Chief Provincial Psychiatrist / Director of Psychiatric Services

The Office of the Chief Provincial Psychiatrist/Director of Psychiatric Services is responsible for numerous legislated and non-legislated functions.

As Director of Psychiatric Services, the legislated functions include:

  • administering The Mental Health Act of Manitoba;
  • administering the Orders of Committeeship Program, including issuing/canceling Orders of Committeeship;
  • issuing Authorizations of Transfer; and;
  • promoting proper interpretation and application of The Mental Health Act.

As Chief Provincial Psychiatrist, the non-legislated functions include:

  • providing professional consultation to various sectors of the health care system;
  • administering and coordinating the Career Program in Psychiatry;
  • promoting recruitment and retention of psychiatrists for underserviced areas in Manitoba;
  • maintaining working linkages with relevant professional and licencing bodies; and, participating on numerous committees, working groups and boards.
Orders of Committeeship

Under The Mental Health Act, the Director of Psychiatric Services is authorized to issue an Order of Committeeship on any person he/she believes to be mentally incompetent to manage his or her property or personal care.

An Order of Committeeship appoints The Public Trustee of Manitoba as committee of the person's property and personal care. The purpose of the Order of Committeeship is to protect the property and personal well-being of vulnerable mentally incompetent individuals. The Order must be issued in accordance with the applicable provisions of The Mental Health Act in a manner consistent with the policies, procedures and processes set out herein.

Authorization of Transfer

Under Section 45 of The Mental Health Act the Director of Psychiatric Services may authorize the transfer of involuntary patients from one psychiatric facility to another when suitable arrangements have been made between the transferring and receiving facilities.

Career Program in Psychiatry

The Career Program in Psychiatry is an incentive program offered through Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living to financially assist physicians training in psychiatry, with the objective of recruiting and retaining psychiatric specialists for the Province of Manitoba.  Financial assistance is provided to physicians during their post-graduate psychiatric residency program at the University of Manitoba.  In return, the physicians agree to provide service in an area of need in the province after completion of their training for a period of time equal to the period of assistance.


Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is an Order of Committeeship?

An Order of Committeeship (Form #22 under The Mental Health Act) appoints The Public Trustee of Manitoba as committee of a person’s property (estate and finances) and personal care.

2.  What is the procedure to have an Order of Committeeship issued?

The procedure to have an Order of Committeeship issued is as follows:

  • A physician must examine the person and complete a Certificate of Incapacity (Form #21 under The Mental Health Act) declaring the person incompetent to manage his or her financial or personal affairs.  The physician must state the reasons for his or her opinion.
  • A social history or background information must be submitted with the Certificate of Incapacity.  The social history is usually completed by a Social Worker or Community Mental Health Worker and provides in more detail the person’s circumstances and the reasons for the need for an Order of Committeeship.
  • The above documents are forwarded to the Office of the Director of Psychiatric Services/Chief Provincial Psychiatrist.
  • The Director of Psychiatric Services reviews the Certificate of Incapacity and the social history.  If the Director is satisfied with the information submitted, a Notice of Intent letter is mailed to the person named in the Certificate of Incapacity, his or her proxy named in a Health Care Directive and the person’s nearest relative.  The Notice of Intent letter advises:
    • of the Director’s intent to issue an Order of Committeeship appointing the Public Trustee as committee;
    • what the effect of the Order will be; and
    • that the person, his or her proxy and nearest relative may make a written objection within seven days after receiving the Notice of Intent.

The Director considers any objections and reviews any additional information received prior to deciding whether to issue the Order of Committeeship.

  • If the Director is satisfied that it would be in the best interests of the person, he will then sign an Order of Committeeship.  The Order and a copy of the Certificate of Incapacity is sent to The Public Trustee, the person, his or her proxy and nearest relative.
  • If the Director of Psychiatric Services believes that the person requires a committee on an urgent basis, he may make an Order without sending a Notice of Intent.  An emergency Order of Committeeship would be issued if:
    • there is immediate danger of death or serious harm or deterioration to the physical or mental health of the person, or of serious loss to his or her property; and
    • the person needs decisions to be made on his or her behalf to prevent that danger.
3.  What is the procedure to have an Order of Committeeship cancelled?

