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Bill 31 Mental Health Amendment Act

June 10, 2007

Bill 31, Mental Health Amendment Act, 2007 passed first reading in the legislature on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta Division will take every advantage to provide feedback to the government of Alberta on the proposed changes in the upcoming months. To view CMHA’s position on Community Treatment Orders, please see our Position Statement.

You may also share your views on Bill 31 directly with CMHA Alberta Division by sending an e-mail to bill31@cmha.ab.ca. In so doing, if you would like us to share your views or to contact you concerning them, please also include your full name, address and daytime phone number.

We have also included the Alberta Government’s Bill 31 News Release (PDF) which provides some context to Bill 31.

CMHA – Alberta Division’s Bill 31 Statement

(as at June 10, 2007)

As a health and wellness organization the Canadian Mental Health Association supports Bill 31. We recognize there is a small group of individuals who may benefit from a Community Treatment Order However, CMHA recommends the following additions and/or amendments to the Act:

  1. A date be set for a review of the Act within five years.
  2. 9.1 (1) (a) (iii): “the person has previously been subject to a CTO” within the last two years.
  3. 9.7 (1) and (2): A client must have access to a psychiatrist within 48 hours of issuing the CTO.

There is also ambiguity in the wording of 9.7 as to the inclusion of the conditions set out in 9.1

It is also questionable whether the situation outlined in 9.1 (1) (c) can exist in the absence of a psychiatrist in the community.

We applaud the Minister for ensuring that CTOs can only be issued when adequate resources exist within the community. We feel compelled to point out the significant shortages of adequate community resources such as:

  • adequate housing
  • access to medical services, including medication, psychotherapy and psychiatric assessments
  • community supports to enhance independence and recovery
  • guardianship and trusteeship when appropriate

CMHA will continue as community advocates, supporting programs that promote quality of life for all people with mental health concerns.

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