Training Program

Table of Content:

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 |

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.


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).



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 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.  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 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

Please review the workshop handout before attending the course: (some handouts may vary according to the training facility)

For all other species, the handout will either be provided to you upon registration or at the workshop.

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.

Workshop Module Content

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

Module 1 - Handling and Restraint

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

NOTE: training for other euthanasia methods available as specialized workshops

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

Subcutaneous injection
Intraperitoneal injection
Intramuscular injection (rats only), as requested in a specialized session for mice
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 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 – Mouse Intravenous Injection

Module 1 and 2 are prerequisites

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: Occupational Health and Safety

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


Training Opportunities

FileCCAC guidelines - Animal Welfare Assessment

FileCCAC guidelines - Scientific and humane and cumulative endpoints

FileRoles and Responsibilities for McGill FACCs

FileCCAC guidelines - Reportable Animal Welfare Incidents

WEBINAR: Valuing the Human-Animal Relationship: Insights from Animal Philosophy April 18, 2023 | 1:00PM – 2:00 PM EDT

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.

MANAGING PAIN IN MULTIPLE LABORATORY SPECIES: conference on April 19th Virtual (via Zoom)

Understanding and Countering Life-Changing Childhood Trauma via Nonhuman Animal Research: webinar Apr 20, 2023 12:00 PM

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

CCAC National Workshop 2023

The workshop will also once again be held in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Science (CALAS) Annual Symposium. Take advantage of this excellent opportunity to network and benefit from all of the activities held during the week. MAY 4-5

MPS World Summit: 2nd Microphysiological Systems World Summit in Berlin Monday, June 26, 2023

World Congress on Alternatives AUG 27-31

2023 3Rs Sharing Conference - April 26, 2023 hosted by the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research and the North American 3Rs Collaborative. It will be an exciting, interactive one-day event. The full agenda is now posted.

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.


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