Training Program

* * * COVID-19 Information for Research Staff and Students * * *

The Quebec government has approved the progressive ramp-up of university research activities. McGill is actively planning how to facilitate this gradual return, while ensuring the health, well-being, and safety of our community.

Amendments are still being reviewed and processed by your local Facility Animal Care Committee.

Any Theory training that has been temporarily waived as per the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s indications, MUST now be completed.

Practical training workshops are ramping up at this time. Note that training requirements remain effective and are mandatory before performing any animal-related procedures.

Graduate Students who have questions related to the continuation of their research activities in this context should contact their Graduate Program Directors and/or the Associate Deans at Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. 

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).


To obtain certification, the participant must send an email to the animalcare [at] (Training Advisor) and request the test. 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).



General Information

Here are the steps to working with animals at McGill and its institutes.

  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 that cover the procedures you will be performing. Register as soon as possible since classes fill up quickly.

  1. For the theory portion, read the material online found here:

You may request the exam from me via email when you are ready.

  1. You must then confirm with your Investigator that you were added to one or several of their Animal Use Protocols via the Darwin software. It will be reviewed and approved by the 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. The form to complete is available by emailing the animalcare [at] (subject: Form%20Request%3A%20Certification%20for%20non-rodent%2C%20non-rabbit%20training%20) (Training Advisor).

For farm animals, practical training is obtained through courses available at Macdonald Campus. See details at Macdonald Campus courses.

Please Note: Theory course must be renewed every five years. For practical training (workshop) refer to the recertification policy: Training Recertification Policy June 2009.

The Animal Care Committee started implementing the training program fully in 2004. The approval of new Animal Use Protocols as well as renewals are 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 a 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

Animal methodology workshop Information

General Information:

Procedures covered in the methodology workshops include basic skills in animal handling, restraint, injection, blood collection, determination of anesthetic depth, tube feeding and euthanasia.

Note: The techniques demonstrated in the workshop are at a “basic” level and passing a technique in no way denotes competency in performing that technique. Further practice following the workshop is required to ensure that individuals fully integrate the learned techniques before being required to use them.


Comparative Medicine and Animal Resources Centre (DOW), GLEN, JGH, MGH, DH and MNI (see contact information at top of page)

Workshop Module Content

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

Note: some training facilities give the workshop modules back-to-back in one course and others give them on separate dates, for further information please e-mail the animalcare [at] (subject: Further%20Information%20on%20Workshop%20Modules) (Training Advisor).

Module 1 - Handling and Restraint

Species overview
Handling and restraint
Tissue sampling for genotyping
Euthanasia: isoflurane anesthesia followed by CO2, CO2 euthanasia, inhalant euthanasia followed by cervical dislocation or decapitation.

NOTE: training for other euthanasia methods available as specialized workshops

Terminal blood collection: intracardiac puncture

Module 2 - Substance Administration and Blood Collection
Module 1 is a prerequisite

Subcutaneous injection
Intraperitoneal injection
Intramuscular injection (rat only)
Blood collection: lateral saphenous vein

NOTE: training for other blood collection methods available as specialized workshops

Module 3 - Anesthesia and Analgesia
module 1 and 2 are prerequisites

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


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

This module is exclusively for participants who will be performing recovery surgeries on rodents.

*Scheduled upon request*

This module is composed of 3-4 training sessions

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


Module 6 – Mouse Intravenous Injection

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.

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:

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

McGill FACC Information Session - Only for Downtown and MacDonald Campus students and staff

Registration :

To register to one of our information session, complete and submit the Registration webform.

Sessions are not up and running due to the Pandemic.
Here is the presentation available online: FACC Student Info Session (PowerPoint File)


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