Court green lights and certifies Crown Ward Class Action against the Province of Ontario.

Court green lights and certifies Crown Ward Class Action against the Province of Ontario.
Posted on September 9, 2018 | Derek Flegg | Written on September 9, 2018
Letter type:
Blog Post

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

According to OACAS'S CEO Scary Mary Ballantyne there are 5160 child protection social workers in Ontario and according to the College of Social Worker less than 10% of them are registered with the College.

What are Scary Mary Ballantyne's, the CEO of Ontario's association of children's aid societies qualifcations to speak on matters of child welfare?

She has a masters of human industrial relations and if I remember correctly a degree in industrial science and decades of on the job experience pretending to be something she's not and she "volunteers" to sit on the independent of something PDRC with no medical training of any kind to upgrade her skillset..

Why isn't it a violation of the CAS's oh so magical mandate to refuse to cooperate with the College of Social Work and the Ombudsman and the Privacy Commissioner and the Child Advocate and any other kind of oversight that might prevent children that don't need to be placed in care from being placed in care anyway to meet the collective funding goals of a self serving fully government funded multi- billion dollar private corporation that's really just an off the books extention off the government that funds it..

And why wouldn't it be a sign of good faith and respect or just a gesture of good will in the aftermath of Motherisk to the families and children the CAS claim to want to help,,, to willing submit to registration with the College of Social Work and cooperate with the Ombudsman, the Privacy Commissioner and the Child Advocate or the mainstream media or or at the very least let the families have access to their files. Is that really to much to ask for?

If you wouldn't take your child to an unqualified unregistered unlicensed pediatrician, you can imagine how underprivileged parents with no pending crimminal matters feel about the over 5000 CAS workers in Ontario threatening to bring the police to gain access or showing up at their doors with cops and no warrants to help bully their way in - without any qualifications to even conduct a lawful investigation in Ontario threatening to apprehend children if they don't submit to a surprise inspection, sign consent forms, service agreements and submit to a variety of testing like the Motherisk test which results in apprehensions and files not being closed...

Children’s aid societies in Ontario have launched a major reform of training for child protection workers, setting province-wide standards designed to eventually have workers regulated by a professional college.

“We want to make sure that the people who are doing the work have the very best training and competence to be able to do it,” says Mary Ballantyne, CEO of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS).

“We’re taking it up to that next level so that the public has confidence that when someone knocks on their door with a cop and no warrant they know that they have met these minimum requirements,” says Scary Mary Ballantyne, CEO of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) whose association represents all but three of Ontario’s societies.

In January 2017, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) launched a revamped set of curriculum for Ontario’s child protection workers. The Child Welfare Pathway to Authorization Series is designed to be more responsive and better reflect the realities of child welfare work in Ontario using an anti-oppressive framework. New training will cover topics such as equity, human rights, and anti-racism.

Imagine that, an agency that has been called as "Powerful As God" needs anti-oppressive, anti-racist human rights training in whatever their private corporate version of an anti-oppressive framework is.
Powerful As God - The Children's Aid Societies of Ontario


Court green lights and certifies Crown Ward Class Action against the Province of Ontario. Former Crown wards who were in foster care, foster homes and while in the care of the Children’s Aid Society have come forward to tell their side..

TORONTO, March 31, 2017 /CNW/ - The law firms Koskie Minsky LLP and Watkins Law Professional Corporation announce that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled yesterday that abused, neglected and victimized Crown wards may proceed with their class action against the Province of Ontario.

In this case, the plaintiffs were removed from their families and made Crown wards when they were children. They were apprehended by the Province of Ontario because they suffered criminal assaults, or the society claimed they were being neglected or abused at the hands of their family members or others. Many Crown wards suffered further abuse while in the care of the Crown.

The Motherisk Commission details years of rights infringements by courts."If the same problems were identified in criminal court, there would be a huge public outcry." Tammy Law.


By Gene C. Colman of Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre posted in Child Welfare on Thursday, January 1, 2015.

It should not be a matter of "win" or "lose" when it comes to Ontario child welfare law. Ontario's Child and Family Services Act tells us that the paramount purpose is to "promote the best interests, protection and well being of children." One might note the glaring lack of any reference to family. In fact, there is a paucity of references to family throughout the entire CFSA even though many judges recognize the importance of maintaining family whenever possible.

I had a recent experience with CAS counsel at court when representing a family unjustly caught up in the system. Our office had prepared a very persuasive and comprehensive response to the Society's Application. We attended at the mandated five day hearing that follows apprehensions from parental care. The CAS certainly had not expected such forcefulness; normally parents are so overwhelmed at this early stage that they are unable to mount an effective defence. Generally, the court will rubber stamp the CAS requests. We did not agree to just stand idly by at the first appearance and CAS counsel was surprised by our aggressive (yet fair) approach.

Our written material seemed to have persuaded the judge. He instructed the lawyers to prepare a consent endorsement along the lines that we were seeking (which of course included an immediate return of the children to parental care). As we were returning to the courtroom after preparing the consent, the experienced and respected CAS counsel turned to me and my clients and remarked: "This is the third time your lawyer has beaten me."

The CAS counsel's comment was made innocently enough and indeed was intended to be complimentary. But still I was shocked (but probably should not have been). Why was I so shocked?






2014... The New Gateway Drugs.

Almost half of children and youth in foster and group home care aged 5 to 17 — 48.6 percent — are on drugs, such as Ritalin, tranquilizers and anticonvulsants, according to a yearly survey conducted for the provincial government and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS).

How is it that parents prescribed and using the same medications are considered a risk to children if they do so much to help children after being ripped away from their families? Will these drugged up children one day be considered a threat to their own children?

At ages 16 and 17, fully 57 per cent are on these medications.

