Canada: Health Law Monitor - October 2018

With the legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17, the legal landscape surrounding control of the drug has changed and will certainly have an impact on health-care entities. We have three articles in this edition that discuss these developing legal issues. First, we have an article on what hospitals need to know about new legislative changes enhancing police power to demand bodily fluid samples from patients suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Second, we have a short alert outlining potential regulation changes for long-term care homes regarding controlling the use of cannabis. Third, we have provided a link to our recent publication, the Road to the Legalization of Recreational Cannabis – What Employers Should Know. We will continue to update you in subsequent issues on any further cannabis related legal issues relevant to health-care entities.

Mental healthcare providers involved in issuing or supporting Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) may be interested in our fourth article on the role of well-drafted Community Treatment Plans in maintaining the validity of CTOs subject to review by the Consent and Capacity Board.

We are also pleased to announce and provide a link to "Managing Transitions: A Guidance Document", recently released by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). Katharine Byrick is the principal author of this resource. This second edition is updated to reflect changes within Ontario's health care landscape while continuing to provide a resource for those dealing with transitions between care settings.

Similarly, the OHA has recently released an updated "Frequently Asked Questions" document relating to Form 1 Assessments under the Mental Health Act. Katharine Byrick is the principal author of this resource, which also addresses the use of the Ontario Telemedicine Network for assessments as well as some of the issues that may arise when individuals are brought to the emergency department by police officers.

I trust that you will find these publications relevant and interesting. As always, we look forward to your comments and perspectives, which you can provide by writing to me at

Impaired Driving and Bodily Fluid Samples: What Hospitals and Health-Care Providers Should Know

Authors Anna Marrison, Kate Deakon and Lucas Kilravey (student-at-law)

In anticipation of the recent legalization of cannabis use by adults, the federal government introduced legislative changes to address impaired driving offences. The new laws increase police power to demand bodily fluid samples for the purpose of detecting the presence of alcohol and drugs in drivers. From a hospital's perspective, these changes are significant as frontline staff may see increased demands (and presence) by police for blood samples.


Possible Changes to Long-Term Care Home Regulations regarding Cannabis

Author Henry Ngan

With the passing of Bill 36, the smoking of cannabis would be permitted in places where smoking tobacco and using e-cigarettes is permitted, including in certain controlled areas of long-term care homes and hospices.


The Road to Legalization of Recreational Cannabis: What Employers Should Know

Effective October 17, 2018, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes became legal, impacting Canadian businesses of all sizes. Download and review BLG's guide to learn about implications of cannabis in the workplace and the key issues for employers.


The Role of Community Treatment Plans in Community Treatment Orders

Authors: Jessica Szabo and Barbara Walker-Renshaw

Community Treatment Orders ("CTO") were introduced in Ontario in December 2000 as a means of providing a comprehensive plan of community supervision and treatment to a person suffering from a serious mental disorder as an alternative to ongoing detention in a psychiatric facility. The CTO was meant to combat the "revolving door" pattern of admissions to hospital for patients who deteriorate in the community following discharge.


Managing Transitions A Guidance Document

Author Katharine Byrick

The Ontario Hospital Association and BLG are pleased to announce the second edition of "Managing Transitions: A Guidance Document". We hope that this continues to be a useful resource for those working though challenges involving transitions in care.


Form 1 Assessments Under the Mental Health Act – Frequently Asked Questions

Author Katharine Byrick

This updated FAQ addresses some of the issues that have posed challenges to hospitals and staff in the past few years. These include whether an "original" Form 1 is necessary, the use of telemedicine services, and transitions from police custody to care by the clinical team in the emergency department. It was a pleasure to work with the team at the OHA as well as those who offered their experience, insight and perspective from emergency departments in different settings throughout the province in developing this resource. We hope that you find it helpful!


Recent Health and Other Relevant Bulletins & Resources

For a full list of health law bulletins, click here.

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