About Vancouver Island Health Authority
Vancouver Island Health Authority is a regional health authority. Vancouver Island Health provides a range of progressive health services to residents and adjacent communities.
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Latest Vancouver Island Health Authority News
Dec 16, 2022
A Surrey man is suing several British Columbia health authorities for the alleged abuse of their emergency powers to detain “vulnerable individuals” against their will under the province’s Adult Guardianship Act (AGA). In a proposed class action, Surrey resident Brydon Wardel filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on Nov. 25 naming the Fraser Health Authority, the Interior Health Authority, the Northern Health Authority, the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Providence Health Care Society and Community Living British Columbia as defendants. According to the lawsuit, the health authority defendants have used the AGA’s emergency assistance provisions to “involuntarily detain vulnerable individuals.” Wardel claims the defendants don’t “take the appropriate steps to ensure that the detentions are properly authorized and that minimal infringement of an individual’s rights occurs during the detentions.” “The detentions are illegal and constitute a gross breach of the proposed class members’ rights,” the claim states. “The involuntary detentions led to psychological and physical damage to vulnerable individuals, in many instances aggravating their pre-existing traumas and disabilities.” As “designated agencies” under the act, the defendants have the power to intervene in cases where adults are possibly being abused or neglected, and unable to get help due to disabilities or illnesses. In cases of abuse or neglect, agencies are compelled to “act without delay to preserve the adult’s life” and prevent physical harm or possible damage to their property. If a person is deemed unable to give or refuse consent for an agency’s intervention, the act grants emergency powers to remove a person and convey “them to a safe space.” However, health authorities are required to investigate cases of alleged abuse or neglect and get a court order if a person refuses services while being found unable to make their own decisions by the province’s Public Guardian and Trustee. “The AGA prioritizes self-determination and autonomy for adults with disabilities and imposes involuntary measures only as a last resort, in a manner as minimally intrusive as possible, and by court order,” the lawsuit states. But Wardel claims that despite the limitations on the defendants’ emergency powers, they allegedly adopted a “systemic practice” of involuntarily detaining people without consent or court authorization “even where the individual has the capacity to refuse.” Wardel claims he was involuntarily detained for eight days in July 2020 when members of the RCMP and a staff member from the Fraser Health Authority suddenly showed up at the Surrey home that he shares with roommates, whom he calls his “adopted family.” The police and authority staff member claimed they were acting on a report that he was being abused by his housemates, which he denied repeatedly. During his involuntary detention at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Wardel claims a doctor found him capable of making his own choices, but that he was not allowed to leave or speak to his lawyer for several days. “The experience was extremely traumatic for the plaintiff,” the claim states. “During and as a result of these events, the plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer from extreme distress, and a fear and anxiety that he will again be apprehended by authority and detained.” Wardel seeks class certification for the lawsuit and damages for breach of class members’ Charter rights and breach of fiduciary duty. The allegations have not been tested or proven in court, and the defendants had not responded to the claim by press time.
Vancouver Island Health Authority Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where is Vancouver Island Health Authority's headquarters?
Vancouver Island Health Authority's headquarters is located at 1952 Bay Street, Victoria.
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