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The PPAO is the only province-wide program to offer independent, instruction-based advocacy services to in-patients in 9 of the Speciality Psychiatric Facilities in Ontario.

Advocacy is speaking in support of human concerns or needs. When people have their own voice, advocacy means making sure they are heard; when they have difficulty in speaking, it means providing help; where they have no voice, it means speaking for them. 

Through mental health advocacy, the PPAO promotes the human rights of persons with mental illness and reduces stigma and discrimination. This includes actions to address barriers to achieving positive mental health outcomes and providing clients information, assistance and support on issues around:

·       Access to Justice: access to related administrative and legal processes;

·   Hospital Environment and Policy: one’s experience in hospital and the application of facility specific policies;

·   Treatment:  knowing and exercising one’s rights around accessing and navigating clinical care; and

·   Restraint: the experience of environmental chemical and/or mechanical restraint, while in hospital.

Advocacy includes providing information so patients can: 

  • Make informed decisions 
  • Maintain responsibility for their own wellness and recovery 
  • Be involved in all decisions which affect their care, life and treatment 


Types of Advocacy


Advocates support and promote clients’ ability to self-advocate through information sharing and system navigation. This allows clients to learn about the health care system and how to stand up for their own rights and support personal empowerment.

Instructed Advocacy 

Instructed Advocacy actions are taken directly by an Advocate, based on client instruction, after the Advocate and client have had the opportunity to identify the client’s goals and review possible options for resolutions and likely outcomes.

Non-Instructed Advocacy 

Non-instructed advocacy is rare and is conducted on behalf of an individual who is unable to instruct the Advocate, at the time, with care not to interfere with the client’s autonomy. Issues may concern the quality of life of a hospitalized person or situations when a failure to take action will compromise the health, estate or personal security of the client.

Systemic Advocacy

Systemic advocacy makes change that supports the rights and autonomy of larger groups of people by addressing policies, practices or procedures of specialty psychiatric facilities and/or across the province.