Government of Ontario

CFS - Reporting of examination results and opinions

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Technical Information

Reporting of examination results and opinions


The Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) is an accredited forensic testing laboratory. In consultation with clients the CFS has developed various formats for reporting results and providing scientific opinions. This allows for investigative information to be provided in a timely manner and to ensure that reported results are clearly understood. Additional information to assist with understanding the reports is available on the CFS website and is referenced in the report. All information pertaining to the examinations conducted and handling of evidence items is maintained by the CFS and is available upon request.

CFS Report Types

Interpretive Report - Formal, written release of information documenting the results of the laboratory examinations, including the interpretation of any findings, opinions and quantification of the significance of associations along with statements of limitations, where required.

Analytical Report - Formal, written release of information documenting the results of the laboratory analysis only, with limited interpretations if required.

Notification Letter - Formal written release of preliminary investigative information.

Letter of Opinion - A formal letter providing a scientific opinion based on the information or a scenario provided to the scientist.

All reports will include the following identifying information:

  • address of the reporting laboratory
  • report title
  • CFS case file number and request number
  • submitter’s file number (Incident Number), where available
  • contact information for the report writer or the Section
  • report recipient and names of the investigators, where required
  • reference to the parties involved

In addition to the identifying information the CFS reports will also include the following information depending on the report type:

Interpretive Report

  • purpose of the examination
  • name of the report writer and their electronic signature
  • identification and description of items examined, tests performed and results obtained
  • conclusions, including significance of associations and limitations
  • alternative explanations where required
  • notes of clarification and remarks statements where required
  • evidence continuity and disposition information
  • attribution statement for evidence
  • reference to statement of qualifications, technical information sheets or report guides for additional information

Analytical Report

  • purpose of the examination*
  • the name of the report writer, and the electronic signature of the report writer*
  • identification and description of items examined, tests performed and results obtained
  • notes of clarification and remarks statements where required
  • evidence continuity and disposition information
  • attribution statement for evidence
  • reference to statement of qualifications*, technical information sheets or report guides for additional information

*Not required for Toxicology analytical reports

Notification Letter

  • identification and description of items examined
  • investigative information pertaining to database upload or notification of a hit
    • e.g. CODIS or CIBIN/NIBIN upload or hit
    • PDQ search results for hit and run
  • continuity information
  • reference to supporting information where required
  • clarification notes and remarks statements where required

Letter of Opinion

  • name of the letter writer and their electronic signature
  • summary of the information upon which the opinion is based
  • statement of the opinion with assumptions and limitations where required
  • reference to technical information sheets, where required

Additional information not contained in reports

All additional information pertaining to the examinations conducted and the methods used that is not contained in the report is available in the relevant supporting information or the case record.

Such information would include:

  • evidence continuity reports
  • details of examination and analysis methods
  • dates of the examinations/analyses performed
  • examination notes
  • submission information

Supporting information documents are available on the Technical Information Sheets page. Links to the specific documents are provided in the report. Any information maintained in the case record is available upon request.

Ces publications spécialisées sont destinées aux enquêteurs et déposants et ne sont disponibles qu'en anglais. Ces documents sont destinés à un groupe particulier et, en vertu du règlement 671/92, sont exempts de la traduction normalement exigée sous la Loi sur les services en français. Si un enquêteur désire obtenir une copie en français, il doit communiquer avec Jonathan Newman, directeur adjoint, services scientifiques, au 647-329-1322 (jonathan.newman@ontario.ca).