The National DNA Data Bank of Canada - Annual Report 2018/2019

Table of Contents

Message from the Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

I am pleased to present the 2018-2019 National DNA Data Bank (NDDB) Annual Report.

Over the past 19 years, the NDDB has been a valuable tool available to police and prosecutors in Canada. Through DNA collection and analysis, the NDDB has helped solve countless recent and cold-case crimes.

Historically, this Annual Report has focussed on the Convicted Offenders Index and the Crime Scene Index. March 6, 2018 marked an important shift for the NDDB. Amendments to the DNA Identification Act expanded the scope of the NDDB, allowing DNA samples to be used not only for solving criminal investigations, but also as a tool to assist with investigations involving missing people and found human remains.

For the first time, this year's Report includes a status update on five new DNA indices introduced in 2018: the Missing Persons Index, the Human Remains Index, the Relatives of Missing Persons Index, the Victims Index and the Voluntary Donors Index. The new indices will help law enforcement solve active cases faster and potentially cut down on the number of existing cold cases.

Ultimately, the new indices allow DNA profiles from missing persons and human remains to be compared against the more than 540,000 DNA profiles currently in the NDDB. Getting a hit to DNA profiles in the new indices may take time, but I'm confident the NDDB will continue making a difference in the lives of Canadians from coast-to-coast.

As we look back on an exceptional year, we are also looking forward to enhancing the services we provide. Modernizing our operations means keeping pace with advancing technology. New, state-of-the-art equipment is allowing forensic scientists to analyze mitochondrial DNA to supplement existing analysis. Procedures for processing human remains were also introduced this year, providing scientists with enhanced tools to analyze bone and teeth samples with greater success. It's clear that innovation-focused technology and systems can help us build sustainable, nationwide solutions.

The challenges of policing in the 21st century are vast, but so are the opportunities for modernization and development. To remain responsive to change, we must continue to innovate, evolve and forge new partnerships. It is important to remember that people are at the heart of the work we do. Practicing empathy and compassion towards each other and the people we serve will ensure we remain well-equipped to deliver answers—and justice—to all Canadians.

Brenda Lucki

Quick Facts

Quick Facts
Type Amount
Convicted Offender Samples Received in 2018/19Footnote 1 20,622
Increase in the Crime Scene Index in 2018/19 15,485
Offender Hits (Convicted Offender to Crime Scene) in 2018/19 6,583
Forensic Hits (Crime Scene to Crime Scene) in 2018/19 708
Associations made by the NDDB in 2018/19 (Offender and Forensic Hits) 7,291
Associations made by the NDDB since June 30, 2000 (Offender and Forensic Hits) 62,566

A New Role for the NDDB

March 6, 2018, marked an important date in the history of the NDDB. On that day, "Lindsey's Law" came into effect, and brought with it legislative amendments that will forever change how DNA samples are used in Canada.

A new mission

Originally, the NDDB was used exclusively for criminal investigation purposes. DNA profiles developed from one crime scene could be compared to DNA profiles from other crime scenes and convicted offenders. The 2018 legislative amendments to the DNA Identification Act expanded the NDDB's use of DNA analysis to include a humanitarian component: helping to identify missing persons. Through the National Missing Persons DNA Program, three new indices were created for this purpose: the Missing Persons Index, the Relatives of Missing Persons Index and the Human Remains Index.

To support the work of our partner forensic laboratories, investigators, coroners, and medical examiners, the NDDB can now provide these agencies with a nationally coordinated tool to advance the investigation of missing persons and unidentified human remains. Thanks to the new indices, the NDDB is now accepting missing person samples, family reference samples and human remains from all law enforcement agencies across Canada. By providing a high quality DNA analysis and national comparison process, the NDDB hopes to bring closure to missing persons cases.

Developing the tool

To fully embrace its new humanitarian role, the NDDB has implemented some advanced technologies.

Mitochondrial DNA analysis

To fully harness all of the genetic information available for identification, the NDDB will begin to use a different source of DNA found in each of us. The NDDB has purchased state-of-the-art equipment to analyse mitochondrial DNA. While nuclear DNA is more typically used in DNA analysis, mitochondrial DNA offers some advantages in forensic DNA testing:

  • Human cells contain hundreds of copies of mitochondrial DNA, but only one copy of DNA located in the nucleus (i.e. nuclear DNA). The high number of copies of mitochondrial DNA increases the likelihood of recovering sufficient DNA from degraded DNA samples. This can be beneficial when trying to identify decomposed human remains.
  • Nuclear DNA is passed down to a child from both parents, while mitochondrial DNA is passed down solely through the mother. Mitochondrial DNA does not change from mother to child or from generation to generation. While this feature makes mitochondrial DNA less discriminating in identifying a specific person, it allows individuals to be linked to maternal family members even when separated by generations.

Hard tissue analysis

Bone and teeth are the hardest biological materials, which means that skeletons and teeth tend to remain long after a body's other biological material has decomposed. Like any other biological material, these hard tissues contain DNA; however, the DNA in bones and teeth can be difficult to access. To obtain a DNA profile from these samples, they must be ground into a fine powder using specialized equipment. The NDDB is currently developing protocols to process bones and teeth on site to ensure timely and high quality analysis of these samples.

Additional genetic information

DNA profiles developed from nuclear DNA consist of genetic information from multiple locations on the DNA molecule. With more information, there is a better chance of identifying human remains or making links with family members. To better assist humanitarian investigations, the NDDB has implemented new technology to develop DNA profiles with more genetic information than what is currently used for routine forensic analysis conducted by the public forensic laboratories in Canada.

Getting a "hit"

While it is very possible that DNA collected from crime scenes or found remains will match that of a reported missing person, getting a "hit" may take some time. However, DNA profiles are constantly being added to the new indices, and more profiles increases the chances of finding a match. The NDDB is excited at the possibility of solving missing persons cases and giving families some closure. This sentiment is echoed by Sue O'Sullivan, former Ombudsman for Victims of Crimes:

"Not knowing what has happened to a loved one is an overwhelming burden for Canadian families, a burden which is often accompanied by the unrelenting feeling that more could be done to try to locate their loved one.

For each missing person in Canada, there is someone desperately searching, whose pain of the loss of a loved one is compounded by the burden of unanswered questions.

It is our hope that this new tool will help reassure Canadians that police are pursuing every avenue to reunite their families and to find their missing loved ones."

DNA Profiles in the Humanitarian Indices
Type Amount
Missing Persons Index (MPI) 19
Relatives of the Missing Persons Index (RMI) 138
Human Remains Index (HRI) 110
Total 267

The National DNA Data Bank

The NDDB is one of Canada's greatest national law enforcement resources. It's a centralized collection of hundreds of thousands of DNA profiles stored anonymously to help investigators across the country solve a range of crimes. The main goals are simple: link crime scenes across jurisdictional lines, help identify or eliminate suspects, and determine whether a serial offender has been involved in certain crimes. In addition, the NDDB is able to assist investigators, coroners and medical examiners to find missing persons and identify human remains.

The NDDB was created by an act of Parliament on June 30, 2000. At that time, DNA analysis was a relatively new procedure. Since then, it has become a key component of most investigations, saving time and money by helping to focus investigations.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the RCMP is the steward of the NDDB, which it operates for the benefit of Canada's entire law enforcement community.

Criminal Investigation Support

The NDDB originally consisted of two criminal indices: the Convicted Offenders Index (COI) and the Crime Scene Index (CSI). These indices provide assistance to criminal investigations in two ways:

  • Comparing DNA profiles found at crime scenes against the DNA profiles of convicted offenders (CSI to COI). When a match is made, it can help identify a suspect. An "offender hit" is the term used to describe this type of DNA match. If no match is made, that information can help eliminate suspects, which is equally important.
  • Comparing DNA profiles found at different crime scenes (CSI to CSI). When a match is made between DNA profiles found at separate crime scenes, it can help link crimes for which no suspects have been identified. This determines whether a serial offender is involved in a number of cases. A "forensic hit" is the term used to describe this type of DNA match.

On March 6, 2018, two additional criminal indices were added as part of the amendments to the DNA Identification Act: the Victims Index (VI) and the Voluntary Donors Index (VDI). These indices allow police officers to collect biological samples from victims of designated offences and from voluntary donors. These indices will support criminal investigations by helping to identified unknown victims, link crime scenes together through victim and voluntary donor DNA profiles, or eliminate the voluntary donors from the focus of an investigation. The VDI can also be used for elimination purposes in humanitarian investigations.

Through the creation of the VI, the NDDB has reported 2 DNA profile matches between an unidentified victim and a convicted offender.

Humanitarian Investigation Support

The National Missing Persons DNA Program launched on March 6, 2018, bringing with it three humanitarian indices that are maintained by the NDDB:

  • The Missing Persons Index (MPI), which contains DNA profiles from missing persons usually developed from personal belongings;
  • The Relatives of Missing Persons Index (RMI), which contains DNA profiles voluntarily provided with informed consent by relatives of missing persons; and
  • The Human Remains Index (HRI), which contains DNA profiles developed from unidentified human remains.

