Updated: RCMP to relocate forensic lab from Vancouver to new facility in Surrey

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      Update (August 13):

      RCMP National Communication Services Cpl. Caroline Duval responded to questions from the Georgia Straight about the new National Forensic Laboratory Services (NFLS) laboratory in Surrey.

      Cpl. Duval said that the RCMP’s NFLS in Vancouver is being relocated to the RCMP B.C. Headquarters (which opened in 2013 and cost $1 billion, according to CBC News) at 14200 Green Timbers Way in the Green Timbers area of Surrey.

      The new facility, which covers 7,446 square feet, is approximately twice the size of the previous location and will be staffed by 105 employees (NFLS has a total of approximately 300 employees).

      According to Cpl. Duval, NFLS stopped processing casework on July 1 and began the process of relocating to the new Surrey facility, which includes all equipment being re-verified to ensure proper functioning and accurate results.

      After three weeks of closure, some areas at the new lab resumed processing service requests. The lab is currently at 45 percent operational capacity and is slated to be fully operational by autumn, Cpl. Duval stated.

      Services provided at NFLS Surrey will cover biology, toxicology, and firearms and toolmark identification. 

      Cpl. Duval explained that the new space will help to improve workflow, thereby helping processing become more efficient, and it will also accommodate for growth in the future that will help keep pace with forensic requirements.  

      Original article (August 9):

      This week, RCMP offered a sneak peek at their new forensic lab in Surrey that will replace their current facility in Vancouver.  

      The RCMP’s National Forensic Laboratory Services (NFLS), which has locations in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa, is part of the National Police Services.

      RCMP announced from Ottawa on August 8 that RCMP took ownership of its new facility in Surrey on July 15. This new laboratory will replace a 45-year-old facility located at 5201 Heather Street in Vancouver.

      Shane O'Connor

      The new building is being built to meet LEED Gold environmental standards, and will feature advanced telecommunications systems and specialized work stations.

      The facility is slated to be at full-operating capacity by this autumn. During a transition phase in Metro Vancouver, NFLS locations in Edmonton and Ottawa will be overseeing forensic service requests.

      Shane O'Connor

      The NFLS receives and processes thousands of requests from police agencies in criminal investigations across the country, except for Ontario and Quebec, which have their own public forensic laboratories for provincial and municipal investigations. The NFLS also oversees the National Anti-Counterfeiting Bureau for all federal, provincial, and municipal investigations, which maintains a database of bank notes recovered from Canadian circulation.

      The NFLS provide forensic services in areas such as biology, including DNA analysis from bodily fluids or hair samples; toxicology, which includes screening for drugs, poison, or alcohol; non-biological trace evidence, including gunshot residue or explosive material; anti-counterfeiting; and firearms and toolmark identification.

      Shane O'Connor

      In 2018-2019, the NFLS processed 17,154 forensic service requests.

      The NFLS previously had three additional locations in Winnipeg, Regina, and Halifax, but the Harper government announced in 2012 that these facilities would be closed in 2014 and 2015 as part of cost-cutting measures.  


      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook