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Calibration Laboratory Requires Accreditation

Updated: Sep 27, 2022


To obtain an admission that calibration or re-calibration needs to be done by an entity that is accredited by ASCLD/LAB ANLAB to ISO 17025 standards.

To obtain an admission that the local police service or local service centre which has conducted a re-calibration does not have such accreditation. The cross-examiner should have gone further on this issue to expand this line of questioning to Mega-Tech, Davtech, and GCS Technical Services.

Sample cross-examination of CFS scientist:

Q. But the new instrument that comes off the line. The hardware’s been built. The initial software has been loaded into the instrument. The instrument needs to learn what 70 milligrams per 100 mils looks like; what 100 looks like; what 130 looks like; what 150 looks like. A. Correct. Q. And that’s done through a process called calibration. A. Yes. Q. And calibration is the process that we talked endlessly about earlier, having to do with its definition. Right? A. Yes. Q. Now in order to do that, that’s done in a laboratory at C.M.I. Inc., that has some international accreditation, specifically, accreditation by an entity called A.S.C.L.D./L.A.B. A. ASCLD/LAB, yes. Q. It has accreditation to do a calibration of that new instrument.

A. Yes, or recalibrate instruments that have been brought in for service that require it. Q. And that calibration is done in accordance with international standards such as I-S-O-17-0-2-5? A. Correct. Q. You’re very familiar with I-S-O-17-0-2-5 because you use it all the time in your other work at the Centre of Forensic Sciences. A. I have a passing knowledge of it, and how it relates to what I do, but quality assurance managers in the toxicology section and in the Centre of Forensic Sciences have much more detailed knowledge of those policies and the organisations. Q. Now, without that learning process, of learning what 70 looks like, what 100 looks like, what 130 looks like and so on, the instrument can’t produce a reliable measurement result. A. Correct, until it’s been calibrated.


If a police service is conducting its own re-calibrations of approved instruments, then it should have accreditation similar to the following. Please notice "traceability", "certified reference material", and "uncertainty of measurement" at different ranges in the measuring interval.

Evidence should be called from the breath testing service on accreditation or lack thereof. A better cross-examination would include questions about whether or not a particular police service that conducted its own recalibration had and needed such accreditation.

Example of ASCLD/LAB-International Scope of Accreditation certification for Los Angeles Police Department Forensic Science Division respecting Forensic Science Calibration (obtained by online search)

See also the following and other pages from the Motherisk Inquiry Report. Quaere: Should police services in Canada obtain such accreditation before they conduct any forensic measurement?:

Chapter 7 3.1 No Forensic Accreditation excerpt from Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent review
Excerpt from Report of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review by The Honourable Susan E. Lang Independent Reviewer

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