The province will consider recommendations to improve the effectiveness and strength of the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.
Leo Glavine, Minister of Health and Wellness, will table an independent, legislated review of the act today, Dec.
Mr. Glavine supports the direction of the review and its recommendations, and has committed to meeting with interested parties to examine the recommendations in more detail.
“Overall, we’re hearing that the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act is working, and its objectives are supported by those who participated in the review, but as with any relatively new piece of legislation, there is room for improvement,” said Mr. Glavine. “Many of the recommendations align well with the initiatives in the department through our mental health and addictions strategy.”
The report lists 101 recommendations for amendments to legislation, program work and policy. About one third of the recommendations are already underway; others will require more time to implement. The province will now determine the health system impact, as well as resources and costs of remaining recommendations.
The act helps Nova Scotians who are unable to make treatment decisions because of severe mental illness, or who are at risk of harm or harming others, receive the appropriate treatment. The act has been in place since 2007.
The review was chaired by Justice Gerard La Forest, a retired member of the Supreme Court of Canada, and William Lahey, professor at Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.
“Most people we met with supported the objectives set out in the legislation,” said Mr. La Forest. “Many people thought the legislation made things better for patients and families. Many suggested options to improve the operation of the act. With the help of the recommended amendments, I am confident that this act will continue to provide help to those who need it,”
“I’d like to thank all those who participated in the review process by making their voices heard, and providing their valuable feedback on the act during the consultation.”
Feedback was collected in a number of ways, including public meetings, a dedicated toll-free number and online.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to have provided our thoughts and feedback on the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act to Justice La Forest and professor Lahey,” said Stephen Ayer, executive director of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia. “This is an important piece of legislation, and we are happy that the province is committed to making it as strong and effective as possible.”
The report is online at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/mental-health/involuntary-psychiatric-treatment-act.asp.