About Us

The Canadian Association for Biological Safety/L’Association Canadienne Pour La Sécurité Biologique (CABS-ACSB) was formed in the 1990's as the Canadian affiliate of the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA). CABS-ACSB aims to establish a Canadian network of individuals interested in a wide variety of biological safety issues and to enhance the knowledge and understanding of biological safety.

CABS-ACSB is registered (since June 1990) as a not-for-profit corporation. Corporations Canada (https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/home) provides a means to search for Directors, Annual Filings and Certificates of Continuance.

CABS-ACSB is also registered with Volunteer Canada (Membership ID 103918) (https://volunteer.ca/)

President's Message

Now more than ever, during these difficult and challenging times, biosafety officers, biosafety professionals and safety staff, are being called upon locally, provincially, federally and around the world to protect the public, health care professionals, researchers, lab personal and others, unselfishly dedicating their skills, time and knowledge to controlling, eliminating and preventing the spread of Covid-19.

On behalf of the executive of the Canadian Association of Biological Safety (CABS) we would like to thank all of you who are being called upon more and more often to advise, educate and collaborate on the safe handling of Covid-19 and other pathogens from the patient bedside to the diagnostic bench and the research labs. Our role in getting through this unprecedented crisis is being recognized and heralded as vital and critical.

Once again, thank you!
Tom Walus, President CABS

Our Mission

The Canadian Association for Biological Safety (CABS - ACSB) has adopted and, as a condition of obtaining and continuing their membership in this association, every member of CABS – ACSB accepts the Code of Ethics. In accepting the Code of Ethics, each member of CABS – ACSB pledges to subscribe not only to the letter but the spirit of the Code in all their professional activities.

Code of Ethics

To support and develop the profession of biosafety and biosecurity in Canada, and to share our expertise nationally and internationally.


The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to provide guidelines to ensure that members of CABS – ACSB adhere to high ethical standards of practice. The ethical relationships of members of CABS – ACSB are defined to ensure that their conduct will:

  • Provide sound judgement in pursuance of their professional duties;
  • Maintain the highest standards of integrity and professional competence; and,
  • Uphold the honour and prestige of the association.

Professional Responsibilities

Directors shall:

  1. Not use membership lists for any purpose other than contacting the membership about matters relating to CABS – ACSB business as outlined in the By-laws of CABS – ACSB.
  2. Not permit the use of membership lists by members or any other organization or person, unless authorized by the board, and that use is for the purpose of contacting membership about matters relating to CABS – ACSB business as outlined in the By-laws of CABS – ACSB.
  3. Be bound by the membership responsibilities outlined below.

Members shall:

  1. Protect and promote the biosafety, biosecurity and health of humans, animals, property and the environment above any consideration of self-interest.
  2. Engage only in activities that maintain and enhance the quality of their professional service. This would include activities on List servers, social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, etc. and any other communication tools that may become available in the future.
  3. Avoid circumstances where compromise of professional conduct or conflict of interest may arise, including engagement in marketing and advertising products and/or services pertaining to Biological Safety unless authorized by the board. This includes presentations by members at CABS – ACSB sponsored events.
  4. Membership lists are not to be used for commercial or marketing purposes; the membership list is restricted to CABS-ACSB business.
  5. Be objective in the application of recognised scientific methods and in the interpretation of findings.
  6. Recognize and respect the original work, integrity and ability of their peers.
  7. Recognize their professional limitations and level of competence as well as the special skills of others in related professions.
  8. Continue professional development throughout their career and support and encourage fellow Association members to develop professionally.
  9. Protect the confidentiality of all professionally acquired information and disclose such information only when properly authorized or when legally obligated to do so.
  10. Represent their qualifications and experience accurately and not knowingly make false or misleading statements.

Breach of Ethics

A member who breaches the Code of Ethics may have their membership cancelled without further legal challenge.

