Biological Safety Program

Guidelines for work with biological materials

The University of Waterloo's biological safety program has been prepared to provide guidance to researchers and instructors on how to perform activities with potentially hazardous biological materials in a responsible, safe and compliant way.

The University of Waterloo uses a permitting system as the primary method of ensuring work with potentially biohazardous substances is done appropriately.  Work with the following materials requires a permit:

  • Any material classified as a Risk Group 2 (this includes human, animal, plant, and aquatic pathogen or toxin); and,
  • Any Risk Group 1 material used in volumes in excess of 10 L

Work with human blood, bodily fluids, and tissues may require a permit.  Each case will be assessed by the biosafety committee individually.

Currently work with Risk Group 3 materials and higher, prions, and Security Sensitive Biological Agents is prohibited.  If you intend on working with any of these materials, please contact one of the Biological Safety Officers for guidance by emailing

The University of Waterloo's Biological Safety Program Manual will outline the responsibilities of each individual and guidance on all of the requirements associated with these responsibilities.  Please review the manual prior to working with any biological material.

The Manual can be accessed by opening up the following link.  

UW Biological Safety Program Manual

If you would rather only view a specific part of the document, please use the table of contents below

Biological Safety Program Manual Table of Contents

Biological Safety Program Manual Table of Figures

Figure 1: Overview in determining how and when to obtain a permit to work with a biologcal material

Figure 2: Outline of the process involved in transferring, importing, or exporting human and animal pathogens, or toxins, and related biological materials..

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