AUP Review Process

The Animal Care Committee (ACC) approves AUPs for one year, and approval for animal use on an active AUP must then be renewed annually. After three annual renewals, the AUP must be replaced with a new AUP, i.e. the maximum lifespan of any AUP is four years.

The following description of the review process applies to new AUPs, annual renewals and amendments.

Submission by PI

The PI fills out all sections of the AUP, attaches all relevant grants, permits and other documentation, and submits for review. The PI may appoint an Assignee to help create the AUP, but the PI must finalize the submission with his/her signature.

Review by Departmental Chair

A new AUP submission (and subsequent annual renewals) must be reviewed by the PI’s Department Chair. Department Chairs are given electronic access to the AUP and may add comments before signing off and allowing the review process to proceed.

Initial Review by Animal Care Services

Upon submission of an AUP, administrative staff with Animal Care Services (ACS) performs initial AUP intake and review, and works with the PI to refine the information provided in the AUP. ACS may request supplementary AUP information and ask for administrative changes or clarifications of AUP content. The AUP will be returned to the PI for necessary revisions and resubmission prior to the AUP being scheduled for ACC review. Submissions with incomplete or unclear AUP information necessitate changes and additions by the PI, and will therefore delay the initial review phase.

Scientific and Educational Merit review is required to be completed on all AUPs.  This may be provided by the funding agency, the curriculum review committee, or the internal review process.  During this initial review, AUPs that require internal merit review are forwarded for concurrent processing and completion of merit review forms.  Please review the instructions regarding peer review for scientific merit before completing the forms. AUP final approval requires completion of this process in addition to the AUP review process.

Animal Care Committee Review

Animal Utilization Protocols are divided into four Categories of Invasiveness (B, C, D or E) as per the CCAC Policy Statement on: Categories of Invasiveness in Animal Experiments. Category B protocols cover studies assumed to cause little or no discomfort to the animals, and category E protocols cover studies with the most severe acceptable level of invasiveness or distress to the animals. The Category of Invasiveness for the AUP is determined by the most invasive (highest category) procedures on the AUP.  Animal Care Services directs D and E AUPs to full ACC meetings, whereas B or C AUPs will be reviewed at ACC Subcommittee meetings. Subcommittee approval is subject to final approval at the following full ACC meeting.

For examples of Categories of Invasiveness for specific procedures please see Appendix 1.

Recommended submission timeframes

AUPs must be submitted to ACS at least 2 weeks in advance of an ACC review meeting to allow time for initial review by ACS staff. Full ACC meetings are held once monthly and ACC Subcommittee meetings are held twice monthly.

Review of renewals and amendments occurs continually and is conducted by an ACC subcommittee consisting of one veterinarian, one scientist, and one community representative. Annual Renewals must be submitted at least 4-6 weeks in advance of the next renewal date of the AUP.

Please contact ACS for confirmed ACC meeting dates.

Type of Submission

Review Process


Submission deadline

Total approval timeframe

New AUP (D/E category)

Full ACC meeting

Once a month

2 weeks in advance of meeting

4-6 weeks

New AUP (B/C category)

ACC Subcommittee meeting

Twice a month

2 weeks in advance of meeting

4-6 weeks

Annual Renewal and/or Amendment

ACC Subcommittee electronically


4-6 weeks in advance of next renewal date

2-4 weeks

Minor amendment

No meeting. ACS review and administrative approval.



< 1 week

Follow-up from ACC review meetings and subcommittee review

Following an ACC meeting or subcommittee review, questions/concerns, pertinent information or conditions of approval will be communicated electronically to the PI through the online system and by email. ACS staff facilitates follow-up communication between the PI and the ACC. The PI must revise relevant AUP sections according to comments from the ACC. Animal Care Services may complete minor administrative changes required by the ACC on behalf of the PI. Once responses from the PI are received and found satisfactory by the ACC, the AUP will be moved forward to final approval. If the ACC disapproves of the proposed use of animals, the PI may either rescind the proposal or refine it in collaboration with ACS and ACC to reach a proposal acceptable by the ACC. Such a proposal must be reviewed again by the full ACC before approval can be attained.

Special circumstances for amendments

Minor amendments are defined as amendments only changing personnel, funding source, location of study, or very minimal procedural changes or animal number changes. Please see our Guideline on what constitutes a minor amendment. Minor amendments may be reviewed and approved by the Director of Animal Care Services (or designate) without further ACC review. Amendments should be submitted to ACS as soon as plans for the changes are identified.

Amendments adding procedures of a more severe Category of Invasiveness than already approved on the AUP, or changes representing a major shift in research or project design, will be directed to an ACC review meeting.