Terms of Reference for Guidelines Subcommittees


The purpose of the terms of reference for a guidelines subcommittee is to establish the ground rules for a new subcommittee tasked with the development or revision of a guidelines document. The terms of reference describe the composition of the subcommittee, including the relevant expertise required to undertake the work, the scope of the task, the timeframe for completion of the task, responsibilities of the subcommittee members, and others involved in the development of the guidelines document, and rules of engagement (e.g., quorum, duration, budget, etc.).


To develop a guidelines document based on current expert peer advice and current interpretation
of scientific evidence.


The selection of subcommittee members follows the procedures outlined in the process for the Formation of a Guidelines Subcommittee. The collective expertise of the subcommittee will cover all relevant aspects of the topic, and contain a balance with regard to role (animal welfare and community representative, facility manager, scientist, veterinarian, and senior technician), gender, institution size, and geographic location.

Responsibilities of the Subcommittee Chair

The chair must be knowledgeable about the topic area in general, and is responsible for the following:

  • chairing all subcommittee meetings and teleconferences;
  • establishing consensus among subcommittee members;
  • working with the CCAC Secretariat at each stage in the preparation of the guidelines document; and
  • adhering to the responsibilities of subcommittee members as noted below.
Responsibilities of Subcommittee Members

Subcommittee members should be committed to ensuring steady progress of the document, as outlined in the timeline. If unable to meet the proposed commitments, the subcommittee member should communicate this to the CCAC Secretariat; an alternate with similar expertise will be selected in accordance with the process for the Formation of a Guidelines Subcommittee.

Most subcommittee work is conducted by email or through a SharePoint site set up for the exclusive use of the subcommittee. Subcommittee members are responsible for responding to requests from the chair or CCAC Secretariat in a timely manner, and for alerting them to any likely delay in response.

Subcommittee members should make every effort to attend subcommittee meetings and teleconferences, so that consensus can be reached efficiently. Subcommittee discussions through in-person meetings, teleconferences, email, or the subcommittee SharePoint site are considered confidential.

Subcommittee members will be asked to contribute to the drafting and revision of the guidelines document, and should ensure all statements are based on comprehensive expert peer advice and current interpretation of scientific evidence.

For the first peer review of the draft guidelines document, subcommittee members will be asked to suggest experts who would be suitable reviewers. A final list of experts will be approved by the chair, who will ensure all topic areas are covered.

Following each review of the draft guidelines, the subcommittee members will be provided with collated comments from the review and tasked with reviewing those comments and providing feedback on areas where the draft guidelines need to be modified.

While the guidelines document is under development, it should be treated as "restricted access", unless it has been approved for external review. Subcommittee members may discuss the content of these documents with trusted colleagues to obtain their opinion, but should not circulate drafts until officially released for review.

The contributions made by subcommittee members will be recognized in the document and in announcements regarding the publication of the document.


Subcommittee members shall be appointed to serve up to a maximum of two years. In general, subcommittees are disbanded upon publication of the guidelines document. However, some subcommittees may remain active for up to an additional six months when the CCAC is likely to encounter requests for the development of supporting documents or input into key external documents. All subcommittee members are asked if they are willing to continue to provide advice and assistance to the CCAC on an ad hoc basis.

Responsibilities of the CCAC Secretariat

The CCAC Secretariat is responsible for working with the subcommittee to ensure steady progress on the guidelines under development, and for ensuring the development of the guidelines document follows the process approved by the Standards Committee. This includes arranging teleconferences/meetings and recording minutes, drafting and editing the document in line with the decisions of the subcommittee, conducting external reviews, compiling feedback from the reviews for consideration by the subcommittee, and forwarding the draft guidelines at appropriate stages for review/approval by the Standards Committee, the Assessment and Certification Committee, and the Board of Directors.

The CCAC Secretariat is also responsible for providing feedback on the draft guidelines document to the subcommittee to ensure:

  • the guidelines are in line with the mandate of the CCAC to advance animal ethics and care in science;
  • the guidelines address relevant issues that have arisen in the work of the CCAC with the scientific and animal welfare communities, both nationally and internationally; and
  • the guidelines reference relevant government regulations.
Responsibilities of the CCAC Standards Committee

The Standards Committee is responsible for following the progress of the subcommittee's work and providing comments on draft guidelines prior to peer review, widespread review, and publication, and for submitting draft guidelines to the Board of Directors for approval for widespread review and for publication.


The subcommittee shall meet by teleconference throughout the year at the call of the chair and upon availability of members and CCAC Secretariat support staff. An in-person meeting may also be held at the call of the chair. Normally, expenses incurred by subcommittee members in attending meetings will be met by the CCAC in accordance with the CCAC Travel Expenses Reimbursement Guidelines.


A quorum of the subcommittee is a majority of members, at least 50% plus one member. A quorum is required to hold a meeting or teleconference.


The subcommittee will submit a draft guidelines document to the Standards Committee at three stages:

  • first draft for peer review;
  • second draft for widespread review; and
  • final draft for further review or publication
Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality

Subcommittee members will abide by the CCAC Conflict of Interest Policy, and the CCAC Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement.


A budget for one in-person meeting and up to 10 teleconferences will be provided. Additional funds can be requested when budget allows, should the need for an additional in-person meeting or teleconference arise.


The Subcommittee will make every effort to adhere to the following timeline.

Timeline for Guidelines Subcommittees