The RCMP have three forensic laboratories in Canada located in Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa. These labs provide a wide range of programs and services to law enforcement agencies.

The Forensic Science and Identification Services (FS&IS) is a fundamental element in assisting with criminal investigations through:

  • Forensic science services
  • The National DNA Data Bank
  • Crime scene forensic identification
  • Criminal record repositories

The Forensic Science and Identification Services consists of many sections, so when evidence is brought forward, the first point of contact is The Forensic Assessment Centre (FAC), where FAC representatives will help to ensure that the correct services are selected.

Some of the sections within the FS&IS include:

This program performs analysis in three stages.

Evidence recovery stage

Technologists identify biological evidence collected from crime scenes and prepare samples for analysis. Recovered biological evidence can include body fluids, hair, and cellular material from handled objects.

Analysis stage

Technologists conduct nuclear DNA analysis and develop DNA profiles from the samples.

Reporting stage

Scientists compare the DNA profile with other DNA profiles to determine if there are any associations. NFLS is one of three public forensic laboratories authorized to use the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) of the National DNA Data Bank. Scientists may need to provide expert testimony in courts.

This program performs examinations on firearms, tools, and related items. Scientists search the Canadian Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (CIBIN) to provide possible leads in firearms-related investigations. CIBIN is a database containing information about unsolved cases involving firearms.

Services also include:

  • legal classification and mechanical assessments
  • making associations of bullets and cartridge cases to firearms
  • through comparative analysis
  • making impact damage assessments and range determination
  • restoring serial numbers
  • examining toolmarks
  • scientists may need to provide expert testimony in courts

The NACB maintains a national database of bank notes recovered from circulation in Canada. It assists in establishing counterfeit trends and supporting criminal investigations.

Services also include:

  • examining
  • suspect counterfeit currency in circulation in Canada
  • negotiable instruments (for example, cheques, stamps)
  • travel and identity documents
  • Canadian circulation coins
  • payment cards
  • scientists may need to provide expert testimony in courts

This program receives body fluid samples (e.g., blood, urine) and other types of evidence.

Services also include:

  • screening for a broad range of drugs and poisons, including alcohol
  • and cannabinoids
  • detecting and analyzing drugs and poisons in biological samples and
  • other material that has been collected as evidence
  • providing training and support for the Alcohol Breath Testing
  • Program and the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP)
  • scientists may need to provide expert testimony in courts

This program recovers, compares, and identifies non-biological trace evidence (for example, gunshot residue, paint, potential fire accelerants, plastics, building products, safe insulation, commercial products).

Services include:

  • physical matching of seized materials
  • analyzing pre- and post-blast samples to determine the type of
  • explosive used
  • analyzing explosives ingredients and related materials
  • providing scientific and technical support to bomb disposal units
  • and other experts in the field
  • hosting and supporting the Paint Data Query (PDQ) – the world’s
  • largest international automotive paint database that assists with hit
  • and run investigations
  • scientists may need to provide expert testimony in courts

Careers in forensic science

NFLS employs scientists, technologists, and support personnel for its three sites (Ottawa, Edmonton and Surrey). Employment opportunities are also available at the National DNA Data Bank (NDDB) in Ottawa.
Visit the Public Service Commission for available job opportunities at NFLS and the NDDB. Search the following classifications:

Engineering and Scientific Support (EG)
Chemistry (CH) Computer
Systems (CS)
Clerical Support (CR)

To learn more about the requirements for these positions, please see the Government of Canada’s qualification standards.

Visit their website for more information. RCMP Forensics