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Deadline to review the Mental Health Act missed, B.C. Greens call for action

May 1, 2023
   2 min read
Array

For immediate release

May 1, 2023

VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus is calling on Premier David Eby to immediately begin a full public review of the outdated Mental Health Act (MHA)

“We deserve a world where everyone is safe and supported,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “In my own community of Cowichan Valley, doctors tell me that patients are reporting with mental illness more than all other ailments. Meanwhile, the Mental Health Act continues to cause harm by enforcing outdated stereotypes and stigma for those who are mentally ill. 

“B.C. has been found to be out-of-compliance with the Act on thousands of occasions. Waitlists for treatment are weeks to months long, and supportive housing often takes years to become available. It is irresponsible for Premier David Eby to speak about endorsing involuntary treatment without substantially overhauling the outdated Mental Health Act

“This BC NDP government has made moves towards improving our mental health care system, but without taking a look at the system as a whole, new funding announcements fall flat and ultimately fail to deliver care to people that desperately need it. 

“Today marks the deadline from the Select Standing Committee on Health to begin a public review of the Act, so where is the action? Last week Minister Whiteside admitted that no legislative work is underway. Let’s be clear – the longer the Act persists as written, the longer we will be putting band aid solutions on our mental health crisis.”

The B.C. Green Caucus has been calling for a full public review of the Mental Health Act since 2021. This follows similar calls from both the Select Standing Committee on Health and the Special Committee to Reform the Police Act, as well as the Representative for Children and Youth, the provincial Ombudsperson, and mental health organizations, legal services, and people with lived experience under the MHA. 

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Media contact
JoJo Beattie, Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca

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