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.

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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.

Most AUPs require either scientific or pedagogical merit review, which must be completed before approval can be granted.  This may be provided by the funding agency,  or the internal review process. Please refer to the Ancillary Requirements page for further information.

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 single most invasive (highest category) procedure on the AUP. CCAC policy requires that D and E AUPs are reviewed at face-to-face meetings of the full ACC, whereas B or C AUPs will be reviewed at ACC Subcommittee (AUPRS) meetings.

Please contact ACS for confirmed ACC meeting dates. The tentative dates are given in the schedule:

Schedule for upcoming ACC & AUPRS meetings.

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

Current Updates to AUP Amendment Reviews (w.e.f. February 2021)

As an outcome from the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Assessment of the University in December of 2019, the Committee is now required to review all Animal Utilization Protocols (AUP) and Major Amendments to AUPs in a face-to-face format. Previously, the majority of Major Amendments were reviewed electronically, except for those that involved the addition of D or E level procedures. As a result of this mandated change in practice, it is anticipated that the timeline for review and approval of Major Amendments may increase as the Committee adapts to the shifts in its workload. We ask that you both exercise patience with the implementation of the revised process, and plan ahead for the submission of amendments. In keeping with established definitions used at academic institutions across Canada, the Committee defines Major Amendments to be any change to an AUP that does not fit the criteria of Minor Amendment. 

Minor Amendments are noted below:

  • AUP title change
  • Change in granting information
  • Changes in personnel (addition/deletion of individuals or alteration of their role)
  • Change to a less invasive, distressful, or painful procedure
  • Animal number increases up to 20% of the original requested number (justification required)
  • Addition of a strain of animal except where this would increase the category of invasiveness
  • Transfer of animals between AUPs
  • Changes to animal source
  • Changes to housing or location of animal use

Recommended submission timeframes

AUPs and amendments must be submitted to ACS at least 2 weeks in advance of an ACC review meeting to allow time for initial and pre-review by ACS staff and an appropriate time for ACC member review. Full ACC meetings are held once monthly, and ACC Subcommittee meetings (AUPRS) are held at least once monthly. Review of renewals without 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.

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 -AUPRS meeting

Once /Twice a month

2 weeks in advance of meeting

4-6 weeks

Annual Renewal without any / minor Amendments

ACC Subcommittee electronically


4-6 weeks in advance of next renewal date

2-4 weeks

Annual Renewal with major Amendments

Full ACC meeting or ACC Subcommittee -AUPRS meeting

Once /Twice a month

4-6 weeks in advance of next renewal date

4-6 weeks

Minor amendment

No meeting. ACS review and administrative approval.



< 1 week

Follow-up from ACC review meetings and subcommittee review

Following a full committee 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/queries from the ACC and submit back (within two weeks time) the AUP with relevant edits and summary of responses. 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 the ACC to reach a proposal acceptable to the committee. Such a proposal must be reviewed again by the full ACC before approval can be attained.