In group homes, the figure is even higher — an average of 64 percent of children and youth are taking behaviour-altering drugs. For 10- to 15-year-olds, the number is a staggering 74 per cent.

Do the doctors that prescribe these medications prescribe them after having the children properly assessed or do they prescribe these medications AFTER the unregistered unqualified child protection social worker tells them what they need to hear to prescribe them ?

A Toronto man in his early 20s, who spent 12 years as a Crown ward, believes medication was used as a “behaviour control method” in the Belleville group home where he lived with 15 other youths.

“I felt it was an excuse. I think it was just easier to manage that number of youth in one place if they weren’t all going so fast,” he says, referring to youths considered hyperactive.

He was placed on medication despite insisting he didn’t need it.

“I felt you really didn’t have a choice because if you refused to take your medication you’d be punished for that,” he says. “You’d be grounded and not allowed to join programs and interact with other youth.”

Andrew Koster, executive director of Brant Family and Children’s Services, notes that Ontario law requires informed consent for medical treatment from anyone capable of providing it, regardless of age. But concerns that youth will reject medication mean “their rights are not necessarily given to them.”

Dosages at times are too high and long-term side effects, according to some experts, are poorly studied. A Star investigation in 2012 found 600 cases, reported to Health Canada during a 10-year period, of children and youth suffering serious side effects while on ADHD medication, including amnesia and suicide.

Worldwide, 17 million children, some as young as five years old, are given a variety of different prescription drugs, including psychiatric drugs that are dangerous enough that regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia, and the US have issued warnings on the side effects that include suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior.

According to Fight For Kids, an organization that “educates parents worldwide on the facts about today’s widespread practice of labeling children mentally ill and drugging them with heavy, mind-altering, psychiatric drugs,” says over 10 million children in the US are prescribed addictive stimulants, antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for alleged educational and behavioral problems (3).

In fact, according to Foundation for a Drug-Free World, every day, 2,500 youth (12 to 17) will abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time (4). Even more frightening, prescription medications like depressants, opioids and antidepressants cause more overdose deaths (45 percent) than illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and amphetamines (39 percent) combined. Worldwide, prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.

 “Reasonable grounds” (for suspicion) refers to the information that an average person, using normal and honest judgment, would need to have in order have reasonable grounds.

“There are lots of kids in group homes all over Ontario and they are not doing well — and everybody knows it,” says Kiaras Gharabaghi, a member of a government-appointed panel that examined the residential care system in 2016.

The Star obtained the reports in a freedom of information request and compiled them according to the type of serious event that occurred — something the ministry does not do.

They note everything from medication errors to emotional meltdowns to deaths.

Restraints were used in more than one-third of 1,200 serious occurrence reports filed in 2013 by group homes and residential treatment centres in the city, according to a Star analysis.

At one treatment facility, 43 of the 119 serious occurrence reports filed to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services include a youth being physically restrained and injected by a registered nurse with a drug, presumably a sedative. How is a society that's against spanking isn't against tying children to their beds and drugging them?

The language used by some group homes evokes an institutional setting rather than a nurturing environment. When children go missing, they are “AWOL.” In one instance in which a child acted out in front of peers, he was described as a “negative contagion.” Often, the reasons for behaviour are not noted. Children are in a “poor space” and are counselled not to make “poor choices.”

Blame is always placed on the child.

Their stories are briefly told in 1,200 Toronto reports describing “serious occurrences” filed to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in 2013. Most involve children and youth in publicly funded, privately operated group homes.

“You know your system is based on the flimsiest of foundations when you have absolutely no standards on who can do this work,” adds Gharabaghi, director of Ryerson University’s school of child and youth care.

The ministry doesn’t know how many children are being cared for in Ontario’s 389 licensed group homes. For some reason the ministry is just now working on a system that will eventually allow it to collect the information. 

A Star investigation in 2012 found 600 cases, reported to Health Canada during a 10-year period, of children and youth suffering serious side effects while on ADHD medication, including amnesia and suicide.

For youths in care, the rate of psychotropic drug use is significantly higher than the general population. A 2005 study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry estimated that only 2.5 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 19 were on psychotropic medication.

After the 276 recommendations in the last two most recent inquests into the deaths of children in care AND 30+ more from the Motherisk Commission is SCARY MARY BALLANTYNE'S children's aid society really worth the lives of anymore children in Ontario's care?

MARY BALLANTYNE says: "Those who call for the overhaul of Ontario's children's aid societies fail to understand the many ways in which their system excels."

It is not necessary to be certain that a child is or may be in need of protection to make a report to a children’s aid society. “Reasonable grounds” refers to the information that an average person, using normal and honest judgment, would need in order to decide to report. This standard has been recognized by courts in Ontario as establishing a low threshold for reporting.

How did 92 children in Ontario's care die between 2008/2012 and how many excuses for the rest?

Nothing suspicious about this is there?

The written PDRC report.

The little PDRC pie chart that knew too much.

According to the 2010 Pediatric Death Review Committee (PDRC) findings only 10% of the children reported to have died in care of CAS died of natural causes in Ontario. 72% were accidental or of mysterious undetermined cause. The rest were murders and suicides.

Former director of the Children’s Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury speaks out | Ontario Coalition for Accountability.

I write this letter as an individual in response to having many concerned persons phone and express genuine thoughts of, uncertainty, and frustration on what appears to me as a topic that is constantly coming up beyond the normal and now I am convinced needs to be addressed.

This concern is in relation to the activity/relationship of the Police, and social services agencies such as the Children’s Aid Society accessing our schools and the children within. These students are placed in the care of our schools with the understanding of implied parental consent. Questions such as a parent/guardian’s rights, and what are the rights/protections built in for parents/guardians and children themselves.

