The Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) was created in July 2009 following amendments to the Coroners Act. Under the leadership of the Chief Forensic Pathologist, registered forensic pathologists in the OFPS perform autopsies ordered by coroners.
Pathologists are specialized medical doctors who have undertaken five years of additional training after medical school in pathology, the study of disease. Forensic pathologists also have post-graduate training in forensic pathology, the application of medicine and science to legal issues usually in the context of sudden death. Forensic pathologists regularly provide expert witness testimony in the inquest court, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice and sometimes the Ontario Court of Appeal.
OFPS pathologists perform approximately 6,000 coroner-ordered autopsies each year. Many of these autopsies occur in Forensic Pathology Units located in Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, London and Ottawa. Pathologists employed in community hospitals also provide autopsy services through the OFPS.
The OFPS works closely with the Office of the Chief Coroner to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to death investigation in the public interest. Together, the Chief Forensic Pathologist and Chief Coroner provide dual leadership for the death investigation system in Ontario.
The OFPS has established a register to help ensure that pathologists will be appropriately matched to autopsies consistent with their level of expertise. The OFPS provides each registered pathologist with a Code of Ethics and practice guidelines to enhance the quality of their work.
A seamless forensic pathology system that fully integrates public service, education and research.
To provide the highest quality forensic pathology service aimed at contributing to the administration of justice, preventing premature death and protecting public safety.