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March 13, 2020

Crisis Management and COVID-19

The CCAC works with certified institutions to ensure that they have a crisis management plan in place for their animal ethics and care program, including animal facilities. The crisis management plan should include disruptions to staffing and supplies.

With regard to oversight of the animal ethics and care program by Animal Care Committees (ACCs), the CCAC understands that some practices and procedures may have to be modified if institutions find themselves short of personnel or choose not to hold in-person meetings. Contingency plans related to COVID-19 may include:

  • virtual meetings of the ACC instead of in-person meetings;
  • reduced quorum (if necessary) for protocol review. A subcommittee composed of the ACC chair, community representative, and veterinarian would be sufficient;
  • modifications approved by the ACC to the scope of Post Approval Monitoring activities; and
  • extensions to Animal Use Protocols (AUP) for up to three months through an amendment approved by an ACC subcommittee.

With regard to training of personnel involved in animal-based research or teaching, institutions should continue to ensure that only competent individuals work with animals. While theoretical components of a training program may be postponed, practical training cannot, and no research team member or instructor should work with animals unless independently assessed as competent prior to performing the animal-based work.

The CCAC knows that every effort will be made to avoid euthanizing animals due to disruptions related to COVID-19. However, in keeping with its public accountability mandate, the CCAC will be tracking the number of animals euthanized or otherwise removed from a research or teaching project as a direct consequence of COVID-19. Institutions should report these numbers to Dr. Michael Baar, Director of Assessment and Certification, at within three months of occurrence, with a brief explanation of why removal was necessary. A reporting form will be published on the CCAC website in the coming days.

The CCAC currently plans to maintain its assessment schedule over the coming months. Institutions will be notified of any change as the situation evolves. We ask institutions to inform us if any contingency plan is implemented that may require the postponement of a scheduled visit, or of any other concern they may have related to the assessment of their institution.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions.

Mr. Pierre Verreault
Executive Director

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