Consider how many lives are ruined by “fishing trips” and “social branding” of innocent parents/grandparents are born out of acting and investigating on a “suspicion” or “rumor mill”. Many, many people have suffered marriage break-ups, a “no return” to a happy marriage reconciliation when a non-credited agency is allowed to roam at will through their lives and homes.

First it should be clearly understood that the Children’s Aid Society is NOT NOR HAS EVER BEEN a government organization. The Children’s Aid Societies across the province are private entities operating on their own apart and at arm’s length from the Government. These various agencies are paid\contracted by the Government to execute and apply child protection services. It is my understanding that their workers MUST be registered by law with an Ontario College, such as teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, and so on to ensure they are properly trained and monitored. I have yet, after asking in writing, seen evidence they are in fact registered with any accredited organization or College. The Government of the day has seen fit, despite the urgings of the Ontario Ombudsman, and to the contrary, chosen not to require these agencies to be subject to the Ontario Ombudsman’s review of examination and accountability. Close examination and review of their ongoing activity (CAS) is most difficult to establish/investigate/. The police are a separate matter, equally a concern to parents, are the police accessing their children in a school, but there are laws that specifically direct and require the police as well to behave in a different manner when dealing with young people as described in the various Federal and Provincial Regulations. These regulations and guidelines are not limited to but include the Child Law Reform Act, The Criminal Code of Canada , The Young Offender’s Acts, various Provincial and Federal acts and so on. Statement taking and interviewing young persons, more-so in Criminal and family matters is a complete and different entity. It is one that deserves very careful consideration and attention to adhering to the rules our society has placed on them. Persons/agencies entrusted with encountering our youth in such matters require special training and skills to interact with a young mind. As a general rule, there are no automatic rights, entrusted to the police/CAS to interview young persons without parental\guardian permission. There are times when this can be done and is allowed and yes, preferred, but VERY FEW.

Second, it should be clearly understood that both the social service agencies, and the Police, under certain specific and detailed circumstances, by law, may have unobstructed access to our children/youth. This process is in place and a legal requirement where they must report to and be accountable in such matters where they have exercised those extreme rights by setting aside ours and the child’s own rights. Used properly, this is a very valuable tool for the police/social agencies and one that is extremely necessary when exercised by these agencies/police.

Other than described above, the Child Social Family Services agencies nor the police, at any time, do not have unrestricted access to our children, be they in school, at home or anywhere without “jumping a few hoops”. Even more so, in a child’s home there is no provision for any agency to enter a private residence, for the purposes of intervention in a family matter with the exception of very few and specific and detailed situations. Even then, the agency involved must return to a court of competent jurisdiction and document/report their invasion into the private lives of the children or their parents/guardians. Be aware, should there be an existing court order or an life/threatening matter, unrestricted access is allowed and rightfully so! If parents/guardians have a written agreement with a social service agency there is no problem to cancel it as long as it did not arise out of a court agreed upon circumstance. I have necessary papers to cancel any agreement under those circumstances.

To my personal knowledge there is no school board in the Province of Ontario that does have policy involving access to our children in our schools written down step by step.. To be clear, I am fearing that some contacts, in some circumstances, with the family unit, wherever it may be, is not according to the required legal process in Ontario.

In review ,to this point, I submit the following. 1.The Police nor the social services agencies (CAS) have no right to an open access to interview, intervene, or access a young person, anywhere, subject to point #2. 2. There are a few, very specific situations where they are allowed to do so but very few and very rare. These generally involve life threatening, or incidents where evidence will not be available if emergency intervention is not done immediately but once performed must be reported to a court of competent jurisdiction. 3. Access to your children, be you a guardian/parent may only be done with your express permission or order of a court. There are incidents where the intervention can be done but only with a judicial order pre-intervention or if not enough time for an agency to arrange for a court order and that intervention is required immediately , said agency must report immediately after an intervention, to the court who issued the intervention, is performed.

In closing, I suggest the following when confronted by the police/social service agency/ or find out your child has been visited at a school without your permission.

1. If the police or CAS require or request to enter your home/interview your child, ask them to write it down and quote the section they are acting under to allow them to do this and nature of the complaint.

2. If they (involved agency) refuse to write it down, ensure that the police are present in any event and ask them (Police) to write down the fact that that you are required to allow the CAS access to your kids at school or otherwise.

3. After making the request to the police or the CAS and they still insist they can do so, let them and do not obstruct them. Take pictures and help them if you can. When done seek out a lawyer. Ask for a receipt if anything is taken from your home school property.

4. Write your child’s school and advise them if you do not wish certain persons or the CAS or the police to have access to your children without proper legal process. If access to our child involves visitation rights called for in an agreement in a court, provide the school with a certified copy of that agreement to the school.

I can pretty much assure you that the police do not violate the trust placed in them and risk losing being welcomed and trusted by the schools.

My concern is that if access to the child is not carried out in accordance to our laws in force in Ontario, this will create a violation of the charter of rights claim by an accused and return the child to a possible abusive home. I hope that all those who would abuse children will be caught and dealt with to the extent that the law allows.

Larry B. Killens

South Baymouth



"From the right to know and the duty to inquire flows the obligation to act."

Since it began operations in 2000, the OCSWSSW has worked steadily to address the issue of child protection workers. Unfortunately, many CASs have been circumventing professional regulation of their staff by requiring that staff have social work education yet discouraging those same staff from registering with the OCSWSSW.

The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College so it's up to all of us now  to encourage the employees of the children's aid societies that enter family homes, schools and hospitals to be registered and their credentials checked before they are allowed to enter said places.

The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.

Meet Kim Morrow: Former unregistered director of service FCSLLG.

Meet Lesley Wollenschlager: Unregistered child protection social worker.


If you have any practice questions or concerns related to the new CYFSA, please contact the Professional Practice Department at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380 or email

Submission-re-Proposed-Regulations-under-the-CYFSA-January-25-2018. OCSWSSW May 1, 2018


The report, Towards regulation: Child protection and professional regulation in the province of Ontario, notes that the CAS workforce has expanded beyond social workers since 2000 to include child and youth workers and those with general degrees and diplomas. A 2013 OACAS survey found that only 70% of relevant job classifications would qualify for registration with the College of Social Workers. CUPE members working as child protection workers could suddenly without any kind of warning be deemed unqualified if they could not register with the College of Social Workers.

Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, SO 1998 ... -


It is unfair and unjust that staff who are currently deemed qualified by the society to do their work, some of whom have decades of on-the-ground experience ruining lives, would suddenly and arbitrarily be deemed unqualified.

"If the employers (government) are moving forward with professional regulation, it’s likely they will bring this issue to the next round of collective bargaining so CUPE members (unqualified child protection social workers) will have to be prepared to fight."

The report also notes that the “clearest path forward” would be for the provincial government to legislate the necessity of professional regulation, which would be an appallingly heavy-handed move.


Silenced, discredited, stripped of powers of moral appeal, and deprived of the interpersonal conditions necessary for maintaining self-respect and labeled "disgruntled" many people suffer from serious but subtle forms of oppression involving neither physical violence nor the use of law.

Civilized Oppression and Moral Relations: Victims, Fallibility, and the Moral Community.

In Civilized Oppression J.Harvey forcefully argues for the crucial role of morally distorted relationships in such oppression. While uncovering a set of underlying moral principles that account for the immorality of civilized oppression, Harvey's analyses provide frameworks for identifying morally problematic situations and relationships, criteria for evaluating them, and guidelines for appropriate responses. This book will be essential for both graduates and undergraduates in ethics, social theory, theory of justice, and feminist and race studies.

This book discusses how civilized oppression (the oppression that involves neither violence nor the law) can be overcome by re-examining our participation in it. Moral community, solidarity and education are offered as vibrant strategies to overcome the hurt and marginalization that stem from civilized oppression.

Ontarians have a right to assume that, when they receive services that are provided by someone who is required to have a social work degree (or a social service work diploma) — whether those services are direct (such as those provided by a child protection worker or adoption worker) or indirect (such as those provided by a local director or supervisor) — that person is registered with, and accountable to, the OCSWSSW.

The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College so it's up to all of us now to encourage the employees of the children's aid societies that enter family homes, schools and hospitals to be registered and their credentials checked before they are allowed to enter said places.

The absence of a requirement for CAS child protection workers to be registered with the College: ignores the public protection mandate of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (SWSSWA); avoids the fact that social workers and social service workers are regulated professions in Ontario and ignores the College’s important role in protecting the Ontario public from harm caused by incompetent, unqualified or unfit practitioners; allows CAS staff to operate outside the system of public protection and oversight that the Government has established through professional regulation; and fails to provide the assurance to all Ontarians that they are receiving services from CAS staff who are registered with, and accountable to, the College.

The existing regulations made under the CFSA predated the regulation of social work and social service work in Ontario and therefore their focus on the credential was understandable.

However, today a credential focus is neither reasonable nor defensible. Social work and social service work are regulated professions in Ontario.

Updating the regulations under the new CYFSA provides an important opportunity for the Government to protect the Ontario public from incompetent, unqualified and unfit professionals and to prevent a serious risk of harm to children and youth, as well as their families.

As Minister Coteau said in second reading debate of Bill 89, "protecting and supporting children and youth is not just an obligation, it is our moral imperative, our duty and our privilege—each and every one of us in this Legislature, our privilege—in shaping the future of this province."

The ministry sidestepped a question emailed by the Toronto Star on whether it would impose the requirement to register their 5000 plus employees with the College of Social Work, stating instead that it is funding the authorization process and leaving the society to police themselves with secret internal processes.

Motherisk is a symptom of a larger problem in child protection work. 

The Motherisk scandal came about because of the failure of the legal system to protect parents and families. Somehow, the society has forgotten that the desire to do good cannot be done at the expense of rights violations.

The balance between protecting children from the risk of harm and protecting parents' and children's basic rights to fairness is a challenging one. 

It is easy to fall too heavily on the side of overriding a parent's rights in favour of efficiency and expediency. But to ensure that something like Motherisk never happens again, it is something to which everyone involved in child welfare — lawyers, judges and caseworkers — must strive.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees procedural fairness when the state interferes with fundamental personal rights, such as the right by parents to care for their children.

Ironically enough, the issue of taking body samples (such as hair for testing) without proper consent for the purpose of criminal investigations was found to be an infringement of the Charter 20 years ago by the Supreme Court.

It is unconscionable that these protections are available to accused persons, but were never considered applicable to parents at the mercy of child protection services in the family courts.

There is nothing new about the commission's finding that many parents were explicitly or implicitly told that there would be negative consequences if they did not undergo hair testing. In fact, this type of coercive action continues to happen: parents are often given messages that if they do not consent, for example, to a finding that the child is in need of protection, that there will be negative consequences. For example, they may be prevented from bringing further motions, or — more damning in CAS work — labelled as being "uncooperative."

“Motherisk testing was imposed on people who were among the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, who were targeted with scant regard for due process of their rights to privacy and bodily integrity,” because they couldn't fight back the report states. 

“The parents who were tested were powerless to resist as their rights were ripped out by the roots along with their children by child poaching funding predators.

Tammy Law is a lawyer practicing in child protection, family and criminal law in Toronto.

