COVID-19 Updates

Please check this page regularly for updates concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the CCAC community.

April 1, 2020
Animal Care Committee Oversight

The spread of COVID-19 and the efforts to contain it have resulted in many challenges for CCAC-certified institutions. Despite these turbulent times, in the event of difficult ethical decisions related to the euthanasia of animals held in facilities, the CCAC expects animal care committees (ACCs) to be directly involved in the decision-making process, and reminds institutions that all euthanasia must comply with ACC-approved standard operating procedures.

The CCAC has recently published the Animal Numbers Tracking Form for institutions to report the number of animals impacted by disruptions due to COVID-19. The CCAC requests that institutions report any changes to animal use within three months of occurrence.

The CCAC recognizes that front-line animal care personnel are, and will continue to be, impacted by the unprecedented decisions affecting animal numbers in institutions. We encourage institutions to fully support these care providers, and expect institutions to have mechanisms in place to receive and address concerns about their institutional programs. The CCAC is also available to listen to any concerns from stakeholders in CCAC-certified institutions.

March 26, 2020
Virtual Assessments

Given the current circumstances in Canada related to COVID-19, the CCAC is suspending in-person assessment visits and transitioning to virtual assessments until July 31, 2020. The COVID-19 situation will be reassessed on a regular basis to determine if a further extension is warranted.

We will contact institutions with assessment visits already scheduled during this period in the coming days, to inform them of the change. Institutions with visits scheduled in Fall 2020 will be contacted in the coming weeks to explore options.

For institutions that are assessed virtually, an assessment report will be generated within 10 weeks and sent to the institution. The site visit, if applicable, will be scheduled once conditions allow, and a separate report will follow. Please note that although recertification of compliant programs will only occur after the site visit, institutions will continue to hold a valid certificate until that time.

We thank you for your collaboration during these uncertain times.

March 23, 2020
Disruption to Animal Ethics and Care Programs Due to COVID-19

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) works closely with certified institutions to ensure they have a crisis management plan in place for their animal ethics and care program, including animal facilities. Animal care is an essential service, and safeguards must be in place to minimize any negative impact on animal health and welfare.

The responsibility inherent in holding animals in CCAC-certified institutions is a shared one. Although veterinary and animal care staff are on the front line managing the consequences of COVID-19, senior administrators, researchers, and instructors have an important role to play in supporting the work of veterinarians and technicians as they minimize the impact on the health and welfare of animals. This support is also essential in maintaining the health and well-being of frontline animal care personnel.

The CCAC knows that every effort will be made to avoid euthanizing animals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this situation may occur. In keeping with its public accountability mandate, the CCAC is requesting that institutions report any changes to animal use as a result of COVID-19 within three months of occurrence. Only include animal numbers directly impacted by COVID-19 disruption on research, teaching, or testing activities, such as:

  • animals that are euthanized;
  • animals that are transferred to a different protocol (such as a holding protocol) within either the same institution or a different institution, and are not transferred back to the original protocol; and
  • animals that are removed from the protocol and the institution through private adoption, transfer to an animal shelter, or that are returned to their owner, and are not transferred back to the original protocol.

Do not include animals for which the research, teaching, or testing activities are temporarily paused and will continue at a later date under the same initial protocol. If you are unsure of whether animals should be reported, please contact Dr. Michael Baar (; 613-238-4031 ext. 226).

This form should be completed and signed by the veterinary director, institutional veterinarian, or the animal care committee chair and sent to the CCAC. A copy should also be forwarded to the senior administrator responsible for the animal ethics and care program at the institution.

Please forward this form to:
Dr. Michael Baar
Canadian Council on Animal Care
190 O’Connor Street, Suite 800
Ottawa, ON, K2P 2R3
613-238-4031 ext. 226

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