Since I helped break the story about Motherisk, some significant developments have occurred:
1. The Hospital for Sick Children has permanently closed Motherisk’s Drug Testing Laboratory. No explanation was given as to the reason for its closure.
2. Today, the Ontario government announced that it would be widening the scope of the Lang Review into this issue to include cases up to 2015. It will also look into non-Motherisk alcohol and drug testing, and will be permitted to consider other matters relating to the operation of the laboratory.
3. The Ontario government has also given a directive to children’s aid societies to stop relying on hair drug and alcohol testing.
I am glad that the government is taking this issue seriously. Some people, over the past few months, have tried to label the problems with Motherisk as a mere “controversy”; something “blown out of proportion”. Given the issues that are at stake in child protection and criminal matters, I fail to see how this issue is anything but “serious” and “important”. In order for us to be able to trust in the judicial system, expert evidence must be presented accurately and reliably. Lawyers need to be aware of the issues surrounding such evidence and those conducting such testing should be aware of their obligations to the administration of justice. These issues go beyond the mere theoretical.
I am looking forward to reading the Lang Review. In the meantime, I will certainly be objecting to the use of any and all drug and alcohol hair testing in my own child protection cases.