The humanitarian DNA indices allow DNA profiles developed from biological samples and other items collected and submitted by police, coroners and medical examiners to be compared to other DNA profiles in the NDDB. It is important to note that the DNA profiles in the RMI are only compared to those in the MPI and the HRI.

The NDDB is now able to provide a national service to support humanitarian investigations.

Increased Efficiency

As more DNA profiles are added to the NDDB, more matches are made in less time. When the NDDB first began operating in 2000, its two indices contained relatively few DNA profiles, and it took more than three years to reach the milestone of 1,000 offender hits. Now, the NDDB takes an average of just three months to achieve each additional 1,000 offender hits.

Figure 1: Offender and forensic hits - Text version
Figure 1: Offender and forensic hits - Text version
Fiscal Year Offender Hits Forensic Hits
2000/01 18 7
2001/02 218 9
2002/03 526 34
2003/04 1,110 132
2004/05 1,114 198
2005/06 1,992 331
2006/07 1,941 372
2007/08 1,976 324
2008/09 2,608 381
2009/10 3,095 381
2010/11 3,941 298
2011/12 3,437 353
2012/13 4,037 343
2013/14 4,097 325
2014/15 4,385 411
2015/16 5,044 578
2016/17 4,946 562
2017/18 5,298 453
2018/19 6,583 708

Convicted Offender Submissions Received

Every year, the NDDB processes approximately 40,000 convicted offender submissions, consisting of two types: biological samples and endorsements. A biological sample submission contains documentation and a biological sample collected from a convicted offender. The NDDB uses the biological sample to generate a DNA profile of the offender then enters the profile into the Convicted Offenders Index (COI). An endorsement submission is sent to the NDDB when the convicted offender's DNA profile is already in the COI. Before executing a new DNA order or authorization, police officers must query the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) to determine whether a convicted offender's DNA profile is already in the NDDB. Endorsements therefore consist of documentation only. The endorsement process ensures that a convicted offender's DNA profile remains in the NDDB if the endorsement is received prior to:

  • the conviction for which the original DNA order was made being quashed on appeal; or
  • the original DNA order/authorization being quashed on appeal; or
  • the retention period expiring because the person was either:
    • convicted as a young person; or
    • previously discharged under Section 730 of the Criminal Code of a designated offence. (Note: this condition was removed as of March 6, 2018 when amendments to the DNA Identification Act came into force)

When the NDDB receives either a biological sample or an endorsement submission, the documentation is reviewed to ensure two things: first, that the DNA order was issued for a criminal offence for which DNA can legally be collected and second, that the offender's personal information required for the submission is complete and accurate.

Two types of orders can be issued for the collection of biological samples:

  1. DNA Orders: The biological samples are collected from offenders convicted of offences that are designated offences at the time of their conviction. This includes offences that were not designated at the time of commission or even offences committed before the NDDB was created in June 2000. The court may grant a DNA order when an offender is sentenced or discharged.
  2. Retroactive Authorizations: A biological sample taken from an offender who was found guilty of certain designated Criminal Code offences before June 30, 2000. Authorization is granted as per qualifying criteria set out in s.487.055 of the Criminal Code.

As of March 31, 2019, approximately 6,244 offenders have qualified for inclusion in the retroactive category. Under this provision, the NDDB received 5,035 submissions. The NDDB is still pursuing 77 files for which DNA authorization is awaiting execution or court application. For a variety of reasons (e.g. authorization not granted, the offender is deceased or cannot be located) the remaining 1,132 files have been closed.

All convicted offender submissions are recorded in the NDDB's internal tracking system without any of the offender's personal information. Documentation for both convicted offender biological sample submissions and endorsements is sent to the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services section so it can be certified, associated with an individual by fingerprint comparison and recorded in the individual's criminal record.

In February 2013, the NDDB began identifying duplicate convicted offender sample submissions by conducting a CPIC check to ensure that convicted offender DNA profiles were not already in the NDDB. Since that time, the NDDB has received 6,439 biological samples that were found to be duplicates. These biological sample submissions are converted to endorsement submissions and not sent for DNA analysis. By doing so, the NDDB is reducing the cost associated with unnecessary DNA analysis of duplicate convicted offender biological samples. See Table 3 for information about duplicate biological samples that were not identified prior to laboratory analysis.

Processing of Biological Samples

Convicted Offender Samples

When someone is found guilty of committing a designated offence for which a biological sample can be obtained, the judge can issue a DNA order. An experienced peace officer will then collect a biological sample from that person by taking a blood, buccal or hair sample. The NDDB is responsible for processing all convicted offender biological samples and entering the DNA profiles derived from these samples into the Convicted Offenders Index (COI).

Kits designed specifically for the NDDB are used for collecting biological samples from offenders:

  • Blood: The sample is obtained by using a sterile lancet to prick the fingertip
  • Buccal: The inside of the mouth is rubbed with a foam applicator to obtain skin cells
  • Hair: Six to eight hairs are pulled out with the root sheath attached

Although all three types of biological samples have been legally approved for collection, more than 98% of samples taken from convicted offenders are blood samples. The NDDB encourages the collection of blood samples because blood has proven to be more reliable than hair or buccal samples in generating high-quality DNA profiles.

Crime Scene and Victim Samples

Crime scene DNA evidence is collected by police investigators and examined by forensic laboratories across Canada to generate DNA profiles. Only a DNA profile derived from a designated offence can then be added by an authorized forensic laboratory to the NDDB's Crime Scene Index (CSI) or the Victims Index (VI). The NDDB is responsible for removing victims' DNA profiles in accordance with the legislation. The following public forensic laboratories are authorized to add DNA profiles to the CSI and VI:

  • The RCMP National Forensic Laboratory Services in Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver
  • The Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • The Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale in Montréal, Quebec

Voluntary Donor Samples

Samples collected from voluntary donors during the course of a criminal investigation of a designated offence are processed by a public forensic laboratory and if it will potentially benefit the investigation can be added to the NDDB's Voluntary Donors Index (VDI). Voluntary donor samples collected as part of a humanitarian investigation are provided to the NDDB for processing and added to the VDI. The NDDB is responsible for removing voluntary donors' DNA profiles in accordance with the legislation.

Missing Persons, Relatives of Missing Persons or Human Remains Samples

Processing of samples from Missing Persons, Relatives of Missing Persons and Human Remains fall within the National Missing Persons DNA Program. This program is a partnership between the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) and the NDDB. The role of NCMPUR is to act as a single point of contact for investigators. As such, NCMPUR authorizes the submissions to the NDDB for missing persons and human remains investigations.

Under the newly amended DNA Identification Act, the NDDB is responsible for maintaining the humanitarian indices and is also responsible for:

  • receiving biological samples from submitting agencies and developing DNA profiles;
  • receiving DNA profiles from approved laboratories for technical review;
  • interpreting and comparing DNA profiles from human remains, relatives of missing persons and personal belongings from missing persons;
  • adding and removing DNA profiles in the HRI, RMI and MPI in accordance with the legislation;
  • issuing and explaining kinship and identity association reports; and
  • providing scientific advice and support to NCMPUR and investigators, as required.

Overview of Humanitarian Submission Process

Figure 2: Overview of Humanitarian Submission Process - Text version


  • Investigators ensure CPIC entries are complete for the missing person or human remains case
  • Contact NCMPUR for submission authorization


  • NCMPUR assesses cases
  • Provides consultation and guidance to investigators
  • Provides submission and consent forms
  • Authorizes cases for NDDB submission


  • Investigators collect biological samples, personal effects and/or human remains
  • Complete submission and consent forms
  • Send the submission package to the NDDB


  • NDDB verifies that all forms are completed
  • Conducts DNA analysis
  • Adds qualifying profiles to their specific humanitarian index
  • Provides scientific support to NCMPUR and investigators

Match in CODIS

  • NDDB generates a report for associations to a missing person or human remains DNA profile
  • Sends the report to NCMPUR

Match Notification

  • NCMPUR forwards the report to the investigator

Comparing DNA Profiles

The DNA profiles in the NDDB are compared using the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is a secure network and software program developed by the FBI and the US Department of Justice and provided to the RCMP for use by the NDDB. CODIS has become an internationally accepted tool for many forensic laboratories, allowing DNA profile information to be compared using a standard, secure format. In Canada, the NDDB uses CODIS for daily comparisons of DNA profiles. Each new DNA profile entered into one of the NDDB's DNA indices is automatically compared against all existing profiles contained in other DNA indices as permitted by the DNA Identification Act.

International Participation

The NDDB shares DNA information with international investigating authorities through an international information sharing agreement with INTERPOL, approved by the Government of Canada, which limits its use to the investigation and prosecution of designated offences.

Since the international agreement was signed in 2002, the NDDB has received 1,800 incoming international requests to search the Convicted Offenders Index and the Crime Scene Index. These searches produced 6 offender hits and 10 forensic hits. Since April 2002, the NDDB has sent 301 requests to other INTERPOL countries for comparison of DNA profiles developed from crime scene samples, resulting in 6 offender hits and 2 forensic hits.

