Biohazardous waste container


Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) administers the University of Manitoba's Biosafety Program under the direction of the Biosafety Committee. All work and storage involving unfixed biological materials on UM property requires a UM biosafety permit.

What is an unfixed biological agent?

As defined by the biosafety policy and procedure:

"Biological Agents” shall refer to any live or unfixed Risk Group 1-4 agents which affect humans, animals, plants or insects and can include, viruses, bacteria, mycoplasmas, protozoa, helminths, prions, molds, fungi, biological toxins, allergens, algae, recombinant DNA molecules, cells, human and animal tissues, human and animal tissue cultures or any other biological material used or stored at the University of Manitoba.

Biosafety resources

The biosafety program has created resources and templates for UM labs and personnel working with biological materials. 

These resources include:

  • Manuals (biosafety and biosecurity)
  • Checklists
  • Training templates
  • Standards and guiding documents for common lab procedures
  • Lab postings

The UM Intranet is accessible to UM employees only. Download/share these documents with UM students as required, however, these documents should not be shared with non-UM entities.

Biosafety and the responsible conduct of research

Researchers using unfixed biological agents will need to indicate the use of these materials on the Funding Approval Application Form (FAAF).

Once awarded, projects will need biosafety program approval to release research funds. Biosafety permit-holders must amend their biosafety permits to include awarded projects under the “Adding Grants and Contracts” section.

The FAAF is considered a contract between the researcher and the UM and as noted on the form, “Submitting inaccurate or false information in these forms is a breach of the University of Manitoba Responsible Conduct of Research Policy”. If you are unsure if your research projects (both previously awarded and currently active) require biosafety program approval, please contact us.

The biosafety program undertakes Quality Assurance Reviews to help verify that documentation related to the use of unfixed biological materials at the University is current and correct. Read more about the Quality Assurance Review procedure

Regulatory links


Personnel working with biological materials at the University of Manitoba will need self-register and complete the UM Biological Safety Training through UM Learn. This online training covers how the biosafety program is implemented at UM and is designed to meet regulatory requirements.

Site-specific training reviewing the biological hazards specific to your research is also required. This training must be completed with your supervisor.

Who needs to complete the training?

Any personnel who is new to the university or those with out-of-date training will need to complete the current version of GBS to be compliant.

Biosafety emergency response training is also available as separate training for workers who completed GBS before 2020. The current version of GBS includes Biosafety Emergency Response as module 4.

All personnel working with biological materials must be listed on a biosafety permit.

How do I complete the training?

Training is provided through UM Learn. You will need to log in with your UMNetID credentials and self-register for the "Biological Safety Training" course.

Log in to UM Learn to self-register for training

What if I do not have a UMNetID?

To complete, the UM Biological Safety Training you must have a UMNetID login credentials to access UMLearn. If you are not eligible for a UMnetID (i.e. are not a UM student, staff or faculty), complete the Individual Sponsored Account form and submit to IST for UMLearn access. 

How do I provide site-specific training for my area?

Supervisors are required to provide training on biological hazards specific to their lab. You may use the site-specific training template on the UM Intranet to draft your training.

How do I see my final grade/obtain my certificate of completion?

To review your final grade:

  1. In the UMLearn, Click the UM Biological Safety Training Course, click your name on the top right-hand side of the screen, scroll down to Progress
  2. Scroll to Grades, to view your overall score. This final score will be recorded in our database within a week of completion. 

To obtain your completion of training certificate:

  1. In UMLearn click any course you have completed from the waffle menu, Click Assessments > Awards
  2. Click the UM Biological Safety Training icon and scroll to the bottom of the summary window. Click generate certificate this can be saved or printed.

Pathogen transfers

The University of Manitoba holds a Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA) license with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). This license covers all approved biosafety permits at UM.

Transfers of Risk Group (RG) 2 and other regulated materials are permitted under the UM’s HPTA license and are required to be communicated to the biosafety officer. The biosafety officer will also provide proof that researchers can receive these materials from external facilities.

There are some materials that are exempt from PHAC licensure requirements however, they may be subject to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations.

All unfixed biological materials require an approved UM biosafety permit.

How do I know if my material is regulated?

The Public Health Agency of Canada classifies the risk group of biological materials. These classifications can be found using the ePathogen database or by contacting the biosafety officer.

What is exempt?

  • Pathogens or toxins that are found in their natural environment (for example human blood and tissue samples, soil samples etc.).
  • Cell lines that do not contain an intact pathogen.

Cell lines that have a part of an animal pathogen as part of their promoter (eg SV 40) may be subject to CFIA import requirements.

Transporting Dangerous Goods (TDG)

When shipping any biological materials, Transport Canada regulations for TDG (PDF) must be followed.

Special considerations

If importing the materials listed below from outside Canada, please email the biosafety officer. These materials are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and require a different import permit.

  • Foreign animal diseases
  • Aquatic animal pathogens
  • Bee pathogens
  • Animal blood, body fluids, tissues and by-products
  • Pathogenic plants/plant pathogens or plant-propagating agents

Download the Biohazardous Agent Transfer Request form (PDF).

Summary of import requirements

RG1 materials, plasmids, pathogens in their natural environments (excludes animal pathogens)

Approved biosafety permit for materials

Human/Terrestrial Animal Pathogens (RG2)

  • Approved biosafety permit
  • Biohazardous Agent Transfer Notification

Foreign Animal Diseases, cell lines with animal pathogen promoters, aquatic/bee/plant pathogens, animal by-products

These are CFIA regulated agents and require:

  • CFIA import permit
  • Approved biosafety permit

Risk Group 3 + Security Sensitive Biological Agents (RG3 + SSBAs)

Contact the Biosafety Office first!

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Contact us

  • Steven Cole
    Biosafety Officer
    P310 Pathology Building
    770 Bannatyne Ave.
    University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
    Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W3 Canada

Biosafety Program General
P310 Pathology Building
770 Bannatyne Ave.
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W3 Canada