How to Participate
The CCAC is fortunate to collaborate with many dedicated experts across Canada, who volunteer their time and expertise to the CCAC on behalf of high ethical animal care and use in science. Many of these experts work closely with institutions through the Assessment and Certification program in the following three major groups to ensure the proper implementation of CCAC standards of care for animals in science.
Animal Care Committees
The keystone of the Canadian system of oversight for the ethical care and use of animals in science is the local institutional animal care committee set up by each participating institution. The composition of the committee should adhere to the CCAC policy statement on: terms of reference for animal care committees.. Animal care committees are responsible for overseeing all aspects of ethical animal care and use, and all those working with animals, including animal care personnel and the institutional administration.
Animal care committees undertake animal protocol review and follow-ups, and work with their institution’s administration to ensure that:
- facilities are well-maintained and managed;
- veterinary and animal care services are provided;
- training programs are available; and
- occupational health and safety and crisis management programs are active.
Animal care committee membership will vary but should include:
- scientists or teachers with experience working with animals;
- an institutional member who does not work with animals;
- experienced veterinarians;
- community representatives;
- a technical staff representative (manager);
- a student representative (where students are present);
- an animal care committee coordinator; and
- others, as needed (e.g., person responsible for health, safety and biosafety; biostatistician;, ethicist; public relations liaison).
The animal care committee reports to the senior institutional administrator responsible for animal ethics and care (e.g., vice-president of research; president; CEO).
CCAC assessment panels visit institutions participating in CCAC programs and review all aspects of the animal care and use program pertaining to research, teaching, and testing. The panels also assess procedures and facilities for proper ethical animal care and use, and note any matters that may not be in accordance with CCAC guidelines and policies. The panels then report their observations and recommendations to the CCAC Assessment and Certification Committee.
Each assessment panel is comprised of at least one scientist and a veterinarian. It may also include instructors, facility managers, and technicians who are familiar with the species and type of work undertaken in the institution to be assessed. A community representative is also part of each panel, ideally chosen from the geographical area of the institution to provide a local, public perspective. A CCAC associate director of assessment is present at every assessment visit as an ex-officio member of the assessment panel. All panel members, except for CCAC employees, serve voluntarily and without remuneration, except for direct expenses.
Assessment and Certification Committee
The Assessment and Certification Committee is a CCAC standing committee responsible for the assessment and certification of animal care and use programs of academic, government, and private organizations. The committee oversees the proper functioning of the CCAC Assessment and Certification program.
The Committee is comprised of a chairperson and members who reflect, to the greatest extent possible, the diversity of the animal welfare and ethics community and the public, including community representatives, veterinarians, scientists, and animal care committee members. They are knowledgeable about the CCAC Assessment and Certification program through participation in the animal care and use programs at their own institutions and through participation as panel members on assessment visits.
The committee is responsible for:
- developing assessment and certification policies and making recommendations to the CCAC Board of Directors;
- recommending improvements to the Assessment and Certification program;
- reviewing assessment and implementation reports for all institutions participating in the CCAC Assessment and Certification program, and any updates provided by these institutions; and
- making decisions on the assessment and certification of institutions on behalf of the CCAC Board of Directors.