Government of Ontario

CFS - Handbook of Forensic Evidence for the Investigator

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Handbook of Forensic Evidence for the Investigator


Handbook of Forensic Evidence for the Investigator - PDF, 660 kb


Nous entreprendrons la traduction en langue française dès qu’une demande valide sera soumise par une agence de police municipale francophone. Une fois le travail de traduction en cours, les clients francophones sont priés d’appeler le 647-329-1324 pour assistance en français.


Introduction
Contact Information
General Information

Adhesive Tape
Ammunition
Biology DNA High Volume Service
Blood Alcohol Kits
Bloodstains
Body Tissues/Post Mortem Samples
Bones/Teeth
Building Materials
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials
Chewing Gum
Cigarette Butts
Clothing
Condoms
Controlled Substances
Cosmetics
Counterfeit Bank Notes
DNA High Volume Service
DNA Samples
Dye-pack Dye
Drug and Alcohol Analysis
Envelope Flaps and Stamps
Explosives
Fibres
Fingernail Clippings and Scrapings
Fingerprinting
Fire Debris
Firearm Discharge Residue
Firearms
Food
Gases
Glass
Gunshot Residue
Hairs
Handler DNA
Handwriting, Handprinting and Signatures
High Volume Service
Indented Writings
Ink Comparisons
Lachrymators
Letter of Opinion
Lungs
Maggots
Metals
Noxious Substances
Paint
Printing Machines
Saliva
Semen
Serial Numbers
Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK)
Sexual Lubricants
Suspicious Liquids or Powders
Syringes
Toolmarks
Tools
Vehicles
Weapons


Introduction

This handbook provides an overview of the collection and packaging requirements for items being submitted to the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS). Should any additional assistance be required, please contact the appropriate section.


Contact Information

Centre Receiving Office (CRO)
647-329-1350

Case submission, packaging of cases; completion of submission form

For submissions to the Centre of Forensic Sciences, address/deliver to:
The Centre of Forensic Sciences
Forensics Services and Coroner’s Complex
25 Morton Shulman Avenue
Toronto, ON
M3M 0B1

For long term storage of post-mortem samples, identification of tissues, address to:
The Ontario Forensic Pathology Service
Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex
25 Morton Shulman Avenue
Toronto, ON
M3M 0B1

Biology
647-329-1540
Sexual Assault Scientific Advisor
647-329-1603
High Volume Crime Scientific Advisor
647-329-1601
Major Crime Scientific Advisor
647-329-1602
DNA Databank Hits Team
647-329-1604

Chemistry

(e.g., fire debris, gun shot residue, hairs and fibres, paint and glass, suspicious liquids or powders)

Chemistry Scientific Advisor
647-329-1500
Physical Sciences
647-329-1690

Documents, Firearms and Toolmarks

Physical Sciences Scientific Advisor

Toxicology

Drugs, Blood Alcohol Concentration

Toxicology Criminal Coordinator
647-329-1430
Toxicology Coroner coordinator
647-329-1400

Organizational Development Section

Forensic science education services
The Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS)
416-314-4040
CFS Sault Ste. Marie, Northern Regional Laboratory (NRL)
705-945-6550
70 Foster Dr. Suite 500
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 6V3
Centre Receiving Office
705-945-6553
Fax 705-945-6569

Services offered at the NRL include Biology, Toxicology, and Firearms and Toolmarks.

The NRL does not provide services in Documents or Chemistry. All investigative agencies in Northern Ontario can access these services at CFS Toronto.

Additionally, all samples for the Biology High Volume Service should be directed to CFS Toronto.


General Information

Documentation

All cases submitted to the CFS Toronto or Sault Ste. Marie must be accompanied by a CFS Case Submission Form available on the CFS website. All relevant parts of the form must be completed including:

  • The names, dates of birth and/or age of persons charged or suspected in the case
  • The names, dates of birth and/or age of deceased or of complainants in the case
  • The name, badge number, mailing address, e-mail address and phone/cell number of the submitter, the person requesting the examination
  • The name, badge number, mailing address, e-mail address and phone/cell number of the chief investigator, the person in charge of the investigation (if applicable); Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) designate, pathologist, and coroner as required
  • The name of the Report Recipient (as reports are sent out via secure e-mail to a single report recipient) – this individual will be responsible for distributing the report as required
  • A brief description/synopsis of the events leading up to, during and subsequent to the occurrence
  • Explanation as to how items are related to the occurrence
  • A list of all the items that are being submitted for testing
  • A description of the examination requested for the items submitted (refer to specific requirements for descriptions provided for DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes)

Indicate on the Submission Form if a submission is either new or a supplemental submission for an existing case. Provide the CFS case number for any supplemental submission and any other reference case number(s) that is/are available (e.g., OFM #, job #, ecops #).

List any court dates on the CFS Case Submission Form or any other reasons that may warrant an expedited examination. Any urgent or priority case must be authorized by a manager.

Any pre-consultations with CFS staff regarding the acceptance of a case and/or items must be indicated on the CFS Case Submission Form. Pre-consultations with a CFS scientific advisor will be assigned a unique tracking number. Please enter the tracking number if one was issued on the case submission form.

A new CFS Case Submission Form is required for each submission, including any resubmissions.

Include Coroner’s Warrants, Sexual Assault Questionnaires, GSR Kit Questionnaires and other relevant paperwork along with the CFS Case Submission Form.

Collection and Packaging of Evidence Items

Note: Apply Universal Biohazard Safety Precautions when handling all evidence, especially if there is possible body fluids on items. If additional information is known, this can be indicated on the Case Submission Form, e.g., Hep-C positive.

  • Always wear gloves and protective clothing when handling and packaging evidential samples and change the gloves/protective clothing when contaminated and when handling items from different sources.
  • When using disposable utensils (e.g., razor blades) to collect evidence, use a new utensil for each sample collected.
  • Use water or alcohol to wipe scissors or forceps between the collection of different samples to prevent contamination. It is preferable to decontaminate such re-useable implements with a 1% bleach solution.
  • Keep comparison samples separate from questioned samples;
  • Items from different locations or individuals must be packaged separately.
  • Clearly note if any items need to be protected for fingerprinting or analysed by multiple sections.
  • Small items such as paint chips or hairs/fibres should be packaged using the Druggist’s Fold and then placed in an envelope.
  • Label each item (i.e., proximal container) that is submitted and include what the item is, to whom it belongs, where it was found, when it was found and who found it.
  • All containers that contain evidence and are shipped or mailed to the CFS must be “properly sealed” to ensure continuity and to protect the contents from loss, cross-transfer, or contamination.
  • A container is “properly sealed” only if its contents cannot readily escape and only if entering the container results in obvious damage to the container or seal.
  • Boxes, envelopes and other containers must be sealed by firmly applying tamper evident tape across each potential opening (e.g., top and bottom of box) of a container and initialling across the tape onto the container.
  • Tamper-evident tape, which is tape that provides an indication that a container has been tampered with, should be used to ensure that a container is properly sealed.
  • A minimum of one numbered CFS seal, or other numbered seal, is required on a container and must be placed perpendicular across an opening and initialled to uniquely identify the container for continuity purposes;
  • Stickers, labels, non-evidence tape and portions of seals are not considered to be continuity seals.
  • Property bags are sufficient as long as the items contained within are properly secured.

If possible, avoid applying seals over other pertinent information on items (e.g., date and time of collection of samples on small hospital tubes) and note any such information on the CFS Case Submission Form.

