Training Program

On this page: Adding a new individual to a protocol | What steps should I follow to work with animals? | Workshop Registration | Workshop Handouts | Animal methodology workshop Information | Animal Theory Course | Training from the McGill Environmental Safety Office | Training Opportunities |

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Welcome to McGill University! To ensure ethical and compliant practices, we kindly ask all McGill staff and students working with animals to register for the Animal Compliance Office session. During this session, we will guide you through the necessary processes and steps involved in working with animals at McGill. Please note that this session is exclusively for McGill staff and students.

Click here to register.

If you are part of the MUHC, MNI, Douglas Institute, or Lady Davis Institutes, we kindly request you to reach out to your Local FACC administration for further guidance. We look forward to supporting your endeavors in animal research and teaching at McGill.


The CCAC has made training mandatory starting January 2003.
The McGill mandatory training involves:

  • Theory course: Everyone listed in an animal use protocol must successfully pass McGill University's online course (more information below).
  • Practical training: All personnel who will be handling live rodents and rabbits need to take hands-on workshops given at one of our several training sites (more information below).
  • For practical training with avian species, farm animals, reptiles, amphibians and fish, please contact animalcare [at] for more information.

Adding a new individual to a protocol/ What steps should I follow to work with animals?

  1. Please make sure to read the animal use protocol that your Investigator has written and discuss what procedures you will be performing. To get access to the animal use protocols online, please fill out the form (it is mandatory for all who are listed on an animal use protocol to have access to Darwin software). 
  2. Once you have that information, register to the appropriate species-specific modules covering the procedures you will perform. Register as soon as possible since classes fill up quickly. 
  3. For the theory portion, click here to read the material online.

You may request the exam via email when you are ready.  It's a multiple choice exam online, that can be done anytime.  It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

  1. You must then confirm with your Investigator that you were added to one or several of their Animal Use Protocols via the Animal Management software (AMS). It will be reviewed and approved by the Facility Animal care committee (FACC).
  1. At this time, you may request an orientation to the facility where your animals are housed. (This must be requested to the specific facility manager/supervisor)

After the orientation is complete, you may now be granted access to the facility.

For species other than laboratory rodents and rabbits, the person will need to have received training from an experienced person (who must meet approval by the Animal Care Committee). A form called 'Certification for Non-rodent Non-rabbit Training' must be completed by the trainer and submitted to the animal care committee.  A student evaluation form is also required where the student initials after they have read the species-appropriate SOPs and their Animal Use Protocol. The forms to complete are available by emailing the animalcare [at] (subject: Form%20Request%3A%20Certification%20for%20non-rodent%2C%20non-rabbit%20training%20) (Training Advisor).

The Animal Care Committee started implementing the training program fully in 2004. The approval of new Animal Use Protocols as well as renewals is conditional on all personnel having the necessary training. Everyone listed in the personnel section needs to have passed the theory course and, if handling live animals, have at least registered for the practical courses specific to the species involved in the project.

More information on the CCAC training requirements can be obtained at: CCAC's training requirement information.

To inquire if specific specialized training is available, please contact the animalcare [at] (subject: Specialized%20Training%20Availability) (Training Advisor).


Workshop Registration

For Douglas Hospital researchers, staff & students only: To obtain dates and register for the DH workshops, call 514-761-6131 extension: 3342

For Montreal General and Glen Hospitals of the MUHC researchers, staff & students only: To obtain dates and register for the MUHC workshops, send an ARD.Training [at] MUHC.MCGILL.CA (email) to the MUHC.

For Jewish General Hospital - Lady Davis Institute researchers, staff & students only: To obtain dates and register for the JGH workshops, please animalfacility [at] (email) the JGH.

For Montreal Neurological Institute researchers, staff & students only: To obtain dates and register for the MNI workshops, please refer to the MNI website.

McGill Comparative Medicine Animal Resources Centre for all who use animals from McGill facilities and other institutions: To obtain CMARC workshop info please visit the CMARC website.

Workshop Handouts

The workshop handout will be provided to you upon registration confirmation.


Animal methodology workshop Information

General Information:

Procedures covered in the methodology workshops include basic skills in animal handling, restraint, injections, blood collection, determination of anesthetic depth, surgery, breeding and euthanasia.

Note: The techniques demonstrated in the workshop are at a “basic” level. Further practice following the workshop is required to ensure that individuals fully integrate the learned techniques before being required to use them.

Workshop Module Content

The practical training has been subdivided into modules.
Please make sure to read the required material beforehand.

Module 1 – Introduction to the Laboratory Mouse/Rat

All individuals working with laboratory rodents must complete this module.

 Course Content:

  • Species overview
  • Humane intervantion points
  • Handling and restraint
  • Identification
  • Sexing
  • Tissue sampling for genotyping
  • Euthanasia

NOTE:  During this workshop, you may be exposed to waste anesthetic gases (isoflurane). If you are currently pregnant, please consult your physician or McGill University's Environmental Health and Safety department before enrolling. 

Module 2 - Substance Administration (Mouse/Rat)

***Module 1 is a prerequisite

Participants are only required to complete training for the procedures listed in their Animal Use Protocol.

 Course Content:

  • Subcutaneous injection
  • Intraperitoneal injection
  • Intramuscular injection (rat only)

Module 3 – Rodent Anesthesia and Analgesia (Mouse/Rat/Hamster/Gerbil)

***Modules 1 and 2 are prerequisites

This module is targeted to participants who will be anesthetizing rodents.

