Is Alberta’s Mental Health Act Sufficiently Protecting Patients?

By: Lorian Hardcastle

PDF Version: Is Alberta’s Mental Health Act Sufficiently Protecting Patients?

Case Commented On: JH v Alberta Health Services, 2017 ABQB 477 (CanLII)

At first blush, JH v Alberta Health Services does not seem to warrant much attention. It is an oral judgement relating to a procedural matter—whether a plaintiff can proceed with a moot claim. However, this case highlights several important issues in mental health law and its resolution could result in significant reforms to Alberta’s Mental Health Act, RSA 2000, c-13. The plaintiff, who was involuntarily detained and treated at Foothills Hospital for nine months, disputed his detention and challenged the constitutionality of several provisions of the Mental Health Act. He was diagnosed with a neuro-cognitive disorder and had also struggled with alcoholism and the physical injuries resulting from a car accident. Continue reading

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Posted in Constitutional, Health Law | 3 Comments

Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Liability for Damage to Residential Premises

By: Jonnette Watson Hamilton

PDF Version: Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Liability for Damage to Residential Premises

Report Commented On: Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers

This is the sixth and last in a series of blog posts on “Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence”, examining some of the legal uncertainties facing landlords and property managers who seek to respond to domestic violence on their premises, as identified in the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) report on Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers. That report recommends that “further consideration should be given to ways that the law impedes or assists landlords in accommodating the needs of their tenants who are experiencing domestic violence” (at 9). Even landlords who are motivated to help improve the circumstances of victims of domestic violence are worried about recovering the costs of repairing damage to their property by the perpetrators of domestic violence when the security deposit is not enough (CPLEA report at 8, 45). But, in an example of the further victimization of too many of the victims of domestic violence, the CPLEA June 2014 report entitled “The Hidden Homeless: Residential Tenancies Issues of Victims of Domestic Violence” noted that “it is often the victim that the landlord pursues for overdue rent and damages” (at 5, 34, 38) – damages caused by the perpetrator of the violence. This post will discuss the interaction between the provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act, SA 2004, c R-17.1 (RTA) governing security deposits and compensation for property damage and the Protection Against Family Violence Act, RSA 2000, c P-27 (PAFVA), the Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5 and the Matrimonial Property Act, RSA 2000, c M-8. The more general implications of those and other sources of protection orders in this context are discussed by Professor Jennifer Koshan in “Clarifying the Implications of Different Protection Orders”. Some of the points in this post rely upon or repeat issues raised in my “Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Who is a Tenant?” and “Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Changing Locks and Barring Access” posts. Continue reading

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Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Changing Locks and Barring Access

By: Jonnette Watson Hamilton

PDF Version: Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Changing Locks and Barring Access

Report Commented On: Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts examining some of the legal uncertainties facing landlords and property managers who seek to respond to domestic violence on their premises, as identified in the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) report on Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers. For earlier posts see here, here, here and here. Among other problems, the CPLEA report identified the confusion landlords and tenants have about the implications of various protection orders for requests from a victim of domestic violence to have the locks changed (at 45). In addition, both landlords and tenants would like more power to change locks and bar access to perpetrators (at 45). This post will look at the issue of changing locks and barring access from the perspective of the Residential Tenancies Act, SA 2004, c R-17.1 (RTA). It relies on my earlier discussion in “Who is a ‘Tenant’ under the Residential Tenancies Act?” because the answer under the RTA to who has a right to keys and access to the residential premises is whoever has the status of “landlord” or “tenant”.  However, the answer based on the RTA is affected by the various protection orders that victims of domestic violence may obtain. These orders are touched on in this post but were explained in more detail by Professor Jennifer Koshan in “Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Clarifying the Implications of Different Protection Orders”. This post focuses on the poor fit between the RTA and the statutes authorizing protection orders. Continue reading

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Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Clarifying the Implications of Different Protection Orders

By: Jennifer Koshan

PDF Version: Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Clarifying the Implications of Different Protection Orders

Report Commented On: Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts examining some of the legal uncertainties facing landlords and property managers who seek to respond to domestic violence on their premises, as identified in the report Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers (for earlier posts see here, here and here). The report identified several uncertainties that landlords and property managers have about protection orders: lack of knowledge of emergency protection orders and confusion about various types of no-contact orders (at 14), and lack of clarity about how and when tenants may apply for these types of orders (at 45). This post will address these issues, highlighting the differences between various types of no-contact orders provided for by statute and common law and the implications of these different types of orders for landlords, property managers and tenants. It will also include some recommendations for reform of the law around protection orders in Alberta. A more specific issue – when landlords or tenants may change locks in response to these orders – will be dealt with in a subsequent post by Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton. Continue reading

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Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Landlords’ Power to Terminate Residential Tenancies for Acts of Domestic Violence (and an Argument for Publicly-Accessible RTDRS Reasons for Decisions)

By: Jonnette Watson Hamilton

PDF Version: Landlords, Tenants, and Domestic Violence: Landlords’ Power to Terminate Residential Tenancies for Acts of Domestic Violence (and an Argument for Publicly-Accessible RTDRS Reasons for Decisions)

Report Commented On: Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers

The report, Domestic Violence: Roles of Landlords and Property Managers (CPLEA report), a research project for the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) under the lead of Professor Lois Gander, explores the role that landlords of private rental housing and their property managers can play in responding to domestic violence. Appendix F of the report identifies a number of legal issues that deter landlords and their agents from providing assistance because of the uncertainty in the law or the need for reform of the Residential Tenancies Act, SA 2004, c R-17.1 (RTA). This post addresses some of the termination issues identified by the landlords and property managers interviewed for the CPLEA report. Some landlords were uncertain about when they could terminate a tenancy for acts of domestic violence, and particularly when they could terminate it on only 24-hours notice (at 44). They also appeared to want more flexibility than is currently provided by the RTA. They wanted alternatives to termination of a tenancy, such as the ability to suspend a tenant’s tenancy, the ability to convert a tenancy that included a number of co-tenants into one with fewer tenants, and the ability to evict the abuser (at 44). None of those alternatives are currently available to Alberta landlords under the RTA, although some may be available to Alberta tenants and occupants under statutes such as the Protection Against Family Violence Act, RSA 2000, c P-27 (PAFVA), which Professor Jennifer Koshan will explore in a future post. Their absence in the RTA contributes to the incidence of homelessness experienced too often by victims of domestic violence: see CPLEA’s The Hidden Homeless: Residential Tenancies Issues of Victims of Domestic Violence, Final Report, June 2014. Continue reading

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