Safety in Canada

Canada has well established Biosafety Regulations & Guidelines to regulate research practices. These practices can be found at the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

Safety in the Laboratory

All operations within the University of Waterloo, the host institution, are regulated by the University of Waterloo's Safety Office. The regulations set out by the Canadian Biosafety Regulations & Guidelines affects the practices of the University. The University of Waterloo Safety Office, including the University of Waterloo Lab Safety Committee, has certified our host laboratory for the intended research. We follow the Biosafety Programs & Procedures set out by the Safety Office.

The team operated out of a host laboratory to ensure team members are supervised and well supported throughout the project. Our team performs all laboratory work in a host laboratory under the supervision of the Masters and PhD students as well as the host Faculty Member, Dr. Trevor Charles. The permits obtained by the parent laboratory cover the project carried out in the laboratory.

Our team members have completed the following training modules and procedures to prepare for working in the lab:

  1. University of Waterloo Workplace Violence and Harrassment Training
  2. University of Waterloo General Laboratory Safety
  3. University of Waterloo Laboratory Biosafety Training
  4. University of Waterloo Biosafety Guidelines
  5. Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

Project Design

Strain Considerations

In order to avoid using a pathogenic chassis, the majority of our work was done using E. coli (strain level I). Although our project design was such that we would not require contact with level II pathogens, we did receive biosafety training on their handling as a precaution.

Viral Use

Exposure of the plants to Cauliflower Mosaic Virus occurred at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the members involved with this process received on-site instruction. There were protective requirements to prevent the virus from being released into domestic agriculture in place at this facility. Viruses recognize specific membrane receptor proteins, and as such, Cauliflower Mosaic Virus is extremely unlikely to cause a direct immune response in humans. That being said, an allergic reaction is possible from excessive inhalation. Therefore, the protocol was conducive to preventing such an improbable event from occurring.