The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO)

If you are a patient in a mental health facility, you can contact the PPAO for:

Rights information for patients with changes in legal status

Doctors in mental health facilities can change a patient’s legal status. If a doctor changes your legal status, your rights will also change.

If you’re a patient and a doctor changed your legal status, under the Mental Health Act, a doctor must contact a rights adviser to meet with you. The rights adviser will:

  • explain how the change affects your rights
  • discuss the doctor’s decision with you to see if you agree with the decision
  • help you apply to the Consent and Capacity Board for a hearing if you don’t agree with the doctor’s decision
  • help you find a lawyer
  • help you apply for legal aid if you need it

Rights advisers do not work for the hospital, and the service they provide is free and confidential. Only the patient can refuse rights advice.

Changes to legal status

Doctors in mental health facilities can change your legal status to:

  • an involuntary patient for two weeks or more (involuntary patients cannot leave the hospital without the doctor’s permission)
  • incapable of consenting to treatment (a substitute decision-maker, usually a close relative, makes treatment decisions for you)
  • incapable of managing your property (someone else handles your finances while you’re in hospital or after you are discharged)
  • incapable of consenting to the use, collection or disclosure of your personal health information
  • placed on a community treatment order from the doctor, including orders to take medication or attend appointments while you’re not in hospital

Advocacy services for patients

The PPAO has advocates in nine psychiatric facilities in Ontario. These advocates can help patients who have concerns about their:

  • care
  • treatment
  • quality of life

Advocates provide services that:

  • are free
  • are confidential
  • follow your requests
  • are independent from the hospital

If you’re a patient in a facility with an advocate, you can request one to help you:

  • navigate the hospital system
  • resolve concerns and negotiate with hospital staff
  • refer you to outside community agencies and resources, if necessary
  • make informed decisions
  • maintain responsibility for your wellness and recovery
  • be involved in all decisions which affect your care, life and treatment

Contact an advocate

There are advocates that you can contact if you are a patient at one of these nine facilities.

The Royal

613-345-1461 ext. 2530

St. Joseph’s Healthcare

905-522-1155 ext. 35514

Providence Care Hospital

613-544-4900 ext. 53081

Parkwood Institute

519-455-5110 ext. 47267

Waypoint Centre for Mental Health

Penetanguishene (Ontario)

Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care

St. Thomas
519-631-8510 ext. 49451

St. Joseph’s Health Care Group

Thunder Bay
807-343-2431 ext. 4386

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health


Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

905-668-5881 ext. 6812

If you contact us from a different hospital, we will:

  • direct you to that hospital’s client or patient relations department
  • provide you with other referrals relevant to your concerns

Educational Services

Contact the PPAO to learn about our services, the Mental Health Act, related legislation and various topics supporting mental health and patient rights.

Please contact our office at 1-800-578-2343 (toll free) to arrange a free presentation or workshop.

Information Resources

Contact the PPAO

You can contact the PPAO, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, excluding public holidays, by:

Mailing address:
5700 Yonge Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4M 2K5

Holiday closures

The PPAO is closed on the holidays listed below.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Civic Holiday
  • Labour Day
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Rights information requests received after 5:00 p.m. the day prior to a holiday will be processed the following business day.