  • List all seal numbers on the CFS Case Submission Form clearly.
  • Air-dry items that are wet and/or stained with wet blood or other body fluids to prevent decomposition, except when requesting an examination for volatile ignitable liquids (e.g., accelerants).
  • Items that are especially difficult to dry completely, such as leather and suede, must be packaged in paper, not plastic.
  • Samples of bodily fluids and body organs should be kept refrigerated prior to submission.
  • Bodily fluids, body organs, and items soiled with wet biological fluids that cannot be adequately air-dried (e.g. used condoms), should be submitted to the CFS inside a secure cooler box with ice packs.
  • Such samples should be kept frozen if being held in long term storage prior to submission.
  • Do not reuse any CFS packaging for new cases due to potential cross-contamination of items.

Druggist’s Fold for Collecting Trace Samples

With the material in a position just right of centre in the middle of the paper, fold the paper upwards in half.

Keeping the entire sample to the right, fold the paper half way over.

Shake the sample into the left corner of the pocket that is formed, and then fold the paper back in half.

Fold the top down and place the packaged sample in an envelope.

Figure 1: Druggist’s Fold

Diagram of Druggist's fold

Adhesive tape

  • Submit the object on which the tape is attached
  • If that is not possible, mount the tape on a clean, non-porous surface (e.g., a plastic sheet such as thick transparency film; avoid using plastic page protectors) and package in a thick plastic bag
  • Do not try to separate the tape
  • Protect tape ends for possible physical match and for potential sampling for “handler” DNA – consult with Scientific Advisor for assistance
  • Examination sequence is usually DNA , then returned for fingerprinting, then resubmitted for physical match and comparison
  • Note the fingerprinting techniques used on the submission form

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”
  • Suspect tapes or roll of tape that are similar in colour, width and texture

Ammunition

Cases that may involve calibre determination, distance determination, the identification and comparison of fired ammunition to suspect firearms, the identification of the possible make and/or model of a firearm and the determination of linkages to other occurrences.

Ammunition is not routinely accepted for the purpose of identifying a possible “handler”, however may be accepted to test for the presence of blood. Consult with a Biology Section Major Crime Scientific Advisor.

Fingerprinting and DNA analysis must be completed prior to the submission of ammunition to the Firearms and Toolmarks Unit.

  • Unfired
  • For cases involving only unfired ammunition, there must be a prohibition order against the suspect/accused to be accepted.
  • If a firearm is being submitted, only submit a representative sample of ammunition (e.g., ½ capacity of the magazine);
  • Unfired cartridges removed from the chamber and other unfired ammunition should be packaged in separate containers.
  • Do not remove unfired ammunition from detachable magazines, submit the magazine.
  • Do not re-insert cartridges into a magazine if they have already been removed.
  • Firearms and unfired ammunition should be packaged in separated containers unless the items will be picked up upon completion of examination (e.g., Toronto Police courier).
  • Note: Unfired ammunition should not be submitted in Suspicious Firearms Index (SFI) cases

Fired

From a body:

  • Bullets and bullet fragments should be retrieved, if possible, by gloved hand or with plastic forceps to prevent alteration or damage.
  • Shotgun pellets should be retrieved by gloved hand or with plastic forceps, if possible. Submit a representative sample of the pellets (i.e., maximum of 10), selecting the most intact and undamaged for submission.
  • If a bullet is embedded in bone and cannot be readily removed, remove that portion of bone and submit; keep under refrigerated conditions.
  • Remove any trace evidence (e.g., clothing fibres) from the projectile prior to rinsing.
  • Blood should be removed from ammunition and ammunition components (i.e., bullets, wadding and pellets) as soon as is practicable, by rinsing with water and air drying completely prior to packaging.
  • Do not mark the bullet, mark the container.
  • Package items individually in a specimen jar, envelope, plastic box or bag;
  • Do not use glass containers.
  • Mark the container as bio-hazardous.

From the scene:

  • If embedded, cut out the area containing the bullet.
  • Avoid altering or damaging ammunition during recovery, if possible;
  • Do not recover bullets with any type of metal tool.
  • If DNA analysis is not required, blood should be removed from bullets and cartridge cases as soon as is practicable, by rinsing with water and air drying completely prior to packaging.
  • Do not mark any part of the cartridge case or the bullet, mark the container.
  • Submit all bullet fragments found at the scene.
  • Package items individually in a specimen jar, envelope, plastic box or bag;
  • Do not use glass containers.
  • If applicable, mark the container as bio-hazardous.

Comparison Samples

  • Suspect firearm
  • If relevant, DNA samples(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Rapid Assessment for IBIS Selection Examination (RAISE) Cases

RAISE cases are those where the only requirement of the submission is to determine whether or not a shooting incident is linked to a previous shooting or suspect firearm.

Submissions are restricted to cases where:

  • No accused/suspects are identified;
  • Only fired ammunition has been recovered from the shooting scene, no firearm has been recovered;
  • The occurrence is not a homicide;
  • There is no requirement to know the calibre or the type of firearm that discharged the fired ammunition or the number of firearms involved.

Cases received that meet the RAISE acceptance criteria will be treated as RAISE cases unless otherwise specified by the submitter.

Follow the collection and packaging guidelines outlined above under “AMMUNITION”.


Biology DNA High Volume Service

Refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol on the CFS website for requirements on evidence collection and submission.

For any exceptions contact the High Volume Crime Team Scientific Advisor via telephone or email.


Blood Alcohol Kits

  • Ensure both tubes are individually sealed by placing the seal over the top of the container and down each side.
  • Fill in the required information on the seals.
  • List both seal numbers on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Seal the kit and list the seal number on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Keep the samples refrigerated.
  • These can be used for the blood alcohol and DEC programs.
  • Blood alcohol kits are available through the CRO.

Figure 2 Proper sealing of vials in a blood alcohol kit

Proper sealing of vials in a blood alcohol kit


Bloodstains

Testing of items for the presence of blood prior to submission using commercially available kits can compromise DNA analysis as it may result in the removal of DNA , destruction of DNA , inhibition of DNA analysis and contamination with other sources of DNA during the testing process. Do not test items prior to submission with Hemastix®, or blood enhancing chemicals such as Luminol, BlueStar®, LMG, etc., without prior consultation with a Biology Scientific Advisor.

For submissions to the Biology DNA High Volume Service program, bloodstains must be swabbed (see below for swabbing instruction).

For all other case types:

  • Collect the whole item bearing the stain, if feasible and applicable.
  • Air-dry prior to submission, including clothing and fabrics.
  • Once dry, package the items individually in paper bags and submit.
  • Items such as knives should be packaged in a manner that limits their movement within the container, to keep it from going through the container and presenting a health and safety danger. Minimizing the movement of such items also minimizes the loss of any adhering blood or other trace materials.

Note: If it is not feasible, or applicable, to submit the actual item, then a sample(s) of the relevant stain(s) should be collected as follows:

  1. Take an overall photograph of the item to show the location of the stain;
  • Take a close-up photograph of the stain and include a scale in all photographs.
  1. Collect the stain or stained area from the item as detailed below (see instructions for wet/dry stains on non-absorbent surface versus wet/dry stains on an absorbent surface)
  2. For each item, also collect and retain a negative control sample, either by using a water-moistened swab or by excising a sample from an unstained area of the same material, collected as close to the stain as possible (do not submit control samples, unless directed to do so by a Biology Scientist).

Wet/Dry Stains on a Non-Absorbent Surface

  • Use a dry swab to collect a wet stain and a water-moistened swab to collect a dry stain; for small, faint and/or dilute stains, concentrate the stain on the tip of the swab.
  • Each stain should be swabbed separately; do not combine separate stains onto one swab (in situations where the collection of multiple stains per swab is warranted, such as when stains are limited in size and are proximal to one another, consult with a Biology Scientific Advisor prior to sampling).
  • All swabs should be packaged separately and must be air-dried prior to submission.

