Who is this for?
Anyone involved with animal research or teaching 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
- General U of T staff, including animal care staff
SOPs provide detailed, step-by-step descriptions/instructions of how to use equipment commonly found in animal facilities or how to perform common experimental techniques and husbandry procedures. SOPs are managed by the Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit (AECU), developed with input from facility staff, veterinarians and research staff, and are reviewed regularly.
How and When Do I use an SOP?
All SOPs relevant to your work need to be listed in your Animal Use Protocol (AUP). In order to make things simpler when writing your protocols, SOPs may be referenced in the project description, along with any planned deviations from the prescribed methods (Note: deviations need to be approved by the Local Animal Care Committee).
When performing a procedure that is described in an SOP, adhere to the step-by-step instructions in order to ensure the procedure is completed according to best practices and regulatory requirements. If you find that the SOP needs to be adapted in order to accommodate the way you carry out a procedure, please contact the AECU to determine if changes can be incorporated or describe the deviation in the applicable AUP(s).
Guidelines provide general standards, tips, techniques and best practices on a variety of animal use topics (e.g. breeding and colony management, animal use outside of the vivarium, prevention of exposure to lab animal allergens, etc.).
How do I use a Guideline?
Consult and refer to guidelines to ensure that you are following best practices in order to achieve optimal results. Guidelines are less specific than SOPs and usually provide several options or alternative ways to do things. Additionally, there may be a specific SOP for each alternative method.
In addition to SOPs, guidelines and forms, the following are useful reference documents.
If you are unable to find an SOP or guideline that describes the procedure you are planning, please reach out to the AECU to determine if one needs to be created, or if the information can simply be described in the relevant AUP.
The Quality Assurance Analysts (QAAs) manage the SOP/Guideline database and are responsible for facilitating development, review and approval of these documents, with input from the ACCs and relevant stakeholders. Please refer to SOP #1.2.0 Creation and Management of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for more information.
- Maintain the master list of SOPs & Guidelines
- Facilitate the development, review, and approval of SOPs & Guidelines by ACCs and stakeholders