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Mental Health and the Law


The final report and evaluation instrument for this project have now been released.  Click here to access the Final Report and here to access the Mental Health and Human Rights Evaluation Instrument.

The project research team encourages jurisdictions across Canada to utilize this work in their own policy and program planning and is currently in the process of establishing a team to utilize the evaluation instrument to evaluate the Manitoba Mental Health Act.


The Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg in partnership with the Public Interest Law Centre of Legal Aid Manitoba was engaged by the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) Mental Health and the Law Advisory Committee to conduct research related to mental health, human rights, and relevant law, policies, and service standards.  One of the Committee’s mandates is to examine Canada’s legal framework as it relates to persons with mental illness, including legislation, regulations, and policies.

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg in partnership with the Public Interest Law Centre conducted research towards achieving the following project objectives:

  • Developing an instrument(s) to evaluate the extent to which human rights are addressed in legislation, policies, and service standards as it relates to persons experiencing mental illness;
  • Conducting a preliminary assessment of the degree to which the human rights of persons with mental illness are protected and advanced in existing federal and provincial legislation;
  • Drafting a set of core standards for mental health services that reflect human rights and social inclusion principles; and,
  • Developing a strategic plan that guides the dissemination of the instrument(s) developed to provincial and federal jurisdictions in Canada, including instruction on their use.

Background on the project:

The instrument(s) developed to evaluate mental health legislation, policies, and service standards was piloted in three jurisdictions, namely British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia during 2010-2011.  The results of the pilot form the basis for recommendations regarding legal, policy, and service reform that enhances and protects the human rights and social inclusion of Canadians living with mental health problems. A Consultative Group consisting of persons who have experienced mental health issues was a key component of the project.  The Consultative Group assisted the Project Research Team to develop the evaluation instruments and provide guidance to the Project Research Team in completing each project objective.

The Project Research Team consisted of:

Project Manager – Nicole Chammartin, Former Executive Director, CMHA, Manitoba and Winnipeg

Principle Researcher – Christine Ogaranko

Legal Advisor – Byron Williams, Director, Public Interest Law Centre

Legal Researcher – Beverly Froese, Attorney, Public Interest Law Centre

Project Resources:  

A Photovoice Equality, Dignity and Inclusion Presentation (August, 2011) was created by project participants to support the evaluation tool. View the photovoice presentation created by the participants of the project describing their own human rights experiences in photos.

To view the initial Press Release sent out Monday, June 28, 2010 click here.

Learn more about the Consultative Group by clicking here.

Questions pertaining to the Evaluation Project can be directed to:

Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg office

Direct:  204.982.6100

Fax: 204.982.6128

Project email: