The Biolegal Laboratory

The Biolegal Laboratory provides scientific support for the enforcement of wildlife conservation legislation and regulations. It plays an important complementary role in the work of wildlife protection officers, by:

  • clarifying the circumstances surrounding illegal actions;
  • finding the people responsible; and
  • identifying scientific evidence that allows investigations to progress.

Science in support of wildlife protection

The Laboratory works in a variety of fields, including biology, genetics and veterinary medicine. Through its analyses, it is able to provide scientific evidence to confirm to refute a fact, version of events or statement. Every case is unique and receives meticulous treatment. The Laboratory’s experts can guide investigators and link physical clues to poaching suspects or sites.

Wildlife protection officers use the results of the Laboratory’s analyses in combination with their own evidence to complete their investigations and prepare their reports. They decide on the charges to be brought against suspects based on the evidence obtained.

The Laboratory carries out a wide range of analyses, including:

  • identification of animal species from anatomical parts;
  • assessment of connections between parts;
  • species enumerations;
  • determination of age;
  • discrimination between wild fish and farmed fish;
  • identification of capture methods; and
  • cause of death assessments.

Every year, the Laboratory receives roughly 150 requests for expert assessments along with a variety of evidence for analysis, ranging from animals and parts of animals to flesh, feathers, fur, fish scales, knives and even clothing.

For physical assessments including ballistics cases, officers may also use the services of the Judicial Science and Legal Medicine Laboratory operated by Québec’s Ministère de la Justice.