Mental Health Act

Alberta’s Mental Health Act was enacted to provide safeguards, supports and supervision, for people suffering from mental disorder. In 2019, in response to a decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench in JH v Alberta Health Services, 2019 ABQB 540, the Minister of Health initiated the process to examine the Act to ensure the legislation complies with the Charter and remains responsive to the needs of Albertans. Several amendments came into effect introduced in September 2020 as a result of that review.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Refining the admission/detention criteria to ensure the act is only used to detain those whose mental disorder can be improved by treatment. A further refinement of the definition of “mental disorder” will also come into effect on March 31, 2021.
  • Expanding the roles of nurse practitioners and physicians to perform certain assessments and supervise community treatment orders.
  • Strengthening procedural safeguards for patients, including a new role for the mental health patient advocate.
  • Explicitly allowing the use of videoconferencing for examinations.
  • Authorizing the minister to establish additional secure locations for the purpose of first assessments. (Note: none have been established yet.)

Questions? Contact Us

For non-urgent and general questions regarding the Mental Health Act legislation, email mhaandcto.enquiries@ahs.ca.

For urgent clinical questions, email Health Law legal.clinical@ahs.ca or,
Health Professional Strategy & Practice team practice.consulation@ahs.ca.

Review Panel Hearing