Outreach is an important part of the Commission’s mandate to help people who were affected by the testing. The Order in Council that established the Commission directs us to work with children and youth to ensure that their voices are heard, and to allow meaningful participation by Indigenous and racialized communities. Through all our outreach activities, we are striving to connect with these communities and others who were harmed by the testing.
Presentations and Meetings
We are continuing to do presentations and meet with organizations to share information on our work, what we have learned so far and the services we offer. In the summer and fall of 2016, the Commissioner and her counsel travelled extensively throughout the province to meet with a wide range of groups, including the Political Confederacy of Chiefs of Ontario and the bi-annual conference of the Counsel for Children’s Aid Societies. Recent outreach examples include a learning session for the Family Lawyers Association and a meeting with the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. If your organization would like to hear from us, please email us. We will do our best to accommodate your request.
The Commission is currently undertaking comprehensive outreach to organizations across the province, including children’s aid societies, women’s shelters, drug and alcohol treatment centres, community health centres, social assistance offices, hospitals and schools.
We are targeting these organizations because we believe they represent our best chance to connect with individuals and families who have been affected by the flawed hair testing. We are asking these organizations to put our posters on their bulletin boards and to share our information through other communication channels, such as newsletters, meetings and email.
This information is time sensitive because the Commission is required to deliver its report at the end of 2017 and will be closing down shortly after. For those who seek counselling during the period of the operation of the Commission, counselling can continue for another year. If your organization would like some of our posters or flyers, please email us.
Building on what we have learned in our first year, we are undertaking a restorative process to examine and further understand the systemic and institutional issues that led to this problem and identify strategies to overcome them collectively.
Through this process, we are conducting outreach to people who have been affected to invite them to tell their stories in a safe way. We are also reaching out to child protection, legal, government and community partners. We will be bringing people together to share their perspectives, develop mutual understanding and inform how we move forward. You can learn more about our Restorative Process.
The Commission recognizes that some communities were particularly affected by the use of unreliable hair testing done by the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (“MDTL”). These communities are:
Children and youth – The child protection system was set up to ensure that children in Ontario are kept safe. Any deficiencies in the system have harmful impacts on children and youth.
Racialized communities – Racialized persons, especially African Canadians, are overrepresented in the child protection system and were likely disproportionately affected by the flawed testing.
Indigenous communities – Indigenous persons are overrepresented in the child protection system and were likely significantly affected by the flawed testing.