CLC Terms of Reference


In December, 2006, the Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan announced the intention to create a permanent Community Liaison Committee (CLC) to help ensure open and accurate communication with the community in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Canada relative to the level 3 bio-safety facility at VIDO.


The role of the CLC is to provide information to the public regarding the safe and secure operation of the U of S VIDO high containment facilities, thereby creating a basis for and maintaining an atmosphere of public trust and confidence between VIDO and the community in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Canada.  While the CLC has no authority over the activities of VIDO, the CLC, through a transparent process, has the authority to oversee InterVac activities and information that are or may become of public interest.   


The Community Liaison Committee is established to provide an ongoing opportunity for discussion and sharing of information between VIDO at the University of Saskatchewan and the community of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and as well as other Canadian communities.


The objectives of the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) are:

  • To monitor operational safety and security from a community perspective in order to provide assurances to the public that their interests are considered and that provincial, federal and industry standards are being met or are exceeded.
  • To proactively seek and provide accurate information to the community in order to foster a greater understanding of the activities of InterVac and to seek and provide accurate information to promote common understanding on and resolution of issues of public concern.
  • To provide an ongoing forum for public input and a sustained information exchange.
  • To provide advice on issues of communications and public safety and offer the perspective of the CLC to the Executive Director and the VIDO Board of Directors on these issues. 

Role and Responsibilities of Members:

The CLC will be responsible for seeking information on incidents or activities related to real or perceived community concerns, monitoring issues related to safety, and providing feedback to the VIDO board of directors on appropriate actions to address such issues or concerns.

Role and Responsibilities of InterVac:

The Director of VIDO and the VIDO Board of Directors shall ensure that CLC members are provided with appropriate assistance, information and instruction as well as timely access so as to be able to properly fulfill their responsibilities.


The primary accountability of the CLC is to the community of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Canada.  The CLC communicates directly with the VIDO Board of Directors through its chairperson for the purposes of insuring public confidence in VIDO and VIDO's safe and optimal performance.  The CLC will maintain a good working relationship with VIDO and its governance bodies to provide transparent information and services to the public.  At the conclusion of each year, the CLC is responsible to produce and publicly distribute an annual report of committee activities.

The CLC has the authority to direct concerns via the Director of VIDO to the VIDO Board.  The VIDO Board has the responsibility to advise the CLC to what degree such concerns are warranted, the circumstances affecting such concerns, the nature of the appropriate response and the ongoing status of any action taken. 

If the response and action taken is considered insufficient, the CLC, via the committee’s community chairperson or designate, will convey to the Vice-President Research and/or the President of the University its continuing concern in an effort to effect a satisfactory resolution.  The CLC may, via the community chairperson or designate, raise issues of concern with appropriate government and regulatory officials including but not limited to, the Chief Medical Health Officer of the Saskatoon Health Region, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer and the President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  If, in the opinion of the CLC, there are still overriding public concerns, the CLC has the authority to directly communicate with the public at large.

Committee Membership and Structure:

The CLC will comprise 8 to 12 participants with expertise that reflects a cross-section of relevant sectors across the community.  Elected officials will not serve on the committee to avoid the perception of partisan involvement or influence.

Areas of representation and expertise to be considered in committee membership include:

  • Saskatoon neighbourhoods proximate to InterVac
  • Emergency measures/fire
  • Public health
  • Animal health
  • Producer groups
  • Environment interests

The committee will include a chairperson and a vice chair.  The Director of VIDO should serve on the committee on a permanent basis.

Terms of Appointment:

The term of other committee members is to be three years with an option for re-appointment.  The term for the community chairperson and the vice chair will be two years with an option for re-appointment.

The CLC will solicit recommendations for new members and make appropriate recommendation for the appointment of members to the Vice-President Research at the University of Saskatchewan.


The frequency of meetings will be quarterly at a minimum or more frequently as normally determined by the chairperson. The community chairperson may call meetings independently from the Director of VIDO.

