Mental health challenges affect thousands of Quebecers and their families and friends. When it comes to these challenges, the law comes into play in many ways. But it’s hard to find the right legal information in one place. And when you find it, it can be hard to understand. This guide answers a variety of questions you might have.
Health Care Decisions
Normally, everyone has the right to agree to or refuse health care. To help patients make decisions, health care professionals must provide certain information. But what if a patient isn’t in a position to make a decision? And can patients ever be treated without their permission?
Can people be forced to go to the hospital or have a psychiatric exam against their will? What are their rights? What rights do you have if someone you care about is having mental health problems?
The Confidentiality of Health Records
How is information in patient records protected? What is in a health record? Other than patients and their health care providers, who can look at these records?
Navigating the Health Care System
When you have a problem with the system, it can be hard to find your way. Can you file a complaint? Where do you file a complaint? And what happens when doctors make mistakes? Éducaloi explains some options.
For more information and help on filing a complaint, you can also consult these outside resources:
- The Quebec government’s explanation of the complaint system
- The Centres d’assistance et d’accompagnement aux plaintes (CAAP) in each region of Quebec accompany users of health and social services, especially when it comes to filing a complaint (website in French only)
- Ami Québec has an explanation of how mental health services are organized in Quebec.
Protecting Vulnerable People: What Does the Law Say?
What happens when people can’t care for themselves or manage their affairs? There are ways to plan in advance for this possibility. For example, you can make a protection mandate. But when there is no mandate, the law provides other solutions.
The Public Drug Plan
Everyone in Quebec is obliged to have some kind of drug insurance. The public drug plan covers people who are not covered under another plan. Find out about the public plan.
Quebec’s department of health and social services has a practical guide with legal information for the family and friends of people with mental health problems. It dates from 2009.
The Institut universitaire en santé mentale du Québec has also published a useful guide.
Ami-Québec is an organization that offers support for family and friends of people with mental illness and for people with these illnesses. Their programs include educational workshops, counselling and support groups. Important! Ami-Québec does not offer legal advice.