A number of Ontario’s mental health care systems have faced questions about how they respond to complaints about their staff.
Some have been criticized for failing to address what some consider to be discriminatory practices.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is investigating complaints that two mental health clinics, the Royal Ontario Mental Health Centre and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Care Centre, have been discriminating against LGBTQ people in their mental health treatment.
The complaints come from three transgender patients who filed complaints last month.
They say they were treated differently than other patients, including in their health services, after they reported being denied services or refused to use the appropriate pronouns.
While the complaints were initially investigated by the commission, the investigation has been extended, and the complaints are now being looked into by the province’s Human Rights Tribunal.
In a statement, the province said it is conducting an internal review of the complaints, and that the Ontario Human Right Tribunal has begun an investigation of the mental health services.
As part of the investigation, the tribunal has heard from a number of transgender people who were denied access to services.
In one case, a transgender man who had a long-standing complaint about the lack of gender-appropriate care said he was told by his therapist to stop referring to his gender identity as “male.”
He was referred to the hospital, and he said the hospital’s staff were more supportive of his gender transition.
But when he tried to get back in touch with the mental hospital, he said he felt “under siege,” and that he was repeatedly told that the mental-health services he needed were no longer available.
He also said the mental facility’s response was “very aggressive” and that staff would make threats of legal action.
He said he eventually filed a complaint with the province, but that he received no response.
“I felt as though the mental center didn’t have a real interest in seeing that I was able to have my rights respected,” he said.
It was not immediately clear why the complaints about the mental care facilities were raised.
Ontario’s health minister, Dr. Yasir Naqvi, said in a statement that the provincial government “takes seriously all of our clients’ concerns and that we are taking all necessary steps to address their concerns.”
Naqvi said he would be meeting with the health authorities to ensure that mental health facilities are “not discriminating against any of our vulnerable clients.”
He said the provincial health board will also be meeting to address the complaints.
There are also concerns that Ontario’s Ministry of Health, which oversees mental health in the province and is responsible for health care in the country, is not being transparent in how it deals with complaints about mental health and LGBTQ patients.
Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins released a statement on Monday that said the ministry is working with the Ontario Public Health Service to identify additional measures that will protect the health and safety of Ontario patients and their families.
Hoskins said the health board is also reviewing the province “to identify the steps the Ontario government can take to ensure the health care needs of our LGBTQ community are met.”
Ontarians can file complaints with the Human Rights Code and with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
A hotline can be reached at 1-866-890-4711.