Advisory Committee on Human Pathogens and Toxins

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Under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA), the Minister of Health has the authority to add or delete human pathogens or toxins from the Schedules by regulation. Prior to making any additions or deletions to the schedules to the HPTA, the Minister is required to consult with an advisory committee. The Advisory Committee on Human Pathogens and Toxins (AC-HPT) was established by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in 2015 to provide scientific advice on the pathogens and toxins regulated under the HPTA and on its schedules.

The AC-HPT is specifically authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada ActFootnote 1 and the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA)Footnote 2 to advise on modification of Schedules 1 to 5 to the HPTA by recommending additions or deletions of human pathogens or toxins.

Additionally, the AC-HPT:

  • provides recommendations on broad strategic directions and overall priorities relating to the regulation of human pathogens and toxins in Canada
  • provides scientific expertise on the characteristics and risks of human pathogens (including emerging pathogens) and toxins
  • as needed, provides input on appropriate biosafety and biocontainment requirements
  • as needed, provides input on measures to address domestic and international biosafety and biosecurity risks
  • provides a forum for the exchange of views of key stakeholders
  • receives and reviews reports from AC-HPT subcommittees
  • provides other scientific advice, as requested

Further details on the committee and the membership selection criteria and process can be found in the terms of reference, available from the AC-HPT Secretariat:


In considering whom to appoint, the Agency followed the AC-HPT selection criteria and process, (Appendix B of the terms of reference). As outlined, members were selected based on the required expertise and experience related to the AC-HPT mandate, which includes expertise in the following areas:

  • microbiology
  • toxinology
  • epidemiology
  • communicable diseases
  • public health
  • bioethics
  • veterinary or human medicine

The Vice President of PHAC's Health Security and Regional Operations Branch appoints a Chair and up to 12 members to the AC-HPT in accordance with specific assessment criteria. Members are appointed for a term of 2 to 5 years and the Chair is appointed for a term of 3 years. The Executive Secretary may reappoint sitting members or extend the term of the Chair.

As an agreement of membership, all external advisory body members complete a confidentiality agreement (non-disclosure form).

For more detailed information about the members of the AC-HPT, please refer to the following:

Meeting information and reports

The committee meets once per year in person, twice per year via teleconference, and may also be called upon at other times, as required. Members are reimbursed for expenses incurred during their work on the AC-HPT, such as travel and accommodation, according to the National Joint Council Travel Directive.

Advice and recommendations provided to the Federal Minister of Health are based on committee discussions and must have the endorsement of the majority of committee members.

All decisions are recorded in a formal record of decision.

AC-HPT advice to the Minister of Health.

Note: Further amendments to Schedules 2 to 4 were adopted in response to stakeholder comments following pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I on July 2017.

Contact us

Secretariat functions to the committee are provided by the Centre for Biosecurity.

To request copies of previous records of decisions, or if you have any questions, please contact the Advisory Committee on Human Pathogens and Toxins Secretariat:

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