CCAC certification demonstrates that an institution is serious about setting, achieving, and maintaining high standards for animal ethics and care and is committed to animal welfare in science.
There are a number of significant benefits to being a CCAC-certified institution. Whether a private or government organization, small college, or large university, the CCAC program empowers all institutions to achieve high standards of animal ethics and care in science.
The CCAC supports and provides value to institutions working with animals in science. The flexible and integrated nature of the CCAC enables participants to receive targeted assistance from a number of experts, and take advantage of a broad range of program services tailored to their institution's distinct features, goals, and needs.
In today's world, institutions, companies, and organizations are held to very high levels of accountability by their own constituents and the general public. Certification through the CCAC is voluntary for private organizations and demonstrates to the public that the institution is dedicated to achieving the highest standards of ethics and care for animals in science.
Holding CCAC certification qualifies institutions to receive funding from the following agencies:
- Federal Tri-Agency funds: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have harmonized their requirements and necessitate that all academic institutions and their affiliates conducting research with animals be CCAC-certified in order to be eligible for funding grants
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Reliable scientific results depend on superior animal care. The CCAC's sound standards empower institutions and individual researchers to ensure the physical and behavioural well-being of animals in research. CCAC certification engages scientists, veterinarians, managers, and administrators in an independent, rigorous assessment of their institution's animal care program.
CCAC's program is a collaborative peer process, involving more than 2,000 volunteer experts across Canada and offering support and training on issues related to program structures, ACCs, facilities, equipment, the Three Rs, occupational health and safety, and crisis management. Earning and maintaining CCAC certification keeps an institution aware of, and engaged in, current best practices.
A number of scientific, peer-reviewed journals require that the protocol on which the article is based be subject to an ethical review. As a result, researchers from CCAC-certified institutions have a publication advantage over researchers from institutions accredited by other oversight programs that only assess facilities.
CCAC's guidelines, policies and training opportunities are developed and revised in response to the current and emerging needs of institutional animal care committees (ACCs). Best practices tailored to institutions are shared during assessment visits, at workshops, during webinars, and in the Three Rs section of the CCAC website. The CCAC regularly and proactively communicates information, disseminates tools, and offers training opportunities that ACCs require to fulfill their mandate.
Participation in the CCAC program allows all those involved with animal-based science access to a wide network of peers and experts at many levels, which stimulates exchange of information and knowledge, and leads to continuous improvement.
Holding a CCAC certificate allows for greater collaborative opportunities and partnerships, as many individuals, groups, or other institutions require private companies to be CCAC-certified in order to embark upon common projects. CCAC certification promotes harmonization of care within and between institutions and can be used as a way to gauge the quality of a particular program, and provide assurance to diverse stakeholders.
Students are concerned with animal ethics and care in science and look to their academic institution to maintain a well-respected animal-based science program, contributing to the strength of their school's academic and public standing.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) requires all animal health technology colleges to be CCAC-certified in order to receive official accreditation.
Within today's globalized marketplace, it is vital for organizations involved in scientific research and innovation to maintain credibility on the international stage. CCAC standards and the CCAC Certificate of GAP – Good Animal Practice® are recognized by the following organizations for our continued contributions to the advancement of sound standards of ethics and animal care:
- World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
- International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS)
- Norwegian Consensus Platform for Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments (NORECOPA)
- Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC International)
The CCAC's program is a good complement to other quality assurance programs such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or the Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards. While these standards focus more on process consistency and administrative traceability, the CCAC's demonstrate that the institution also promotes strong animal ethics and care, and takes the well-being of animals in science to heart.