The RCMP and INTERPOL have recently updated their DNA Information Sharing Agreement to allow international comparisons of DNA profiles from missing persons and unidentified human remains.

Privacy of Information

The DNA Identification Act makes it clear that DNA profiles in the NDDB's indices can only be used for law enforcement purposes and, within the National Missing Persons DNA Program, for humanitarian purposes. The Act also clearly states that the DNA profiles in the Relatives of Missing Persons Index can only be compared to DNA profiles in the Missing Persons Index and Human Remains Index.

As an additional safe guard, when a convicted offender's DNA sample arrives at the NDDB, the donor's identity is separated from his or her genetic information, and the sample is subsequently identified by a numeric bar code. The numeric bar codes are the only link connecting personal information, the biological sample and the DNA profile. The donor's personal information is kept in a separate registry maintained by the RCMP's Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS), which NDDB staff cannot access. This process ensures that NDDB staff never know which convicted offender's DNA profile they are processing. Likewise, CCRTIS staff do not have access to the genetic information of an offender. With the exception of sex, DNA profiles held within the indices of the NDDB do not reveal any medical or physical information about the donor.

The Act further protects Canadians' privacy rights by requiring informed consent for submissions to the Relatives of Missing Persons Index, the Victims Index and the Voluntary Donors Index. This consent can be withdrawn at any time by the contributor. In addition, at least once every five years, the investigating agency will be contacted about the case to ensure that the person from whom the DNA profile was obtained has not withdrawn their consent and that the investigating agency continues to believe that the DNA profile will assist in the investigation for which it was obtained. If removal is requested or if the investigating agency fails to respond then the DNA profile will be removed from the appropriate DNA index and the biological sample will be destroyed.

Lastly, the NDDB will only share DNA information with other investigative authorities as permitted by the legislation.

The Value of Secondary Designated Offence Submissions

DNA can only be collected from people found guilty of committing crimes legislated and categorized by the Criminal Code as primary or secondary designated offences. When the NDDB first opened, the number of secondary designated offences was limited. In 2008, the Criminal Code was changed and the list of secondary designated offences was expanded to include a wider range of less serious crimes (e.g., failure to appear and drug offences). While usually less violent, these offences can help solve more serious criminal offences.

To illustrate the value of these offences, offender hit data was selected from the NDDB for a few common secondary designated offences. The figure below provides the number of offender hits to ongoing investigations (including murders and sexual assaults) that were the outcome of DNA orders being issued for offenders convicted of secondary designated offences.

Figure 3: The Value of Secondary Designated Offence Submissions - Text version

Secondary designated offences for which a DNA Order has been issued

  • S. 145 (1)-(11) Failure to appear, to comply etc...
    • 1,621 AssociationsFootnote 1
      • 70 Murders
      • 124 Sexual assaults
  • S. 266 Assault
    • 7,219 Associations
      • 551 Murders
      • 1,250 Sexual assaults
  • Drug offences (5, 6 and 7)
    • 2,039 Associations
      • 170 Murders
      • 185 Sexual assaults
  • S. 264.1 Uttering threat
    • 886 Associations
      • 61 Murders
      • 116 Sexual assaults

Process for Reporting a DNA Match / Process for Confirming a DNA Match

Process for Reporting a DNA Match

Criminal Investigations

Figure 4: Process for Reporting a DNA Match - Text version

NDDB processes biological samples from convicted offenders and enters the resulting DNA profiles into the Convicted Offenders Index.

  • NDDB runs a search between the Crime Scene Index and th Convicted Offenders list
  • DNA match between a convicted offender's DNA profile and a crime scene DNA profile.
  • The offender, the crime scene and the laboratory identifiers are brought to the Canadian Police Services Information Centre (CPSIC).
  • CPSIC forwards the convicted offender data to the forensic laboratory.
  • Forensic laboratory passes the convicted offender identity information to the investigator.

Forensic laboratories process biological samples left at crime scenes and enter the resulting DNA profiles into the Crime Scene Index.

  • NDDB runs a search between the Crime Scene Index and th Convicted Offenders list
  • DNA match between a convicted offender's DNA profile and a crime scene DNA profile.
  • The offender, the crime scene and the laboratory identifiers are brought to the Canadian Police Services Information Centre (CPSIC).
  • CPSIC forwards the convicted offender data to the forensic laboratory.
  • Forensic laboratory passes the convicted offender identity information to the investigator.

