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Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines 3rd Edition - 2004

Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines (HTML)

Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines (PDF document - 564 Kb - 125 pages)

The Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines, 3rd Edition 2004  is no longer being printed as it will be updated in the Canadian Biosafety Standards and GuidelinesExternal Link (CBSG) currently being developed in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  The current guidelines still apply and are available in electronic format (HTML and PDF).

The Pathogen Regulation Directorate is pleased to release the 3rd edition of the Public Health Agency of Canada's Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines. Since publication of the 2nd edition in 1996, adherence to the Guidelines has become mandatory for many laboratories handling human pathogens in Canada.

This 3rd edition has been updated to reflect current biosafety and biocontainment principles and practices. The document has been written with a performance-based approach, which not only accommodates contemporary state-of-the-art technologies and ever-changing approaches to achieving containment but provides simple and sensible solutions as well. Additions include sections on nonhuman primates, biomedical facilities using sheep as research animals, arthropods, and toxins. A separate section dedicated specifically to work with mycobacteria has also been included to reflect an ongoing area of concern to biosafety professionals and to outline a stratified approach to containment according to the type of procedures used.

A significant change in the 3rd edition is the elimination of the Risk Group lists of human pathogens. Publishing a static, unchangeable list in the Guidelines does not allow for a dynamic, ongoing assessment of risk. A list of human pathogens detailing required containment levels is currently under development and will soon be published on our web site. The list will be continually reassessed as new information becomes available. We welcome your continued feedback on the required containment levels for working with human pathogens.

Please send comments either by mail, fax or e-mail to:


Pathogen Regulation Directorate
Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response
100 Colonnade Road, Loc. 6201A
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9
Tel. (613) 957-1779
Fax (613) 941-0596
biosafety.biosecurite@phac-aspc.gc.ca