Following an announcement by the Government of Canada that it will re-instate Bill C-54 (to be re-numbered Bill C-14), the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, in the Senate of Canada, a coalition of 12 national health organizations are looking to collaborate with the government to amend the Bill so it supports victims without perpetuating the stigma and discrimination of mental illness OTTAWA, November 26, 2013 – The Government of Canada announced yesterday that it will re-instate Bill C-54 (now re-numbered Bill C-14), the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, in the Senate of Canada. As a coalition of 12 national health organizations, we are optimistic that the government will work with us to amend the Bill so it supports victims without perpetuating the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.
The Government of Canada has demonstrated its dedication to destigmatizing mental health and mental illness by establishing the Mental Health Commission of Canada whose chief accomplishments have included the development of a pan-Canadian mental health strategy and a national anti-stigma initiative.
As a coalition of national professional health organizations we share the Government’s commitment to support all victims of crime as well as Canadians recovering from mental illness. With the re-instatement of the Bill, our coalition trusts that the Government of Canada will consider evidenced based amendments to the Bill which balance victims’ rights with an understanding and support of those living with mental illness.
Our national coalition represents professionals and constituents that work with many thousands of Canadians who live with a mental illness each and every day. Persons with mental illness are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of crime. The greatest tools we have to enable persons with mental illness to fully take their productive and successful place in society are reducing stigma and making help and support available to those who need it.
We are confident and encouraged that by working together we can improve Bill C-14 so that it supports the rights of victims without perpetuating stigma and discrimination against those with mental illness.
Canadian Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
Canadian Association of Social Workers
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Nurses Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Psychological Association
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
National Network for Mental Health
Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada
Schizophrenia Society of Canada
For media inquiries, please contact:
Chris Summerville, Schizophrenia Society of Canada
Angela Cerovic, Hill+Knowlton Strategies