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Independent Review mandate expanded; deadline extended

Apr 22, 2015

By Order in Council dated April 22, 2015, and on the recommendation of the Honourable Susan Lang, the Government of Ontario has expanded the mandate of the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review, and extended the deadline for delivery of the final report to December 15, 2015.

Since her appointment as Independent Reviewer on November 26, 2014, the Honourable Susan Lang has consulted with two leading forensic toxicology experts, and has obtained information and materials from the Motherisk laboratory regarding the immunoassay hair-testing methodology that it used in the period from 2005 to 2010.  She has also received and considered a number of responses to her request for submissions concerning the period from 2005 to 2010. 

The Independent Reviewer’s work is ongoing.  However, in the course of that work, the Independent Reviewer became concerned that the issues related to the Motherisk laboratory may not be limited to the use of the immunoassay hair-testing methodology, and determined that it was also necessary to consider the extent to which the Motherisk laboratory adhered to internationally recognized forensic standards. 

The Independent Reviewer’s mandate is no longer restricted to a review of the adequacy and reliability of the immunoassay hair-testing methodology used by the Motherisk laboratory from 2005 to 2010.  Her mandate now includes a review of all hair-strand drug and alcohol testing used by the Motherisk laboratory from 2005 to 2015, as well as the extent to which the operation of the Motherisk laboratory adhered to internationally recognized forensic standards during that period.  As part of her review, the Independent Reviewer may also consider and report on other matters related to the operation of the Motherisk laboratory that she considers necessary and appropriate to address.

In fulfilling her mandate, the Independent Reviewer will not be reporting on any individual cases.  Nor will she be expressing any conclusions or recommendations regarding professional discipline matters or civil or criminal liability.  The Independent Reviewer’s mandate is to report and make recommendations on whether the use of evidence derived from the Motherisk laboratory’s hair-strand drug and alcohol testing in criminal and child protection proceedings has implications warranting an additional review or process with respect to specific cases or classes of cases.    

The Independent Reviewer has previously issued a call for submissions to interested individuals and organizations.  As her mandate has now been expanded and the deadline for the delivery of her final report has been extended, the Independent Reviewer expects to issue a further call for submissions.  Please continue to check for updates, or contact us at or 416.646.7499 if you have any questions.

Revised Order in Council - April 22 2015

Ministry of the Attorney General Press Release, April 22, 2015 

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