January 19, 2021

(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) is shocked and disturbed by the findings released by the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) this morning in her most recent report Detained: Rights of children and youth under the Mental Health Act,” and is calling upon the provincial government to take immediate urgent action to ensure a comprehensive, community-based, and culturally safe system of care and legislative regime for children and youth requiring mental health services.

The RCY’s report found that the use of involuntary detentions for youth under the Mental Health Act rose by 162% over a nine-year period, while adult detentions have consistently decreased over the same period of time. Availability of rights information and enforcement mechanisms for youth who are detained was found to be limited, if at all, and there were severe gaps in oversight and regulations to guide the use of restraint and confinement measures.