Isabel Grant


Mental health laws; Involuntary treatment--Law and legislation; Forensic psychiatry; Canada

Document Type



This paper presents an analysis of the early Charter cases dealing with civil commitment and compulsory treatment of individuals under provincial mental health legislation. The author describes two models for dealing with these issues: the paternalistic model and the social control model. She argues that Canadian courts have adopted a paternalistic approach and, as such, have failed to recognize the adversary relationship between the state and the individual which forms the basis of involuntary psychiatry. Courts have thus failed to develop the kinds of procedural protections that are available in the criminal law context. The author proposes that courts making decisions dealing with civil mental health issues should rely less on paternalism and recognize the serious deprivations of liberty at stake for individuals in the mental health system.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.