The Review and Resource Centre is engaging in the following work:
- Identifying and reviewing individual child protection cases involving “MDTL” in two streams:
- Stream 1: High priority cases that remain open at an Ontario child protection agency and where the adoption has not yet been finalized;
- Stream 2: Cases where a child was made a Crown ward* and then adopted between January 2004 (as far back as the data goes) and December 31, 2015 (the year “MDTL” closed);
- Reviewing all individual child protection case where a request is made by a member of the public who may have been affected by hair testing done by the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (“MDTL”);
- Offering support and assistance to families affected by flawed hair strand testing;
- Engaging with parties and stakeholders who would have an interest in the effective operation of the Review and Resource Centre and the completion of the Commission’s mandate.
The Commission recognizes that unreliable hair testing by the “MDTL” affected entire families, not only the parent or child who may have had their hair tested. In such cases, the Review and Resource Centre offers support to all parents, children, young adults, siblings and adoptive parents involved in past child protection proceedings.
* A “Crown ward” is a child under 18 who has been removed by the court from the care of his/her parents and is in the care of a children’s aid society. The children’s aid society makes all of the decisions for the child that his/her parents would normally make.
Independence of the Commission
All public commissions are created by government through an Executive Order. The Executive Order is called an “Order in Council” and usually names the Commission and outlines the scope of the Commission’s work. You can read the Order in Council that established the Motherisk Commission in our Resource Section.
Although the Motherisk Commission was created by an Executive Order in Council, it is independent of the government. The Commission is free to determine its process and the manner in which its mandate is to be fulfilled. The Commission hires its own staff and conducts its work free from interference by any level of government.
The Motherisk Commission is not, in any way, associated with or connected to the Hospital for Sick Children or the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (“MDTL”).
The Motherisk Commission is not, in any way, associated with or connected to any Ontario child protection agency. The Commission does request and receive files from Children’s Aid Societies as a part of its work, however, the Commission’s review is independent of any internal review conducted by Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario.
The Commission has been alerted to the fact that some affected persons may have received correspondence from a child protection agency stating that the Society is conducting their own review of a file. The Commission is not involved with reviews voluntarily conducted by child protection agencies and is not bound by their decisions. Persons who have had their file reviewed by a child protection agency may request another review from the Commission, regardless of the decision reached by the internal review conducted by the Society.
The Order in Council does not permit the Commission to hold public hearings. All reviews completed by the Commission are conducted in accordance with its procedures.
The Commission will, however, be holding public meetings at various locations in Ontario. In addition to providing information, these meetings will be an opportunity for the views of those affected by the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (“MDTL”) to be heard by the Commission.
Submissions to the Commission
Working with parties and stakeholders is an important part of the Commission’s work. To this end, the Commission invites written submissions from parties and stakeholders who may have an interest in the operation of the Commission or the completion of the Commission’s mandate. The Commission also welcomes submissions related to the broader, systemic concerns related to the Commission’s work. Parties and stakeholders can provide the Commission with written submissions by contacting the Commission.
The Commission has also independently reached out to parties and stakeholders in the course of its work. Some of the stakeholders consulted include organizations working with children and youth, First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and Racialized communities.
The Commission’s Final Report
At the end of the Commission’s mandate, the Commissioner will write and deliver a final report to the Attorney General detailing the Commission’s efforts and activities to fulfill its mandate. The Commission’s report will be delivered in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Mohawk.