Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Outdated' Mental Health Act Sparks Charter Challenge in B.C. Courtroom

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Outdated' Mental Health Act Sparks Charter Challenge in B.C. Courtroom

Article excerpt

Charter challenge aimed at B.C. Mental Health Act

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VANCOUVER - Legal documents have been filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, alleging a provincial law used to justify treatment of mentally ill people violates the charter.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities and two plaintiffs, 66-year-old Louise MacLaren and a 24-year-old identified only as D.C., are demanding changes to B.C.'s Mental Health Act.

The council says patients involuntarily detained under the act do not have the right to give or refuse consent to any psychiatric treatment.

The suit says patients are legally "deemed to consent" to treatments ranging from forcible medication to electroconvulsive therapy, and cannot select a substitute decision maker, such as a family member, to give or refuse consent on their behalf. …

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