Ontario Launches Commission to Support People Impacted by Motherisk Tests
Province Sets Mandate and Timeframe for Independent Commission
Ontario has finalized the details of the independent commission to assist families who may have been affected by the Motherisk laboratory's flawed testing methodology.
The independent commission was established in response to the Honourable Susan Lang's December 2015 report which found that the Motherisk hair tests performed between 2005 and 2015 were inadequate and unreliable for use in child protection and criminal proceedings. As a result, she recommended that cases involving a Motherisk hair test warrant further review.
Over the next two years, Commissioner Judith C. Beaman will lead a review and resource centre that will provide legal, counselling and other support to individuals involved in child protection matters that may have been impacted by a flawed Motherisk test.
One of her first steps will be to develop and implement a process to identify potentially affected individuals, inform them about the findings of the Motherisk Hair Analysis review and about the resources available through the review and resource centre.
Anyone who believes that they may have been impacted by a Motherisk test can call 1-855-235-8932.
The commission's mandate and resources have been set out in an Order in Council.
- On April 22, 2015, children’s aid societies were directed to stop ordering hair strand tests.
- Immediately following the release of the Honourable Susan Lang’s report in December 2015, children’s aid societies were directed to identify all high priority cases and notify affected parents and/or their counsel.
- Commissioner Beaman will provide support to individuals whose cases involved the use of Motherisk hair tests between 1990 and 2015.
- At the end of her two-year mandate, Commissioner Beaman will provide a final report to the Attorney General summarizing her work.
“Our government is delivering on its promise to act as quickly as possible to help those families who may have been impacted by Motherisk laboratory’s flawed testing practices. I am grateful to Commissioner Beaman for agreeing to take on this challenging role. I am confident that, under her guidance, the families impacted by Motherisk’s flawed testing practices will get the support they need and deserve.”
“Our government believes the safety and wellbeing of children in care is of paramount importance. We will continue to provide direction to children’s aid societies as necessary so that actions are taken and decisions are made in the best interests of Ontario’s children and youth.”
“I am honoured to have been chosen for this difficult but crucially important task. I have devoted much of my working life to child protection and family law issues and I consider the laws governing families to be a crucial foundation of our society. It is my hope that my work with the commission will assist those affected to understand what has occurred and to move forward in whatever way they feel is appropriate to their circumstances.”
Commissioner Judith Beaman