Biosecurity

New: HPTA Security Clearance Process is now paperless. Explore the changes below.

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HPTA Security Clearance Program

If you require authorized access to a part of a facility where security sensitive biological agents (SSBA) are handled and stored, including prescribed toxins above their trigger quantities listed in subsection 10(2) of the Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR), you must obtain a Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HTPA) Security Clearance.

If you open SSBA shipments and handle/care for animals experimentally infected with SSBAs, excluding toxins, you must also obtain an HPTA Security Clearance.

An HPTA Security Clearance is valid for up to 5 years. For continuous authorized access to SSBAs, your clearance must be renewed before it expires.

What is an HPTA Security Clearance

HPTA Security Clearance is a requirement under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA). The purpose of the HPTA Security Clearance is to validate that persons do not pose an undue security risk by virtue of their SSBA access. Clearances are valid for up to 5 years and remain portable from one organization to another.

Applying for an HPTA Security Clearance

The application process is paperless. All new applications must be submitted via the Biosecurity Portal. Create your personalized account and follow the steps to submit your application, track its review progress and access the decisions.

Review the following steps before you begin your HPTA security clearance application. You will need to gather the information identified below as outlined in subsection 12(2) of the HPTR. Incomplete applications will not be processed unless all required information is submitted.

  1. Your identifications
  2. Your places of residence in the past 5 years
  3. Your employment/education history in the past 5 years
  4. Your spouse or common-law partner's identification
  5. Your fingerprints for a criminal records check

Endorsement from HPTA Licence Holder

To access a part of a facility where SSBAs are handled or stored, an HPTA Security Clearance applicant or an HPTA Security Clearance holder must be endorsed by the HPTA Licence Holder of that facility. Endorsements are submitted via the Biosecurity Portal.

Consent and Certification Form

All applicants must sign and submit their HPTA Security Clearance consent and certification form (PDF format, 289 KB, 1 page) through the biosecurity portal. Your application cannot proceed with the required background checks until this form has been signed and submitted.

Fingerprint requirement

All applicants must submit their fingerprints for a criminal records check. Read and print the fingerprint instructions and present the instructions to an accredited fingerprinting company, a Canadian police force, or a department or agency of the Government of Canada. Your application will not proceed until your fingerprint results are received by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Fingerprint Instructions

Fingerprint instructions for printing (PDF format, 638 KB, 1 page)

Applicant Instructions

You will be required to provide two pieces of valid photo identification. Present these instructions, along with your photo identification, to the accredited fingerprinting company, Canadian police force or department or agency of the Government of Canada. The cost of this service will vary from one accredited agency to another. The Public Health Agency of Canada does not cover these costs.

Your digital fingerprints will be sent directly to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for verification. As the applicant, you are responsible to ensure that your fingerprints are submitted according to the below instructions. Prior to signing the third party release form, review the information with the official submitting your fingerprints to confirm it is accurate. Retain a copy of your third party release form for your records.

Failure to submit your fingerprints according to these instructions will result in a rejected fingerprint application. You will be required to resubmit your fingerprints at your cost, which will create a delay in the clearance process.

Fingerprinting Agency Instructions

This is an application for a Human Pathogens and Toxins Act Security Clearance.

As a Royal Canadian Mounted Police accredited fingerprinting agency responsible for this application, please follow the steps below.

Step 1: In the "Request Application Type", field enter:

  • "Employment - Federal Government" for employees of the Government of Canada, or
  • "Employment - Private Industry" for all other employees such as employees of universities, provincial or territorial public laboratories or private industry.

Step 2: In the "Application Specifics" field, enter "HPTA Security Clearance".

Step 3: In the "Send Results To" field, enter:

  • "ON80526" for employees of the Government of Canada, or
  • "HPTA Screening, 161 Goldenrod Driveway, PL 1701B, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9" for all other employees such employees of universities, provincial or territorial public laboratories or private industry.

Note the ORI option at step 3 is only available for the "Employment - Federal Government" application type. If an ORI number is not available, manually enter the HPTA Screening address provided above.

