Biosafety Training

Laboratory Biosafety Training

We offer Laboratory Biosafety training for all staff and students working with biological agents and materials in University laboratories (follow the registration link below to access details on EHS601 Laboratory Biosafety).

Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that each person under their direction is trained, understands the specific hazards associated with their work, and knows how to protect themselves from such hazards. All lab personnel must complete and sign with their PI a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement on Biosafety (PDF). For more information on this document, refer to section 3 of “Full Course Details” listed under course EHS601 Laboratory Biosafety.

The Laboratory Biosafety Course is conducted online.  Material covered includes the classification of infectious agents by Risk Group, risk assessments and requirements for Containment Level 1, 2, and 3 laboratories, proper use of biosafety cabinets and autoclaves, biosecurity, and emergency response.

Co-requisite: WHMIS training offered by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety is a co-requisite for the Laboratory Biosafety course.  You must complete either the in-class WHMIS course (normally offered in the summer), or the online version.  In either case, you must complete the online WHMIS quiz.  If you have received WHMIS training elsewhere, you must still complete the online WHMIS quiz to satisfy this co-requisite.  You do not need to provide proof of completion of the online quiz to the Biosafety course instructor.

(If you do not have a UTORid, please contact your Business Officer or Departmental Office. If you are an Administrator and have questions regarding the creation of UTORid’s please contact ehs.office@utoronto.ca and we will advise you of the process)

Session Dates: Ongoing online – a passing mark of 75% is required. *No Certificate Granted*

Laboratory Biosafety Registration Instructions (PDF)


Biosafety Refresher

(Mandatory on annual basis, yet not sufficient if you have not completed the EHS 601 Laboratory Biosafety Training in the past)

The Human Pathogens and Toxins  Act (HPTA) require annual refresher training on handling bioagents. In order to meet this legal obligation EHS provides this online Biosafety Refresher course (EHS602) for all faculty, staff and students. This course reviews the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act and Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations and their implication for the University, faculty and personnel.

If you or your lab work with any bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, prions, natural and/or recombinant DNA & RNA; pathogens of plants or animal; tissues, cells, blood and/or body fluids from humans or animals, any synthetic form of human pathogens or toxin, proteins or toxins produced by, or derived from a micro-organism and able to cause disease in a human, animals or plants then you are required to take the course. This does not apply to people that do not use biological agents in their lab.

Target Audience: All laboratory PIs, staff and students working with bioagents

Pre-requisite: EHS601 Laboratory Biosafety training (we do not accept external training nor the online Biosafety for Project Students as a pre-requisite)

Co-requisite: EHS101 WHMIS & Lab Safety (Online) training

Session Dates: Ongoing online – this training will take approximately an hour and a half (1.5 hours) and a passing mark of 100% is required

Please be mindful of your own annual date to complete your Biosafety Refresher – *No reminders will be sent*

Biosafety Refresher Instructions (PDF)


Principles & Practices of Biosafety

Target Audience: This course is intended for biosafety officers and hence background in (biology, microbiology and molecular biology) would be useful.

Description: The Principles & Practices of Biosafety course is a comprehensive 5-day lecture series which introduces the essential elements of biosafety. Participants of this interactive course will have the opportunity to advance their biosafety knowledge in such areas as risk assessment, protective measures, facility and equipment requirements and governmental regulations. The course content has been developed and will be delivered by a diverse panel of experts in the field of Biosafety including University of Toronto Institutional Biosafety Committee members and provincial and federal regulators.

Training includes: An Introduction to Biosafety, Protective Measures, Biosafety Data Management Systems, Lab design, Mechanical systems in laboratories, Auditing, Hazardous Waste Management, Biological Safety Cabinets, Fundamentals of University Teaching, Zoonotic diseases and Biosafety, Control of Microbial Growth (Chemical – Classes of Disinfectants and Physical – Steam Sterilization), Blood Borne Pathogens, Medical Surveillance, General Lab safety, Viral Vectors, Human and Animal Ethics, Freedom of information or protection of privacy, Occupational Health and Safety, Biosafety program in industry and in a smaller university, Import Permit Application Process, Laboratory Acquired Infections, Environment Canada for CEPA, Physical agents(Radiation, UV), and Emergency Response Provisions.

Frequency: Once/year

Session Dates: TBD


Blood-Borne Pathogens Training

This half-day course reviews blood-borne pathogens and exposure control principles, practices, and requirements as mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other regulations and guidelines.  The course covers immunization, post-exposure prophylaxis and other emergency response measures and reporting requirements.

All personnel need to attend this course and pass the test prior to starting work or study with:

  • Blood-borne pathogens such as prions, hepatitis B or C virus, and HIV virus.
  • Human blood products, such as whole blood, plasma, serum, platelets, and white cells; or other human body fluids such as semen, cerebrospinal fluid, vaginal secretions, joint fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, or amniotic fluid.
  • Human tissue, organs, or primary cell cultures.
  • Animals, or animal blood or body fluids or unfixed tissues, infected with blood-borne pathogens, OR performing tasks where such animals are housed.

Prerequisite: EHS601 Laboratory Biosafety course is a prerequisite for the Blood-borne Pathogens course.

Session Dates: Ongoing online – this training will take approximately an hour and a half (1.5 hours) and a passing mark of 80% is required

Blood-Borne Pathogens Training Instructions (PDF)