Process for Confirming a DNA Match

Criminal Investigations

Figure 5: Process for Confirming a DNA Match - Text version
  • The investigator assesses the case evidence to determine if further investigation of the suspect is required.
  • If evidence of a match between the convicted offender and the crime scene DNA profiles is required for court purposes, the investigator must apply to a provincial court judge for a DNA warrant. If the DNA warrant is ordered, a biological sample can be collected from the suspect under that authority.
  • The biological sample is submitted to a forensic laboratory for analysis. The forensic laboratory compares the suspect's DNA profile to that of the crime scene evidence.
  • The forensic laboratory issues a report confirming a DNA match between the suspect's DNA profile and that of the crime scene evidence.
  • Based on the laboratory report and other investigative information, the investigator can consider whether charges should be laid or recommended against the suspect.

Success Stories

The successful resolution to an investigation and ensuring public safety is what contributors to the NDDB strive for. Here are a few of the stories that document the successes achieved with the assistance of the NDDB and represent many hours of hard work by the policing, justice and scientific communities working in partnership.

Many of the stories featured this year highlight the successful prosecution of violent offenders. However, the brave victims who came forward to report these crimes must also be acknowledged.

Early morning attack

On an early morning in August 1990, a woman was standing on a Toronto street corner rummaging through her purse. Suddenly, a man grabbed the woman, held a knife to her throat, and threatened to "slice" her if she screamed. The man forced her into a nearby laneway, where they were joined by a second man. The men took turns sexually assaulting the victim while holding the knife to her throat. They eventually left the scene with $460 they had stolen from the victim.

The victim made her way to a hospital, and the incident was reported to police. Despite the investigators' best efforts, no suspects were ever identified. However, in 2002, during a cold case review, the victim's clothing was submitted to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for examination. Two male DNA profiles were developed and added to the Crime Scene Index.

In 2014, the NDDB got a "hit": one of the male profiles from the 1990 sexual assault matched an offender who had recently been convicted of drug-related offences. The man was arrested and charged with multiple offences, including threatening death, sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and robbery. In early fall 2018, he was found guilty on all charges.

Although the other suspect remains unknown and this remains an open investigation, the victim can obtain some closure, knowing one of the violent offenders is off the streets.

"The National DNA Data Bank is such an invaluable tool that even after 28 years, we were still able to get a conviction on a cold case sexual assault. Having an offender sampled for secondary offences after conviction is crucial."

Detective Barb Douglas, Sex Crimes (Cold Case Section), Toronto Police Service

Dispute over $20 ends in tragedy

In December 2014, a teen was out in Winnipeg celebrating his 17th birthday. He had been drinking. Around 6 a.m., he approached a 29-year-old woman and gave her $20, hoping to obtain a sexual service in return. When she refused to comply or return the money, he pulled out a sword he had hidden under his jacket and stabbed her four times. The teen then fled the scene. A passerby called 911, but sadly, the woman died in hospital from her injuries.

The sword was later recovered a few houses away from the crime scene. An unknown male DNA profile was recovered from the sword's handle. The DNA profile from the sword did not produce an offender hit in the NDDB at that time.

Several months later, in August 2015, a teen was convicted on child abandonment and criminal negligence charges. Following his sentencing, a sample of his DNA was collected and entered into the NDDB Convicted Offender Index. The DNA profile matched the profile taken from the sword. The police finally had their suspect. The teen eventually pled guilty to second-degree murder and received the maximum youth sentence.

"This homicide case was investigated for months by the Winnipeg Police Homicide Unit, Major Crimes Unit and Forensic Identification Section. All avenues had failed in providing the actual individual who committed this crime. It wasn't until I received a notification from the NDDB of a DNA hit from an unrelated child abuse incident that we had a lead, which eventually led to the arrest and conviction of the murder suspect."

Constable Nick Doyon, Forensic Identification Specialist, Winnipeg Police Service

A targeted hit?

In August 1995, a prison guard and his wife were asleep on the second floor of their Laval home. Around 2 a.m., the man awoke to excruciating stomach pain. To his horror, he discovered that he had been stabbed, and that the knife was still lodged in his abdomen. He caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure running towards the staircase. The victim removed the knife and went after his supposed assailant, but the man managed to escape the same way he had come in: through a window above the kitchen sink. The victim collapsed to the floor, as his wife called 911 and started administering first aid. He underwent emergency surgery, and managed to survive his serious injuries.

The knife used to stab the victim (which turned out to be the victim's own knife) and a cigarette butt found on the carpet close to the bedroom were collected as evidence. Unfortunately, DNA testing was not widely used in 1995 and the NDDB did not exist.

