Case Study
Toxicology lab can’t offer expertise in child protection case due to lack of accreditation


A Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice ruled that the director of the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s toxicology lab in Halifax, Canada, cannot give expert opinion evidence about the results of urine testing at a child protection proceeding.

The judge found that the laboratory’s opinion could not be found to be reliable because the lab is not designated as a forensic lab, it is not subject to external proficiency testing or accreditation. The judge stated that the lack of a forensic designation or accreditation is a factor to be considered when determining reliability.

The Department of Community Services once used the Motherisk Lab of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children to do hair strand analysis to monitor substance abuse and assess child protection risk, but stopped after the lab had its accreditation removed.

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