Waypoint Solitary Confinement Class Action

CLASS ACTION LAUNCHED ON BEHALF OF INVOLUNTARY PATIENTS AT THE WAYPOINT CENTRE FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE

Rochon Genova LLP has commenced a proposed class action on behalf of involuntary patients at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care relating to systemic abuses of solitary confinement and seclusion starting in the year 2000 and continuing to the present.

Waypoint (formerly, the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene) is a psychiatric facility located in Penetanguishene, Ontario. Waypoint houses involuntary patients, including those found Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder.

The proposed class action, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleges that Waypoint and the Ontario government have been systemically negligent by routinely subjecting involuntary patients to solitary confinement. It is alleged that patients are placed in confinement for weeks, months and sometimes years at a time, as part of "formal seclusion" and various behaviour management programs, including "Individual Management Plans", "Targeted Safety Protocols" and "Crisis Prevention Plans", among others.

Solitary confinement has been known to cause serious physical and psychiatric harm. The severity of this harm is exacerbated in those with preexisting mental illness. For this reason, the United Nations Committee against Torture recommends that those with mental illness should never be subjected to solitary confinement. The use of prolonged solitary confinement is contrary to many domestic and international protocols and standards including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture, and the principle of least restraint.

The practices alleged to amount to solitary confinement began when the facility was administered by Ontario in the year 2000 and continue to the present day. The claim alleges that Waypoint, certain of its senior executives, and Ontario knew or ought to have known that these practices are seriously harmful and contravene acceptable medical and ethical standards for the treatment of involuntary psychiatric patients. It is alleged that these practices also violate these involuntary patients' rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The claims have not yet been proven in court. For information about the proposed class action please contact Golnaz Nayerahmadi ([email protected]) or Matthew Taylor ([email protected]) at (416) 363-1867 or 1-866-881-2292.

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