available scientific evidence, the Biosafety Advisory issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and is subject to review and change as new information becomes available.

SARS-CoV-2 Biosafety Guideline for U of T Labs (PDF) – Updated Aug 2022

Link to EHS SARS-CoV-2 information page

EHS 620 – SARS-CoV-2 Biosafety Training Course

A short online course has been launched to assist those working with the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or related biological materials. This course outlines some of the principles and practices that need to be addressed while working with SARS-CoV-2. This course is mandatory for anyone working with SARS-CoV-2: this includes, but is not limited to, the virus itself, cDNA, RNA, fixed tissue, infected or likely infected cells or tissue.

You can find the new course on “My EHS Training” under EHS620 SARS-CoV-2 Biosafety Training Course.

Biosafety Permit Information

In order to use any biological material for research or teaching on university-controlled premises, a Biosafety Permit is required prior the use, storage, importation or transfer regardless of the risk group of a pathogen. The Biosafety Permit is focused on addressing biosafety and biosecurity risk of the biological materials involved, the nature and the location(s) of the work, the training of the personnel working with the biological materials and those who have access to these materials or to the facility. The IBC is responsible for the approval of every Biosafety Permit request.

Biosafety Permit Forms

Biosafety Permit Application Form (PDF)

Guidelines for Completing the Biosafety Permit Application

Amendment form to add Organism to Biosafety Permit (PDF)

Memorandum of Agreement (PDF)

Biosafety Manual

Biosafety Training Courses

Laboratory Standards

Lab Decommissioning

If you are vacating a lab room, you are responsible for leaving it in a state suitable for re-occupancy or renovation.


** Note: All applications for import permits must be signed by the Senior Biosafety Officer before submitting to the Pathogen Regulation Directorate. If you wish to import a biological agent that is not listed on your U of T biosafety certificate, an amendment to your certificate must be approved before applying to import. **

Safety Practice and Procedures

Images (photo, video etc.) Guidelines for Research & Teaching Laboratories

Guidelines for Laboratory Tours