Report says B.C.’s Mental Health Act needs overhaul – 2017-12-22

British Columbia is considered the most regressive jurisdiction in Canada for mental health detention and involuntary psychiatric treatment, with many practices violating individual human rights, according to a report released by the Community Legal Assistance Society of B.C.

“B.C. has fallen far behind other Canadian jurisdictions on numerous measures. The BC Mental Health Act and the Mental Health Regulation are outdated, deeply flawed, and inadequate to fulfil the rights guaranteed by the Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said the report, “Operating in Darkness: BC’s Mental Health Act Detention System authored by CLASBC lawyer Laura Johnston.

Speaking to Legal Feeds, Johnston said the Mental Health Act needs an overhaul.

She has recommended a law reform commission be struck to look at what she calls systemic problems that permeate the detention system from involuntary detention to release of a person. There are some quick fixes that can be made, she says, such as deleting a section on discipline in the act, but a comprehensive review of the system is needed.

Jean Sorensen
Canadian Lawyer, December 22, 2017
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