Legislation introduced today, March 31, will enhance the protection of patients treated under the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.
“These amendments are to protect the best interests and mental health needs of Nova Scotians,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “With these changes, we are enhancing those protections by ensuring that patients continue to receive appropriate mental health treatments while also getting more timely access to legal representation and review hearings.”
The amendments will give the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act review board greater discretion, including the ability to replace a substitute decision-maker who is not acting in the best interest of the patient. The review board will also have the authority to order that a patient be treated in the community rather than in a facility. The addition of a vice-chair will improve the review board’s functioning when the chair is unavailable.
Additional changes will ensure that patients and their legal representatives have access to their health file in a timely manner without the need to complete additional paperwork.
This will increase efficiency and reduce the number of hearings adjourned due to delays in the production of files.
The Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act was enacted in 2005 to make sure that people who are unable to make treatment decisions due to severe mental illness receive the appropriate treatment. A review of the act was conducted in 2013, resulting in numerous recommendations, including legislative changes.
Bills tabled in the legislature this spring are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1