Use the exact wording for each of the submission fields, as indicated above. Do not insert any additional text.

Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals (i.e. non-Canadian Citizens or non-Permanent Residents) must submit additional documentation, including:

  1. a copy of their curriculum vitae that sets out their professional qualifications and work history
  2. a valid visa (if applicable)
  3. foreign police record checks from every jurisdiction where they have lived for the past 5 years (if that jurisdiction provides police record checks)

Foreign Police Records Checks

If you are a foreign national or if you traveled outside of Canada for personal travel and/or non-government business for more than 90 days within the last 5 years, you will need to submit foreign police records check, if the jurisdiction provides them. For more details on how to obtain police records checks from other countries, visit Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada.

Service Standard

The Public Health Agency of Canada commits to service delivery standards for the:

  • issuance of an acknowledgement of receipt of a HPTA Security Clearance application
  • issuance of an HPTA Security Clearance upon receipt of a complete application that contains no adverse information

For more information visit: Service Standards for Sending out an Acknowledgement Letter for Receipt of a Human Pathogen and Toxins Act Security Clearance Application and the Issuance of a Security Clearance.

HPTA Security Clearance Appeal Process

You have the option to request an appeal for reconsideration if your application has been refused or your clearance has been suspended or revoked. Requests for appeals must be made within 30 calendar days after the day on which the notice of refusal, suspension, or revocation was received.

The Public Health Agency of Canada will provide written notice to every licence holder or licence applicant when a decision is made to issue, refuse to issue, suspend, or revoke an HPTA Security Clearance.

The criteria for the suspension and revocation of HPTA Security Clearances are set out in sections 20 and 21 of the HPTR.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers related to the HPTA Security Clearance Program under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA) and Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR).

Mandatory reporting of missing and stolen human pathogens and toxins

Biosecurity events that involve missing or stolen human pathogens or toxins are subject to mandatory reporting under Section 14 of the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. The reporting requirements specify that your organization submit

  1. a description of the event
  2. the name of the human pathogen(s) or toxin(s) involved
  3. any other relevant information about the event

For immediate reporting of biosecurity events involving missing or stolen pathogens or toxins, submit the event via the biosecurity portal using your login credentials. For all other inquiries, contact the Public Health Agency of Canada by telephone or email.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Telephone: 613-957-1779
E-mail: phac.biosafety-biosecurite.aspc@canada.ca
Web-access: Biosecurity Portal

Voluntary reporting of suspicious activities involving human pathogens and toxins

Suspicious activities and behaviour involving human pathogens and toxins or related assets, not otherwise mandated for reporting under section 14 of the HPTA, can be voluntarily reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. For more information contact the Centre for Biosecurity.

Centre for Biosecurity, Public Health Agency of Canada
Telephone: 613-957-1779
E-mail: phac.biosafety-biosecurite.aspc@canada.ca

Voluntary reporting of other suspicious activities within your organization

If you suspect that you have received an email from an unrecognized person, or observed activities in and around your organization's facility that is suspicious in nature, it is encouraged that you report the incidents to the Government of Canada as well as your organization's internal security department.

Suspicious email and cyber event

Suspicious emails received from unrecognized contacts can be reported to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (the Cyber Centre) by telephone or email.

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
General questions: contact@cyber.gc.ca
Toll fee: 1-833-CYBER-88 (1-833-292-3788)
Reporting cyber incident: cyberincident@cyber.gc.ca

Suspicious activities and behaviours

Suspicious activities and behaviour observed in and around your organization's facility by unrecognized individuals should be reported to local law enforcement or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The RCMPs National Critical Infrastructure Team manages Canada's Suspicious Incident Reporting System (SIR). Contact the RCMP for more information on the SIR.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Email: SIR-SIS@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Non-urgent national security-related threats or suspicious activities

For non-urgent national security-related threats or suspicious activities of unrecognized persons, suspicious events, or computer-related activities, contact the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Toll Free: 1-800-267-7685
Web-form: Reporting National Security Information
Email: contact@cyber.gc.ca

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