Your legal rights
The Ontario Mental Health Act, 1990, sets out what happens when people with mental illnesses are admitted to psychiatric facilities. It states the legal rights of patients admitted to a hospital and addresses other legal issues relating to admission and discharge from the hospital.
As a health care facility, CAMH is also governed by the Public Hospitals Act, 1990.
The Health Care Consent Act, 1996, governs treatment in Ontario and creates a system of substitute decision making for individuals who are incapable of making their own treatment decisions. Under the Act, informed consent must be obtained from the individual, or a substitute decision maker if the person is incapable, before treatment can be administered. The Act also permits a substitute decision maker to authorise an incapable person’s admission to a psychiatric facility for the purposes of treatment, as long as the incapable person does not object to the admission. This is called an “informal admission.”
CAMH’s physicians and other staff make every effort to inform patients about their condition and the proposed treatment. This is to make sure that CAMH clients—or their substitute decision makers—can participate fully in treatment decisions, and to protect their rights and interests. Information on patient rights under mental health law is available through Ontario’s Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office at 416 535-8501 ext. 33099.
Some of this information will be different for clients in our Law and Mental Health Program who fall under the Ontario Review Board or a treatment order. Please see the CAMH booklet The Forensic Mental Health System in Ontario for more information.
CAMH Bill of Client Rights
CAMH's Bill of Client Rights promotes the dignity and worth of all the people who use our services. It sets out client rights, including the right to be treated with respect, to receive quality services that comply with standards and to complain. You can obain a copy of the Bill of Client Rights from the CAMH Professional Practice Office at 416 535-8501 ext. 34407 or from our website at the link we have provided above.
CAMH Client Relations Office
Our Client Relations Office is available to listen and respond to all forms of feedback from clients and their families, including complaints, inquiries, suggestions and compliments regarding all CAMH programs and services. The Client Relations Officer acts as the ombudsperson for clients who have questions or concerns about CAMH or about their clinical experience.
Information you give to the Client Relations staff will not be added to your health record.
Questions or concerns? To reach the Client Relations Office, please call 416 535-8501 ext. 32028 or 32027.
CAMH’s Empowerment Council represents the voice of clients. The Council:
- advocates on issues relating to the mental health and addiction systems
- educates clients on choices, self-advocacy, leadership and political awareness
- gives clients access to information
- educates mental health and addiction workers and other members of the community.
To learn more about what the Empowerment Council does and how you can join, please call the Empowerment Co-ordinator at (416) 535-8501 ext. 4022.
Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO)
You can learn more about your rights under mental health law in Ontario through the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO).
The PPAO is an independent and confidential advocacy service—PPAO staff members are not employed by CAMH. It provides free advocacy and rights advice to clients and to people planning to use psychiatric services. The PPAO helps clients to know their rights and make informed decisions about their care and treatment.
The PPAO office at CAMH’s Queen Street site can be reached at 416 535-8501 ext. 33099. The PPAO website is at www.ppao.gov.on.ca.
Privacy and confidentiality of your personal health information
CAMH is committed to protecting your privacy.
At CAMH, a nurse, doctor or clinician may ask you about your own health and the health of people in your family. This information is kept in your health record. We need your health information to make sure we can give you the best possible care.
While at CAMH, you may visit other areas of the hospital for treatment. If you do this, or talk to another doctor at CAMH, they will also need to see your health record and may add new information. During your treatment at CAMH, we may need to share your health information with other doctors, hospitals or organizations that are helping with your care. This is called sharing your health information within your “circle of care.”
In most cases, before we use or share your health information we will ask for your permission (your consent). You can decide when you want us to share health information with others and how you want us to use your information. Consent can be either verbal or written. You can withdraw or withhold your consent. If you have concerns about sharing your personal health information with other health care providers, you should discuss this with your clinician or contact the CAMH Information and Privacy Office at 416-535-8501 ext. 33314.
In special cases, the law says we can or must share information with others, even if we don’t have your consent. For example, information may be disclosed without your consent to public health units, children’s aid societies, other health care providers (for example, in an emergency), the police or the courts.
Protecting your health information
For a brief description of our privacy practices, see the CAMH Privacy Notice. For more information about privacy at CAMH, contact our Information and Privacy Office at 416-535-8501 ext. 33314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing your health record
You have the right to see and have a copy of your health information, with some limits. There may be a fee if you would like a copy of your health record. You have the right to ask us to correct health information if it is wrong or incomplete. To see your health information, contact the Health Records Department at 416 535-8501 ext. 2318 (for Queen Street and most other sites), or ext. 6438 (for the College Street site). Here's the form for requesting access to a record of personal health information (PDF)