Request a Review

Who can request a review?

An involuntary patient who wishes to become a voluntary patient or be discharged from hospital can request voluntary status or discharge from the attending physician. If the physician agrees, this is the quickest and most direct way to end the involuntary status. If the physician refuses, an application form (PDF, 36KB) for a review panel hearing may be obtained from hospital staff or the community mental health team.

An involuntary patient, or someone acting on his/her behalf, may request a hearing by a review panel to determine whether his/her detention should be continued. When the second medical certificate is completed, which provides legal authority for the person to be admitted as an involuntary patient for up to one month from the day of initial admission (Mental Health Act, sections 22(2), 23), an involuntary patient or someone on his/her behalf, may apply for a review panel hearing. Generally a patient is entitled to apply for a review panel hearing after the second medical certificate is completed and following each renewal of his/her certificate (section 25(1)). Children and youth under the age of 16 who are admitted as voluntary patients by a parent or guardian may also apply (section 21(1)). A patient on extended leave has the same rights to a review panel hearing as an inpatient.

What can be reviewed by a panel of the Mental Health Review Board?

A review panel applies the section 1 definition of a "person with a mental disorder" and the criteria provided in section 22 of the Mental Health Act to decide after a hearing whether a patient should be discharged from involuntary status (sections 25(2), 25(4.1)). The patient may be an involuntary patient, an involuntary patient on extended leave, or a voluntary patient under 16 years of age (sections 25(2), 25(4.1)). Unless a majority of the review panel is satisfied by the evidence that a patient meets the criteria for involuntary status as provided in the Act, the review panel must order that the person be discharged from involuntary patient status (section 25(4.1)). Where appropriate, the patient may request admission as a voluntary patient.

The review panel has no authority to decide issues such as the appropriateness of a patient's treatment plan or whether a patient ought to be transferred to another hospital or granted additional passes. Although section 31 of the Mental Health Act provides that treatment authorized by the director is deemed to be given with the consent of the patient, it also states that a patient or someone on the patient's behalf can request a second medical opinion regarding the appropriateness of the patient's treatment (see also Mental Health Regulation, section 8). Requests to accommodate wishes that the patient or family members may have can be made to the physician or hospital authority. If a patient, relative or other person has a complaint about the treatment provided to an involuntary patient, complaints may be brought to the attention of the patient's physician, the director of a designated facility, the hospital administration, the patient care quality officer (a service available at all hospitals in B.C. to deal with patient complaints), the health authority, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., the College of Registered Nurses of B.C., the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of B.C., the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of B.C., or the provincial Ombudsperson.

In addition, the review panel does not inquire into whether the patient's initial certification was justified. A patient, near relative, or anyone who believes there was insufficient reason or legal authority for a certificate may apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia under section 33(2) of the Mental Health Act.

Lastly, the review panel has no jurisdiction over constitutional questions including those relating to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and has discretion to decline jurisdiction to apply the Human Rights Code in any matter before it (Mental Health Act, section 24.2 and Administrative Tribunals Act, sections 44, 46.2).

How to Request a Review

To apply for a hearing before a panel of the Board, please print and complete the following application form, which is also available from hospital staff or the community mental health team:

Form 7: Application for Review Panel Hearing (PDF, 36KB)

The application for a review panel hearing may be made by the patient or by someone else on the patient's behalf (Mental Health Act, section 25(1)). The application must be made in writing and signed. In order to protect a patient's privacy and ensure confidentiality, the Board does not accept applications for review by e-mail.

The completed form should be given to the hospital staff who will then give the form to the director or designated staff member to be faxed to the Mental Health Review Board office. A rights advisor or other person may forward the patient's application directly to the Board office. When a patient is on extended leave, arrangements for a review panel hearing may be made through the patient's community mental health team.