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Mental Illness, Criminal Offences, & Deportation

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Working with a lawyer

You may be familiar with the mental health system and have training or experience working with people with mental illness. You may know about services and supports that can help your client. Your expertise can help a lawyer understand your client's wishes and concerns and present their case more effectively.

With your client's consent, you can provide their lawyer with relevant information, such as your client's:

  • symptoms and preferred communication style,
  • support network and past treatment experience, including medical history, and
  • current needs and challenges.

You can help a client who is facing criminal charges by making sure their criminal lawyer knows the client's immigration status.

Reasonable and realistic conditions
Your client's lawyer may plan to ask the court to include conditions in a conditional discharge, suspended sentence, or release order (bail). Work with the lawyer to ensure that court‑ordered conditions are reasonable and realistic for your client.

You may be able to help your client's immigration lawyer by providing information about the availability and adequacy of social supports and mental health services in Canada and in the client's country of origin. One source of information is the World Health Organization's website at www.who.int.

You may also be able to help get documentation from experts such as medical professionals and academics. You can ask your client's lawyer what kind of information would be useful and offer to help get it.

You can also help connect your client to treatment and community supports. There is information about community mental health and addiction services and supports at the ConnexOntario website at www.connexontario.ca.

For information about mental health services in Toronto, see Navigating Mental Health Services in Toronto: A Guide for Newcomer Communities on the Fred Victor website at www.fredvictor.org.