A home DNA test cannot be upgraded to a legal test since a chain of custody procedure needs to be followed for a paternity test to be legally binding.

Why Do I Need A Legal Paternity Test?

A legal test is required over a home paternity test if the results of the test need to be admitted in court.

Legal DNA Paternity Tests require the participant’s samples to be collected at one of our collection facilities or through a mobile collection by one of our professionals. The participant’s identity must be verified with government ID, a fingerprint is taken, and a photograph is taken or supplied by the participant.

Some of the specific reasons a legal test may be necessary are to:

  • assist in obtaining Tax benefits for the parent
  • assist in obtaining all entitled benefits for the child from both parents (i.e. life insurance, health care, social security, child support)
  • establish rights to an inheritance
  • confirm parentage in surrogate births, assisted reproduction or insemination
  • be added onto the birth certificate of a child
  • assist in obtaining custody of a child

Parentage and Legal Paternity Testing Laws

Rules of parentage and paternity testing are governed by each provincial/territorial government and therefore, may vary between provinces/territories. In the majority of provinces, a person is presumed to be the parent of a child (unless otherwise proven on a balance of probabilities) if:

  1. The individual was a spouse (legal or common-law marriage) to the birth parent when the child was born or within 300 days of the child’s birth
  2. The individual has registered as the child’s birth parent under the Vital Statistics act (i.e. is on the birth certificate).

In the majority of provinces, if the individual is presumed to be the parent of a child and does not believe that to be true, the court can grant leave to obtain a DNA test. The DNA test can then be submitted into evidence. All parties being tested must consent to the DNA test, but if they refuse the court can draw conclusions however they deem appropriate.

For more information on parentage and paternity testing specific to your province/territory, please visit the applicable website below:

Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90c12
Alberta: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/F04P5.pdf
Manitoba: http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/f020e.php
British Columbia: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/LOC/lc/statreg/--%20F%20--/Family%20Law%20Act%20[SBC%202011]%20c.%2025/00_Act/11025_03.xml
Saskatchewan: http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/C8-2.pdf
Quebec: http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/CCQ-1991
Nova Scotia: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/vital%20statistics.pdf
Newfoundland: http://assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/c13.htm
New Brunswick: http://cwrp.ca/sites/default/files/publications/en/NB_Family_Services_Act.pdf
Prince Edward Island: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/legislation/c-06.pdf
Northwest Territories and Nunavut: https://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/en/files/legislation/childrens-law/childrens-law.a.pdf
Yukon: http://www.gov.yk.ca/legislation/acts/childrens.pdf

Canadian Tax Laws

In terms of Canadian Tax Laws, a legal paternity test is valuable in providing evidence of paternity for an individual not listed on the child’s birth certificate. Once parentage is established, the child can be claimed as dependent and qualify for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) if the individual is the primary caregiver for the child. Each province/territory also has a child tax benefit that the parent may be eligible to receive. Visit the Canadian Revenue Agencies website (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/bnfts/ccb/menu-eng.html ) for more information.

Child Support

Children have a legal right to receive financial support from both of their parents. The amount of child support that is to be received is outlined in the Federal Child Support Guidelines (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-97-175.pdf), while the rules of parentage are outlined in provincial/territorial statute (listed above). If parentage is disputed, paternity test results can be entered as evidence in court and be used to make a decision on whether child support will be paid or not. Once parentage is established, the parent may be entitled to custody and access rights as well.

Paternity Testing in the News

Recently in Manitoba, paternity tests were carried out and it was determined that two men had been switched at birth at the Norway House Indian hospital in 1975. The incident was at least the second reported of its kind in the same year at the same hospital. Since the second discovery, Health Canada has announced that they are offering free DNA tests to anyone born at the hospital before 1980. This article highlights the importance of paternity testing.


Common Questions and Answers about Legal DNA Paternity Testing

The following list includes frequently asked questions about legal paternity tests. For additional questions please contact one of our helpful customer service representatives.

1. Can a home paternity test/curiosity test be upgraded to a legal test?

No, legal paternity testing follows a chain of custody that outlines where the sample has been and who has handled it (starting from the moment the sample is collected and ending with the disposition of the sample). A continuous and complete chain of custody ensures the identity and integrity of the sample. With a home collection sample there is no way of tracking who the sample was taken from and who has come into contact with it as it is collected at a participant’s home by the participant.

2. Does the mother need to get tested? Why do we have to test the mother?

The mother is not required to get tested in a paternity test; however, it is encouraged and there is no extra cost. Half a person’s DNA comes from their biological mother and the remaining half comes from their biological father. By comparing the mother’s DNA with the child’s DNA we can determine which half came from the mother and which half must come from the biological father. This typically produces a more conclusive result. In rare circumstances, not testing the mother can produce an inconclusive result.

3. How conclusive are the results?

DNA testing is the most conclusive method available for parentage testing. If the alleged father possesses the DNA that must be given to the child by his/her true biological father, then it is considered an inclusion and the probability of paternity is calculated. The probability of paternity for inclusions is typically 99% or higher. If the alleged father does NOT possess the DNA that must be given to the child by his/her true biological father, then the alleged father is excluded from being the biological father (the probability of paternity is 0%).

4. How long until I receive the results?

Maxxam takes pride in a routine three to five business day turnaround time, beginning the day we receive all samples that are to be tested and full payment for the testing (if applicable). The only exception being non-standard samples with a turnaround time of 15 business days.

5. What does it involve? Is it a blood test? Doesn’t blood work better?

Contrary to popular belief, blood is not required for a paternity test. A gentle cheek swab is sufficient to gather enough DNA for a paternity test. The soft foam swab is gentle enough to use on babies as well. The same results will be obtained regardless of sample type.

6. Do I have to get both twins tested?

Yes, twins are not guaranteed to have the same DNA profile.

7. Do I have to have custody of the child to get them done? Do all participants need to be collected at the same time / location?

No, there are over 400 collection locations across Canada that each participant can go to have their sample collected. The collection will be organized by a Maxxam customer service agent.

8. I don’t have any ID, can you do it anyway?

No, a legal DNA test collection cannot be completed without proof of identity.