I am proud to report that I was one of the authors of a comprehensive set of submissions presented to the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review by the Family Lawyers’ Association. Those submissions have now been submitted to the Review Team headed by Justice Susan Lang. A good summary of our submissions can be read in this Toronto Star news article: Family Lawyers Sound Alarm on Motherisk. I believe a full copy of the submissions will be available on the website of the Family Lawyers’ Association shortly.
I do not believe it is an understatement to suggest that the Motherisk hair testing issue will have significant ramifications for how we litigate child protection matters involving drug testing of any kind. Beyond the scientific questions that need to be posed, I believe this issue should trigger reflections on whether drug use should automatically mean poor parenting. Use should never automatically equate to poor parenting. Poor parenting must be demonstrated by other cogent evidence. As a society, we should be wary to take children away from their parents just because he or she may suffer from an addiction. There needs to be more. Otherwise, there is no need for a child protection system at all. It would be far simpler and cheaper to apprehend all children of people suspected of drug use. As a society, we have made a decision not to do this and we must ensure that it does not happen inadvertently through reliance on testing.