Training Program

Training Information

The CCAC has made training mandatory starting January 2003.

The mandatory training involves:

  • Theory course: Everyone listed in an animal use protocol must successfully pass the on-line course at McGill University's own course (more information below).
  • Practical training: All personnel who will be handling live rodents and rabbits need to take a hands-on workshop given at several training site. (DOW, GLEN, JGH, MGH, DH and MNI) (more information below).

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 Training Advisor at animalcare [at]

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 5 years. For practical training (workshop) refer to the recertification policy: Training Recertification Policy June 2009 .

The Animal Care Committees 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 course specific to the species involved in the project.

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

If you would to inquire if a specific specialized training is available, please contact the Training Coordinator, animalcare [at] (Email)



The Dept. of Geography is organizing a 20 hour Wilderness First Aid Course

Saturday, April 7 and Sunday 8 (08h30-18h30).

The course is taught by certified Wilderness First Aid instructors or First Responders from Sirius Wilderness Medicine.

The WFA course 3-4 hours of CPR and AED defribilation.  The course focuses on identifying injuries and stabilizing injured persons in remote environments, until emergency evacuation arrives.

Location – TBA.  There will be several indoor and outdoor simulations.   

Included is WFA and First Aid certification required at some remote field sites.   Some research grants cover the cost of the course, so check with your supervisor.

Cost - WFA Training $248.55 + includes CPR and defribilation.

If you want to register for the course, please contact Marie-Hélène Rathé <mhrathe [at]> at Sirius Wilderness Medicine,

tél.: 1- (877) 982-0066.   See Sirius websites below for more information on the 20 hour WFA course.


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).

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 go to the MNI site.

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:

For 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.

Condition: Participants MUST be listed in the Personnel section of an approved animal use protocol and must take the workshop for the species that is covered under that protocol


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 animalcare [at] (e-mail).

Module 1 - Handling and Restraint

Species overview
Handling and restraint
Tissue sampling for genotyping
Euthanasia: isoflurane anesthesia followed by CO2, CO2 euthanasia

           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 is at as a Web page open to all (no code or password necessary). To obtain certification, the participant must send an animalcare [at] (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. Allow yourself enough time to complete the test as there is no option to save and continue.


Training Recertification Policy:

Training Recertification Policy June 2009

Training from the McGill Environmental Safety Office:

Training offered by the McGill Environmental Safety Office can be found at





For Your Information


Since 2003: The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) made practical training and theory course mandatory.

Since 2009: Undergraduate students need to meet the same training requirements as staff and graduate students with the exception of undergraduate students performing procedures as part of a course where they are closely monitored.  

Since 2011: Participants refusing to learn euthanasia methods may only work during work hours under supervision.

Since 2013: If a person is here for a very short length of time such as a month or less, they are to be listed on an Animal Use Protocol but does not need Darwin access.