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MENTAL INCOMPETENCY - Legal proceedings

Thursday, April 01, 2021 @ 9:39 AM  

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Appeal by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) from an order requiring it to fund family visits for the respondent, a person subject to long-term detention under the Mental Health Services Act. The respondent suffered from long-term schizo-affective disorder and substance and gambling addictions. After other treatment options failed, the appellant sought a detention order. At the hearing, the respondent’s counsel acknowledged that the detention criteria were met. The respondent’s family sought placement in a mental health unit of an acute care hospital nearby. The appellant sought an order placing the respondent in a residential mental health centre located in a different area of the province on the basis it was best placed to meet the respondent’s treatment needs. The judge accepted the appellant’s position regarding the facility. However, the judge ordered the appellant to work with the respondent’s family to arrange funding for family visits. The SHA appealed.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The court had jurisdiction pursuant to s. 7(2)(a) of the Court of Appeal Act to hear the appeal. That jurisdiction was not abrogated or limited by the Act or the Regulations thereunder. The order under appeal was a final order for which leave to appeal was not required. The Queen’s Bench judge lacked statutory or inherent jurisdiction to order the appellant to allocate public resources for the funding of family visits to a detainee under the Act. Further, the judge failed to provide procedural fairness to the appellant by providing an opportunity to be heard prior to making the funding order. In light of the decision regarding jurisdiction, there was no useful purpose to remit the matter for reconsideration. The portion of the order requiring the appellant to fund family visits was set aside.

Mental Health and Addiction Services (Executive Director of) v. S.B., [2021] S.J. No. 38, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, J.A. Ryan-Froslie, L.M. Schwann and R. Leurer JJ.A., February 1, 2021. Digest No. TLD-March292021008