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If you cannot find answers to your questions in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here or elsewhere on our website, you can always contact us directly.

General FAQs

In BC, a person can be certified only if a doctor has examined them and has determined that they meet all four of these criteria:

  • the patient suffers from a disorder of the mind that seriously impairs their ability to react appropriately to their environment or to associate with others.
  • the patient requires psychiatric treatment in or through a designated facility.
  • the patient requires care, supervision and control in or through a designated facility to prevent their substantial mental or physical deterioration or for their own protection or the protection of others.
  • the patient cannot be suitably admitted as a voluntary patient.

You can download a printable copy of the legal test.

If you have been certified in BC, it means that you have been admitted involuntarily to a designated facility based on a medical certificate (Form 4) completed by a doctor. When you are certified you cannot leave the facility without your doctor’s permission. You are also deemed to consent to treatment, therefore you cannot refuse treatment. However, you or someone on your behalf can request a second medical opinion.

The words certified, involuntarily detained, and committed are often used interchangeably.

A doctor can admit a person against their will based on the doctor’s assessment of the person’s mental condition. The doctor will need to complete a form called “Form 4 – Medical Certificate (Involuntary Admission)” for this to happen. When a doctor admits a person this way, the person is admitted involuntarily, i.e., involuntary patient.

The medical certificate provides legal authority for an involuntary admission for a 48-hour period. A second medical certificate by a different physician must be completed within 48 hours of the initial admission. Once the second medical certificate is completed the person may be admitted as an involuntary patient for up to a month from the day of initial admission.

To extend involuntary detention beyond the first month, a physician must examine the patient and complete a renewal certificate before current certificate period expires. A renewal certificate is known as “Form 6: Medical Report on Examination of Involuntary Patient (Renewal Certificate)”.

If an involuntary patient requires continued hospitalization beyond the first one month period, the length of the next detention is one month. If hospitalization is required beyond this second one month period, the length of the next detention is three months. Beyond this three month period all successive periods of involuntary hospitalizations are six months in length.

Summary of detention periods:

Apply for a Hearing

To apply for a review panel hearing, a patient or someone on their behalf must complete a Form 7 Application for Review Panel Hearing and submit the form to the Board office.

For more details see Apply for a Hearing.

The review panel process is free for patients.