The BCCLA is extremely disappointed that the BC government has disregarded previous calls to modernize the Mental Health Act, tabled in Bill 22, and is instead prioritizing changes that violate the rights of youth, introduces a regime of involuntary treatment that is not evidence-based, and unnecessarily over-rides privacy protections for detained youth.
We join many other organizations and individuals in requesting that the BC government immediately withdraw this bill from future consideration in the legislature.
BCCLA is deeply concerned for the many youth, especially Indigenous youth who use substances, who would be impacted by these amendments. We caution that simply taking a “pause” cannot remedy the fundamental defects of this bill.
It is concerning the government has taken a coercive approach that seeks to deprive youth who use substances of their fundamental rights related to liberty, procedural fairness and privacy.
Additionally, we are disappointed that Bill 22 was developed without the input of the very communities of people it seeks to help: Indigenous nations; youth, particularly Indigenous youth, who use substances; and others with lived experience of substance use. These are the experts that need to be consulted before developing any law that purports to help them.