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Health & Safety: Regulatory Aspects For Handling Infectious Substances

Importation and Transfer of Human Pathogens

The Human Pathogens Importation Regulations are the regulatory guidelines for facilities wishing to import human pathogens into and transfer specimens within Canada. These regulations were developed to ensure that facilities have appropriate containment for the pathogens they wish to handle. Any facility wishing to import a human pathogen requiring containment levels 2, 3 or 4 must have a valid Health Canada permit before importation. Applications for permits to import human pathogens can be obtained either by calling the Office of Laboratory Security directly at (613) 957-1779 or by downloading the application form from the Office of Laboratory Security's Website.

At the University of Guelph, Jennifer Minogue of EHS will perform the self-inspection and provide the necessary certification to accompany your import permit request.

Many human pathogens are pathogens of animals as well. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulates animal pathogens. For importation of pathogens that are common to both animals and humans, an import permit is required from the CFIA as well as Health Canada. It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure that all appropriate import permit documentation has been obtained prior to importation of any pathogen into Canada.

Export of Pathogens

Many pathogens and associated equipment that are destined for export from Canada require permits. For exporting pathogens to the US, the recipient must have an import permit issued by the Centre for Disease Control (for human pathogens) or United States Department of Agriculture (for animal pathogens).

Your shipment will not be accepted by the courier without the necessary permit. A faxed copy from the recipient is often sufficient for these purposes.

Importation, Transfer and Containment of Animal Pathogens

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, Transport Canada, regulates the transportation of infectious substances within Canada.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) internationally regulates the air transportation of infectious substances

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the use of imported animal pathogens and pathogens associated with reportable animal diseases. These include materials of animal origin that contain potential pathogens.

Permits are required for the importation of all animal pathogens into Canada. In the case of pathogens that affect both humans and animals, import permits are required from both Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). If an agent is brought into Canada under an import permit that restricts its distribution, further approval must be obtained from the CFIA before transferring the agent to another location. Current restrictions are available online.

Laboratories that apply to import animal or zoonotic pathogens must demonstrate that they meet Containment Standards for Veterinary Facilities before the CFIA can issue an import permit. Application forms available from Jennifer Minogue, Environmental Health and Safety.

There are incredibly precise requirements for packaging material, paperwork and wording on parcels and paperwork for sending Dangerous Goods. Any deviation from the prescribed packaging, paperwork or wording on paperwork or packaging will result in your parcel being returned. Kevin Ecott (mailroom, extension 52264) is the University’s certified Dangerous Goods shipper. He will complete all of the necessary paperwork for your shipment, is up to date on all of the necessary shipping requirements (they change frequently) and will advise you on the necessary packaging requirements for your shipment.

He will save you a tremendous amount of time. Use him.