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Timeline of Events Related to the Independent Review Of The Motherisk Hair Analysis Program

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Timeline of Events Related to the Independent Review Of The Motherisk Hair Analysis Program

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

October 21, 2014 - The Court of Appeal for Ontario sets aside Tamara Broomfield's convictions for administering cocaine to a child, and orders a new trial so that the competing expert opinions about the results of the Motherisk testing can be considered. The court concludes that there was conflicting evidence about the reliability of hair testing methods used by Motherisk to determine chronic cocaine ingestion and that this evidence was relevant to these convictions.

November 28, 2014 - Ontario appoints former Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Susan Lang to lead an independent review of the Motherisk hair analysis program, and specifically to examine the adequacy and reliability of the immunoassay biochemical hair-testing method used by Motherisk between 2005 and 2010 in child protection and criminal proceedings.        

March 5, 2015 - The Hospital for Sick Children announces the suspension of all non-research activities at the Motherisk lab.

April 8, 2015 - The Honourable Susan Lang recommends an expansion of the mandate of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review.

April 17, 2015 - The Hospital for Sick Children announces it will not be reinstating the non-research-related activities at the Motherisk laboratory.

April 22, 2015 - On the recommendation of the Honourable Susan Lang, Ontario expands the mandate of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review.  In addition, out of an abundance of caution, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services directs Children's Aid Societies to immediately stop using or relying on hair strand drug and alcohol testing in the course of providing child protection services.

December 15, 2015 - The Honourable Susan Lang submits her final report to the Attorney General, on the adequacy and reliability of the immunoassay biochemical hair-testing method used by Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory between 2005 and 2015.

December 17, 2015 - Ontario commits to appointing an independent commissioner to assist individuals who may have been affected by Motherisk's flawed hair testing methodology, and also provides access to assistance and counselling services through a 1-800 number. Read the Government of Ontario's statement in response to Honourable Susan Lang's report.

Early 2016 - Province to announce a more detailed response to this report as well as information about next steps.

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