Alberta’s Mental Health Review Panels: Accountable, Transparent Adjudication?


  • Erin Nelson


This article examines issues of accountability and transparency in Alberta’s Mental Health Review Panel process. A person who is involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility, or who is subject to a community treatment order (CTO), can appeal to the Review Panel to have their admission certificates or CTO cancelled. This process is intended to provide access to a decision-maker to review decisions that affect the liberty of those living with mental illness. Unfortunately, Alberta’s Mental Health Review Panels are not transparent or accountable decision-makers.


The article begins with a brief outline explaining the delivery of mental health care in Canada, followed by a description of Canadian law on CTOs. The article then examines Alberta’s Mental Health Review Panels — first in terms of their role in relation to CTOs, followed by concerns about accountability and transparency in the Review Panel process. Finally, the article looks at legal and system reforms that will enhance the accountability of the process.