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 (QAs)*, a team of qualified professionals dispersed throughout the various McGill and Affiliated Hospitals Research Institutes. The QAs share processes and knowledge between themselves and other key people in the program via the Quality Assistance Subcommittee as full members. The QA Subcommittee reports to the University Animal Care Committee.
*Quality Assistant is used as a generic reference to define the person mandated for post-approval monitoring in the McGill University and Affiliated Hospitals Research Institutes 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 is provided to the Principal Investigator and Facility Animal Care Committee. 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. A verbal report is voiced at QA Subcommittee meetings and if needed, findings/suggestions/complaints are reported to the UACC via the QA Subcommittee Chair. The UACC will refine processes, revise or create guidelines and policies when within its Animal Care and Use Program when applicable and in view of being proactive in preventing non-compliance.
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.
- Quality Assistance Subcommittee Terms of Reference - May 2015
- Policy for Animal Welfare and Compliance Concerns - June 2016
- Definitions of Recommendations on QA Reports - March 2017 (MNI researchers should refer to the MNI Web site).
Assessment checklist used by Quality Assistance Advisor for all research and teaching projects except field type studies: Checklist Study Assessment 2013.xlsx
Assessment checklist used by Quality Assistance Advisor for field type studies (wild animals): Quality Assistance checklist for field study assessments
Checklist used for areas outside the animal facility: ALPHA Checklist.doc
For more information contact the: animal.qa [at] mcgill.ca (Quality Assistance Advisor)
McGill University Health Centre Research Institute (MUHC-RI):
For more information, contact the ard.qualityassistance [at] muhc.mcgill.ca (Compliance Administrator)
Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI):
Please visit the MNI Web site
For more information, contact the compliance.mni [at] mcgill.ca (Compliance Officer)
Douglas Mental Health University Institute:
Newly initiated local program, for details please ychery [at] jgh.mcgill.ca (subject: About%20the%20LDI%2FJGH%20Quality%20Assistance%20Program) (email).
Lady Davis Institute of the JGH:
Newly initiated local program, for details please eve-marie.charbonneau [at] douglas.mcgill.ca (subject: About%20the%20Douglas%20Quality%20Assistance%20Program) (email).
Shriners Hospital for Children:
Newly initiated local program, for details please ard.qualityassistance [at] muhc.mcgill.ca (subject: About%20the%20Shriners%20Quality%20Assistance%20Program) (email).
The information has been moved to its own separate page.