Wet/Dry Stains on an Absorbent Surface

  • If wet, allow stains to air-dry.
  • Use a disposable razor blade/scalpel to excise the stain. If a disposable razor/scalpel is not available, ensure that the implement being utilized (e.g. scissors) have been decontaminated prior to use (with, for example, a 1% bleach solution).
  • Each swab should be collected and packaged separately.
  • If swabs cannot be immediately air-dried, they should be stored frozen; air-dry prior to submission.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”

Body Tissues / Post Mortem Samples (other than lung)

  • Submit in a clean, leak proof container.
  • Do not store the tissue in any kind of fixative, such as formalin.
  • Tissue specimens requiring DNA analysis must be stored frozen pending submission;
  • Those for toxicological analysis must be kept refrigerated.
  • When identification of tissue type is required contact the Forensic Pathology Unit of the Office of the Chief Coroner at 416-314-4040.

Comparison Samples


Bones / Teeth

Comparison Samples

  • In the event that the bones/teeth are submitted as “unidentified remains”, see Reference/Personal Effect Samples.

Building Materials (Plaster, Concrete, Insulation, etc)

Questioned Samples

  • Submit the entire item, i.e., tools or clothing, if possible.
  • See “Clothing - For Trace Analysis” or “Tools” for collection and packaging information.
  • Place any loose particles in containers with tightly-fitting lids.
  • Try not to crush these materials.

Comparison Samples

  • Obtain representative samples, approximately 50 g, from the damaged areas of the safe, wall, etc.
  • Package samples in leak-proof containers.
  • Handle and package comparison samples separately from questioned samples.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Materials

  • CFS does not accept samples that are Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CBRN) hazards.
  • Suspicious powders or liquids that may present radiological, biological or chemical warfare agent hazards must be screened prior to submission by a competent Hazmat or Emergency Response team such as OPP UCRT (905-857-5582).
  • See also “Suspicious Liquids or Powders.”

Chewing Gum

  • Collect with gloved hands or with forceps.
  • Package in a re-sealable plastic bag or plastic container.
  • Keep the samples frozen pending submission.
  • If the sample is to be submitted to the Biology DNA High Volume Service - the gum itself will not be accepted; therefore, the surface must be swabbed and only the swab is to be submitted.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Cigarette Butts

  • Collect with gloved hands or with forceps.
  • Air-dry the samples prior to submission.
  • Package in a re-sealable plastic bag, plastic container or envelope. If packaged in plastic, it is advisable to keep the samples frozen pending submission.
  • For numerous cigarette butts collected together from one location (e.g., ashtray at scene), consult with CFS prior to submission.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”

Clothing

Clothing – For Analysis of Blood, Saliva, Semen and DNA Analysis

Testing of items for the presence of blood prior to submission using commercially available kits can compromise DNA analysis as it may result in the removal of DNA , destruction of DNA , inhibition of DNA analysis and contamination with other sources of DNA during the testing process. Do not test items prior to submission with Hemastix®, or blood enhancing chemicals such as Luminol, BlueStar®, LMG, etc., without prior consultation with a Biology Scientific Advisor,

For submissions to the Biology DNA High Volume Service refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol for requirements on clothing evidence collection and submission.

For all other case types:

  • Air-dry if wet or bloodstained.
  • Package each item individually using paper.
  • List the source of the clothing on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Items that have been washed or laundered should be discussed with the Biology Section prior to submission.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Clothing – For Damage Analysis

  • Submit the item containing the damage.
  • Air-dry the item if wet or bloodstained.
  • Leave all cuts, tears, holes and seam separations as found;
  • Do not hang to dry.
  • Lay the item on a flat surface for drying.
  • Package each item individually in a paper bag.
  • List the source of the clothing on the CFS Case Submission Form.

Comparison Samples

  • Instrument(s) that may have inflicted the damage; keep clothing away from the vicinity of an instrument.
  • Package instruments separately from clothing.
  • See “Weapons” for packaging information.

Clothing – For Gunshot Residue Analysis, see “GSR – On Clothing”

Clothing – For Trace Analysis (e.g., Glass, Paint, Hairs & Fibres)

Examination and/or photographing of items prior to submission can compromise trace analysis as it can result in the loss of trace material and/or contamination.

  • Air-dry wet or bloodstained items over clean paper (to catch any loose, falling particles).
  • Fold and submit the paper with the clothing.
  • Do not shake the item and do not remove particles from clothing.
  • Handle each article of clothing on a clean piece of paper;
  • Fold and submit the paper with the clothing.
  • Package each item individually using paper bags. Label each item.
  • In hit-and-run cases, submit all of the clothing belonging to the victim as well as any other possessions (e.g., purses and backpacks).
  • Retain and submit the original packaging, if applicable.
  • List the source of the clothing on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • See also “Glass”, “Paint”, “Hairs” and “Fibres.”

Clothing – For Analysis of Volatile Ignitable Liquids

  • Do not air-dry the clothes.
  • Suspect’s clothing should have been packaged within 24 hours of the occurrence.
  • If more than 24 hours has elapsed between the occurrence and packaging of the clothing, a Chemistry Section scientist or manager should be consulted to determine whether or not the item is suitable for submission.
  • Depending on the size of the item, submit in glass Mason jars with metal lids and rings (Figure 3), or in specialty nylon bags (Figure 4).
  • Glass Mason jars and lids should be washed in hot water without soap (i.e., in dishwasher) after purchase and then stored with the lids in place.
  • Do not fill Mason jars more than ¾ full.
  • Leave air space in the nylon bags.
  • Nylon bags should be closed by twisting the bag opening, folding it over and tying or taping closed – swan neck seal (Figure 4).
  • Handle and package clothing separately from scene debris and any liquid samples
  • List the source of the clothing on the CFS Case Submission Form.

Comparison Samples

  • An empty Mason jar (Figure 3) and lid from the same group of jars used in the packaging of clothing samples.

Condoms

  • Collect with gloved hand or forceps.
  • Package in a clean, leak proof specimen container.
  • Must be kept frozen pending submission.
  • Submit promptly upon removal from freezer storage.
  • Lubricant from a condom can also be examined for comparison to items from the sexual assault evidence kit.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”
  • Condom wrappers or unopened condoms for comparison of lubricants. Condom wrappers can be placed in individual plastic bags.

Controlled Substances

  • In cases of narcotic possession or possession for the purposes of trafficking, drug samples alone will not be accepted.
  • Controlled substances not accepted at the CFS should be sent to the drug analysis service of Health Canada, 416 973-1453.
  • If these are being submitted along with biological samples, the items may be accepted with prior approval.
  • Package samples for the CFS in re-sealable plastic bags or plastic vials.
  • See also “SYRINGES”.

Comparison Samples

  • Biological samples (e.g., blood, urine, etc).

Cosmetics

  • Submit waxy or liquid samples in glass containers; do not use plastic containers.
  • Items with smears/stains should be submitted in their entirety (e.g., clothing).
  • Cotton swabs or soft tissues can be used to remove makeup from the face or any non-absorbing surface;
  • Using paper towel to collect the sample may interfere with the analysis.

Comparison Samples

  • Sample of an unstained area of an item when the entire item cannot be submitted.
  • An unused swab when swabs have been used to collect samples.
  • Containers of suspected sources of the cosmetics.
  • Package comparison samples separately from questioned samples.

Counterfeit Bank Notes

  • Contact the RCMP in Ottawa for more information at 613-993-0664.

DNA High Volume Service

Refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol on the CFS website for requirements on evidence collection and submission.

For any exceptions contact the Biology Section, High Volume Crime Team Scientific Advisor via telephone or e-mail.


DNA Samples – For Comparison Purposes

Blood Samples collected by finger-prick

  • Always wear gloves.
  • Wipe the donor’s fingertip with alcohol and prick the fingertip with a sterile lancet.
  • Have the donor spot the blood drops onto sterile gauze, cotton paper or FTA® paper.
  • Create a blood stain approximately 2cm diameter, if possible.
  • Air-dry the item and submit.

Pulled Hairs

  • At least 10-15 pulled scalp or pubic hairs with root sheaths.
  • Package the hair into a folded paper (Figure 1) and place in an envelope.

Oral/Buccal Swab

  • Have the donor rinse his/her mouth twice with water.
  • Swab the inside of the cheek by rubbing up and down 10 times with a sterile swab.
  • Air-dry the swab prior to submission.
  • It is recommended to take two buccal swabs (however, only one swab need be submitted).

Atypical Samples

  • When it is not possible to obtain a comparison sample directly from an individual in question, certain items may be suitable for use either as a reference sample or a discard sample. Such items should be those which contain a sufficient amount of DNA for analysis with an expectation that the only source of DNA detected will be attributable to the individual who used or discarded the item (see examples of Reference/Personal Effect/Discard samples, below).

Reference / Personal Effect Samples

  • Items such as: toothbrushes, hairbrushes, razors or other personal or intimate items believed to belong to a particular individual;
  • Consult with the Biology Section if in doubt or for assistance.

Discard Samples

  • Used items such as: cigarette butts, chewing gum, drinking containers, eating utensils, etc., seen to be used by one specific individual.

Familial Samples

  • In the event that the above samples are not available, some familial samples can be used for comparison purposes.
  • Consult with a Biology Section Scientific Advisor appropriate for case type (see contact numbers for Major Crime, Sexual Assault and High Volume Scientific Advisors).

DNA Samples – Obtained by Warrant

  • warrant samples.Must be collected by a police officer or other individual who has been trained in the collection of DNA
  • Use the DNA warrant sample collection kits, available through the Centre Receiving Office.

Note: For all DNA samples submitted for comparison, clearly indicate on the CFS Case Submission Form whether a sample is a consent, discard, reference, warrant or familial sample.

Protocol for all DNA Warrant and DNA Consent Samples:

For all DNA Warrant samples or Consent samples taken from accused individuals, suspects, persons of interest or from individuals for the purpose of elimination:

  • The name of the donor is NOT TO APPEAR in the description beside the exhibit # and seal #, when listed on the submission form; instead the sample must be given a ‘code’, such as:
  • CDW (comparison DNA warrant sample) – eg. ‘CDW-1’
  • CC (consent comparison sample) – eg. ‘CC-1’
  • ELS (elimination sample) – ‘ELS-1’
  • The only place the name of the donor of the comparison sample should appear is on the first page (top right hand corner) of the CFS Submission form and on the sample packaging (i.e. FTA card) itself.
  • The record of the donor’s name and the associated item identifier or ‘code’ must remain with the submitting agency. This protocol has been designed to facilitate CFS compliance with the DNA destruction legislation outlined in the Criminal Code.
  • Duplicate samples from the same individual (such as duplicate buccal swabs), if submitted, should be assigned the same code such that it is clear on the submission form that the samples originate from the same individual.

Note: The above ‘coding’ protocol does NOT APPLY to comparison samples from individuals listed as ‘Complainants’, nor does it apply to discard samples.


Dye-Pack Dye (MAAQ)

  • If the item is an activated dye-pack device, submit in plastic bag or paper bag. Do not package an activated dye-pack device together with any other items.
  • Clothing and other items (e.g., gloves, money bags, fabric cut-outs from car seats) should be submitted in paper bags. Swabbing may not recover a sufficient amount of material for analysis.
  • Banknotes can be submitted in paper envelopes.

Drug and Alcohol Analysis

  • Biological samples including blood, serum, plasma, urine, liver and stomach contents can be submitted for drug analysis.
  • Non-biological samples may assist in interpretation. Non-biological items may include but are not limited to cups, glasses, and liquids. Submit a comparison sample for non-biological samples when possible. Submission of non-biological items must have prior approval.

Envelope Flaps and Stamps

  • Do not fingerprint prior to submission to CFS.
  • Submit still affixed to the item in question i.e., do not attempt to open flaps or otherwise remove stamps in any way (such as steaming).
  • 2x2 cm cut-out of envelope flaps are accepted for the Biology High Volume Service Program.
  • Indicate on the CFS Case Submission Form if the item needs to be protected for fingerprinting.
  • Package in a re-sealable bag or in another envelope.
  • Use tape when sealing the outer container; do not moisten it with your own saliva.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Explosives

  • Before submitting any explosives-related items, contact the Chemistry Section to review the submission and to ensure that an explosives examiner will be present to discuss the submission when you arrive.
  • Should any components have the potential to yield body fluids/DNA consider contacting a Biology Scientific Advisor.
  • These items must be delivered in person during regular working hours;
  • DO NOT SUBMIT IN AFTER HOURS LOCKERS.
  • Submit all items in clean, transparent containers that can be sealed, such as Mason jars, nylon bags, glass vials, plastic bags and plastic containers;
  • For liquid items, Mason jars (Figure 3) are recommended.
  • Submit photographs of the scene if available.
  • For most intact explosives, a few grams is suitable, however, for very sensitive explosives only smaller amounts will be accepted and care must be taken when handling and transporting them.
  • Submit labelled wrappers if available and any other pertinent information found at the scene.
  • For post-blast debris, collect the remains of all parts of the suspected device and debris (e.g., metal, glass, wood, etc) from the seat of the explosion and the surrounding area;
  • Package debris from different areas in separate containers.
  • Intact explosives will be destroyed six months following the analysis unless picked up by the submitter.
  • Post-blast debris will be shipped back to the submitter unless other instructions are received.

Fibres

  • Submit the entire item bearing the fibres, if possible.
  • Air-dry items if wet or bloodstained.
  • Place paper under items to catch any falling particles while they are drying;
  • Fold and submit the paper with the clothing.
  • Items for fibre examination must be packaged individually using paper only;
  • Do not use plastic.
  • Weapons with fibres present should be packaged to minimize loss;
  • See “Weapons”.
  • If it is not practical to submit the entire item, the fibres or fabric can be removed and submitted as described below.
  • Fibres can be collected using clear cellulose tape; do not use fingerprinting tape or frosted/opaque tape.
  • Tapes should be placed sticky side down on clear plastic sheets and submitted in envelopes; tapings from different items must be packaged separately.
  • Embedded fibres can be collected using forceps and placed onto cellulose tape, as above, or they can be placed in a folded paper (Figure1) and sealed in an envelope.
  • When collecting fabric samples, remove them carefully and package in a folded paper (Figure1) and seal in an envelope.
  • Label each sample as to its specific source and/or location.

Comparison Samples

  • Submit the entire item that may have transferred fibres (e.g., clothing, rug, blanket).
  • If the entire comparison item cannot be submitted, cut out an area large enough to provide a representative sample of the item.
  • Always keep items to be examined completely separate from all comparison samples so as to prevent contamination of evidence items.

Fingernail Clippings and Scrapings

  • Fingernail clippings are generally preferred but samples can be collected as either clippings or by scraping the under-surfaces of the nails.
  • Collect and package the samples (clippings or scrapings) into a piece of folded paper (Figure1). Only take one sample for each hand.
  • Package and submit samples from the left and right hands in separate envelopes.

Clippings

  • Single use nail clippers should be used.
  • Sample each hand separately by cutting each nail as close to the fingertip as possible without cutting the nail bed.
  • Collect all the clippings from one hand together and include the nail clippers;
  • Repeat for the other hand.

Scrapings

  • Sample each hand separately.
  • Use the rounded end of a fingernail scraper to scrape out the area under each nail.
  • Use one fingernail scraper per hand and include the scrapers with each set of scrapings.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”

Fingerprinting

  • Contact the appropriate police identification unit.

Fire Debris

  • Submit only in glass Mason jars with metal lids and rings (Figure 3), or in specialty nylon bags (Figure 4).
  • Glass Mason jars and lids should be washed in hot water without soap (i.e., in dishwasher) after purchase and then stored with the lids in place, away from all potential sources of ignitable liquid.
  • Jars should not be more than ¾ full.
  • Package the jars carefully to prevent breakage in transit (i.e., wrap in paper, poly-net, bubble wrap, etc.).
  • If necessary, for added protection against loss and/or entry of volatile ignitable liquid vapours, each Mason jar may be placed into a clean, unused nylon bag, which is then swan-neck sealed and taped closed.
  • If alcohols, solvents or lacquer thinners are suspected, only use Mason jars (Figure 3) as packaging.
  • Leave air space in the nylon bags and use the swan neck seal to close by twisting the bag opening, folding it over and taping it shut (Figure 4).
  • Food and vegetation must be refrigerated immediately;
  • Submit in appropriately labeled Mason jars (Figure 3).
  • Clothing - see “Clothing – For Analysis of Volatile Ignitable Liquids.”
  • Scene debris, clothing, and liquid samples must all be packaged separately.
  • Fuel containers found at the scene should be closed with their screw top/stopper if present, and packaged in a swan-neck sealed nylon bag (Figure 4)
  • When large quantities of liquid remain in a container at the scene, submit a sample of the liquid in a vial or on an absorbent:
  • A - Vial
  • Submit in glass vials with foil-covered lid liners.
  • Mason jars may be used, but should then be double-bagged in nylon bags.
  • Submit no more than 25mL.
  • B - Absorbent
  • Use a substrate (e.g., paper towel) to absorb a sample of the liquid.
  • Place the soaked substrate in a Mason jar (Figure 3) and submit.

Comparison Samples

  • An empty Mason jar and lid from the same group of jars used in the packaging of the case samples.
  • Samples of materials remote from the area of burning for comparison to suspected fire debris (e.g., wood, carpeting, tiles, etc.).
  • Containers, liquids, rags in possession of, or available to a suspect.
  • Samples of all materials used to collect evidence samples (e.g., paper towels, swabs).

Figure 3: Glass Mason jar with fire debris.

 Glass Mason jar with fire debris

Figure 4: Speciality nylon bag with swan neck seal.

peciality nylon bag with swan neck seal

Note: After purchase, Mason jars and lids must be washed in hot water, without soap. To prevent contamination of the jars prior to use, they must be stored with the lids on, and away from all potential sources of ignitable liquid or other contaminating sources.

Note: After purchase, Mason jars and lids must be washed in hot water, without soap. Prior to use, they must be stored with the lids on, and away from all potential sources of ignitable liquid or other contaminating sources.


Firearm Discharge Residue – Distance Determination

On Clothing

  • Only the primary target surface will be accepted (i.e., the top layer of clothing); indicate on the CFS Case Submission Form how the clothing was worn at the time of the shooting.
  • Do not cut through or near a bullet hole when removing the victim’s clothing.
  • Air dry wet or bloodstained clothing.
  • Protect the bullet entrance area by placing clean paper over the affected area and place clean cardboard behind it to prevent bending.
  • Put each article of clothing in a separate container.
  • Avoid unnecessary handling and contact with any area containing discharge residues.
  • Distance determinations will only be conducted where the suspect firearm and a sample of the same ammunition used in the shooting occurrence are available and submitted; if either of these is not available, contact the Physical Sciences Section, Firearms & Toolmarks Unit prior to submission.

On Tissue

  • Photographs of the wound and surrounding area should be submitted rather than the wound itself.
  • 1:1 scaled photographs should be taken of the wound and surrounding area, at 90 degrees. These photographs can be saved to a CD or similar digital media and submitted using the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • The wound should continue to be excised and stored by the investigating agency under refrigerated conditions;
  • If photos are not sufficient, a request will be made to submit the wound.
  • Distance determinations will only be conducted where the suspect firearm and a sample of the same ammunition used in the shooting occurrence are available and submitted;
  • If either of these is not available, contact the Physical Sciences Section, Firearms & Toolmarks Unit prior to submission.
  • Submit the autopsy report, if available.

Comparison Samples

  • Suspect firearm.
  • A sample of the same ammunition used in the shooting occurrence.

Firearms

Forensic Cases

Cases that may involve the identification and comparison of fired ammunition to suspect firearms, the examination of modified firearms, non-functioning firearms, firearms with a safety concern, distance determinations, serial number restoration, accidental discharge examinations and trigger pull testing.

Note: Unaltered commercial firearms submitted for the purpose of classification are no longer being accepted unless they involve safety concerns regarding their operation.

Fingerprinting and DNA analysis, if relevant must be completed prior to the submission of firearms to the Firearms & Toolmarks Unit. See also “WEAPONS” if DNA is relevant.

Suicide cases are not normally accepted for firearms examination.

  • If trace evidence (e.g., blood, hair) may be present on the firearm, wrap with paper or plastic to prevent loss.
  • Remove any cartridges or cartridge cases from the chamber and package separately.
  • Remove cartridges from a revolver, note and number the position of the fired cartridge cases and unfired cartridges.
  • Remove the magazine from the firearm.
  • Do not disassemble the firearm;
  • If the firearm is already disassembled, make a note on the CFS Case Submission Form and do not attempt to reassemble.
  • Do not submit a loaded firearm without prior consultation with the Physical Sciences Section, Firearms & Toolmarks Unit.
  • Do not clean the firearm.
  • Do not attempt to insert items into the firearm or magazine.
  • Package the firearm in a rigid box for shipment.
  • Firearms and unfired ammunition should be packaged in separate containers unless the items will be picked up upon completion of examination (e.g., Toronto Police courier).
  • Firearms found in water should be submitted to the CFS in the same water as when found;
  • If this is not possible, they should be dried completely and coated with gun specific lubricant and notify the CFS and submit promptly;
  • The same applies to firearms found in snow.
  • Firearms not in the same condition as at the time of the occurrence are not suitable for trigger pull safety tests.
  • Target surfaces will not be accepted for trajectory analysis where the projectile impact sites have been permanently damaged/altered by the investigating agency.
  • Note the make, model, type, calibre/gauge and serial number of the firearm on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Ensure the occurrence date, as well as the firearm seizure date is listed on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Serial number restoration should be conducted following analysis by the Firearms & Toolmarks Unit
  • If applicable, mark the container as bio-hazardous

Comparison Samples

  • Representative sample of the type of ammunition that could have been fired in the weapon (e.g., ½ the capacity of the magazine);
  • Bullets and cartridge cases recovered at a shooting scene or from victims of a shooting.

Suspicious Firearms Index (SFI) Cases

SFI cases are those that involve only the determination of whether a seized firearm has been used in a previous shooting incident.

  • Submissions are restricted to commercial firearms only.
  • Firearm must be completely assembled and believed to be in working order.
  • No examination of the firearm will be conducted (i.e., classification to be done prior to submission to CFS).
  • No ammunition will be accepted.
  • No specific cross-reference should be requested.
  • Occurrence date and firearm seizure date must be clearly noted on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Note the make, model, type, calibre/gauge and serial number of the firearm on the
  • CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Follow the collection and packaging guidelines as outlined above for Forensic Cases.
  • Agencies generating their own test fires should contact the IBIS Unit prior to submission to ensure proper guidelines are being followed.

Food

  • Submission of food items must have prior approval.
  • In cases where the suspected cause of poisoning is food to which drugs or chemicals have been added, submit the product in its original container, as soon as possible.
  • Submit foodstuff in glass Mason jars when the presence of volatile liquids is suspected (Figure 3).
  • Keep samples refrigerated or frozen and submit as soon as possible.
  • Cases of poisoning involving spoiled food should be directed to the laboratory services branch of the Ontario Ministry of Health at 416-235-5716.

