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About the PPAO

History of Mental Health Advocacy and Rights Protection 
Established in 1983, the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO) provides advocacy services to in-patients at the 10 major mental health facilities in Ontario, serving patients in both the civil and forensic (not criminally responsible) mental health systems. It is the only service in Canada which provides province-wide, full-time advocacy services within mental health hospitals.

We Advocate for over 3,400 Clients Every Year
Advocacy is provided on both an instructed and non-instructed basis, addressing a wide range of issues related to quality of life, quality of care, access to legal services and justice, realization of human rights and civil liberties, and access to social entitlements. Working for and on behalf of their clients, PPAO Patient Advocates frequently address concerns with privacy rights and patient records, the Public Guardian and Trustee, the Consent and Capacity Board, Ontario Courts, policing and criminalization, the use of restraints, and access to primary medical care.

The PPAO is also responsible for providing Rights Advice services in 84 of 87 "Schedule 1" mental health hospitals across Ontario, responding to some 25,000 certificates issued every year. Rights Advice is mandated under four statutes: the Mental Health Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, the Substitute Decisions Act, and the Health Care Consent Act.

Rights Advice ensures that mental health patients who have had their legal status changed as an involuntary or incapable patient are afforded the same protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as any other citizen, including the right to life, liberty and security of the person; the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned; and the right upon detention to be informed of the reasons for detention, to retain legal counsel without delay, and to challenge the reasons for their detention.

Every year, PPAO Rights Advisers help over 3,500 patients apply for a review of their status to the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board.

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