 Course Content

  • Pain recognition and assessment
  • Analgesia
  • Injectable anesthesia (video)
  • Gas anesthesia
  • Monitoring during anesthesia
  • Recovery

Module 4 – Rodent Surgery and Aseptic Technique (Mouse/Rat)

***Modules 1, 2 and 3 are prerequisites

This module is exclusively for participants who will be performing recovery surgeries on rodents; it is composed of 3-4 training sessions

 Course Content:

  • Basic principles of rodent surgery
  • Aseptic technique
  • Wound closure
  • Pre-operative considerations
  • Intra-operative procedures
  • Post-op care

Module 5 - Breeding

Lab mouse reproduction basics

Starting a new breeding colony or maintaining one

Breeding tips and options

Timed pregnancies


Identification and genotyping

Record keeping

Module 6 – Intravenous Injection Mouse

***Module 1 is a prerequisite

This module is specifically for participants who will be performing intravenous injections in mice as part of their research project.

Module 7 – Blood Collection (Mouse/Rat)

***Module 1 is a prerequisite

This module is specifically for participants who will be performing survival blood collection procedures as part of their research project.

Specialized Training

Training for techniques not covered in the Core modules and training for other species is available.

Register here


Farm Course: Livestock Handling Theory portion

This will soon be a requirement for working with cattle, swine and poultry species.

PDF iconLivestock Handling



Animal Theory Course

General Information:

The people who will need to take this training include ALL personnel listed in the Personnel section of a McGill University Animal Use Protocol. The Principal Investigator on the protocol must take this training even if not performing any procedures on the animals. Please note that Principal Investigators MUST be certified for the Basic and ADVANCED Levels.

It will cover such matters such as ethics, protocol review process, regulations, committee roles, hazards, drug administration and research issues.

This course started being available on September 1, 2003. The course material can be found on the Theory Course section of the website which is open to all (no code or password necessary). To obtain certification, the participant must send an animalcare [at] (subject: Theory%20Course%20Test%20Request) (e-mail) and request the test. A link to the exam and a temporary password (called a "Token") will be sent to the requestor via email. The results are supplied by an automatic email upon completion of the exam. Please note that EACH participant must make the request using his/her own email account.

The participant must identify in which investigator’s lab they are working or the course title for which this test is a requirement (if applicable). There are different versions of the test and a specific one is assigned to each person; the test may not be passed on to someone else. Please allow yourself between 30 and 60 minutes to complete the test as there is no option to save and continue.


Training from the McGill Environmental Safety Office

General Information: Occupational Health and Safety

Training offered by the McGill Environmental Safety Office (EHS)can be found on their Safety Training webpage

Training Opportunities/ Continuing Education

FileCCAC guidelines - Animal Welfare Assessment

FileFACC Roles and Responsibilities - June 27 2023 version

FileCCAC - Reportable Animal Welfare Incidents

Office presentation iconCCAC guidelines - FACC site visits

Office presentation iconCCAC Guidelines - Wildlife

FileCCAC Guidelines - Identification of Scientific Endpoints - Humane Intervention Points and Cumulative Endpoints

8-Mar-2024 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM - WEBINAR: Modeling the Change: Using a novel mouse model of menopause to understand cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.

Webinar series: 2024 Poultry disease updates  The 2024 poultry disease webinar series is an exclusive four-part webinar series happening every Monday in January at 1:00pm ET.

3Rs Sharing Conference : April 17, 2024: San Francisco, California

JAX™ Webinar Comparing Immunodeficient Mouse Models January 16, 2024 | 1:00 PM USA ET

Designing Reproducible Preclinical Research Studies  January 23, 2024 | 1:00 PM USA ET

PREPARE for Better Science January 29-31, 2024

4th FSVO/UFAW Symposium – Humanely Ending the Life of Animals March 6-7, 2024 Bern, Switzerland

AVMA Convention 2024 June 21–25, 2024  Austin, TX

PRIM&R Annual Conference November 17-20, 2024 Seattle, WA

FELASA 2025 June 2-5, 2025 Athens, Greece

CALAS Call for Abstracts is Open  CALAS's annual symposium is a networking and education event for the Canadian Laboratory Animal Science community.

  • Submission deadline: January 15th (oral presentations); January 22nd (poster presentations), Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from June 22-25, 2024

GLAS Program Opening AALAS's Grant for Laboratory Animal Science aims to enhance scientific knowledge in laboratory animal health and welfare. Standard ($50 000) and small ($7 500) grants available. 

  • Due: February 1st, 2024 Eligible: AALAS members only

🐁 Refined Handling for mice Learn why & how to use refined methods to pick up mice.

ICCVAM Public Forum: May 2023: Presentation slides are available

Chinchilla Consortium: Evidence-based refinements for chinchillas


CARE-FULL STORIES: INTERACTIVE TRAINING RESOURCES FOR DEVELOPING YOUR INSTITUTION'S CULTURE OF CARE: Care-full stories is a set of training materials designed to encourage people working in animal research to reflect on their institution's culture of care.

🐟 Zebrafish husbandry education courses sponsored by the Zebrafish Husbandry Association (ZHA) are now available at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

🐟 Focus on Fish: The RSPCA has announced their free Focus on Fish online conference  (available to to view anytime!)

Tech 3Rs: NC3Rs has published a new issue of their Tech 3Rs newsletter. They highlight resources to improve mouse welfare in high-yield behavioral experiments, showcase rat refinement, and discuss career paths.

Focus on Severe Suffering: The RSPCA held their 4th international ‘Focus on Severe Suffering’ meeting on August 2022. The meeting summary report is now available.

Compassion fatigue, what is it and how to get help? 

How to Make Widespread 3Rs Change, a recorded webinar.

🐒 Improving the welfare of macaques in laboratories, an interesting webpage.

🐟Canadian Aquatic Research Facilities SharePoint Site 

  • The goal of this group is to provide a mechanism for Aquatic Facility Managers, Researchers, and Technicians to communicate with colleagues across Canada.
  • To request membership, please submit your request to alicia.oneill [at]
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