December 18, 2015
Koskie Minsky LLP will be issuing a Notice of Action against the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (“Motherisk”) and The Hospital for Sick Children (“SickKids”) on account of hair-strand drug and alcohol testing conducted by Motherisk between 2005 and 2015.
Between 2005 and 2015, Motherisk tested hair samples from more than approximately 16,000 individuals, often at the request of Ontario child protection agencies. The use of Motherisk’s hair-testing evidence in child protection proceedings often resulted in serious implications for the parties involved.
On December 17, 2015, The Honourable Susan E. Lang, who had been appointed by the Attorney General of Ontario as an Independent Reviewer of certain allegations levied against Motherisk, released a “Report of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review”, highlighting many issues, including:
- The hair-strand drug and alcohol testing used by Motherisk between 2005 and 2015 was “inadequate and unreliable for use in child protection and criminal proceedings”.
- Between 2005 and 2015, Motherisk “operated in a manner that did not meet internationally recognized forensic standards”.
- SickKids “did not provide meaningful oversight” over Motherisk.
- The use of Motherisk hair-testing evidence in child protection and criminal proceedings “has serious implications for the fairness of those proceedings”.
The lawsuit will allege that both Motherisk and SickKids were negligent in a failure to meet internationally recognized forensic standards with its hair-testing and a failure to provide proper oversight to ensure the quality, proficiency and accreditation of its tests.