Statement on the Final Report of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review
Today the following statement was issued by Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, on behalf of the Government of Ontario regarding the Honourable Susan Lang's final report on the reliability of the hair-strand drug and alcohol testing used by the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory:
"Our government is deeply concerned by the findings of this review and we will be taking immediate action.
Our government recognizes how difficult this situation is for many people and the need for urgent, meaningful action. We are committed to helping all those who may have been affected by these findings. To that end, we are taking action to appoint an independent commissioner to assist individuals who may have been affected by Motherisk's flawed hair testing methodology.
We want to assure any families, parents or children who feel they may have been affected by these circumstances, that we are taking action to support you during these challenging times. Anyone who believes that their case may have been impacted by a Motherisk test can call 1-855-235-8932 to request that their case be provided to the commissioner. Through this number, we will also be offering counselling services to provide immediate support for individuals or families in need.
I will also say, that as Minister of Children and Youth Services, the wellbeing of children in care is of paramount importance. As soon as it became clear that there were concerns about the reliability of the Motherisk tests, my ministry issued a directive to all children's aid societies (CASs) in Ontario to immediately stop using or relying on the Motherisk test. It's also important to note that Sick Kids has shut down the use of the Motherisk test.
As the Honourable Susan Lang states in her report, hair strand tests were one of a number of tools used to determine whether a child was a victim of abuse or neglect. Using a Motherisk test in a child protection case does not mean that the test was a determining factor in the outcome of that case, however, it is important individuals who may have been impacted have an opportunity to receive the assistance of the commissioner.
We would like to thank the Honourable Susan Lang, her team, and the many people and organizations who contributed to this review.
Early in the new year, the province will provide a more detailed response to this report, as well as more information about the commissioner and next steps."