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STAT and Critical Samples Testing Policy

The Public Health Ontario Laboratory (PHOL) is committed to prioritizing testing to assist health-care providers in making swift patient care decisions in an urgent or emergency circumstance (“STAT”). STAT testing should only be requested when it directly affects patient care in an emergency medical circumstance.

STAT testing is available for specific test requests:

  •  Malaria
  •  Rapid tests for Influenza outbreaks
  •  Bioterrorism
  •  HIV serology and Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) needlestick (source only)


Consultation with a PHOL Microbiologist will be required in circumstances where a test is not usually processed as a STAT, e.g. HIV  (serology, HIV Viral Load, HIV PCR) and HBsAg testing for women in labour.
Approval for after-hours testing may require some or all of the following information:  patient symptoms, travel history, date of onset of symptoms, exposure history, outbreak status and vaccination status.  


STAT samples must be shipped separately from routine specimens in a clearly marked package indicating ‘STAT’ and handled in accordance with the Canadian Biosafety Standards and shipped in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Failure to comply may delay testing. 

It is imperative that PHOL be notified when STAT samples are being sent.
During operating hours: 
  • Notify PHOL Customer Service Centre during operating hours of Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. when sending samples for STAT testing.
  • For the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), contact the Customer Service Centre at 416-235-6556.
  • For outside the GTA, contact the Customer Service Centre toll free at 1-877-604-4567.
Outside of operating hours:
  • Contact the PHOL emergency duty officer at 416-605-3113.
After-hours test results  
1.     If you are a patient: Contact your healthcare provider involved in your circle of care to obtain your laboratory test results.
2.      PHO laboratory test results are available to registered healthcare providers through the eHealth Ontario Portal.


Page last reviewed:
Page last updated: 2018-11-20 11:29 AM
Uncontrolled print copy. Valid only on day of Print: [date]
Page updated on [date/time] 2018-11-20 11:29 AM
© , Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion