News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 30, 2016

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT AMENDS THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT


Amendment to Allow Police Officers to Focus Limited Resources More Effectively Within Community: Goertzen

An amendment to the Mental Health Act (MHA) will allow police officers to transfer custody of individuals awaiting an involuntary medical examination to a trained, qualified individual as defined under the act, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzenannounced today. 

“Our government recognizes the importance of keeping those in need of involuntary medical examinations safe while in custody and to protect health-care workers and the public,” said Goertzen. “We believe it is equally important to promptly return police officers to their policing duties in the community.  This amendment to the MHA will facilitate the transfer of custody while maintaining the safety of all involved in receiving or providing health services.” 

Currently, a police officer must wait with a patient until a medical examination is completed.  The minister said this amendment will enable police to transfer custody of an individual detained under the MHA to a qualified person, other than a police officer, who would remain with an individual detained under the MHA until they have received the assessment. 

The amendments define a qualified person as one who holds a position specified in the regulations or who has received training specified in the regulations.  Consultations will be undertaken with the regional health authorities, mental health professionals, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to develop appropriate training requirements to ensure these qualified people are properly equipped for this role, Goertzen said. 

The minister noted the province has already empowered Winnipeg Police Service cadets through the City of Winnipeg Charter and First Nation safety officers and community safety officers through the Police Services Act to assist police officers with this function. 

“Having our members return to the communities they serve as soon as possible is in the best interest of public safety,” said Scott Kolody, commanding officer, RCMP ‘D’ Division.  “This will allow our officers to focus on core policing functions while ensuring the continued safety of individuals awaiting an involuntary medical examination.” 

Additional details on the amendments to the Mental Health Act can be found at https://web2.gov.mb.ca/bills/41-1/b003e.php.

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