Response to the 14th Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

Review of the Mental Disorder Provisions of the Criminal Code

November 2002


Since the enactment of the 1992 amendments, the Government, specifically the Department of Justice, has been following the implementation of the law through the case law and regular consultations with provincial and territorial Attorneys General through the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Mental Disorder and other stakeholders. Over the last decade, it has become clear that there is a need for refinements to the Part XX.1 provisions, generally to clarify provisions and improve effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, more substantive reforms have been advocated, including the repeal of the capping provisions.

The Government intends to table a package of amendments to respond to the issues identified by the Committee as described above and additional issues identified in our consultations and in the case law.

For example:

  1. amendments to better permit a Review Board to control its own process, including clarification of jurisdiction where statutory time periods are exceeded, power to adjourn a hearing and power to convene a hearing;
  2. amendments to permit a Review Board to order an assessment where necessary to make a disposition under section 672.54 where no current assessment is available; and
  3. amendments to ensure that court documents are transferred to Review Boards expeditiously.

Consultations with provincial and territorial Attorneys General and other stakeholders will continue in order to ensure that all the issues raised by the Committee are appropriately addressed.

The Standing Committee's review and report provides an excellent foundation on which to continue the process of reform of the law governing mentally disordered persons.