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The Ottawa Plant Laboratory

The Ottawa Plant Laboratory is located on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People.

About the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a science-based regulator with a mandate to safeguard the food supply, protect the health of plants and animals, and support market access. The Agency relies on high-quality, timely and relevant science as the basis of its program design and regulatory decision-making. Scientific activities inform the Agency's understanding of risks, provide evidence for developing mitigation measures, and confirm the effectiveness of these measures.

CFIA scientific activities include laboratory testing, research, surveillance, test method development, risk assessments and expert scientific advice. Agency scientists maintain strong partnerships with universities, industry, and federal, provincial and international counterparts to effectively carry out the CFIA's mandate.

The Ottawa Plant Laboratory, located at Fallowfield campus, is part of the Ontario Laboratories Network of the CFIA and it is the agency's largest plant laboratory. The lab provides diagnostic, research, and scientific advice services in support of the Plant Health and Seed programs of the CFIA to protect Canada's agricultural and forestry resources. The laboratory also provides diagnostic services to certify Canadian plants, seeds, and plant-derived products for export.

OPL hosts scientific and technical professionals that provide state-of-the-art laboratory analysis, scientific advice and research activities. Research scientists and professionals at this laboratory collaborate with national and international organizations in developing new methods for detecting and identifying plant pests, plant species, and plant varieties. They also serve as subject matter experts on national and international panels to develop international standards, procedures and regulations.

What we do

Diagnostics

Plant pathology

  • Provide regulatory diagnostic services for the identification of plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, and seed borne viruses in various agricultural commodities intended for import, export, and domestic use in support of the CFIA plant health program
  • Provide regulatory seed health testing and accreditation in support of the CFIA seed program

Nematology

  • Provide diagnostic services for the detection and identification of plant-parasitic nematodes in soil, seeds, growing media, plants and plant products
  • Identify the presence of soil contaminating imported and exported commodities and characterization of growing media

Entomology

  • Provide detection and identifications of insects, mites and terrestrial molluscs on imported, exported, and domestically moved plants and plant products
  • Provide diagnostic support for surveys to detect changes in the distribution of quarantine pests within Canada
  • Provide diagnostic support to detect new introductions of invasive alien pests that are not already known to be present in Canada or have limited distribution

Genotyping – botany

  • Provide diagnostic services related to identification and verification of plant species and varieties through qualitative detection, quantification, and molecular genotyping of crop species, invasive alien plants, plants with novel traits, and seed

Seeds

  • Perform a variety of verification testing methods to monitor the varietal purity and varietal identity of seed in the marketplace to provide confidence in the integrity of the Canadian seed certification system

Research

Molecular Identification Research Laboratory

  • Develop advanced molecular diagnostic methods for cultivar or plant species detection, verification, identification and differentiation
  • Provide validated methods, datasets in support of the diagnostic services

Pathogen Identification Research Laboratory

  • Develop advanced molecular diagnostic methods (such as using genomics) for plant pathogen detection and identification/genotyping for use by diagnostic laboratories and to support other CFIA activities including surveys

Entomology Research Laboratory

  • Develop molecular tools for the identification of insects and development of insect pheromone trapping

Nematology Research Laboratory

  • Develop molecular diagnostic tools for the detection and identification of plant parasitic nematodes
  • Study the biology and distribution of regulated nematodes in Canada

Quality management

All CFIA laboratories are accredited in accordance with the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) provides accreditation for routine testing, test method development and non-routine testing, as identified on the laboratory's Scope of Accreditation on the SCC website. Accreditation formally verifies the CFIA's competence to produce accurate and reliable results. The results are supported by the development, validation and implementation of scientific methods, conducted by highly qualified personnel, using reliable products, services, and equipment, in a quality controlled environment. Participation in international proficiency testing programs further demonstrates that our testing is comparable to laboratories across Canada and around the world.

Physical address

The Ottawa Plant Laboratory
3851 Fallowfield Road
Ottawa, ON
K2J 4S1

More information

Learn about other CFIA laboratories.