Ministry of the
Solicitor General

CFS - 2017 Client Satisfaction Survey

Centre of Forensic Sciences

2017 Client Satisfaction Survey Report


The Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) provides independent scientific laboratory services to support the administration of justice and public safety programs across Ontario. CFS clients include law enforcement officers, crown attorneys, defence counsel, coroners, pathologists and other official investigative agencies. Forensic science services include the provision of analytical test reports in the areas of biology, chemistry, documents, firearms and toxicology.

The CFS has measured client satisfaction on an annual basis since 2000. Client satisfaction measures are used by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to assess CFS performance. Obtaining feedback from clients is also a requirement of the accreditation standards to which the CFS adheres.

Executive Summary

The annual client satisfaction survey is used to evaluate the performance of the CFS against the organizational commitment to provide high quality forensic laboratory services in support of the administration of justice and public safety programs for the citizens of Ontario.

In January 2018, 5,050 invitations to participate in the survey were successfully delivered and 506 responses were received by the CFS (10% response rate). A different distribution approach was used in 2018 and may have contributed to the decrease in responses from 2016.

Figure 1 - CFS 2016 Client Satisfaction Survey Response Rate

Response rates - 2011-2017

2011 - 33%
2012 - 31%
2013 - 29%
2014 - 25%
2015 - 28%
2016 - 22%
2017 - 10%

Respondents to the 2017 survey (see Figure 2) reflect the CFS client base. The majority of responses were provided by police officers, the main client group in terms of volume of submissions in 2017.

Figure 2 - CFS 2017 Client Survey Respondent Breakdown

Respondent breakdown - 2017

police officer - 76.88%
coroner - 6.72%
Crown attorney - 6.13%
pathologist - 2.37%
defence attorney - 2.17%
other - 4.55%
fire investigator - 0.79%

conservation officer - 0.40%

Client satisfaction is one of the performance measures that the CFS reports to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services each year. The CFS sets a target of 87% client satisfaction and this target has been exceeded annually since 2007. Figure 3 shows overall client satisfaction for years 2008 to 2017.

Figure 3 - CFS 2017 Client Satisfaction Rating 2008-2016

Client Satisfaction 2008-2017

2008 - 88%
2009 - 89%
2010 - 88%
2011 - 93%
2012 - 91%
2013 - 90%
2014 - 90%
2015 - 91%
2016 - 96%
2017 - 94%


Clients were asked about their level of satisfaction in key areas of interaction:

  • New web-based pre-submission process
  • Timeliness of CFS services
  • Overall experience with laboratory reports
  • Information, assistance and technical support provided by CFS staff
  • Quality of training provided by CFS staff

Some key highlights from the 2017 survey:

  • The turnaround time (TAT) from when evidence is submitted, to a report being issued, continues to be of high importance to clients. 80% of survey respondents agreed that the TAT met their needs; no change from 2016.
  • Clients continue to be satisfied with the thoroughness of lab reports and also made suggestions on how reports can be improved.
  • More clients have indicated that CFS training meets their needs. An increase from the 2016 survey results may indicate that more clients are becoming aware of training offered by the CFS. Other respondents highlighted the lack of awareness of training provided by the CFS and requested better communication on training opportunities.
  • Clients continue to express a high level of satisfaction with the information, assistance and technical support provided by CFS staff and the time taken to respond to enquiries.
  • Of the 506 survey responses received, 165 included individual comments (33%).
    • 24% of written comments were clients expressing satisfaction and recognizing the high quality services provided by the CFS
    • 44% identified areas where there may be room for improvement

The CFS values the qualitative comments provided by respondents as they can be used to inform service reviews or provide information about future organizational initiatives.

Looking Ahead – CFS Actions and Responses

The CFS is committed to engaging with clients and seeking continuous feedback. The following are some areas where efforts are underway to address client input:

Report Review

The CFS is currently reviewing the format and content of reports, in consultation with clients, to ensure accuracy and comprehensibility.

Reduction in TAT

In consultation with clients and after reviewing turnaround time performance targets, the CFS revised the TAT targets based on the type of case and what phase the submission is currently in (investigative vs. litigation).

30 day TAT target:

  • Serious offences against the person and Special Investigation Unit cases in the investigative phase
  • Coroner’s cases requiring non-complex Toxicology and Biology analysis
  • Letters of Opinion requested in response to litigation priorities

60 day TAT target:

  • All other submissions

Web-based Evidence Pre-submission Process

The CFS is reviewing options to improve the web-based evidence pre-submission process, including embedding of instructional videos.

Client Training

The CFS is seeking to improve access to training and education programs that are relevant to client needs. The goal is to improve training via a coordinated, client-centred training program, which includes the creation and communication of an in-house calendar of events.