The right to refuse treatment: recent Canadian developments.
T. G. Gratzer and M. Matas,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law
22(2): 249-56, 1994.
In this article, we examine one of the most contentious and divisive issues in mental health law: the
right of the involuntary patient to refuse treatment. The recognition of this right can be traced to
American case law starting in mid-1970s. The passing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms in 1982 precipitated somewhat similar developments in Canada. Many provincial Mental
Health Acts have been changed to reflect this newly acknowledged right. In addition, there have been
two recent court decisions in Canada, Thwaites v. Health Sciences Center and Fleming v. Reid,
which reflect the impact of the Canadian Charter on this issue. The right to refuse treatment has
implications for the field of psychiatry. [References: 28]