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

One would have thought that post-Motherisk, we would want parents and children to have more procedural protections and safeguards, and yet, it looks like the opposite is happening again.

“Harmful Impacts” is the title of the commission report written by the Honourable Judith C. Beaman after two years of study. After reading it, “harmful” seems almost to be putting it lightly. The 56 cases the commission examined in which the flawed Motherisk tests, administered by SickKids Hospital between 2005 and 2015, were determined to have a “substantial impact” on the decisions of child protection agencies, led to children being permanently removed from their families.

The report also points to the larger problem that allowed the the CAS's use of the Motherisk lab to cause so much damage: the system unfairly targets poor families — especially, the report details, Indigenous and racialized families; the legal deck is stacked against those families, denying them due process to a staggering degree; and authorities are too quick to take children from their parents in the absence of evidence of severe abuse or neglect.

Removal from the home — permanent removal — is not supposed to be a move taken lightly. The report goes over the legal principles, laying out that it should be a last resort. It is the “capital punishment” of child protection, according to one citation, absolutely devastating to parents, and for children it is “often the beginning of a life sentence.”

Yet in the cases reviewed here, it is imposed, often apparently cavalierly and without even a trial, for reasons that amount to a punishment for being poor.

Rich parents who are alcoholics, after all, are not having their children taken from them after a single relapse. Few rich parents, in fact, are having their children taken from them at all.

Lives were ruined. Parents’ lives, and quite possibly children’s lives. Siblings and grandparents and other family members’ lives, too. Irreversibly ruined. And in many cases, it seems this was allowed to happen primarily because people were poor.

It is hard to think of anything more harmful than that.

The Motherisk lab was shut down in 2015 — too long after the problems with it were known, exposed in part due to the reporting of my Star colleague Rachel Mendleson, after far too much damage was done. But reading the report, it becomes clear that shutting down the lab solves only one small part of the problem. The entire system needs to be overhauled.

The problems detailed in the report’s 278 pages are too numerous to go into in detail. They document the many problems with the SickKids lab’s testing and with the child protection system’s overreliance on those results. The hair testing process produced inconsistent and untrustworthy results despite being perceived as carrying the unimpeachable weight of scientific authority. That much we pretty much knew because of earlier reporting, though the detailed breakdown of it and the specific case references make the injustice of it sickeningly vivid.

“There are lots of kids in group homes all over Ontario and they are not doing well — and everybody knows it,” says Kiaras Gharabaghi, a member of a government-appointed panel that examined the residential care system in 2016.

Short video. Remember Motherisk: Helped or Traumatized?

Report of the Motherisk Commission:

The Honourable Judith C. Beaman


February 2018. Available in French.

This report is available at Motherisk Commission

© 2018 Ministry of the Attorney General

To recognize the broad harm caused by the unreliable Motherisk hair testing, the Commission considered “affected persons” to include children, siblings, biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, extended families, and the bands or communities of Indigenous children.

This Report is dedicated to everyone who was affected by the testing.

If you have any practice questions or concerns related to the new CYFSA, please contact the Professional Practice Department at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380 or email

Submission-re-Proposed-Regulations-under-the-CYFSA-January-25-2018. OCSWSSW May 1, 2018

"I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope, king and social worker unlike other persons, with favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against the holders of the public trust, and it for us to remember... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Not 100% Lord Acton..

Expenditure Estimates for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2017-18)

The 2017-2018 Expenditure Estimates set out details of the operating and capital spending requirements of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services for the fiscal year commencing April 1, 2017.

Ministry Total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)





Reconciliation to previously published data

Operating expense 2016-17 Estimates 2015-16 Actual

Total operating expense previously published footnote 1 [1] 



Government reorganization 

Transfer of functions from other ministries



Transfer of functions to other ministries



Restated total operating expense $4,369,258,414 $4,306,237,616


Under suspicion: Concerns about child welfare.

Racial (financial) profiling is an insidious and particularly damaging type of discrimination that relates to notions of safety and security. Racial/financial profiling violates people’s rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code). People from many different communities experience racial/financial profiling. However, it is often directed at First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other Indigenous peoples, Muslims, Arabs, West Asians and Black people, and is often influenced by the negative stereotypes that people in these communities face. (see confirmation bias)

To file a human rights claim (called an application), contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at:

If you need legal help, contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at:

Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179

TTY Toll Free: 1-866-612-8627


In 2015, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) began a year-long consultation to learn more about the nature of racial profiling in Ontario. Our aim was to gather information to help us guide organizations, individuals and communities on how to identify, address and prevent racial profiling. We connected with people and organizations representing diverse perspectives. We conducted an online survey, analyzed cases (called applications) at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that alleged racial profiling, held a policy dialogue consultation, and reviewed academic research. We conducted focus groups with Indigenous peoples and received written submissions. Overall, almost 1,650 individuals and organizations told us about their experiences or understanding of racial profiling in Ontario.

We heard concerns about racial/financial profiling in the child welfare sector, particularly affecting Black and Indigenous families. We heard that systemic racism was perceived to be embedded in this system, and that racial profiling that may take place in this sector targets mothers for over-scrutiny most often.

We heard concerns that racialized and Indigenous parents are disproportionately subjected to surveillance and scrutiny, which contributes to families being reported to children’s aid societies (CASs). We also heard that once a referral to child welfare authorities takes place, families are more likely to have prolonged child welfare involvement, and be more at risk of having their children apprehended. Consultation participants suggested these experiences arise in part from referrers’ and child welfare authorities’ incorrect assumptions about risk based on race and related grounds, and intersections between these grounds and poverty.

