AuthorHy Bloom, Richard D Schneider
Over the past twenty years or so, Canad a’s criminal courts have had to deal
with escalatin g numbers of mentally disordered accused. The swelling num-
bers of “criminalized” menta lly disordered individuals have neither been an
anticipated nor welcomed state of affairs, and there does not appear to be
any reason to believe the situation will reverse itsel f soon. Nevertheless, the
criminal just ice system has had to respond.
The Attorneys General i n a number of provinces have implemented “diver-
sion” programs for mentally disordered accused as a vehicle for reconnecting
these unfortun ate individual s with the civil mental health care systems from
which they have become disconnected. In Toronto, and in many other Can-
adian cities, in addition to the diversion program, a spec ialized court has been
set up to deal exclusively with this g roup. The court’s mandate is to expedite
the resolution of preliminary mental healt h issues and reduce the probabil-
ity of reoffending. Apart from deali ng with scores of accused whose f‌itness
to stand trial has come to be questioned, t hese courts may also attend to bail
hearings, disposition hearin gs, sentencing, a nd trials of criminal responsibil-
ity. In Toronto the court r uns every day and is staffed by psychiatrist s and so-
cial workers. For further infor mation you may visit the Mental Hea lth Court
website. There are now several mental health court s in Ontario and in a num-
ber of other provinces.
With the proclamation of Bill C-30 in 1992 we now have a “mini-code”
contained in Part XX .1 of the Criminal C ode1 speci f‌ically dedicated to the
mentally disordered accused. Since the proclamat ion of Bill C-30 there have
been a number of important decisions rendered by the Supreme Court of
Canada. The f‌irst suc h decision, and perhaps the most important in ter ms
1 RSC 1985, c C-46.

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