Government of Canada Expands Containment Level 4 Laboratory

News Release

Expansion improves capacity to respond to dangerous pathogens and strengthens domestic public health and safety

July 20, 2017 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians through enhanced public health security. Enhancements to Canada's Containment Level 4 (CL4) laboratory facility are critical to strengthening Canada's capability to respond to global public health and domestic public safety events.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced a reconfiguration project at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health that will convert existing laboratory space to the highest level of biosafety - CL4. This $5 million project will reconfigure adjacent high containment lab areas within the existing footprint of the building.

The increased CL4 lab space will improve Canada's capacity to detect and respond to the growing number of emerging human and animal pathogens such as Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and new types of avian influenza. It will allow the Government of Canada to respond in a timely and proactive manner to increasing global demands for investigating, testing and researching high risk infectious diseases.

The Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health co-houses the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD). CL4 laboratories have highly specialized construction and engineering controls and are equipped to safely diagnose, research, and develop treatments and vaccines for high risk pathogens, such as Ebola and Nipah virus.


"The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening Canada's research and science base by investing in infrastructure at federal laboratories. We are proud to support our world-class researchers by providing them with the tools they need to protect the health of Canadians."

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

"The Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health is a world class research centre with a mission to advance human and animal health through laboratory leadership, scientific excellence, and public health innovation. Expanding our CL4 laboratory space vastly increases our capacity to investigate, test, and research the most deadly of infectious diseases." 

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer, PHAC

Quick Facts

  • Containment Level 4 (CL4) laboratories provide the capability to work safely with the most serious and deadly human and animal diseases, and ensure Canada's diagnostic capabilities for any infectious diseases that may surface in the country.

  • The Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health was the first facility in the world to combine laboratories for human and animal disease research at the highest level of biocontainment under one roof.

  • Scientists at the NML have significantly advanced scientific knowledge, improved diagnostics, and strengthened the development of therapeutics for Ebola. In addition to Ebola virus, researchers are developing treatments and vaccines for other Level 4 diseases including Lassa fever, Marburg virus disease, and Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever.

  • One of the many areas of focus for NCFAD researchers is studying Nipah virus, which is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can impact both pigs and humans. Scientists are working to better understand the disease, how to protect swine from infection, and developing tests for diagnosing the disease.


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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