By Physician Examination:

  • A physician examines the person and completes a Physician’s Statement that Person is No Longer Incapable of Managing Property or of Personal Care (Form #23 under The Mental Health Act) and forwards the Statement to the Director of Psychiatric Services/Chief Provincial Psychiatrist.
  • The Director of Psychiatric Services may request any additional information that may be relevant to canceling the Order of Committeeship.
  • If the Director is satisfied from review of the Physician’s Statement and any information provided, he will then cancel the Certificate of Incapacity and Order of Committeeship notifying the person, his or her proxy and nearest relative and The Public Trustee.

By court order:

  • Upon application to the Court of Queen’s Bench, the court may make an order cancelling the Order of Committeeship, or appointing a person other than the Public Trustee as the committee.

By appointment of a committee in another jurisdiction:

  • If a committee is appointed for the incapable person in another jurisdiction, the Director cancels the Order of Committeeship on the recommendation of the Public Trustee.
4.  What is an "enduring" Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which one person (called the "donor") gives authority to another person (called the "attorney") to manage some or all of the donor’s financial affairs.  If the donor includes a clause (called the "enduring clause") in the power of attorney document allowing the attorney to continue to act even if the donor becomes mentally incompetent, the document is referred to as an "enduring power of attorney".  The donor must be mentally competent to make a power of attorney and the attorney must be mentally competent to act under the power of attorney.

Therefore, an Enduring Power of Attorney authorizes the person appointed as the attorney to manage the donor’s financial affairs if the donor becomes mentally incompetent and incapable of managing his or her own financial affairs.

An Order of Committeeship suspends a pre-existing Enduring Power of Attorney until the Public Trustee conducts an investigation to determine what is in the best interests of the person.  If the Public Trustee decides not to continue to act as committee, the Director cancels the Order on receiving notice from the Public Trustee.  The attorney may then resume acting under the Enduring Power of Attorney.  Otherwise the Public Trustee continues to act as the person’s committee under the Order of Committeeship.

5.  How can I obtain a Private Committeeship for my relative or other person?

A Private Committee is appointed by the court and may be committee of the person’s property, or committee of both the person’s property and personal care.  You may apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench.  The application to the Court is usually made with the assistance of a lawyer.

6.  What is the procedure to transfer "involuntary" patients from one psychiatric facility to another?

Arrangements are made between the Medical Directors of the transferring and receiving psychiatric facilities to transfer the involuntary patient.  The transferring Medical Director then requests an Authorization of Transfer (Form #20 under The Mental Health Act) where the Director of Psychiatric Services authorizes the transfer in writing.  The Authorization of Transfer form must accompany the patient to the receiving facility.

7.  Where can I obtain a copy of The Mental Health Act?

Copies of The Mental Health Act are available through Statutory Publications, 200 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg MB R2W 3W6,  phone: 204-945-3101.  The cost of the Act is approximately $10.35.

If you wish to view an electronic copy of the Act, please click here.

8.  How do I get my friend or family member into hospital?

Should you believe that your family member requires an admission to a psychiatric facility in Manitoba, there are three options available to you:

  1. The most common option is to take your family member to his or her physician, or, if he or she doesn’t have one, to a walk-in clinic or the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre (in Winnipeg) for a medical examination.  If the situation is urgent, you may take your friend or relative to the emergency room of a general hospital, preferably where the person's Psychiatrist attends or where the person is known (if applicable).
  2. The second most common option is to go before a Justice for the Province of Manitoba (Justice of the Peace or Magistrate) to apply for an order that your family member be medically examined.  You must appear in person and complete, under oath, an Application for an Order for Involuntary Medical Examination (Form #1 under The Mental Health Act).  You do not need a lawyer to do this.  If you are unsure where to locate your Justice of the Peace, call your local RHA or police detachment.
  3. Finally, where an urgent situation does not allow for the first two options, the police have the authority to take a person for a medical examination if they believe the circumstances warrant doing so.

If the physician performing the medical examination believes that an involuntary psychiatric assessment is warranted, he or she can complete an Application by Physician for Involuntary Psychiatric Assessment (Form #4 under The Mental Health Act) which authorizes that an individual be taken to a psychiatric facility for an assessment by a psychiatrist.

In order for an individual to be involuntarily admitted, the medical opinions of the physician and the psychiatrist must concur.

Disclaimer

Users are reminded that the original Acts or Regulations should be consulted for all purposes of applying and interpreting the law.  For more information, please consult the Statutory Publications Web site.