Any new or ongoing field work projects that were interrupted due to COVID-19 may only begin if divisional approval has been granted through the research recovery and adaptation framework. Contact your unit head for information on resuming your field work.
Who is this for?
Anyone who wishes to perform field studies involving animals at the University of Toronto (U of T), including those in the following roles.
- Professor, Faculty Member
- Teaching Stream Faculty
- Senior Research Associate, Research Associate
- Postdoctoral Fellow
- Research Team Member
What do I need before I can begin?
Obtain any necessary permits relevant to the location and nature of the field work (e.g. trapping, sampling, use of chemicals or controlled drugs). Note that some permits may only be obtained with proof of an approved Animal Use Protocol (AUP).
If importing live animals to a University of Toronto (U of T) animal facility from the wild, contact your local animal facility staff to verify space/equipment availability. Also, ensure you meet all requirements for the transport of live animals (e.g. invasive species). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help if unsure of permits or requirements for your work.
When investigators work with wildlife, whether strictly in the field, or capturing and returning animals to University of Toronto (U of T) facilities, there are certain additional requirements to fulfil. The most vital of these is completion of the field research appendix in the Animal Use Protocol (AUP), which provides the Local Animal Care Committee (LACC) with relevant information on planned procedures.
If the Principal Investigator (PI) is unsure about whether or not an AUP is required (e.g. observational studies only), please refer to
PIs are ultimately responsible for their own conduct and safety, as well as that of all personnel involved in their work. They must carry out a risk assessment to identify potential hazards associated with the proposed studies and take reasonable steps to address those risks. This includes the following.
- Provide the Researcher’s Guide to Regulations: Animals in Field Work to all involved in the work (as appropriate)
- Confirm that personnel complete relevant training (e.g. U of T Ethics and Regulations module, hands-on training)
- Inform handlers of potential zoonoses, where relevant
Investigators must ensure that they have the necessary permits and approvals prior to starting field work (e.g. trapping permits, chemical/drug permits) and contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) where appropriate to determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) and precautions are needed.
Personnel listed on the protocol, in addition to standard ethics training, must have appropriate training specific to their work, which can be provided by the investigator, or by other experienced handlers. Please refer to the training matrix for more information. Document work-specific training on the Documentation of External Training form and submit the completed form to the Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit (AECU) as verification. See Mandatory Animal Handler Training for more details.
The Local Animal Care Committee (LACC) and/or Quality Assurance Analysts (QAAs) may ask to see photos or videos of techniques and equipment used in the field research during protocol review or quality assurance (QA) visits, in order to better understand and visualize the methodology. These types of media are an important part of the discussion and exchange between the researcher and QAAs or LACC members.
Where applicable, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for fieldwork procedures can assist in the training of new lab members. Please see Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Research Involving Animals and General Information about Animals in Research and Teaching for more information on existing SOPs and for the process to develop new SOPs.
- Maintain records of training (i.e. completed Documentation of External Training forms)
- Provide support for researchers with questions or concerns about their AUP or their work involving animals
- As part of the Biological Sciences LACC, reviews all AUPs involving wildlife and/or field work