FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHAT: BCCLA at BC Court of Appeal to intervene in AT v British Columbia (Mental Health Review Board) to uphold Charter rights of people subject to involuntary detention under the Mental Health Act.
WHEN: June 1, 2023, at 10:00 am PST
WHERE: BC Court of Appeal, Courtroom 50
Vancouver, BC (unceded Coast Salish Territories) – On June 1, 2023, the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) will present oral arguments at the BC Court of Appeal in its hearing of AT v British Columbia (Mental Health Review Board). This case challenges the Review Board’s decision to continue the involuntary detention of AT under section 22 of the Mental Health Act (MHA).
Under the MHA, section 22 allows for the involuntary detention and treatment of persons who are “seriously impaired” by a mental disorder. In this case, the Review Board broadly interpreted the definition of a “person with a mental disorder”, concluding that the criteria for continued detention was met based on the belief that the patient would not follow their treatment plan if discharged, despite the patient no longer being seriously impaired at the time of the hearing.
The BCCLA argues that to avoid infringing the liberty right guaranteed under s. 7 of the Charter, the definition of “person with a mental disorder” in s. 1 of the MHA must be read narrowly to include only those who are seriously impaired by a mental disorder at the time of review. To continue the detention of a vulnerable person who has committed no crime and presents no risk to the public simply because they may lack judgement or disagree with the proposed treatment is antithetical to the protections afforded by the Charter.
Further, the BCCLA argues that the broader legal context of state detention in its various forms and the purpose of the MHA favours an interpretation that places primacy on individual autonomy over a paternalistic view of what may be in someone’s best interest.
The BCCLA is represented by Carly Peddle of MacKay Boyar.