Service provider selected to help explain rights under Mental Health Act

Press Release

April 6, 2023

VICTORIA – The Province is one step closer to implementing the rights advice service to help people experiencing a mental-health crisis access information about their rights and available supports.

After a competitive bidding process, the Province has selected the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA BC) to deliver the rights advice service in partnership with Health Justice, the Community Legal Assistance Society and Métis Nation BC.

Plans are also underway to work with one or more First-Nations-led organizations to provide First-Nations-specific leadership in the governance, design, delivery and evaluation of the service.

CMHA BC has been awarded a contract for as much as $1.48 million to develop and administer the service in a way that is trauma-informed, culturally safe, inclusive and responsive to the needs of diverse and marginalized populations, including Indigenous and racialized communities. The service agreement will run from April 1, 2023, until March 31, 2024, with the possibility of renewal.

CMHA is a national charity that services more than 330 communities across Canada with one provincial division and 14 local branches in British Columbia. CMHA BC provides advocacy, resources and supports that help prevent mental-health challenges, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.

The Mental Health Act requires an involuntary patient to be informed of their rights when they are admitted, transferred to another designated facility or when their involuntary status is renewed. This information is currently provided by facility staff, such as a nurse or social worker. In June 2022, the B.C. government passed amendments to the Mental Health Act to lay the foundation for the rights advice service. These amendments will come into force when the rights advice service is available provincewide.

The service, which is expected to be available this fall, will have a team of independent rights advisers who will be available to meet with patients to provide information and answer questions about their rights and options. The service will be primarily available over videoconferencing and phone with the ability to provide some in-person services in certain circumstances.

The rights advice service supports A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s road map for building the comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care for British Columbians.

Quick Facts:

  • In his 2019 report, Committed to Change, B.C.’s ombudsperson recommended that B.C. introduce an independent rights advice service to assist involuntary patients under the Mental Health Act.
  • The representative for children and youth also recommended a rights advice and advocacy service for children and youth in her 2021 report, Detained.
  • In 2021-22, there were 28,734 involuntary hospitalizations under the Mental Health Act, including repeat patients.
  • In the first quarter of 2022-23, there were 6,805 involuntary hospitalizations under the Mental Health Act, including repeat patients.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Mental Health Act, see the Guide to the Mental Health Act:

To learn more about:

  • Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division:
  • Health Justice Canada:
  • Community Legal Assistance Society:
  • Métis Nation BC:

To learn about A Pathway to Hope, the B.C. government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care in B.C:


Ministry of Attorney General
Media Relations
778 587-3237


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