CABS-ACSB Executive

The executive is the governing body of the Canadian Association for Biological Safety (CABS-ACSB). The executive consists of the President, Past President, President Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, Communications Officer, and Elections/Nominations Officer.

Tom Walus – President

Tom Walus graduated from the University of Winnipeg and did his medical laboratory training at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. He worked at HSC for over 20 years as a senior technologist responsible for mycobacteria and as the clinical instructor. He left Winnipeg for 2.5 years to go to Saskatoon to be the laboratory manager for clinical microbiology with the Saskatoon Health Region. He returned to Winnipeg to work at St. Boniface General Hospital as the clinical instructor. In 2014 he worked at the International Centre for Infectious Diseases as the program manager for biosafety. His current position is biosafety and biosecurity officer for Diagnostic Services Manitoba. Tom has been and continues to be involved in many professional societies. From bench to boardroom, from classroom to teacher…he has seen just about everything!

Andrea Smida – Past President

Andrea Smida is currently the Biosafety Officer at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), Saskatchewan, Canada and is a Registered Biological Safety Professional through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA). Andrea holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology (2000) and a Master's of Science degree in Toxicology (2004) from the University of Saskatchewan. In January, 2008, Andrea joined the U of S as the Biosafety Manager. In this position, Andrea is responsible for overseeing the U of S Biosafety program, which allowed her to facilitate and improve the program, to provide training, to assist in the commissioning and certification of new facilities and to ensure compliance with all regulatory agencies. In 2013, Andrea’s position has evolved into a more generalist role, which involves being responsible for a specific area and provides clients a one point contact for all their safety requirements. Andrea continues her role as the University Biosafety Officer maintaining the University’s biosafety program. Andrea has been active member on CABS and ABSA since 2008. She sat on the CABS Executive for the past 4 years, and currently sits as the CABS-ACSB President, and is eager to work hard to make CABS-ACSB the national voice for Biosafety professionals in Canada and help in the development of a national biosafety professional registration program.

Peter Fairman - Communications Officer

Peter Fairman completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Biology in 2004 and his Master’s Degree in Biology in 2007. During this time he studied intracellular signaling pathways in THP-1 monocyte-like cells. In 2013, Peter completed his doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa, studying HIV-1 in a containment level 3 lab. During this time he also conducted some toxicology research work for Health Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. From 2013 to 2014, Peter headed west to work in the oil and gas industry where he drove heavy truck, worked in industrial laboratories, and earned his Professional Biologist designation. From 2016 to 2018, Peter served as the Thompson Rivers University Biosafety Officer in Kamloops, British Columbia and in 2019, Peter began work as an Occupational Hygiene Officer with WorkSafeBC.

Meghan Allen - Secretary

Meghan Allen is currently the Biological, Chemical and Occupational Health and Safety Lead at the Canadian Light Source. Meghan completed her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan in 2009, majoring in Food Science and Applied Microbiology. Meghan spent several years working within the food industry in Quality Management and Research and Development and has spent the last 5 years at the Canadian Light Source, with a higher focus on biological safety, which she enjoys very much. She is excited to be part of the CABS executive and looks forward to serving the biosafety community.


Position Open

Ruth Blanchette - Nominations and Elections Officer

Ruth Blanchette is currently Biosafety Officer at McGill University. Ruth completed a Bachelor’s degree with a joint major in Microbiology and Biochemistry from the Collège Universitaire de Saint-Boniface (2002) and a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the University of Manitoba (2007). Ruth has over 10 years experience working in microbiology labs across multiple disciplines including clinical, environmental, food and research microbiology labs. Ruth looks forward to using this experience to help serve the Biosafety community as a member of the CABS executive.

Past Presidents

  • Stephen Thiereault
  • Stephane Bourget
  • Lois Sowden-Plunkett (2008/09 to September 2014)
  • Andrea Smida September (September 2014 to 2017)


A pdf containing our CABS-ACSB Bylaws is available for download by clicking CABS-ACSB Bylaws PDF