Protecting Canada’s Lab Animals: A Closer Look at the Governance of Animal-Based Science


Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, Executive Director, Animals in Science Policy Institute


Unlike other countries, such as the UK, Canada lacks any national legislation specific to the animals used in science, so what protections do lab animals have, if not legal ones? The current peer-based agency that oversees the use of animals in science in Canada – The Canadian Council on Animal Care – was established in 1968. Forty years on, it’s time to reflect on the systems that we have in place to protect the welfare of lab animals, and to critically examine the governance of animal-based science. This talk will delve into the structure of Canada’s governance system for overseeing the use of animals in science and will evaluate Canada’s progress in implementing the Three Rs principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.


  1. What legal protection do animals used in science have in Canada? If not legal protection, what other mechanisms are in place to safeguard lab animal welfare?
  2. What are the successes and shortcomings of the governance system for animal-based science in Canada?
  3. What progress has been made in the Three Rs? What should the focus of future progress be?


Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy is Executive Director of the Animals in Science Policy Institute, a registered Canadian charity that aims to build an ethical culture of science that respects animal life by promoting the reduction and replacement of animals in teaching, research and testing. Elisabeth brings to this role her background in Neuroscience and PhD-level expertise in animal ethics and the governance of animal-based science. She worked for the Canadian Council on Animal Care as a research fellow from 2009-2011, and subsequently sat on the Standards Committee until 2016. Elisabeth currently sits as an Advisor on the Environment and Animal Welfare committee for the Vancouver Foundation and on the Advisory Council of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods.