The Saskatoon Laboratory

The Saskatoon Laboratory is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 6 region, including the Cree, Nakoda and Saulteaux People. The area is also home to the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, Western Region IIa.

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.

Saskatoon Laboratory building

The Saskatoon Laboratory is located on the University of Saskatchewan campus and at the Innovation Place Research Park. The laboratory speciality areas are:

  • Centre for Seed Science and Technology
  • Centre for Veterinary Drug Residues
  • Centre for Food-borne and Animal Parasitology

The scientists at the Saskatoon laboratory are experts in parasitology, veterinary drug residues and related compounds, as well as seed science.

What we do

Centre for Seed Science and Technology

This centre specializes in the quality assessment of seed and grain, as well as identifying crop and weed seeds, by using plant physiology, morphology and taxonomy.

National Seed Herbarium

  • Manage and expand the National Seed Herbarium, Canada's only national reference collection for seed identification
  • Provide seed identification services and specimen references to CFIA and commercial seed testing labs

Accreditation programs and proficiency testing

  • Provide accreditation or authorization for alternative service delivery of diagnostic tests that support CFIA seed, grains, oilseeds and invasive plant programs
  • Evaluation of analysts and officially recognized foreign seed testing laboratories
  • Deliver proficiency testing panels annually to Canadian and international labs


  • Improve and publish official Canadian seed testing methods
  • Develop and validate testing methods for seed and grain
  • Develop seed identification methods and training resources

Diagnostic testing

  • Perform routine diagnostic testing, monitoring and surveillance of seed and grain to protect consumers and support trade

Centre for Veterinary Drug Residues

This is a well-equipped, modern analytical chemistry facility that conducts research and testing for drug residue in foods of animal origin.


  • Methods of analysis for new drugs
  • Methods of analysis for drugs of multiple classes with multiple residues
  • Identify marker residues and perform drug residue depletion studies
  • Identify unknown compounds

Testing of drug residues

  • Drug residues such as:
    • antimicrobials
    • growth promoters
    • hormones and steroids
    • banned substances
    • other veterinary drugs and contaminants

Proficiency testing

  • Provider of proficiency testing samples in a wide range of drugs

Key technologies

  • Tandem and high resolution mass spectrometry: a multistep process for sorting ions and accurately measuring mass
  • Liquid and gas chromatography: uses a liquid or gas to separate a material for molecular analysis

Centre for Food-borne and Animal Parasitology

This national centre specializes in parasites of significance to food safety, animal health and/or trade.

Proficiency testing (PT)

  • Provide Trichinella proficiency samples and related oversight to support alternative service delivery of CFIA domestic and export programs


  • Develop and validate testing methods
  • Detection and control of food-borne and animal parasites
  • Molecular characterization

Diagnostic testing

  • Perform routine diagnostic testing, monitoring and surveillance of food-borne and animal parasites to protect consumers and livestock, and to support trade
  • Implement a variety of techniques, from traditional parasitological (such as microscopic examination, culture) to serological (blood serum) and molecular detection methods

Reference Laboratory

The Saskatoon Laboratory is designated as a reference laboratory by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE)) with expertise in trichinellosis (a disease caused by the roundworm Trichinella).

WOAH Reference Laboratories are designated to pursue the scientific and technical problems that relate to a specific disease or topic. Its role is to function as a centre of expertise and standardisation of diagnostic techniques for its designated disease.

The reference laboratory is involved in cutting-edge research and training of highly skilled personnel from countries all over the world.

WOAH Collaborating Centre

The Saskatoon Laboratory is also designated as a collaborating centre by the WOAH with expertise in food-borne zoonotic parasites (transmitted between animals and people).

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

Saskatoon Laboratory
116 Veterinary Road
Saskatoon, SK
S7N 2R3

More information

Learn about other CFIA laboratories.