Centre of Forensic Sciences

Centre of Forensic Sciences logo

Centre of Forensic Sciences

About the Centre

 

We are located in the Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex in Downsview, near the intersection of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. Our address is:

Centre of Forensic Sciences
25 Morton Shulman Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M3M 0B1
main telephone number: 647-329-1320
main fax number: 647-329-1361

Go on a virtual tour of our new facility.

 

Ontario's Centre of Forensic Sciences is one of the most extensive forensic science facilities in North America. The central laboratory is located in Toronto, the Northern Regional Laboratory in Sault Ste. Marie.

The two laboratories conduct scientific investigations in cases involving injury or death in unusual circumstances and in crimes against persons or property. Highly specialized forensic examination and analysis are conducted in the following areas:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • documents
  • firearms and toolmarks, and
  • toxicology.

Independent scientific laboratory services support the administration of justice and public safety programs across the province. Law enforcement officers, crown attorneys, defence counsel, coroners, pathologists and other official investigative agencies make use of the Centre’s services.

History

The roots of the Centre are in the creation of the Attorney General's Laboratory in 1951. It was renamed the Centre of Forensic Sciences in 1966, transferred to the new Ministry of the Solicitor General in 1972 and again to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in 2002. The Northern Regional Laboratory was opened in 1992 to serve Northern Ontario.

Mandate

Science for Justice.
It is our mission to provide excellent scientific laboratory services in support of the administration of justice and public safety programs for the citizens of Ontario by:

  • providing scientific examinations and interpretations in cases involving injury or death in unusual circumstances and in crimes against persons or property;
  • presenting independent objective expert testimony to the courts and other tribunals in Ontario;
  • conducting research and development to extend the scope and quality of forensic science services; and
  • preparing and presenting educational programs and materials on forensic sciences for the benefit of persons and agencies using forensic science services.

Centre Receiving Office

All items submitted to the Centre for examination are taken in at the Centre Receiving Office (CRO). Responsible for screening incoming items from investigative agencies throughout Ontario, the CRO ensures that guidelines for submission have been met, proper packaging has been employed and proper continuity or chain of custody has been maintained.

The CRO reviews submission forms to ensure that information accompanying each submission is complete and confirms that all necessary items for examination are present. Once this is done, the CRO then directs the item(s) to the appropriate section for analysis. The CRO also provides training to investigators in the proper collection and handling of items submitted for examination.

Quality Assurance Unit

The seven-person quality assurance (QA) unit administers the CFS QA program. This program provides the framework for:

  • the delivery of objective, relevant and reliable results;
  • supports each member of staff in conducting analyses and interpreting results;
  • identifies improvements that will enhance quality; and
  • identifies and corrects potential and actual deficiencies.

The QA Unit is responsible for the compliance of the laboratory to accreditation standards including:

  • the security and integrity of the evidence and all related documentation;
  • the use of validated procedures; and
  • on-going quality assessment through practical testing, document review and regular audits.

Library

The CFS library, named for the late Dr. H. Ward Smith, Director of the Centre of Forensic Sciences from 1951 to 1967, is designed for specialized educational and research activities of forensic professionals, as well as for persons and agencies using forensic services. The library contains an extensive collection that spans the many aspects of forensic science.

Please note: the library is not open to the public.

Professional Activities

The CFS offers many educational programs and materials for persons or agencies using its services. Included are lectures at police colleges, forensic pathology courses, coroner's courses and universities. Frequent seminars are also arranged for special groups from the legal profession and the police.