Biosecurity

HPTA Security Clearance Program

The HPTA Security Clearance is a new requirement under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA). The supporting process and information requirements are set out under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR).

You are required to obtain an HPTA Security Clearance if you work with, or have access to, prescribed human pathogens and toxins, known as Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBAs), that if misused, can pose a risk to Canada's national security. This requirement also extends to individuals that open SSBA shipments, or handle/care for animals experimentally infected with SSBAs, excluding toxins. If you currently work with toxins, refer to subsection 10(2) of the HPTR to determine the quantities which trigger the requirement to obtain an HPTA Security Clearance.

To address the issue of shared lab spaces, an HPTA Security Clearance is not required where no SSBA is present in a lab, or when any SSBA is locked up and inaccessible to any person who does not have an HPTA Security Clearance.

An HPTA Security Clearance is not the same as a general security clearance issued by the Government of Canada. The purpose of the HPTA Security Clearance is to validate that those who have access to and/or handle SSBAs are reliable and trustworthy, and do not pose a security or diversion risk by virtue of their access. The HPTA Security Clearance is one component of a robust biosecurity program that will help improve the management and oversight of potential security risks in laboratories and their surrounding environments.

Applying for an HPTA Security Clearance

To apply for an HPTA Security Clearance, applicants must submit the following:

  • The HPTA Security Clearance Application Form: Includes information required by the HPTR such as the applicant's name, address, and date of birth; information regarding spouse or common-law partner; and residence, employment, and travel history.
  • The HPTA Security Clearance Endorsement Form: Must be co-signed by the licence holder to certify that the applicant requires an HPTA Security Clearance to access the specified containment zone(s). A new endorsement form is required if a security cleared individual requires access to other organizations or part(s) of a facility containing SSBAs not previously identified in their initial application.
  • A copy of the applicant's birth certificate if born in Canada. If the applicable current spouse/common-law partner of the applicant is also Canadian-born, a copy of their birth certificate is also required.
  • A copy of two pieces of valid government-issued identification, one of which must be photo identification.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide digital fingerprints, which will be automatically sent to the RCMP for verifications.

Bring these instructions with you when going for fingerprinting:

The cost to have your fingerprints taken is at the discretion of the law enforcement or other RCMP-accredited agency taking them, and as such, the Agency will not cover these costs.

The cost for this service will vary from one agency to another (approx. $50-$150). To submit your fingerprints, you must present yourself to an RCMP-accredited fingerprinting company or any Canadian police force.

For identification purposes, please bring two pieces of valid photo identification with you.

For Employees of the Government of Canada:

  • Request Application Type: Federal Government
  • Application Specifics HC-HPTA
  • Return Mailing Address Send results to: HPTA Screening, 161 Goldenrod, PL 1701B, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9

For Individuals that are not Employees of the Government of Canada:

  • Request Application Type: Employment
  • Application Specifics HC-HPTA
  • Return Mailing Address Send results to: HPTA Screening, 161 Goldenrod, PL 1701B, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9

Important Reminder:

While the HPTA Security Clearance is part of a federal government program, you must inform the person taking your fingerprints of the appropriate Request Application Type (i.e. "Federal Government" for Government of Canada employees or "employment" for non-federal government employees).

For all applicants, failure to submit your fingerprints according to the above guidelines will result in your application being rejected, and require you to resubmit at your own cost.

  • Foreign nationals will also need to submit their curriculum vitae, a valid visa if applicable, and the results of a police record check from every jurisdiction where they have lived during the past five years, if that jurisdiction provides police records checks. Foreign nationals will also need to provide photo identification in the form of a copy of their valid passport, issued by their country of citizenship.

Once submitted, your application will be acknowledged within five (5) business days. As part of a security risk assessment, the RCMP and CSIS will conduct database checks on the information provided in your application. A credit check will also be conducted.

There will not be a service standard for issuing HPTA Security Clearances in the first year of the program. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada will work in collaboration with their security partners to set a baseline after the first year of operation.

The HPTA Security Clearance will be valid for up to five (5) years, and is portable between licenced facilities.

HPTA Security Clearance Appeal Process

If adverse information concerning an applicant is discovered during the clearance process, applicants will have the opportunity to provide further information or context in support of their application. The information provided together with the information obtained during the screening process will be considered, to determine whether or not the applicant is eligible to hold an HPTA Security Clearance.

If an applicant or HPTA Security Clearance holder has had their clearance denied, suspended, or revoked, they will have the option to appeal by requesting a reconsideration of this decision within 30 calendar days after the day on which the notice of denial, suspension, or revocation was received.

The Agency 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 new HPTA Security Clearance Program under the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA) and Human Pathogens and Toxins Regulations (HPTR).

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