Quality Assistance Program
All activities involving the use of animals for research, teaching, and testing purposes at McGill University and its Affiliated Hospital Research Institutions (RI) must conform to institutional and regulatory policies and guidelines. It is therefore essential to have a comprehensive and instructive program in place that will ensure the ethical use of animals, while providing the investigators with the best tools to achieve their objectives.
In February 2009, the University Animal Care Committee (UACC) approved the Quality Assistance Program (QAP) as a mechanism for Post-Approval Monitoring (PAM) in order to meet its obligations to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), and to assure the integrity of its Animal Care and Use Program.
The aim of the Quality Assistance Program (QAP) is to work in collaboration with, and in support of research and teaching staff members as a collegial approach to achieving regulatory compliance and serves as the foundation for:
- Ensuring animal well-being
- Ensuring adherence to the Animal Use Protocol
- Ensuring compliance with McGill and CCAC regulations, policies and guidelines
- A channel for information for the research and teaching community
- Facilitating protocol processes and assisting in preparation for Facility Animal care Committee (FACC) annual site visits
- Identifying educational and training needs
- Identifying strengths and needs for refinement within McGill’s Animal Care and Use Program
- Keeping the Facility Animal Care Committee informed of animal-based activities
In addition to animal welfare, the QAP also encompasses safe work practices, animal importation, biosafety and controlled substance regulations, as well as assurance to fulfillment of funding agencies’ requirements.
The Quality Assistance Program is driven by Quality Assistants (QA)*, a team of qualified professionals dispersed throughout the various McGill and Affiliated Hospital Research Institutes, and it is implemented by the Quality Assistance Subcommittee of the University Animal Care Committee.
*Quality Assistant is used as a generic reference to define the position mandated for post-approval monitoring in the McGill University and Affiliated Hospitals and does not reflect the actual position title.
The QA primarily works with the laboratory/ facility staff to conduct assessment visits of all locations used for the purpose of housing or conducting procedures on animals and to validate the information outlined in the approved Animal Use Protocol and Standard Operating Procedures. All findings are shared with the research staff and a report based on the Assessment Checklist will be provided to the Principal Investigator. The QA is available to assist the researcher to correct any instances of non-compliance and will follow up on any outstanding issues.
Assessment Summary Reports are regularly transmitted to the respective Facility Animal Care Committee, the Animal Compliance Director (AC VPRIR) and to the UACC, keeping them informed of all animal-based activities for the purpose of refining the processes within its Animal Care and Use Program.
For additional information on the Quality Assistance Program and its processes, please visit the following related links or send your questions/comments to the appropriate Quality Assistant.
- Policy on Animal and Compliance Concerns - 2010
- Definition of Recommendations made in Quality Assistance Findings -_2012.doc
McGill University and non-MUHC-MNI Affiliated Hospitals (Douglas, Shriners, Jewish General):
For more information contact the: qualityassistance [dot] vprir [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Quality Assistance Advisor)
- Assessment checklist used by Quality Assistance Advisor for all research and teaching projects except field type studies: Form QA Assessment Checklist Oct 2010
- Assessment checklist used by Quality Assistance Advisor for field type studies: Guidelines for Field Studies Quality Assistant
- Checklist used for areas outside the animal facility: ALPHA Checklist.doc
McGill University Health Centre Research Institutes (MUHC RIs):
- For more information, contact the FACC [dot] Admin [at] MUHC [dot] MCGILL [dot] CA (Compliance Administrator)
Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI):
- Please visit the MNI Web site
- For more information, contact the compliance [dot] mni [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Compliance Officer)