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Talking about Brian's Law and the Mental Health Act

Toronto health lawyer Lonny Rosen is slated to speak at an Ontario Bar Association presentation on Nov. 26 on the topic of involuntarily detaining a patient under the Mental Health Act.

Rosen, a partner at Rosen Sunshine LLP, will also address the criteria for instituting a Community Treatment Order to enable people to receive treatment in the community.

As part of the discussion, the panel will review the recent case of Thompson and Empowerment Council v. Ontario, 2013 ONSC 5392, which analyzes the Community Treatment Order provisions of the Mental Health Act.

In 2000, expanded civil commitment criteria and provision for Community Treatment Orders were added to the Mental Health Act in Ontario following the inquest into the death of Brian Smith, known as 'Brian's Law.' Smith was a well-known Ottawa broadcaster who was shot and killed in 1995 by a patient suffering from schizophrenia.

Although a constitutional challenge to the legislative changes was dismissed in September 2013, the case may be appealed and raises significant legal, constitutional and public policy issues that merit further discussion and debate.

The program will offer a primer on the civil commitment process under the Mental Health Act, as well as focus specifically on the legal, constitutional and public policy issues raised in the Thompson case.

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