In 2016, Inspector Jules Briand with the Laval Police Service sent the cigarette butt for DNA testing. A male DNA profile was developed, and once added to the NDDB it matched to a profile already contained in the Convicted Offenders Index. The offender was convicted for a previous indecent act, which was a secondary designated offence, and his DNA profile had been entered into the NDDB. It was subsequently determined that the offender had been an inmate at the same prison where the victim worked, and had been released shortly before the 1995 attack. Upon his arrest in June 2017, he admitted to carrying out the attack, but refused to provide a motive. In May 2018, he pled guilty to aggravated assault and break and enter and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

"Without the NDDB, the case would have remained unsolved. Although the offender had been on the list of suspects who were released from Bordeaux before the attack, it was impossible to physically connect him to the crime scene. Finally, the DNA match allowed us to find the missing link and contributed to obtaining a confession."

Detective Sergeant Jules Briand, Major Crimes Unit, Laval Police Service

Gang sexual assault

One evening in June 2003, in Duncan, British Columbia, a 15 year old girl went to meet some friends at a gas station. When her friends didn't show up, the young woman began chatting with three men who had pulled into the parking lot. She accepted their invitation to go for a ride, and the four of them drove to a nearby trail. Once they were out of the car, the men attacked the victim, and all three sexually assaulted her. The men then left the girl near the trail, and she was forced to make her way back to the gas station on foot.

Duncan RCMP were called and interviewed the victim. They also took her to a hospital to be examined, where samples and swabs were taken from the victim and her clothing collected. All the items were then sent to the RCMP National Forensic Laboratory Services for analysis and an unknown male DNA profile was recovered from the victim's underpants and added to the Crime Scene Index of the NDDB.

In August 2015, the investigators got their first break in the case when the unknown male DNA profile matched to an offender. This offender's DNA profile had been entered into the NDDB following his conviction for flight while being pursued by a peace officer. In 2018, the identified offender was convicted of the 2003 sexual assault and sentenced to 3 years in prison. He was also placed on the National Sex Offender Registry.

"Obviously the DNA hit was critical to this file, as it had sat unsolved for many years. The hit being from a driving offence shows the importance of issuing DNA orders by the courts for all offences, as they can link to other investigations. The testimony of the victim, the witnesses, investigators and forensic lab personnel were the reason for the successful conclusion."

Corporal Andrew Bechtel, North Cowichan Duncan Detachment, RCMP

The National DNA Data Bank Advisory Committee

Established in 2000 under the mandate of the DNA Identification Act, the NDDB Advisory Committee provides the NDDB with strategic guidance and direction on scientific advancements, matters of law, legislative changes, privacy issues and ethical practices. In addition, the Advisory Committee reports to the RCMP's Commissioner on matters related to the NDDB operations and advises the Commissioner on a range of issues related to DNA ethics, scientific advancements and legislative changes. The members of the Advisory Committee are appointed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and collectively represent a diverse spectrum of expertise. The members of the Advisory Committee are:

Brendan Heffernan (Chairperson)
Gary Loeppky, O.O.M (Chairperson, Feb 2012 to Jun 2018)
Gisèle Côté-harper, O.C.,Q.C. (May 2000 to Dec 2018)
Dr. William S. Davidson, Ph. D. (May 2000 to Dec 2018)
Dr. Frederick R. Bieber, Ph. D.
Dr. Ron Fourney, Ph. D., O.O.M.
Derrill Prevett, Q.C.
Sue O'sullivan, B.A., O.O.M.
Dr. Michael Szego, Ph. D., Mhsc
Kasia Krzymien

For their complete biographies and more information about the Advisory Committee's role, please visit the NDDB Advisory Committee website:

Key Statistics

Biological samples: June 30, 2000 through March 31, 2019

Endorsements: January 1, 2008 through March 31, 2019

Table 1 - DNA Profiles Contained in the NDDB
Type Amount
Convicted Offenders Index (COI) 384,488
Crime Scene Index (CSI) 159,448
Victims Index (VI) 19
Voluntary Donors Index (VDI) 0
Total 543,955

Biological Samples Received versus DNA Profiles Contained in the Convicted Offenders Index:

As of March 31, 2019, the NDDB had received 425,466 biological samples, of which 384,488 DNA profiles were contained in the COI. The difference of 9.6 % can be attributed to rejected samples, duplicate samples, biological samples in the process of being analyzed and DNA profiles removed from the COI because of an absolute or conditional discharge, expired retention period, or because the conviction or the DNA order/authorization was quashed on appeal.

