The Birth of the Society
For many years, efforts in Canada to make science work for society, through providing back-up support for law enforcement, were carried out in almost independent isolation. Perhaps this was largely because communication was confined to news media and the occasional article in a popular magazine.
In 1953, Inspector James A. Churchman, a firearms identification expert with the RCMP and Dr. Charles G. Farmilo, a chemist with the Department of National Health and Welfare in Ottawa, who was interested in alkaloids and other drugs, concluded that forensic science in Canada could be much more useful if involved individuals could get to know each other personally and exchange experiences.
Through their efforts, seventeen interested individuals from forensic establishments met with no rigid agenda at the NRC building in Ottawa. By lunch time the Canadian Forensic Society was established, clearly a reflection of the obvious need for such an organization. The name of the Society was ultimately changed to a more descriptive form – the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.
From this modest beginning the membership of the Society has grown nationally and internationally, becoming the voice of forensics in Canada. Its prestigious publication, the CSFS Journal, launched on March 1, 1968, is now offered online and reaches almost 3000 individuals and institutions including universities, forensic establishments and libraries at home and abroad. It showcases a variety of articles from top forensic experts around the world.
The Canadian Society of Forensic Science is an excellent example of an unqualified success story.
Time has only served to demonstrate that the concerns of our predecessors were the concerns of the forensic scientist of today, so ably expressed by Professor G. H. W. Lucas at the inaugural meeting: “Canadian scientists and police officers dealing with forensic problems arising from questions of a legal nature should band together to exchange information and discuss these problems. The Society should include as many interrelated groups as possible to link together the personnel of the laboratories which are widely scattered across Canada. It is emphasized that although our legal problems might be peculiar to the Canadian scene, the international character of the science should be remembered and that discussion of forensic problems in the international forum, whether held in our own country or elsewhere, can add substantially to our knowledge and assist in the solution of those problems peculiar to our country.”
To learn more about the founding members: