Anthro Notes Sept. 13/12
- Formative Period highlights: The first use of science by police and courts in Canada was the
evidence of medical practitioners to assist in determining the cause of death. In 1859, professor
Henry Homes Croft testified at the trial of Dr. William King. Crime labs formed in Quebec (1914),
Ontario (1932), Regina (1937), and Ottawa (1942). There was no formal recognized use of forensic
anthropology or dentistry.
- Under the BNA, Canada became a country in 1867. The BNA gave the federal government the power
to enact the criminal law, meaning Canada has a single criminal code. However, the administration of
the law is a provincial responsibility. The provinces administer justice and each province has its own
court system and prosecutors. Charges are preferred in the form of her majesty the queen (R for
Regina) versus the name of the accused. Prosecutions are conducted by crown attorneys appointed
by provincial cabinet. Crown attorneys have no investigative function. Investigation of sudden death
is a provincial responsibility assigned to coroners or medical examiners.
- Coalescent Period highlights: The Canadian society of forensic science was formed in 1953 and the
journal for the CSFS was developed in 1963. The formal development of forensic anthropology and
odontology occurred in 1972 as they became sections of the AAFS. There was continual development
and expansion of RCMP laboratories during this period.
- Modern Period highlights: Forensic science was dominated by DNA and the emergence of the CFS
(centre of forensic science northern regional lab). Accreditation standards were emphasized (ASCLD
American Society of Crime Lab Directors, and SCC Standards Council of Canada). The charter of
rights and freedoms (1982) had a role in warrant legislation (DNA warrant act). The RCMP national
DNA databank was developed. Forensic anthropology emerged as an important area of individuation
in Canada and internationally (mass disasters, human rights).
- History of forensic anthropology in Canada: Before the 1970s there was only sporadic case work
done mostly by medical researchers at universities. As a field, physical anthropology started at UofT
in the 1960s. Students were trained in skeletal biology and were primarily dedicated to analyzing
archaeological skeletal populations. It became a separate section of the AAFS in 1972 and diplomate
exams were created in 1977. A diplomate is someone who holds a diploma. Law enforcement
agencies in the 1970s increasingly requested physical anthropologists to assist in the identification of
human remains. The first formal courses and programs in forensic anthropology emerged in the
1980s. In 1991, forensic anthropology became a separate section of the Canadian society of forensic
- History of forensic dentistry in Canada: 1948 Forensic dentists assist in the identification of victims
of the ship Noronic, which burned in Toronto. Half the victims were identified using dental records.
This event serves as the landmark for dentistrys contribution to mass disaster identification. 1970
A small group of dentists founded the Canadian society of forensic odontology (CSFO). They helped at
the AC-DC-8 crash at Malton airport, and this helped convince other people that dental evidence was
an efficient means of personal identification. 1972 It became a section of the AAFS and the CSFS.
- Provinces with coroners: BC, SK, ON, QC, NB, PEI. Provinces with medical examiners: AB, MB, NS, NF.
There are nine regions/headquarters in Ontario for coroners Central (Brampton), Toronto
East/West, Central West (Guelph), Eastern (Kingston), Northeast (Peterborough), Southwest
(London), Niagara (St. Catharines), Northwest (Thunder Bay). There are two forensic labs in Ontario
The centre of forensic sciences (Toronto, 1932) and the northern regional lab of the centre offorensic sciences (Sault Ste. Marie, 1992). These two labs were accredited by ASCLD-LAB in the 90s.
There are also RCMP labs. The lab in Quebec doesnt have to be accredited, but all other labs in
Canada are accredited by SCC.
- The objective of these labs is the assist in the just and effective enforcement of the law via 1. The
production of evidence in a legally admissible form for law enforcement officers, crown attorneys,
lawyers, coroners, pathologists, and official investigative agencies by means of the scientific
examination, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of physical objects and materials. 2. The
provision of educations programs and materials for persons and agencies using forensic science
services. 3. The conduct and encouragement of research to expand forensic science services.
- Organization of Ontario forensic labs: There are different sections within the lab building. Chemistry
is involved in arson, GRS analysis, unknown substances, and paint and glass analysis. Documents and
photography is involved in forgeries and handwriting analysis. Firearms and toolmarks is involved in
ballistics, physical matches, and crime scene reconstruction. Toxicology is involved in drug and
alcohol analysis. Biology is involved in identification of body fluids and botanical materials,
examination of trace evidence, bloodstain analysis, DNA analysis, and skeletal analysis. DNA has
transformed the function of all the units, particularly the biology unit.
- Forensic accreditation in Canada: Public labs CSFS Toronto (ASCLD 1993), Northern lab (ASCLD
1998), RCMP (SCC 2000-02). Private labs Maxxam analytics in Guelph (2000), Helix Biotech in
Vancouver (2001), Warnex in Thunder Bay (2003).
- Lab accreditation: There are rigorous standards for quality assurance (a program conducted by a lab
to ensure accuracy and reliability) and quality control (internal activities performed according to
externally established standards). Proficiency testing is done using blind design. Blind design is when
you do something but you dont know what the outcome will be, and you dont know what youre
doing (just doing a test). Its a wa