Topic

Mandatory Animal Handler Training

Who is this for?

Anyone involved with animal care, research or teaching at the University of Toronto (U of T), including those in the following roles.

  • Professor, Faculty Member
  • Teaching Stream Faculty
  • Visiting Professor
  • Senior Research Associate, Research Associate
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Student
  • Research Team Member

What do I need before I can begin?

Those looking to obtain mandatory animal handler training must first ensure they have done the following.

  • Obtained a valid UTORid and U of T email address
  • Confirm which species they will work with, the location where the work will take place (i.e. Center for Cellular & Biomedical Research, CCBR; Medical Sciences Building, MSB; Biological Support Facility, BSF; University of Toronto Mississauga, UTM; University of Toronto Scarborough, UTSC; or fieldwork) and the expected start date of their animal work
  • Determined which Animal Use Protocol(s) (AUPs) they will be working under, their numbers and their expiry dates. They require access to either electronic or printed copies of the most up-to-date versions of each AUP
  • Determined which procedures they will be performing

Process

Animal handlers must successfully complete all relevant online training, hands-on training and/or competency assessments prior to working with animals. Refer to the Animal Handler Training Guide and Animal Handler Training Matrix to determine which modules are required for your work. Training steps 1, 2 and 3 (below) must be completed in chronological order. After these three steps have been successfully completed, additional training may be completed in any order (with one exception: anesthetic machine training must be completed prior to surgery training).
 

Step 1: Get your name added to an Animal Use Protocol

All animal handler must be listed on an approved AUP prior to the commencement of training. Your Principal Investigator (PI) must submit an amendment through the My Research Animal Protocols (MRAP) system to add your name to each AUP you will be involved in. Once the amendment has been approved, you can proceed to Step 2.
 

Step 2: Complete the Ethics and Regulations Module

All animal handler must successfully complete the Ethics and Regulations Module prior to taking further training. If you will also be taking species-specific training through the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM), you will automatically be registered for this training when you register for your species-specific training. If you will be receiving external species-specific training, download the Ethics and Regulations Module Training Request Form, complete it electronically and submit it to DCM at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca.

You will be given access to the Ethics and Regulations Module on Quercus. Go to your Quercus Dashboard, click on the ‘DCM – Ethics and Regulations Module’ and complete the training online.
 

Step 3: Complete the Species-Specific Module(s)

Once you have successfully completed the Ethics and Regulations Module, you can take species-specific training. Depending on the species you will be working with, your training might be delivered by DCM, your PI or a qualified external trainer.

Species-Specific Training

Online and Hands-On Training for Mice, Rats, Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

DCM provides animal handling training for mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs. There are both online and hands-on portions of these training modules. To register for DCM-delivered trainings, first download the relevant form below.

Complete the form electronically and submit it by email to DCM at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca. You will be given access to the relevant species-specific module(s) on Quercus. When you have successfully completed the online training, notify DCM at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca. You will then be given a date and time for the hands-on portion of the training.

Once you have successfully completed the hands-on portion of the species-specific training, you will be granted access to the animal facility. You may only work with the species and perform the procedures you have been trained on.

Note: Training relevant to one species (e.g., mice) is not transferable to other species (e.g., rats). If you will be working with more than one species, you must complete training for each individual species prior to working with animals.

If you will be performing procedures not covered in the species-specific training module, you must take additional training prior to performing these procedures. Instructions for how to complete additional training are detailed below in the Advanced Techniques Module section.
 

Training for All Species of Fish

If you will be working with any species of fish, you must successfully complete the Fish Module prior to participating in hands-on training. To access to this training, contact acc.coordinator@utoronto.ca.

You will be emailed the Fish Module in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. There are multiple choice questions to answer throughout the presentation. Email your answers to these questions back to acc.coordinator@utoronto.ca and you will be provided with feedback on your learning. After successfully completing the Fish Module (minimum score of 80%), you may participate in hands-on fish training delivered by your PI or a qualified external trainer (see Training for Other Species below).
 

Training for Other Species

Investigative staff or external trainers deliver species-specific training not provided by DCM (e.g., zebrafish, reptiles, amphibians, wildlife, etc.). There is no registration process for PI/externally-delivered training; training will be arranged by your PI. Once training is complete, your PI must complete an Documentation of External Training Form for each animal handler (or group of handlers) and submit it to the Animal Ethics and Compliance Unit at acc.coordinator@utoronto.ca.

Conditional Mandatory Training

If Applicable: Complete the Advanced Techniques Module

If you will be performing procedures not covered in the DCM-delivered species-specific training, you must complete the Advanced Techniques Module. To register, download the Advanced Techniques Module Training Request Form, complete it electronically and submit it to DCM. You will be trained only on procedures that are approved on your AUPs.
 

If Applicable: Complete the Anesthesia Module

If you will be performing procedures under anesthesia (inhalant or injection), you must successfully complete the Anesthesia Module, regardless of if the procedure is terminal. You must also take this training if you will be performing open drop euthanasia by isoflurane. To register, download the Anesthetic Module Training Request Form, complete it electronically and email it to DCM. You will be given access to the relevant module on Quercus.

When you have successfully completed the online training, notify DCM at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca. You will then be given a date and time for the hands-on portion of the training.
 

If Applicable: Complete the Surgery Module

If you will be performing surgery, you must successfully complete the Surgery Module. To register, download the Surgery Module Training Request Form, complete it electronically and email it to DCM. You will be given access to the Surgery Module on Quercus. When you have successfully completed the online training, notify DCM at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca. You will then be given a date and time for the hands-on portion of the training.

After successful completion of the hands-on portion, you will schedule your first surgical competency assessment with animal facility staff after practicing under the supervision of qualified personnel in your lab. You may not perform surgery independently until you have successfully completed this competency assessment.
 

If Applicable: Complete the Chemical Hazard Module

If you will be working with hazardous chemicals, you must complete the Chemical Hazard Module. To register, download the Biosafety (CL2) and Chemical Hazard Module Training Request Form, complete it electronically and email it to DCM.
 

If Applicable: Complete the Biosafety (CL2) Module

If you will be working with containment level 2 (CL2) biological hazards, you must complete the Biosafety (CL2) Module. Prior to participating in this training, you must have completed a respiratory fit test for an N95 mask. To register for Respiratory Protection Training and Fit-Testing (EHS 532), follow the instructions given by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS).

After completing respiratory fit-testing, download the Biosafety (CL2) and Chemical Hazard Module Training Request Form, complete it electronically and email it to DCM along with a copy of your respiratory fit card.
 

If Applicable: Complete the Biosafety (CL3) Module

If you will be working with containment level 3 (CL3) biological hazards, you must complete the Biosafety (CL3) Module. Contact DCM directly to register for this training at dcmtraining@utotoronto.ca.

For general inquiries about animal handler training, please contact DCM at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca  or 416-978-7746.

Forms & Downloads

VPRI Role

  • Support the animal handler training offered at the DCM facilities
  • Keep records of all externally-delivered hands-on animal training

VPRI Contact

For questions about animal handler training, please contact the Division of Comparative Medicine at dcmtraining@utoronto.ca  or 416-978-7746.

For questions about animal ethics and compliance, please reach out to the VPRI contact listed below.

Staff

General Inquiries: Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit

Research Oversight & Compliance Office (ROCO)
(416) 946-3273

Other Resources

Radio Options- Did you find this useful?
Did you find this useful?
Let us know if you found this page useful. Did you find the information you were looking for?