Food for DNA Analysis

  • Collect with gloved hands or with forceps.
  • Package in a re-sealable plastic bag or plastic container.
  • Keep the samples frozen.
  • Consult with a representative of the Biology Section prior to sampling or submission.

Refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol on the CFS website for requirements on food evidence collection and submission.

Comparison Samples

  • Possible source(s) of the poison/chemical. Information/photo from the label of the container of the comparison material if the container is not being submitted.
  • A sample of the unadulterated food product.
  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.
  • Package comparison samples separately from questioned samples.

Gases

  • The CFS is able to identify a wide range of vapours and gaseous materials in air samples, but is not able to measure the natural components of air, such as oxygen and nitrogen, or to measure the concentration of materials such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, etc. in a sample. If testing of this type is required, a private air-testing laboratory should be contacted.
  • Vacuum gas sampling bottles may be used to gather and submit samples to CFS.
  • If vacuum gas sampling bottles are not available, a Mason jar (Figure 3) can be filled with water and poured out in the area where the gas/vapour is suspected and capped immediately at the location.
  • The jar should be sealed and submitted to the CFS as soon as possible.
  • Glass Mason jars and lids should be washed in hot water without soap (e.g., in dishwasher) after purchase and then stored with the lids in place.

Comparison Samples

  • An empty Mason jar and lid from the same group of jars used in the packaging of the case samples.

Glass

On Clothing and Footwear

  • Collect and submit items to be examined for glass particles (e.g., clothing and footwear of a suspect) as soon as possible.
  • A suspect should stand on a large, clean piece of paper when removing his/her outer clothing, to catch any falling glass particles;
  • Since microscopic pieces of glass may have fallen from the garment, fold and submit the paper along with the clothing.
  • Submit the outer clothing of a suspect, as well as shoes and other items such as hats, gloves, etc.
  • Air-dry the items if they are wet or bloodstained over clean paper.
  • Package each article of clothing individually using paper bags.
  • Do not remove glass particles from items unless the item cannot be submitted.
  • Tools etc., used to break glass may be submitted as well (e.g., if they can be linked to a suspect).

Loose Particles

  • Loose glass particles from items or suspects should be packaged in rigid containers such as plastic jars (paper envelopes are not recommended).
  • A suspect’s hair may be combed over a piece of clean paper using a clean, fine-toothed comb;
  • Fold the paper and submit along with the comb (do this prior to the removal of any clothing).

Comparison Samples

  • Collect several full-thickness pieces of glass from each source of broken glass (e.g., from each broken window of a vehicle), package and label separately.
  • Broken glass should be collected from the window frame (avoid picking up glass from the ground).
  • Broken glass should be packaged in rigid containers such as plastic jars (paper envelopes are not recommended).
  • For laminated glass (e.g., car windshields), submit samples of glass from both sides of the laminate and label them indicating which side was facing inside the vehicle and which side was facing out of the vehicle.
  • Always handle and package comparison samples separately from questioned items;
  • If possible, have one person collect and package the comparison sample and another individual collect and package questioned items.

Other Glass Examinations

  • In cases where a physical match may be possible, submit all available broken glass and protect fracture edges (e.g., by wrapping in soft tissue).
  • In cases where the question is whether a window was broken from inside or outside, secure any glass remaining in the frame with tape and mark the sides of the glass as inside or outside. Submit all the glass from the scene, if possible with the frame;
  • In cases where the question is how the glass broke (e.g. blunt force impact, projectile impact, by heat/fire), submit all available broken glass and mark inside/outside.

Gunshot Residue (GSR)

GSR – On Hands

  • Samples must be collected within eight hours of the incident.
  • Only GSR kits supplied by CFS will be accepted.
  • Samples must be collected by an officer trained in the use of the kits.
  • The questionnaire in the kit must be filled out and submitted with the kit.
  • Do not fingerprint the suspect or allow them to wash their hands prior to the collection of the samples.
  • Samples from victims of a shooting are not usually analyzed.
  • Samples are not accepted from a suspect if they had a firearm on their person at the time of apprehension.
  • List each box of stubs as individual items on the CFS Case Submission Form, along with their seal numbers.

GSR – On Vehicles

  • The whole vehicle can be submitted.
  • Do not use tape to sample vehicles, use the GSR hand-sampling kits; see above.
  • A maximum of four stubs from the interior of the vehicle will be accepted.
  • Depending on case specifics, suitable areas to sample may include: the interior of the door(s), areas around the glass of the window(s), seats, dashboard/console and steering wheel.

GSR – On Clothing

  • Must have been worn by the suspected shooter at the time of the shooting.
  • Must be seized soon after the incident.
  • Only submit clothing that would have been exposed to GSR during firing (e.g., gloves, pants, outer jacket).
  • Air-dry if wet or bloodstained.
  • Package articles of clothing separately in paper and place in a flat, tightly-fitting box;
  • Avoid folding the garment.
  • If a garment must be folded, place the item flat on a clean piece of paper, cover it with another sheet of paper and fold.
  • Clothing from victims of a shooting are not usually accepted.

Comparison Samples

  • If a pyrotechnic device, such as a stun grenade or firework, is involved, it should be submitted.

Hairs

  • If hair is on an object or a garment, submit the entire item, if possible.
  • Air-dry clothing items if they are wet or bloodstained.
  • Place paper under the clothing to catch any falling particles while they are drying;
  • Fold and submit the paper with the clothing.
  • Package each article of clothing individually using paper.
  • Weapons with hairs present should be packaged to minimize any loss; see “Weapons” for packaging information.
  • If an item is too large to be submitted, or if hairs may be lost in transit, remove the hairs with clear tape or pick off with gloved hands or gently, with disposable forceps.
  • Once collected, tapes should be placed sticky side down on plastic sheets and submitted in envelopes.
  • Picked-off hairs should be packaged in a folded piece of paper (Figure 1) and placed in an envelope.
  • Fibres in scalp or pubic hairs can be collected by combing the hair with a cotton-packed comb.

Comparison Samples

  • Submit samples from both the victim and the suspect.
  • Do not cut the hair; hairs must be pulled.
  • Package all comparison samples in a folded paper (Figure 1), and place in an envelope.
  • Always keep items to be examined completely separate from all comparison samples so as to prevent contamination of evidence items.

For Conventional Hair Analysis:

Scalp Hair

  • 50-100 plucked and fallen hairs from various locations on the scalp.
  • Rub the scalp over a piece of brown paper to collect fallen hairs.

Pubic Hair

  • Approximately 25 pubic hairs pulled and/or combed.

Body Hair

  • A minimum of 12 body hairs pulled and/or combed from areas of interest.

For DNA Analysis:

  • At least 10-15 pulled scalp or pubic hairs with root sheaths.

Handler DNA

  • Items being submitted for the purpose of detecting DNA from the person handling the item will only be accepted following consultation with a representative of the Biology Section (refer to Scientific Advisor contact numbers) or items will be returned. Exceptions include guns and knives that are swabbed for the purpose of submitting the samples to the Biology High Volume Service (see the DNA High Volume Service Protocol).
  • No pre-processing of the item (i.e., fingerprinting) should be conducted on the items prior to consultation with the Biology Section.
  • Applicable items should be air-dried, and the whole item should be submitted if feasible.
  • If not feasible to submit the item, swab the applicable area(s) with a moistened swab.
  • Air-dry all swabs prior to submission.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Handwriting, Handprinting and Signatures

  • Handle the documents as little as possible.
  • Submit the original documents when possible, prior to fingerprinting.
  • Copies are acceptable in the absence of originals (photocopies, microfiche, digital copies, faxes, etc.).
  • Identify which items need to be protected for fingerprinting or DNA on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Do not repair torn or fragile documents;
  • Place in a flat box and deliver personally to the CFS.
  • List each questioned document separately on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • Clearly identify each item as a questioned document or known/comparison sample on the Case Submission Form.

