Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office
Get advice about your rights, advocacy and educational services for mental health patients and families.
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To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and protect the health and safety of the public, patients and our staff, the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office will meet with clients and provide rights advice and advocacy by telephone only until further notice.
Visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province is continuing to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 and how to protect yourself.
The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO)
If you are a patient in a mental health facility, you can contact the PPAO for:
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. You can refuse a rights adviser at any time.
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
The PPAO has advocates in nine psychiatric facilities in Ontario. These advocates can help patients who have concerns about their:
- 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
There are advocates that you can contact if you are a patient at one of these nine facilities.
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
Contact the PPAO to learn about our services, the Mental Health Act, related legislation and various topics supporting mental health and patient rights.
Contact the PPAO
5700 Yonge Street, 5th Floor