Black, Indigenous and racialized children are overrepresented in the child welfare system

There is evidence that Indigenous, Black and other racialized children are overrepresented in the child welfare system when compared to their proportion in the general population. For example, in 2015, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto reported that African Canadians represented 40.8% of children in care, yet they made up only 8.5% of Toronto’s population. Statistics Canada data from 2011 shows that even though Aboriginal children make up only 3.4% of children in Ontario, they represent 25.5% of children in foster care. Research from 2003 indicates that Latino children are overrepresented in cases selected for investigation by Canadian child protection services, as are Asian children when allegations of physical abuse are involved.

Consultation participants described the historical and structural inequalities that give rise to racialized and Indigenous parents having greater involvement with child welfare authorities. Some survey respondents highlighted the “Sixties Scoop” – the mass apprehension and removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities by Canadian child welfare authorities dating back to the 1960s.

There are likely many factors leading to these disproportionate representations and, on their own, they do not conclusively point to discrimination. However, overrepresentation of certain racial groups in the child welfare system may be one indicator of systemic discrimination, including systemic racial profiling.

Systemic racial profiling refers to patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of an organization’s or sector’s structure, which create a position of relative disadvantage for racialized and Indigenous peoples. These policies, practices or behaviors may appear neutral, but may result in situations where racialized or Indigenous peoples tend to be singled out for greater scrutiny or negative treatment.

Although many different issues could lead to involvement by child welfare authorities, biased referrals and biased decision-making among these services may play a role.

Concerns about risk assessment standards and tools

Consultation participants raised concerns about bias in the tools and standards used to assess risk to children. Although they seem neutral, we heard that risk assessment standards and tools may lean towards more positive outcomes for White people. (see confirmation bias)

Social work researchers argue that risk assessment tools in Ontario are biased and perpetuate racism because they do not account for structural inequalities, such as racial discrimination, that may affect a child’s well-being. Parents may be blamed for these external factors, even though they are largely out of their control. We heard that relying on these tools, coupled with worker bias – which may be conscious or unconscious – may contribute to assumptions about racialized children and families being “inherently wrong or deficient.” This can lead to incorrect assumptions about the level of risk children are exposed to.

(see confirmation bias)

We also heard concerns about risk assessment standards that relate to poverty – for example, the number of children allowed per bedroom. Poverty in racialized and Indigenous families may be seen as a sign of neglect, providing a basis for a child welfare agency to become involved. We heard that these standards can affect what is seen as acceptable in a home and contribute to CAS decisions to intervene. (see confirmation bias)

It is unclear to what extent child welfare risk assessment standards and tools reflect real risk to children in all cases, or arise from White, Western, Christian middle-class norms. When standards and tools are not based on objective factors, but on the cultural norms of the dominant group, they may contribute to racial profiling. (see confirmation bias)

Concerns about biased decision-making

Concerns were also raised both about the perceived bias of authorities or individuals that refer to CASs, and perceived bias in decision-making practices when child welfare workers and authorities become involved with families. Participants said that child welfare workers, many of whom are White, may be more likely to construe family situations or the actions of Indigenous or racialized people as “risky.” (see confirmation bias)

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) identified that Indigenous families experience “intense scrutiny of [their] ways of life” (for more information, see the full OHRC report, Under suspicion: Research and consultation report on racial profiling in Ontario). We repeatedly heard that non-Indigenous child

Welfare workers often do not understand the nature or structure of Indigenous families and cultural differences in how families live. For example, they only see that children are not being raised by their parents or are living in what they think are over-crowded conditions. In another example, Indigenous youth told us that they are sometimes put into care because they miss a lot of school due to practicing their traditions and taking part in ceremonies.

Social work researchers talked about some of the factors that may contribute to the over-scrutiny of Black parents, and the tendency to view Black parents as risks to their children and in need of intervention by CASs. For example, researchers note that child welfare authorities commonly view Black parents as “aggressive” and “crazy” when they are externalizing resistance, grief, fear or shame. They also note that Black children are perceived as needing “rescuing” from their parents. As well, we heard how Black families may be reported to CAS because their children eat non-Western foods that are specific to their culture. 

Ways to address concerns about racial profiling in child welfare

Preventing and addressing racial profiling is a shared responsibility. Government, child welfare organizations and other responsible organizations must take concrete action and decisive steps to prevent, identify and respond to racial profiling. (see confirmation bias)

The OHRC has made many recommendations over several years to address racial profiling. These recommendations are included in our report, Under suspicion. Where applicable, they should be used to identify how racial profiling may be taking place in the child welfare system. They also identify specific approaches organizations should use to prevent and address racial profiling. 

Overall, consultation participants agreed with the following broad strategies to prevent and address racial profiling:

Anti-bias training

Developing policies, procedures and guidelines

Effective accountability monitoring and accountability

mechanisms, including:

complaint procedures

disciplinary measures

collecting, analyzing and reporting on data

Holistic organizational change strategy


Communication (external and internal)

Engagement with affected stakeholders.

The OHRC is also very concerned that the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous children in the child welfare system is a possible indicator of systemic racism. We conducted a public interest inquiry to examine this issue. We requested that CASs across the province provide us with data on race and other information. In the preliminary analysis of the data, we found that for many CASs across the province, African Canadian and Indigenous children are overrepresented in care, compared to their census populations.

Next steps

The OHRC will:

Release the results of our public interest inquiry

Develop specific policy guidance to help individuals, community groups and organizations understand how racial profiling can be identified, prevented and addressed in the child welfare sector

Continue to call for the collection of race-based data and data on other Code grounds to better understand if racial disparities exist in this sector

Continue to work with community stakeholders to enhance public education on racial profiling.

