Biosafety Program Permits

**As of April 21st 2020**

In an effort to reduce the administrative burden for the release of grant/contract funds, we have combined the old Biosafety Project Approval Certificates (BPAC) and Biosafety Permits processes.  The new Biosafety Program Permits replaced the old system on November 30th 2018 and has been designed to reduce wait times by releasing grant and contract funds through simplified amendments and eliminates repetitive applications that were common to the old system.  

What is a biosafety program permit?
A biosafety program permit documents a PI’s facilities, personnel, equipment and scope of research. The scope of research will be reviewed by the institutional biological safety advisory committee. This review complies with our HPTA licensure requirement to conduct risk assessments involving work with biological agents. Risk assessments are also required for the release of Grant and Contract funds for U of M researchers whose project involves work with unfixed biological agents. Work conducted without a receiving biosafety approval is considered a breach of the responsible conduct of research policy.  More information regarding the biological agents and techniques that may be require permitting can be found on our webpage for biosafety key terms.

The biosafety program permit will be administered through a questionnaire in the Environmental Health and Safety Assistant (EHSA) Database

**Please use our Program Permit and Facility Certification Guide to assist in filling out your permit application.**

What information does a biosafety program permit include?

The questionnaire will request information regarding the following:

  • Principal Investigator (Permit-holder) and Alternate contact information
  • Personnel, Facilities and Equipment
  • Site specific training, operating and waste procedures in use
  • Description of the scope of research including objectives, plan and potential hazards
  • Adding and amending grants/contracts (for new funds only, not retroactive)

Facility Certification
From the information provided above, the biosafety program permit will be assigned one of four levels of containment depending on the risk group and containment level requirements for the biological agents intended for use.  

Using the Canadian Biosafety Standard, we will certify facilities at the appropriate containment level for the declared scope of work.

 *New* Biological Agent Storage Permits

A new class of Biosafety Program Permit has been created to permit inactive biological agent users to store their agents without holding a full Biosafety Program Permit. This
new permit class does not provide proof of an approved biosafety risk assessment for the release of grant funds, and does not provide approval to undertake work with live
biological agents. Read more about the conditions and procedure to hold a storage permit.

What’s different with the biosafety program permit?
The previous biosafety permit and biosafety project approval certificates (BPAC) processes are now integrated into one. Whether you are adding new personnel to your lab or need to release new research funds, the program permit is designed to include all changes to your bio-agent use lab.

As the biosafety program permit will approve a researcher’s entire scope of work, any new funds can be released without committee review if the scope of the project falls within their approved research program. To release new research funds, simply amend your approved biosafety program permit and add the project under the "Adding Grants and Contracts" section. If this project fits within your declared scope of work, we can approve it with the committee Chair at weekly meetings. This simple amendment replaces the previous BPAC process and reduces approval wait time from 6 weeks to 10 business days. However, if the project includes new biological agents or procedures, it may need to be reviewed by the BSAC committee at monthly meetings if your project description increases your risk profile. 

Read more about the biosafety program permit approval process.

When and how can I start my biosafety program permit?

If you are an existing biosafety permit holder, the questionnaire is available in EHSA. Instructions on how to fill out your questionnaire can be found here. You can begin your questionnaire at any time.

If you are new to the University of Manitoba, or have any questions about our new program permits, please contact us at biosafety.program@umanitoba.ca and we can assist you in getting started.