Table 2 - Breakdown of DNA Profiles Contained in the Crime Scene Index
Type Amount
Centre of Forensic Sciences 60,714
Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale 44,505
RCMP National Forensic Laboratory Services 54,229
Total 159,448
Table 3 - Match Inventory Report
Type Amount
Offender Hit 56,366
Forensic Hit 6,200
Victim Hit 2
Offender DuplicateFootnote 1 14,402
Identical DNA Profiles 354
Table 4 - Offender Hits by Case Type
Type Amount
Break and Enters 26,136
Robberies 6,146
Sexual Offences 6,073
Assaults 4,409
Homicides 3,674
Attempted Murders 1,082
Other 8,846
Total 56,366
Table 5 - Convicted Offender Submissions Received – Breakdown by Category of Offence
Type Biological Samples Endorsements
Primary 223,845 68,643
Secondary 198,040 88,990
Other 3,581 1,065
Total 425,466 158,698

Primary and Secondary Offences: See section 487.04 of Criminal Code of Canada.

Table 6 - Convicted Offender Submissions Received – Breakdown by Type of Offender
Type Biological Samples Endorsements
Adult Offender 374,271 152,610
Young Offender 51,093 6,080
Military Offender 102 8
Total 425,466 158,698
Table 7 - Convicted Offender Submissions Received – Breakdown by Type of Offence
Type Biological Samples Endorsements
Assaults 259,026 103,559
Sexual Offences 87,005 11,014
Break and Enters 60,420 32,261
Robberies 49,429 18,367
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act 39,699 15,020
Homicides 9,817 1,844
Other 61,295 43,609
Total 566,691 225,674
Table 8 - Convicted Offender Submissions Received by Province/Territory
April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 June 30, 2000 to March 31, 2019
Province Biological Samples Endorsements Biological Samples Endorsements
(from Jan 1st, 2008)
British Columbia 1,928 1,685 48,772 18,507
Alberta 2,205 1,711 45,638 16,642
Saskatchewan 893 524 18,019 3,427
Manitoba 1,298 1,155 26,199 8,791
Ontario 9,320 10,811 186,325 90,001
Quebec 3,751 1,655 71,678 15,555
New Brunswick 231 88 5,410 528
Nova Scotia 370 256 11,036 2,535
Prince Edward Island 85 19 1,152 99
Newfoundland & Labrador 296 211 5,971 1,171
Yukon 38 18 764 218
Northwest Territories 91 85 2,324 709
Nunavut 116 58 2,178 515
Total 20,622 18,276 425,466 158,698

Rejection of NDDB Submissions

The NDDB has rejected only 6,461 (1.5 %) of the biological samples and 2,416 (1.5 %) of the endorsements it has received to date. Reasons for rejection include: the offender was convicted of a non-designated offence, the biological sample was inadequate, the collection kit used was inappropriate (sample), the offender's DNA profile was not contained in the COI (endorsement), or the DNA order was missing or invalid.

Collection of Additional Bodily Substances

If a biological sample is rejected because the quality of the sample is deemed inadequate for DNA analysis, or if it was not submitted in accordance with the DNA Identification Regulations, an application for resampling can be authorized by a judge. Since June 30, 2000, the NDDB has received 1,579 samples taken under this provision.

Table 9 - Breakdown of Biological Samples Destroyed and DNA Profiles Removed from the Convicted Offenders Index
Type Adult Young Person
Conditional discharge
(repealed for adults as of March 6, 2018)
11,062 1,491
Conviction quashed on appeal 700 27
Absolute discharge
(repealed for adults as of March 6, 2018)
557 94
Duplicate sample (same order) 358 31
No suitable DNA profile obtained 125 19
Order/authorization quashed 39 8
Retention period expired N/A 5,622
Other 71 11
Total 12,912 7,303
Table 10 - Summary of NDDB Indices and Associations Made
Type 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
Total Number of CSI DNA Profiles at Year-End 105,607 117,163 130,100 143,963 159,448
Increase in CSI DNA ProfilesFootnote 1 11,361 11,556 12,937 13,863 15,485
Total Number of COI DNA Profiles at Year-End 307,910 326,989 346,160 365,565 384,488
Increase in COI DNA ProfilesFootnote 1 19,250 19,079 19,171 19,405 18,923
Submissions received (biological samples and endorsements) 37,296 37,828 40,199 40,394 38,898
Associations made (Offender and Forensic Hits) 4,796 5,622 5,508 5,751 7,291

Financial StatementFootnote 1

April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Expenditure Type Expenditure
($ thousands)
Personnel 2,676
Internal Services 765
Employee Benefit Plan 449
Transport and Telecommunications 107
Development and Infrastructure Support 59
Rentals 125
Repair and Maintenance 247
Utilities, Materials, Supplies and Miscellaneous 1,170
Capital and Minor Equipment Purchases 294
Sub-total 5,892
Allocated Indirect CostsFootnote 2 213
Total 6,103
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