Mental Health Law Reform Task Force
Since its inception, the Mental Health Act has undergone various changes, including in 2000 when Community Treatment Orders were introduced and, most recently, in 2015, when an amendment granted the Consent & Capacity Board powers to order terms and conditions for long-term involuntary patients. Given the possibility for change, psychiatrists can work together and contribute their expertise, knowledge and front-line experience to generate additional ideas for potential mental health law reforms that can improve patient care and access to timely treatment.
The OPA Council approved a task force focused on identifying specific ideas for mental health law reform. This task force brings together various stakeholders including resident and practicing psychiatrists, legal experts and patient/family advisors so discussions can draw upon different experiences and perspectives. The Mental Health Law Reform Task Force completed its working group meetings in 2020 and finalized a summary document that outlines the areas in mental health law to which the OPA has committed ongoing advocacy efforts. The goal is to promote changes that will improve mental health care services available for patients, families and mental health practitioners on both individual and system-wide levels.
Dr. Lyndal Petit & Dr. Karen Shin
OPA Mental Health Law Reform Task Force Leads
Advocate legislative change to allow earlier access to care for your loved ones with severe mental illness
Current mental health laws impede early access to psychiatric treatment, leading to worse health outcomes for incapable persons with severe mental illness who are denied rights to health. The OPA calls for legislative change to better meet the needs of Ontarians with severe mental illness and the families supporting them.
The Ontario Psychiatric Association proposes 3 reforms to Ontario mental health law:
- Permit Treatment Pending Appeal under the Health Care Consent Act
- Remove past response to treatment from Form 3 Box B Involuntary Admission Criteria, under the Mental Health Act
- Extend a first involuntary admission to up to 30 days, under a Form 3
OPA IN THE NEWS
2022 Healthy Debate article featuring Dr Angela Ho, Dr Lyndal Petit and Dr Karen Shin: "Ontario’s mental health laws must change to protect our most vulnerable patients"