Comparison Samples

  • Must compare “like with like” – similar style of writing (e.g., cursive with cursive) and the same letters.
  • Collected writings (i.e., written during the normal course of business).
  • Submit as many as possible (i.e., cancelled cheques, journals, employment records, etc.) from the same time period as the offence date if possible.
  • Requested writings (i.e., written at the request of the investigator).
  • Dictate the questioned material ten times, with each sample written on a separate sheet of paper (provided one at a time);
  • Include any words or figures that appear in the questioned document;
  • If possible, use a similar format as the questioned item (e.g., paper with a signature line for a questioned cheque).

High Volume Service

Refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol on the CFS website for requirements on evidence collection and submission.

For any exceptions contact the Biology Section, High Volume Crime Team Scientific Advisor via telephone or e-mail.


Indented Writings

  • Submit prior to fingerprinting.
  • Handle as little as possible and protect from further indentations.
  • Do not try to bring up indentations in any way.
  • Do not mark the documents.
  • Submit in flat boxes or in loose plastic folders between cardboard for protection.

Ink Comparisons

  • No ink dating.
  • Comparisons can be made between inks on the same document to determine if the document has been altered and to decipher obliterated or erased information.

Lachrymators (Mace, Pepper Spray, Tear Gas)

  • If the item is an aerosol dispenser, and it is not damaged, submit in a plastic bag.
  • If the dispenser is leaking, submit in a glass Mason jar (Figure 3).
  • Submit clothing or other items that may have been exposed to a lachrymator as soon as possible. Do not dry the items.
  • Package each item/article of clothing individually in specialty nylon bags, if possible (Figure.4).
  • Do not package dispensers together with clothing or any other items.
  • Use dry cotton swabs or tissue to wipe the face of a victim or to collect samples from objects such as windows or counters;
  • Submit in glass Mason jars (Figure 3) or nylon bags (Figure.4).
  • Small items (e.g., eye glasses) may be submitted in their entirety, or they may be swabbed, as above.

Letter of Opinion (Toxicology Section)

  • Requests for a letter of opinion can be made by submitting a Letter of Opinion Form. The form can be submitted electronically or by mail.
  • A letter of opinion can be requested for scenarios including, but not limited to:
  • Calculation of a BAC at the time of an incident from breath or blood alcohol results
  • Calculation of a BAC at the time of an incident with consideration of alcohol consumption shortly prior to or after the incident
  • Conversion of hospital alcohol results and calculation of the BAC at the time of the incident
  • Drug and alcohol effects

Lungs

  • Package in a glass Mason jar with metal lid and ring (Figure 3).
  • The jar should not be more than ¾ full.
  • Keep the sample refrigerated.
  • Glass Mason jars and lids should be washed in hot water without soap (i.e., in dishwasher) after purchase and then stored with the lids in place, away from all potential sources of ignitable liquid.
  • Make a specific request on the CFS Case Submission Form for the analysis of volatile ignitable liquids or hydrocarbon gases.
  • If a biological sample is accepted by CRO without a specific request for volatile ignitable liquids and/or hydrocarbon gases, the examiner will confirm with the submitter if analysis is required/requested prior to further examination or closing the file.

Comparison Samples

  • An empty Mason jar and lid from the same group of jars used in the packaging of the case samples.

Maggots


Metals

  • Submit metal particles in a small plastic container, or fold in a sheet of paper (Figure 1) and place in an envelope.
  • When metal particles are adhering to an object, submit the entire item;
  • Package items to avoid loss (e.g., wrap tools in paper).

Comparison Samples

  • Submit a sample of metal from the suspected source of the questioned particles.
  • Package in a small plastic container or fold in a sheet of paper (Figure 1) and place in an envelope.
  • If interested in determining type of metal, provide any information with regards to its usage, chemical specifications, etc.
  • Package comparison samples separately from questioned samples.

Noxious Substances (Acids, Bases, Bleach, etc.)

Questioned Samples

  • If an item is a commercial product in an undamaged container, submit the container in a plastic bag.
  • If a container is leaking, seal it in a glass Mason jar (Figure 3).
  • Submit as much of the questioned material as possible (up to 1 L).
  • If the questioned material is found in food or drink containers, transfer it to a clean Mason jar (Figure 3).
  • If the questioned material is suspected to be corrosive (e.g., an acid or base), package it in a plastic specimen container. Avoid contact with metal (e.g., foil cap liners).
  • Submit the item immediately.
  • If the material that has been contaminated is perishable, refrigerate or freeze the material.
  • Package comparison samples separately from questioned samples.
  • Document the effect of the substance on the victim and on clothing items on the CFS Case Submission Form.
  • CRO will contact the Chemistry Section for analysis as soon as possible.

Comparison Samples

  • Submit a newly purchased sample of the suspected contaminant, in its original container, to compare to the item which was contaminated.

Clothing

  • Submit contaminated articles as soon as possible. Generally, clothing should be packaged in paper bags.
  • If clothing is suspected of containing volatile materials, it should be packaged in nylon bags.
  • If clothing is suspected of containing an acid or base, it should be packaged in ordinary plastic (do not use nylon bags).

Paint

  • Paint chips submitted for possible physical match should be packaged in a labelled, rigid container.
  • Otherwise, package paint chips in a folded piece of paper (Figure 1), label and place in an envelope.
  • Do not use adhesive tape to lift paint samples and do not place small chips of paint directly into an envelope or a plastic bag.
  • When paint is transferred it is best to submit the object it is on (i.e., vehicle, tool, drywall, bumper, door frame). See “Tools” for proper packaging information.

Questioned and Comparison Samples

  • The entire object should be submitted if possible.
  • If it is not possible to submit the entire object, a section with the areas of damage should be submitted.
  • If the paint is on a fixed object, cut a section, including the damaged area.
  • If the entire object or a section of it cannot be submitted, obtain paint samples using clean tools from all damaged areas of the object;
  • If paint is deposited as discrete chips and the object cannot be submitted, the paint chips can be removed and packaged as above.
  • If paint is transferred as a smear onto an object which cannot be submitted, remove the underlying substrate with the smear, using a sharp instrument.
  • Do not remove paint from articles of clothing.
  • Air-dry clothing if wet or bloodstained on/over two sheets of clean paper and submit the top sheet of paper with the clothing.
  • Handle articles and clothing on/over a clean piece of paper; submit the paper with the clothing.
  • Submit all articles and clothing including undergarments, shopping bags, purses, backpacks etc.
  • Package each sample separately and comparison samples separately from questioned samples.
  • Package each article of clothing individually, in paper. It is not necessary to separate clothing before submission if it has already been packaged together. For example, clothing collected from hospital in one bag can be submitted together in paper along with the hospital bag.
  • Samples collected should be marked with what they were collected from and whether it is a questioned sample or a known sample.
  • Samples collected from vehicles should be marked with the area it was collected from and the make/model/year and colour of the vehicle along with the vehicles identification number (VIN).

Printing Machines (Cheque Protectors/Writers, Computer Printers, Fax Machines, Photocopiers, Typewriters)

Contact the Physical Sciences Section for information on submitting cases involving a printing machine.


