Secure Treatment

  1. What is a “secure treatment” program?

    Secure treatment programs are for treating people under the age of 19 for mental health issues. Placements in secure treatment have to be ordered by a court unless it’s an emergency. You may not be allowed to see your Clinical Record.

  2. Can I go into a secure treatment program by myself?

    If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can make an application for a secure treatment program. Speak to a lawyer or contact the Advocate for Children and Youth office about making this application. There are 4 secure treatment facilities in Ontario:

    • Toronto: Youthdale (emergencies only – up to 30 days)
    • Oakville: Syl Apps
    • Ottawa: Robert Smart Center
    • Whitby: Ontario Shores
  3. Can anyone else put me in secure treatment?

    If you are under 12, the Minister of Community and Social Services has to give permission before a court can order that you be put in secure treatment.

    If you are between 12 and 15, your parents, guardians or Children’s Aid Society can ask a court to order that you be put in secure treatment. You have the right to have a lawyer.

    If you are 16 or 17, your parents, guardians or Children’s Aid Society can ask for a court order only if you agree. Your doctor can apply to the court without your consent. You have the right to have a lawyer.

    In an emergency, the same rules apply but it is the administrator of the secure treatment facility that must consent (not the court).

  4. How will the court process work?

    A hearing will be held within 10 days to decide if you should be in secure treatment. If you are between 12 and 17 you can have a lawyer there to help you. If you go to the hearing without a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. The court will consider whether:

    • you have a mental health issue, and
    • you have harmed or tried to harm yourself or someone else in the last 45 days, and
    • you have also threatened to harm, tried to harm, or actually harmed yourself or someone else, in the last year, and
    • the program would be effective in preventing you from harming yourself or others, and
    • the right treatment is available at the facility, and
    • there is no less restrictive way of providing the treatment.

    The test for an emergency short-term admission (up to 30 days) is almost the same except that there only needs to be one example of threatened or actual harm.

  5. How long will I be kept in secure treatment?

    The court can order that you stay there for up to 180 days at a time. These orders can be extended by another application which is usually made near the end of the existing order. The administrator may release you before the order is completed if they believe you no longer require a secure treatment program.

  6. What if I’m in secure treatment but I don’t want to be?

    If you are 12 years old or older, you can make an application for a “review” of the secure treatment order. For help, contact:

    Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth:
    401 Bay Street, Suite 2200, Toronto, Ontario M7A 0A6
    416-325-5669 or 1-800-263-2841
    www.provincialadvocate.on.ca