For more information

To find out more about racial profiling in the child welfare and other sectors, the full Under suspicion report is available online at

To file a human rights claim (called an application), contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at:

If you need legal help, contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at:

Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179

TTY Toll Free: 1-866-612-8627



Former Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian wrote:

“I am disheartened by the complete lack of action to ensure transparency and accountability by these organizations that received significant public funding. As part of the modernization of the Acts, I call on the government to finally address this glaring omission and ensure that Children’s Aid Societies are added to the list of institutions covered.”

The only oversight for the province’s children’s aid agencies comes from Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

"As the law stands now clients of the Ontario Children's Aid Society under Wynne's liberals are routinely denied a timely (often heavily censored) file disclosure before the court begins making decisions and the clients can not request files/disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act nor can censored information reviewed by the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario or the federal counter-part."

In her 2004 annual report, which was released on June 22, 2005, the Commissioner called for amendments that would bring virtually all organizations that are primarily funded by government dollars under FOI for the purposes of transparency and accountability: This would include the various children’s aid agencies in the Province of Ontario. Many parents and families complain about how difficult it is, if not impossible, to obtain information from children’s aid agencies. Many citizens complain that CAS agencies appear to operate under a veil of secrecy. Unlicensed and untrained CAS workers are making decisions which are literally destroying families, yet there is little or no accountability for their actions short of a lawsuit long after the damage is done, if ever. The vast majority of CAS victims can't afford lawyers.

“Hundreds of organizations that are recipients of large transfer payments from the government are not subject to the provincial or municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Acts,” said the Commissioner, “which means they are not subject to public scrutiny.” Among the examples she cites are hospitals and Children’s Aid Societies. “Openness and transparency of all publicly funded bodies is essential – they should be publicly accountable.”

In her annual report for 2013 released on June 17 there is just one paragraph on children's aid on page 12:

In my 2004, 2009, and 2012 Annual Reports I recommended that Children’s Aid Societies, which provide services for some of our most vulnerable citizens – children and youth in government care, be brought under FIPPA. I am disheartened by the complete lack of action to ensure transparency and accountability by these organizations that received significant public funding. As part of the modernization of the Acts, I call on the government to finally address this glaring omission and ensure that Children’s Aid Societies are added to the list of institutions covered.


Minister MacLeod’s announcement to cut social assistance rates by 1.5 per cent will take approximately $150 million out of the hands of people who are among the most vulnerable in Ontario.

“People on social assistance continue to live well below the poverty line and would have used the additional much-needed money to pay for basic necessities,” says Jackie Esmonde, Staff Lawyer at the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC).

Important reforms to meet the unique needs of Indigenous communities have also been put on hold. Ending these changes will have a very negative impact on people experiencing the deepest poverty in our province and demonstrates a profound disrespect for the needs of Indigenous people in Ontario.

Minister MacLeod also cut or cancelled other positive changes that were slated for this fall, including:

Reducing the amount of money that people on Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can keep in their pockets while working.

Cuts to other allowances such as the guide dog benefit for people with vision impairments and the advanced age allowance for people who are older.

Cancellation of a change to the definition of “spouse” from three months co-habitation to three years.

Cancellation of full basic benefits to people who get housing and food from the same provider, including many people living with disabilities.

Cancellation of increased support to people living in Northern Ontario, where daily living costs are higher.

A backgrounder about the changes that have been cancelled is available here:

Chris Selley: Ontario's stolen children still getting a raw deal as province deals with Motherisk scandal.


There’s not much worse governments can do to people than take their children away, but the pure horror of it does not seem to have pervaded the public conscience.

Not one charity, church or person has come forward to offer any relief to the many victims traumatized by the treatment they received at the hands of their fellow Canadians citizens and no apologizes offered to anyone but gay couples waiting to adopt..

Report shines light on poverty’s role on kids in CAS system.

The effect of provincial policies on struggling families was especially apparent in the late 1990s, when the Conservative government slashed welfare payments and social service funding while at the same time, it introduced in child protection the notion of maltreatment by “omission,” including not having enough food in the home and this after giving the society what amounted to an unlimited funding scheme. The conservatives also failed to enforce the social worker registration legislation, a trend that continued under the liberals. The number of children taken into care spiked.

“The ministry has been pretty clear with us that advocacy is not part of our mandate,” Goodman said speaking for the society. “It’s not like they’re asking for the (poverty) data. They’re not.” Goodman then when on to suggest the silence suited the government more than the silence suited the society's funding goals.

When Deborah Goodman, a professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of social work and a senior official with the Ontario Children’s Aid Society of Toronto said, "these families struggle to put food on the table, they struggle to keep a roof over their heads and the reason children’s aid is in their lives is because they’re under a lot of stress that affects their parenting."

Does she really think using police to enforce warrant-less fishing trips, then threatening to apprehend children if parents don't sign consents forms, submit to various forms of testing and then dragging them through a secret court system that's been stacked against them for decades is helping children and families?


Mon., Aug. 15, 2016.

Does Doug Ford's inquiry into liberal spending include the tens of billions of dollars the liberals justified giving to the CAS with a fraudulent drug test?


1. The tests were preliminary

The tests performed by Motherisk relied on the unconfirmed results of its enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) tests.

ELISA is often used as a screening tool before more in-depth tests are undertaken. It can be used in toxicology as a rapid presumptive screen for certain classes of drugs. It’s useful if you need to screen a large number of samples when the presumption that only a small percentage will test positive. But it’s not definitive and the results can be erroneously interpreted.

The Motherisk Lab did not follow-up its presumed positive ELISA results with follow-on in-depth tests. Therefore, the results simply could not be relied upon to provide the absolute certainty needed.

As Craig Chatterton, a forensic toxicologist and a proponent of hair sample testing, correctly explains in the CBC report on Motherisk, a preliminary test like ELISA can be spot on - but, tragically for the families implicated, it can be 100% incorrect, too.

