Criteria for Acceptance of Patient Specimens

Who can Submit:

As defined by Section 9 (1) Ontario Regulation 682 of the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act, Public Health Ontario will perform testing on human samples:

  1. At the request of a legally qualified medical practitioner or a dentist.
  2. At the request of a midwife, in respect of a test specified in Appendix B of the Ontario Regulation 682.
  3. At the request of a person who lawfully practices a health profession in a jurisdiction outside Ontario, if in that jurisdiction a laboratory may lawfully examine specimens at the request of that person.
  4. At the request of an agent within the meaning of the Insurance Act, in respect of HIV Antibody testing.
  5. At the request of a registered nurse who holds an extended certificate of registration under the Nursing Act, 1991.
  6. At the request of a member of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, in respect of a test specified in Appendix C of the Ontario Regulation 682.


  • non-critical specimen: routine specimens
  • critical specimens: difficult or impossible to recollect (i.e., CSF, tissue, autopsy material)

Criteria for Determining Acceptance of Non-Critical Specimens

1. Specimen containers must be labelled with:

  • the patient's full name (or unique code number in the case of anonymous testing) and
  • one other unique identifier, such as the patient's date of birth or health card number and
  • the date of collection and
  • the time of collection (for time-sensitive tests only)

2. All fields of the General Test Requisition must be completed, including

  • the patient's full name, date of birth, health card number (must match the specimen label)
  • test(s) requested
  • source of specimen
  • date of onset
  • date of collection
  • legally authorized requester's name and address

3. Patient test requisition forms received from a clinic staffed by rotating physicians (e.g., hassle-free clinic) shall include the name of the attending physician. Patient reports may be addressed to the Coordinator of the Clinic.

4. The specimen packaging meets the minimum Federal Regulation - Transportation of Dangerous Goods packaging requirements.

5. The specimen is not leaking.

Criteria for Determining Acceptance of Critical Specimens

Any critical specimen that is received without patient identifiers will be processed if tests specified, but will not be reported until a signed waiver has been received from the health care provider.

Verbal Requests for Additional Tests

No additional test will be added to previously submitted specimens except under exceptional circumstances. If additional tests are required, please submit a new specimen with an appropriately completed Public Health Ontario Test Requisition form, as follows:

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Updated 22 June 2023