A Quick Analysis of 'Brian's Law'

Having taken a quick look at the draft of the legislation, there are a number of things that jump out at me as being especially dangerous.

  • The tremendous discretionary powers that will be granted to the police in enforcing every aspect of this law.
  • That upon an assessment being made, any previous history of psychiatric intervention will in itself stand as justification for issuing an 'order for involuntary admission' (known as a 'form 3' under the current Mental Health Act) which can result in detention for up to fourteen days, or a 'certificate of renewal' ('form 4' under the Act), which authorizes continued detention for progressively longer periods (ultimately up to ninety days per certificate).
  • The fact that (unlike other jurisdictions which permit such orders) under this legislation a CTO can be authorized immediately as a 'pre-emptive strike' mechanism not requiring an initial inpatient admission or prior history of hospitalization.
  • The illusion that a CTO is in any way a 'voluntary' undertaking on the part of the 'patient.'
  • The degree of supervision from, and information-sharing among, 'professionals' of all disciplines involved in the life of a person subject to a CTO. These people will potentially include but not be limited to (in addition to medical professionals) the police, members of ACT/PACT teams, case managers or even welfare/ODSP workers. Relatives, property managers/housing workers or shelter/drop-in staff, and others involved with the person on an ongoing basis will also likely find themselves essentially being granted police powers.
  • The replacement of any committal criteria that are even remotely concrete or reality-based with the totally subjective and abstract determination that the person is 'in need of' or 'would benefit from' treatment, or that the person 'may at some future point' show 'substantial physical or mental deterioration' if not treated.
  • The turning over of all control of the 'rights advisory' process to the very people who would be issuing and enforcing the orders.
  • The removal of the word 'imminent' from the committal criteria of someone allegedly posing a 'danger to self or others' also in itself renders the appeal process completely worthless because even such minimal proof from officials will no longer be required.
  • The complete failure to mention, much less provide for, entitlement to a second medical opinion from a practitioner of the 'patient's' own choosing. All power under this Act regarding medical re-evaluation will be granted to the original attending physician who signed the order.
  • The vastly increased use of, and scope of the powers granted to, substitute decision-makers as defined under the Health Care Consent Act. The person affected will likely have little or no say as to who such an individual would be.