Susan Lang’s report went on to say "No forensic toxicology laboratory in the world uses ELISA testing the way MTDL [Motherisk] did."

2. Motherisk had no written standard operating procedures

Having standard, professional operating procedures in place is one of the central pillars of any testing environment, not just hair sample testing.

In this regard, Motherisk failed egregiously. The Lang report found no evidence of any written standard operating procedures at Motherisk. This raises serious doubts about the reliability and, crucially, the standardisation of its testing procedures.

Both forensic and clinical laboratories should have standard operating procedures in place for each of the tests they perform. Motherisk had no clear, documented procedures which means the processes could have varied substantially in each individual case, calling into question, rightly, the integrity of the lab’s results.

3. No transparency

Motherisk’s next misstep was the lack of formal process and documentation meant that it was almost impossible for any third party to robustly assess its results.

When the entire process isn’t adequately captured, it becomes easy for the lab to skirt over anomalies and simplify conclusions.

At Cansford Labs, for instance, we share the evidence in full. This is an absolutely vital component when the test will be involved in a highly sensitive matter like child custody.

The fact that Motherisk offered no insight into how its results were arrived at beggars belief.

4. Inadequate training and oversight

The inadequacy and transparency issues within Motherisk seeped all the way into the employees at the lab.

From reading the Lang report, Motherisk scientists were operating without any forensic training or oversight. The ELISA tests were inadequate, but even if they weren’t, the individuals interpreting the results weren’t properly trained.

Nobody at Motherisk, including, rather incredibly, Dr. Koren himself, had the proper training.

The lack of training manifested in all manner of amateurish mistakes. Staff routinely failed to wash hair samples before analysis, for example. One mother tested positive for alcohol because her alcohol-laced hairspray had not been washed off the sample. With the right training and process, these issues could easily have been avoided.

5. A compromised chain of custody

In the CBC report into Motherisk, one mother recalls how her second test was conducted after she disputed the first test’s results: “With my second test, the hair was done in the social worker’s office with the scissors out of her desk, tape off her desk and cardboard from the trash.”

Her sample tested positive for crystal meth, but laughably when she next saw her “hair sample”, the hair that allegedly belonged to her was longer and a different colour.

It should go without saying, but any robust testing process requires professionalism throughout. It’s not just about testing the sample, but also about how the sample is collected and treated.

The chain of custody is of paramount importance. Trusted professionals need to be present at every stage of the process, guided by the lab that will do the testing, and the procedures need to be the same for every single case.

(If) Motherisk was an aberration

When things go as wrong as they did at Motherisk, it’s important not to stick our heads in the sand. Especially when it involves vulnerable individuals.

But Motherisk wasn't just an aberration IT WAS AN ABERRATION that directly targeted families whose poverty left vulnerable to a system that operates in extreme secrecy with no oversight. 

The science of hair sample testing remains a powerful tool when the analysis is done correctly, appropriately, with quality control and assurances and "interpreted" by the next batch of "qualified experts."

Indeed, it’s only right that for vulnerable individuals, that nothing but the best will do. A fact that Motherisk seemingly forgot.

You may like: 3 big New Year's resolutions for the hair drug and alcohol testing industry.

Discredited Motherisk hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families: report

An independent commission tasked with examining the Motherisk hair-testing program said Monday the child welfare system's reliance on the analysis was "manifestly unfair and harmful" even when it did not substantially affect the outcome of apprehension cases disregarding the fact Motherisk always played a substantial role in the decision not to close files.


Either way, it was bad news for underprivileged Canadians in Ontario who are at the highest risk of unwarranted intervention by scheming child poaching CAS funding predators..

March 14, 2013

In leaked memo, Peel CAS staff asked to keep cases open to retain funding due to a $67 million dollar province wide funding shortfall . The memo was signed by seven senior managers, using their first names only. One had her full name listed. Hmmm, I wonder who could be evil enough to sign her full name???

March 15, 2013

Province in talks with Peel Children’s Aid Society over strategies to defraud the tax payers in leaked memo and Ontario's Liberal government agrees to pay for CAS advertising campaign to help the society meet their funding goals... Report any suspicion equals any excuse will do. 

Though the CAS claimed the purpose of the memo wasn't to inflate numbers, between 2011 and 2013 the 46 (at the time) separate societies investigated a combined total of 42 000 families or about 14 000 investigations per year, in 2014 - after the Peel Memo Leak - and launching a new government funded advertising campaign and reopening 20 000 previously closed files the societies investigated a combined total of over 82 000 families to meet their funding goals in that one year as reported by the Toronto Star.

Mary Ballantyne, CEO of OACAS said there was more context going into the decision making process than met the eye.. 


"No one should be surprised that agencies like CAS are taking extreme steps to ensure they meet their funding goals" said Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Chair of the CUPE Ontario Social Services sector.

Conservative children’s services critic Jane McKenna said the memo’s optics are “terrible” and “reflect poorly on not just the CAS but also Wynne and the Liberal government, which bears ultimate responsibility for child welfare in Ontario.” She then went on to say, “These are desperate people doing desperate things.”


The Bill amends the Ombudsman Act to allow the Ombudsman to investigate any decision or recommendation made or any act done or omitted in the course of the administration of a children’s aid society.

-> Been nice if this had passed but Premiere Kathleen Wynne killed the bill saying the the CAS had enough oversight already leaving the children of Ontario with only one layer of protection from potential abusers. The children's aid society and their good intentions.

About The Author

Advocates for family preservation against unwarranted intervention by government funded non profit agencies and is a growing union for families and other advocates speaking out against the children's aid society's... More