Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee

Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee (ILSC)

Terms of Reference


Laboratory Safety Committee Members

The University of Toronto Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee {ILSC) is charged with ensuring that all activities conducted at the University of Toronto involving hazardous products are conducted in a safe manner and in conformity with national, provincial; local and University standards. The ILSC further serves as an educational resource to members of the University community. Within the terms of the Committee, hazardous products exclude radioactive materials and biological agents, which are governed by specific committees.

All research carried out under the auspices of the University and/or in University-controlled facilities must comply with all applicable Acts and Regulations, including, but not limited to the following: the Hazardous Products Act, the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, the WHMIS Regulation, the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulation, and the federal and provincial Environmental Protection Acts. These requirements apply regardless of the research funding source.

The University affirms that the primary responsibility for the regulatory compliance, safety and security of staff, students and the public lies with the Principal Investigator using or authorizing the use of such hazardous products. In addition, the University (through the members of the Governing Council and senior administrators) acknowledges a responsibility to provide a policy and procedural framework designed to ensure that work with hazardous products is being conducted safely and in conformity with the relevant Acts and Regulations.


The Vice-President, Research and Innovation has delegated to the Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee the following functions, powers and duties:

1. Consulting on, reviewing and recommending policies regarding safety standards and general direction for the conduct of research and teaching involving hazardous product(s);
2. Assessing the impact(s) of new and existing safety standards and policies;
3. Specifying training requirements for research and teaching using hazardous product(s);
4. Advising the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, on the needs of the University community for hazardous product safety policies and programs;
5. Overseeing strategies to ensure ongoing and adequate surveillance, hazard identification, and risk evaluation of laboratory-related activities;
6. Reviewing reports related to laboratory safety issues, incidents, and interventions in laboratory areas, and recommending corrective actions when indicated;
7. Reporting annually to the Vice-President, Research and Innovation on the activities of the Chair and the Committee, for transmittal to the Senior Management Committee on Health and Safety.


Academic members are appointed to the ILSC for terms of not less than two years and not more than four years (renewable) by the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. The ILSC membership consists of, at minimum:

• Eight (8) faculty members with expertise in the use of hazardous products from both research and teaching stream,
• Two (2) graduate student/ laboratory user,
• One (1) undergraduate student/ laboratory user,
• One (1) laboratory manager
• One (1) laboratory technician,
• One (1) post-doctoral fellow (PDF)
• the Director of Research Safety and compliance, Environmental Health and Safety (ex officio),
• the University Chemical Safety and Lab Specialist (ex officio),
• the Manager, Research Oversight and Compliance (ex officio).

The ILSC Chair is appointed by the Vice-President, Research and Innovation for a four-year term (renewable), and the Chair is normally chosen from the existing academic member cohort on the ILSC. The Chair shall have extensive experience in working with hazardous products (e.g. chemicals, nanomaterials). The duties of the Chair shall include: presiding at meetings, reviewing Committee minutes before distribution and preparing meeting agendas, ensuring that the Committee carries out its function as set out in all applicable Regulations and these Terms of Reference, ensuring that new members understand their duties, powers and responsibilities as prescribed in the Regulations and in these Terms of Reference, and maintaining accurate records of the activities of the Committee. The Chair shall be an ex officio member of the Senior Management Committee on Health and Safety. The Chair acts on behalf of the ILSC for the purposes of conducting routine business between scheduled meetings.

Resource People and Experts

The ILSC may call upon external or internal experts when necessary. These individuals may be called upon to attend meetings but do not have voting privileges.

Reconsideration of Decisions

In the event that new information can be provided that may affect a previous decision of the Committee, a Principal Investigator, PDF, laboratory technician, or graduate student may request that the Committee reconsider the previous decision. In such circumstances, the Principal Investigator shall notify the Chair in writing, providing all relevant documentation and the detailed basis for the request. The Chair will provide the materials submitted by the Principal Investigator to the ILSC members, and he/she shall convene a special meeting of the ILSC to review the request. This meeting shall normally take place within 30 days of receipt of materials from the Principal Investigator. The decision of the ILSC regarding the reconsideration request is final.


The Committee shall meet at least twice per year and Minutes of the meetings shall be taken and kept on file. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety provides administrative support to the Committee.


A quorum shall be a majority of the members.

Updates to the Terms of Reference

The Committee may recommend changes to these Terms of Reference at any time. All changes to these Terms of Reference must be approved by the Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

Version – March, 2018