Mental Health Review Board

The Mental Health Review Board is an independent tribunal established in April 2005 to conduct review panel hearings under the Mental Health Act.

News

October 15, 2018

On August 28, 2018 the Mental Health Review Board revised and updated its Rules of Practice and Procedure and issued five Practice Directions. The Rules and Practice Directions dated August 28,2018 are now in effect.

The Board will be collecting feedback on the implementation of the new Rules and Practice Directions over the next few month months with the aim of making any necessary revisions in early 2019. We look forward to your input. Please direct your comments or question to YJ Lin and Lisa Wong.

October 10, 2018

The Mental Health Review Board is now accepting applications from both practicing and retired medical doctors for medical member positions. Here is the link to the posting for multiple positions to the Mental Health Review Board. The posting closes on October 31, 2018 at midnight. Please apply directly to the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office.

September 7, 2018

The grace period to allow parties to become familiar with the new Rules has been extended to October 15, 2018 instead of September 12, 2018.  We expect panels and participants to be working fully under the new Rules by October 15, 2018.

August 28, 2018

The Mental Health Review Board is pleased to announce that the new Rules of Practice and Procedure are finalized and ready for implementation. In addition, we are releasing five Practice Directions to provide further guidance on the new Rules. We thank all of you who participated in the consultation process for your invaluable feedback. Please find attached:

Please be advised of the following:

  • There will be a grace period of two weeks to allow parties to become familiar with the new Rules. We expect panels and participants to be working fully under the new Rules by September 12, 2018
  • An information session for stakeholders including facilities will be set up within a month to address any questions about the new Rules and Practice Directions
  • The Board will be collecting feedback on the implementation of the new Rules and Practice Directions over the next six months with the aim of making any necessary revisions in early 2019

May 30, 2018

The Mental Health Review Board prepared an annual report (PDF, 656KB) for 2017/2018, pursuant to section 59.2 of the Administrative Tribunals Act.

May 15, 2018

The Mental Health Review Board is pleased to announce, that after several months of consultations, our new Form 7 "Application for Review Panel Hearing" has received Cabinet approval by way of an Order in Council approved on May 15, 2018. Form 7 (PDF, 42KB). The new Form 7 is also available on the Ministry of Health forms website.

Mandate

The board's mandate is based on involuntary psychiatric patients' periodic rights to fair and timely reviews of their loss of liberty.

The board has jurisdiction to conduct hearings to review and decide whether persons committed/detained at any mental health facility in British Columbia should continue to be committed/detained based on criteria in the act. The board's function is to ensure that patients admitted by physicians and detained involuntarily in provincial mental health facilities have access to an objective review process.

The system is subject to the constitutional rights of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that "[e]veryone has a right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice". The patient may be an involuntary patient, an involuntary patient on extended leave, or a voluntary patient under 16 years of age. The board's legal mandate requires that it operate at arm's length from government.

Responsibilities

Before April 4, 2005, the act provided for a party-appointed review panel model whereby several of the review panel members were nominated by the hospital and patients. Each hearing was conducted by a chair appointed by the minister, a physician appointed by the detaining facility, and another person appointed by the detained patient. After a core services review in the fall of 2001, Cabinet decided in February 2002 to abolish the party-appointed review panel model because it undermined the panel's impartiality and contributed to an adversarial environment. In its place Cabinet created the current structure to strengthen the independence of review panels.

The Mental Health Review Board is comprised of a chair and members who are appointed by the Minister of Health. All members are authorized to sit as review panel members and conduct hearings. Currently, the board has 85 legal, medical and community members living in various locations throughout the province. A review panel is comprised of three or more members of the board. After a hearing, the review panel decides whether a patient should be discharged from involuntary status.

A review panel must consist of a medical practitioner, a member in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia or a person with equivalent training, and a third member who is neither a medical practitioner nor a lawyer. Board members must conduct hearings within statutory time limits of either 14 or 28 days from the day an application is received unless the patient waives this right.

When a patient, or someone acting on a patient's behalf, submits a request for review of a physician's decision (an initial certification requires a decision from two physicians) to detain a patient involuntarily, the board's chair must designate a review panel if a hearing has not been held since his/her last certificate or renewal certificate (during a six month renewal period, a hearing can only be requested 90 days after the conclusion of a previous hearing). After a hearing, the review panel then decides whether a patient should be discharged from involuntary status based on criteria specified in the Mental Health Act. These decisions usually involve balancing serious and competing issues such as freedom of the individual and protection of the public. Review panel hearings normally take place in private at the hospital or community facility where the patient is detained.