Meeting quorum will require at least four members of the committee and any vote of the committee will be determined on the basis of a simple majority.

The CLC committee will submit an annual budget to the University of Saskatchewan for review and approval.  The budget will include an itemized request for secretarial, administrative and communication support services, education, travel, website, answering service, refreshments for meetings and events. Services will be provided at no cost to committee members.


The committee will supplement VIDO and the University of Saskatchewan ongoing communications and interaction with the community, stakeholders, media and regulatory agencies.  The committee will provide guidance on appropriate and effective ways of communicating with the community.  This information will be provided to VIDO’s Executive Committee, to stakeholder organizations and to the public, through an open and transparent process.

The process and operation of this committee is considered public information and will be communicated openly.


Members are volunteers and do not receive any remuneration.

Security and Conduct:

Community representatives on the CLC are not required to obtain a security InterVac clearance.

Our Commitment to You

Full and open communication...

The CLC ensures full and open communication with the public on safety issues related to VIDO.  It was modeled after the successful Community Liaison Committee for the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg.

Understanding the big picture...

VIDO significantly enhances Canada's capacity to develop and test new vaccines for both humans and animals, as well as develop new methods of delivering these vaccines. Existing and emerging diseases to be studied at InterVac will include, among others, hepatitis C, SARS, HIV and avian influenza.

There are more than 90 laboratories in Canada with the capacity to work on Level 3 diseases, however, VIDO is one of the few Containment Level 3 labs in the world that has the capability to conduct large scale vaccine testing with large animals such as cows. This advantage attracts researchers from around the world which further enhances the science of vaccine testing while at the same time provides Saskatoon and Saskatchewan with economic benefits.

"A new vaccine is the kind of opportunity that the public health community is constantly seeking out and adopting in order to improve the health of the public and reduce health inequalities, as individuals and as a society.” (2007)
Dr. David Butler-Jones, Former Chief Public Health Officer
Public Health Agency of Canada

Addressing issues of public concern...

Community members might have questions about biosafety and containment related to the development and testing of new vaccines for serious diseases. VIDO was built to exceed international biocontainment safety standards and its engineering, operational and administrative controls will ensure the safety of workers, the community and the environment. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are involved in regulating the safety of the facility. Even with these safeguards in place however, InterVac is working to address any concerns the community may have about the safety of the facility.

Representative of your community...

The CLC committee consists of up to 12 participants from Saskatoon and area. Committee members were selected to reflect a cross-section of community interests. The CLC operates according to the following Terms of Reference.

Accessible to you...

The CLC liaises with VIDO to provide you with answers to your questions about the safety of VIDO and will monitor issues related to community safety and incidents of potential public interest.

Unresolved concerns will be directed to the U of S Vice-President Research, the U of S President, and appropriate government and regulatory officials.

CLC Membership

  • Dick Batten, Lawyer
  • Volker Gerdts, Director, VIDO
  • Dr. Brian Gibbs, Veterinarian, Central Animal Hospital
  • Morgan Hackl, City of Saskatoon Fire Chief
  • Janice Hobbs, Financial Consultant
  • Noreen Jeffrey (Vice-Chair), Former Educator/Educational Writer
  • Dr. Simon Kapaj, MHO Medical Director, Environmental Public Health
  • Susan Lamb (Chair), Former CEO Meewasin
  • Vance McNab, Vice President of Marketing, SIGA
  • Verity Moore-Wright, Fund Development Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Patricia Roe, Retired
  • Stacy Strom (ex-officio), Associate Biosafety Officer, VIDO
  • Tracey Thue (ex-officio), Biosafety Officer, VIDO
clc group photo 2023


 2023 CLC members from left to right: 

Vance McNabb, Morgan Hackl, Susan Lamb, Volker Gerdts, Dick Batten, Patricia Roe, Stacy Strom
Missing: Noreen Jeffrey, Brian Gibbs, Simon Kapaj, Verity Moore-Wright, Janice Hobbs and Tracey Thue