Saliva

  • Collect the item bearing the stain, if possible.
  • For submissions to the Biology DNA High Volume Service refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol on the CFS website for information regarding evidence collection from various items believed to contain saliva.
  • For drink containers, mouth areas should be swabbed;
  • Submit only the swab for High Volume cases.
  • Air-dry all items prior to submission.
  • Clothing items should be packaged individually in paper.
  • A water-moistened swab can be used to collect stains on skin, one swab per area (e.g., bite marks).
  • If an item is too large to submit and the stain location is known, cut out a sample of the stain using a scalpel/razor blade (e.g., couch, vehicle seat).
  • A water-moistened swab can also be used to sample the suspected stain if it is not feasible to submit an item or to excise a portion of it.
  • If swabs cannot be immediately air-dried, they should be stored frozen and air-dried prior to submission.
  • See also “Chewing Gum”, “Cigarette Butts”, “Envelope Flaps and Stamps” and “Food”.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Semen

  • Collect the item bearing the stain, if possible.
  • Air-dry all items prior to submission.
  • Clothing items should be packaged individually using paper.
  • A water-moistened swab can be used to collect stains on skin;
  • Use only one swab per stain area.
  • If an item is too large to submit and the stain location is known, cut out a sample of the stain using a scalpel/razor blade e.g., couch, vehicle seat, carpet.
  • A water-moistened swab can also be used to sample the suspected stain if it is not feasible to submit an item or to excise a portion of it.
  • If swabs cannot be immediately air-dried, they should be stored frozen and air-dried prior to submission.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Serial Numbers

Firearms & Toolmarks

  • Firearms will not be accepted if previous attempts to restore the serial number have been made.
  • Serial numbers can potentially be restored on several components of firearms.

Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK)

For questions or advice regarding submission of biological samples for Sexual Assault cases, please contact the Biology Sexual Assault Scientific Advisor via phone or e-mail.

For questions or advice regarding Toxicology Analyses of the blood and urine samples for Sexual Assault cases, please contact the Toxicology Criminal Coordinator via phone or email.

For questions or advice regarding Chemistry Analyses for lubricants or hair and fibre, please contact the Chemistry Criminal Coordinator via phone or email.

  • All swabs and clothing must be air-dried prior to submission.
  • If swabs cannot be immediately air-dried, they should be stored frozen and air-dried prior to submission.
  • Keep used condoms, sanitary products, and post-void tissue frozen. All should be collected in a leak proof plastic bag or container (e.g. specimen jar).
  • Keep blood and urine samples refrigerated;
  • Complete the kit labels and adhere to the blood and urine samples, ensuring names are placed on the labels, in particular when a case involves more than one complainant.
  • Only submit items relevant to the case (i.e., if there was no oral assault, do not submit oral samples); Refer to the ‘Police Submission Guidelines’ (provided in the envelope affixed to the SAEK box) for assistance and/or consult the Biology Sexual Assault Scientific Advisor, if necessary;
  • Submit relevant internal (oral; rectal; vaginal), external genitalia and skin (e.g. breast) swabs*
  • Note: Submit the external genitalia swabs whenever cunnilingus or vaginal penetration is alleged.
  • Submit fingernail samples where there is an allegation of a struggle or scratching of the assailant.
  • Submit relevant items of clothing.
  • Smears are not typically required for initial submissions unless specifically requested.
  • Consult with the Biology Sexual Assault Scientific Advisor for pre-submission approval if a condom was used;
  • Submit the condom if it is available. Otherwise consult for lubricant and/or semen examinations.
  • List and describe each item submitted on the CFS Case Submission Form. Alternatively, the 2012 SAEK Checklist can be utilized instead and can be appended to the submission form.

*Note that body fluid testing on swabs submitted as part of the SAEK is typically not performed unless specifically requested as a necessity for investigative purposes. In this case pre-consultation is required.

Comparison Samples

  • A DNA sample from the complainant(s) is required.
  • DNA sample(s) from any other person(s) involved including any person with whom the victim had intercourse within seven days prior to the assault, without the use of a condom – see “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Sexual Lubricants

  • Air-dry wet clothing and/or swabs prior to submission.
  • Package each item of clothing individually using paper.

Comparison Samples

  • Suspected sources of lubricants in original containers. Condom wrappers can be placed in individual plastic bags.
  • An unused swab when swabs have been used to collect samples.
  • Handle and package comparison samples separately from questioned samples.

Suspicious Liquids or Powders

  • Consult the Chemistry Section prior to submitting unknown liquids or powders.
  • If a comparison sample is available, it must be packaged separately from questioned samples.
  • Suspicious powders or liquids that may present Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CBRN) hazards must be screened prior to submission by a competent Hazmat or Emergency Response team such as OPP UCRT (905-857-5582);
  • The sample submission must include a document listing the specific threats for which the sample has been cleared.
  • CFS does not accept samples that are CBRN hazards.
  • If samples are biological (e.g., plague, smallpox), contact the Medical Officer of Health office at 416-314-5518 / 1-800-268-1154 to obtain your local number.

Syringes

  • Submission of syringes for drug analysis must be pre-approved.
  • Submit in a glass Mason jar (Figure 3) or a rigid container.
  • Seal the jar by placing the seal over the top and down each side (Figure 2).
  • Do not package in plastic or paper bags.
  • Label the container cautioning of the biohazard.

Comparison Samples

  • Blood and urine samples from the person(s) involved.
  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.

Toolmarks

  • Submit the object or the area containing the toolmark.
  • Casts may be accepted based on suitability.
  • Put the object in a rigid container to protect the area and to prevent any alteration during transport.
  • Protect the ends of wires, cables, etc., with heavy paper or plastic and clearly label the questioned ends.
  • Any identifying markings should be made in a location remote from any toolmarks.

Comparison Samples

  • Submit all tools that may have been used.
  • Submit additional same type material from around the damaged area for test comparison purposes.
  • See “Tools” for proper packaging information.

Tools

  • Submit the entire tool.
  • Submit the tool as found, do not close or open cutter-type tools.
  • Protect the working parts of the tool with heavy paper and package to prevent the loss of any trace evidence (e.g., paint, lead and/or copper smears).
  • Submit tools in rigid, tightly-fitting packages to minimize their movement during transport.
  • Package tools separately from any questioned samples and never place a suspect tool into a toolmark or a cut.
  • Tools can be zip-tied to the box and seal holes with tape.

Vehicles

  • Call the Centre Receiving Office in advance of submitting and prior to picking up a vehicle following CFS analysis.
  • List vehicles individually on separate CFS Case Submission Forms.
  • Include a copy of the warrant as well as keys to the vehicle with the submission.
  • Note on the Case Submission Form if the vehicle (outside and/or inside) needs to be protected for fingerprints.
  • If a bicycle is involved in an occurrence, submit the entire unit wrapped in paper.

Weapons (Knives, Scissors, etc.)

Do not swab or sample these types of items prior to submission or consultation. Exceptions are limited to submissions made to the Biology High Volume Service (for submissions to the Biology DNA High Volume Service refer to the DNA High Volume Service Information Sheet and the DNA High Volume Service Protocol on the CFS website for requirements on evidence collection and submission).

Testing of items for the presence of blood prior to submission using commercially available kits can compromise DNA analysis as it may result in the removal of DNA , destruction of DNA , inhibition of DNA analysis and contamination with other sources of DNA during the testing process. Do not test items prior to submission with Hemastix®, or blood enhancing chemicals such as Luminol, BlueStar®, LMG, etc., without prior consultation with a Biology Scientific Advisor.

  • Do not fingerprint items prior to submission or consultation.
  • Identify on the CFS Case Submission Form any items that need to be protected for fingerprinting.
  • Do not submit in paper or plastic bags.
  • Package the item in a rigid, tightly-fitting package so as to limit its movement during transport, thereby minimizing the loss of any trace evidence.
  • Label the container cautioning if the item is sharp.
  • Also see “Firearms”.

Comparison Samples

  • DNA sample(s) from person(s) involved – “DNA SAMPLES – For Comparison Purposes”.
  • Any clothing for damage analysis and/or fibre transfer comparison.
  • Any broken parts of weapons left at the scene.
  • Stab wounds or cuts in tissue are not analyzed at the CFS;
  • A pathologist may be able to assess the type of instrument used to inflict a wound.