The RCMP will open a new national crime lab in Surrey B.C. this fall as the force attempts to put an end to a bottleneck of forensic requests.
The Surrey lab will replace a 45-year-old Vancouver lab and will complement labs in Edmonton and Ottawa.
The three labs processed 17,154 forensic requests during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair made the announcement during a tour of the new facility on Thursday.
The RCMP used to have six labs across the country, but in a 2012 cost-cutting measure, labs in Halifax, Winnipeg and Regina were shut down.
In 2013-14, before the three RCMP labs closed, the average turnaround time for routine firearms requests was 56 days.
In the j2017-18 fiscal year, the average wait quadrupled, to 238 days.
The force is anticipating their labs will be flooded with blood test requests over the next four years as Canada’s new impaired driving laws mature.
That could increase requests up to 12-fold over the next four years.
The RCMP lab service receives forensic service requests from across Canada — except from Ontario and Quebec, which run their own public forensic laboratories for provincial and municipal investigations.
With files from CBC, CTV, Global