Polygraph Examiners (PEC)

SessionSizeStartsEndsLength (days)

After consultation with the Canadian Association of Police Polygraphists and our partner law enforcement agencies, the Canadian Police College (CPC) will remove the Pre-Employment Examination section of the Polygraph Examiners Course (PEC) from its syllabus starting immediately. A new course on Pre-employment Examination is currently being planned – stay tuned for more information.

These changes will allow candidates to concentrate on forensic polygraph skills, which must be certified by the CPC, a process that takes between eight and twelve months, before pre-employment examinations can be administered.

The change to PEC will result in a reduction in course time from eleven to ten weeks. The new costs are listed below. Should you have any questions, please contact CPCregistrar@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.


A polygraph instrument is a combination of medical devices used to monitor changes occurring in the body. By asking questions about a particular issue under investigation and examining a subject’s physiological reactions to those questions, a polygraph examiner can determine if the individual’s reactions are consistent with deception.
The Polygraph Examiner course consists of three phases which must be completed within one year:
  1. Academic phase: 10 weeks (47 days) and is composed of theory and practice;
  2. Internship phase: 2 weeks (10 days) in which the participant is placed under the direct supervision of a designated field examiner. The internship occurs immediately after the conclusion of the academic phase; and
  3. Certification phase:  8 months (124 days), during which the participant must complete a minimum of 25 polygraph exams of actual cases.  This phase may be extended in the event a participant requires additional time to successfully meet all certification requirements.

Selection Criteria

This course is open to: 
  • members of an accredited police force with a minimum complement of 100 officers, the Canadian Forces - Military Police Branch, or an accredited intelligence agency;
  • full-time police officers with at least five years’ criminal investigation experience, and have a proven ability to conduct investigative interviews.
Potential participants must have their department contact the CPC Registrar’s Office to request a position in the course, provided the department has:
  • a suitable polygraph room equipped with all the necessary equipment, including audio-visual capabilities and a computerized polygraph system;
  • conducted, as part of the selection process, a review of the potential participant’s resumé, and identified at least three individuals to be interviewed; and 
  • engaged a qualified examiner from a different department to conduct the selection interviews for acceptance into the course.
Note: As part of the selection process, potential participants must have an interview with a qualified examiner (external to the department) to determine suitability to register for the course. 

Course Objectives

By the end of the academic phase of this course, participants will be able to:
  • describe how computerized polygraph systems at the CPC operate;
  • operate the polygraph instrument, including its mechanical, electrical and computer components;
  • use a systematic approach to prepare themselves and the examinee for a polygraph examination;
  • use standard test questions to conduct a polygraph examination;
  • incorporate direct and indirect involvement techniques when conducting polygraph tests;
  • follow in-test procedures when operating polygraph examination equipment;
  • analyse polygraph charts to determine the indication of deception;
  • describe the physiological changes that are monitored during a polygraph examination;
  • describe how the physiological effects of using common classes of drugs and alcohol may affect the outcome of a polygraph examination;
  • describe how various personality types can affect the outcome of a polygraph examination;
  • use procedures to maximize the accuracy of recall from individuals;
  • write a research paper on an issue related to law enforcement and the use of polygraph examinations;
  • describe how to resolve moral and ethical issues which arise as a result of administering a polygraph examination;
  • conduct post-test procedures to determine if the examinee has been truthful or deceptive;
  • explain human factors related to the examinee that can affect the results of a polygraph examination;
  • describe testing procedures that apply to special situations;
  • describe other duties that the polygrapher may perform in addition to conducting polygraph examinations;
  • apply principles of cognitive interviews to retrieve as much information as possible from a victim or witness;
  • apply theories of linguistic coding to detect deception in subjects;
  • apply the rules of interrogation to subjects identified as deceptive in order to obtain an admission of guilt or a confession; and
  • prepare a court brief.


  • Polygraph equipment and facilities 
  • Functions of memory 
  • Introduction to computerized polygraphs 
  • Research paper 
  • Pre-test procedures 
  • Professional ethics 
  • Test question formulation 
  • Post-test procedures 
  • Polygraph examination techniques 
  • Other factors affecting test results 
  • In-test procedures
  • Other testing procedures 
  • Chart evaluation and scoring
  • Polygraph instruction 
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive interview 
  • Pharmacology
  • Statement analysis 
  • Psychology
  • Interrogation 
  • Legal aspects/Court room testimony


Success in the course is contingent on participation and completion of all required assignments.  Participants will be evaluated through various methods in each phase of the course such as:
Phase 1:
  • written pre-test
  • written examinations 
  • practical tests
  • polygraph performance examinations
Phase 2:
  • internship
Phase 3
  • certification 
Prerequisite:  Participants will receive a pre-course assignment package, which includes a pre-test memorization booklet and a hand-out on History and Theory of Polygraph.
Prior to arrival on course, participants must memorize the entire PEC pre-test memorization booklet. On the first day of class, participants are tested on their ability to recall the content word-for-word.   Also, the participants must read and study the History and Theory of Polygraph hand-out. Participants are tested on the history of the detection of deception and its theoretical limitations on the second Monday of the course.
The re-testing or re-evaluation of a participant will be left to the discretion of the course coordinator.


CPC Ottawa

Available in the following language of Instruction: 


Contact Information: 

CPC Registrar - 613-993-6033 or cpcregistrar@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Course Fees

The fees shown here are for 2017 and 2018. Please also note that the costs for accommodation and meals apply only to courses taking place in Ottawa.

PEC Rates Duration Tuition


(68 days)

Full Meals Total
Canadian Police 47 $6,775.00 $5,100.00 $4,215.32 $16,090.32
Canadian Agencies $14,750.00 $5,100.00 $4,215.32 $24,065.32
International $14,750.00 $5,100.00 $4,215.32 $24,065.32