Canada’s DNA Identification Act came into force in 2000. Under the Act, you might be required to provide DNA samples if you fall under either of two categories.
First, if you have been convicted of any serious offence such as murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault or aggravated sexual assault, the judge must make an order for a DNA sample upon conviction. The second category is for more common offenses such as sexual assault or child pornography. In those cases, the judge has the option to not make a DNA order, if the prosecutor does not make the application or if the judge is satisfied that the privacy concerns outweigh the public’s interest. The judge must give reasons for the decision either way.
If you are ordered to give a sample of your DNA under either of the above situations, the order will be made either on the date of sentencing or up to 90 days after the sentence is given. When the judge makes the order you will be directed to appear at a certain place and time. This is usually done at the courthouse. If you don’t comply with the order (that is, if you don’t attend the location at the place and time) you may receive a charge and additional sentence.
The process of taking a DNA sample is pretty simple. The officer will first examine whether or not you are already in the national DNA databank. If you are, you may not have to give another sample. Taking simples is usually done with a skin prick for a small blood sample. If you have religious, cultural or medical objections, there are alternatives to this method.
Once the DNA is collected the profiles are stored according to complex rules, and the information may be shared with Canadian and international law enforcement officials.
If you have any questions about your DNA samples and whether you will need to give one, feel free to give us as call and we can help you out.
Ron Ellis is a criminal defence lawyer based in London, Ontario.