GUEST BLOGGER: Consent and Capacity Board (Part 1)

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This week and next week, we have Isfahan Merali, acting legal counsel for the Consent and Capacity Board (CCB), talking about general health rights of young people.

Isfahan has practiced administrative law and human rights law for 18 years. Prior to coming to the CCB, where she is currently on secondment, she was Counsel to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She has acted as consultant to numerous non-governmental organizations on international human rights law as well as the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Officer for the University of Toronto. Isfahan is co-editor of Giving Meaning to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and author of a number of journal articles and manuals on human rights and international law. She has presented in Canada and internationally on many topics including human rights, international women’s rights and children’s rights. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto and completed her B.A. in Canadian Studies/History and East Asian Studies at University College, University of Toronto.

 

1.  When a doctor says that a young person cannot make a decision about their treatment (“not capable”) and the young person disagrees, how can they contact the Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) and what would the CCB do?

No matter what age you are, if a person is a psychiatric patient in a hospital they will be visited by a Rights Advisor from the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office.  The Rights Advisor will explain their rights, and this will include information about applying to the CCB.   The Rights Advisor will assist the person in making an application to the CCB and in finding a lawyer, if they wish.

The CCB’s phone number is 1-866-777-7391 and fax number is 1-866-777-7273.

When the CCB receives an application, the CCB must schedule a hearing within 7 days unless all the parties agree to postponing the hearing.  The CCB will try to reach all the “parties” to an application (patient and physician, usually) or their lawyer ( if a party has a lawyer)  to figure out a hearing date that works for all parties.   The Board will send a “Notice of Hearing” to all parties and their lawyers once the hearing date is set.

 

2.  When a young person disagrees with a doctor about whether they can make their own treatment decisions, what happens at the CCB hearing?

When the CCB receives an application, the CCB must schedule a hearing within 7 days unless all the parties agree to postponing the hearing.  The CCB will try to reach all the “parties” to an application (patient and physician, usually) or their lawyer ( if a party has a lawyer)  to figure out a hearing date that works for all for a Board hearing.

The Board will send a “Notice of Hearing” to all parties and their lawyers once the hearing date is set.

A Rights Advisor can assist a person applying to the Board in getting a lawyer or the Board can order Legal Aid Ontario to appoint one, if the applicant wishes.  A person has the right to choose your own lawyer if they wish.

Information sheets that explain more about the CCB process available on the Board’s website: http://www.ccboard.on.ca/scripts/english/publications/infosheets.asp.

 

3.  What does the CCB look at in order to decide whether or not a person is “capable” and can make their own health decisions?  

The CCB considers section 4 of the Health Care Consent Act when reviewing a doctor’s finding that a person is “not capable” to consent to their own treatment decisions.   A person is capable on treatment decisions if they are “able to understand the information that is relevant to making a decision about the treatment” and “able to reasonably appreciate the foreseeable consequences of a decision or lack of decision”.  Keep in mind that section 4 of the Health Care Consent Act says that a person is presumed to be capable on treatment decisions (unless proven otherwise).

 

4.  When a young person does not agree with being locked in a hospital for mental health reasons, how does the CCB get involved?  (e.g., how are you informed, what are the timelines, how do you contact the young person?)

No matter what age you are, if a person is a psychiatric patient in a hospital they will be visited by a Rights Advisor from the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office.  The Rights Advisor will explain their rights, and this will include information about applying to the CCB.   The Rights Advisor will assist the person in making an application to the CCB and in finding a lawyer, if they wish.   A person has the right to choose your own lawyer if they wish.

The CCB’s phone number is 1-866-777-7391 and fax number is 1-866-777-7273.

When the CCB receives an application, the CCB must schedule a hearing within 7 days unless all the parties agree to postponing the hearing.  The CCB will try to reach all the “parties” to an application (patient and physician, usually) or their lawyer ( if a party has a lawyer)  to figure out a hearing date that works for all parties.   The Board will send a “Notice of Hearing” to all parties and their lawyers once the hearing date is set.

 

Continued in Part 2!

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