Forced Hospitalization for a Psychiatric Exam

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A judge can order someone to be hospitalized for a psychiatric exam against his will if the person is a danger to himself or others. This is called temporary confinement. 

Who can ask for temporary confinement?

A doctor or anyone concerned about a person can ask a judge from the Court of Quebec to order that the person be hospitalized for a psychiatric exam.  

The judge must have serious reasons to believe the person is a danger to himself or to others. If the judge refuses the request, another request can only be made if the person’s situation has changed. 

To find out more about what happens in court, read our articles Forced Hospitalization After Psychiatric Exams and Challenging Forced Hospitalization.

Psychiatric Exams 

The person must usually be examined by two psychiatrists within these time frames: 

Times Frames

Time frame

Time frame (if already hospitalized against his will)

1st Exam

within 24 hours of being hospitalized

within 24 hours of judge’s order

2nd Exam

within 96 hours of being hospitalized

within 48 hours of judge’s order

The two psychiatric exams should not be done on the same day. 

The psychiatrists must evaluate whether the person needs to stay in the hospital because his mental state makes him a danger to himself or to others. The psychiatrists must also evaluate whether the person is able to care for himself and administer his property, and whether the person needs a special kind of legal protection

The psychiatrists’ reports are confidential. They can only be shared with the patient, the hospital and the court, unless the judge decides otherwise. 

First exam. If the first psychiatrist decides the person doesn’t need to stay at the hospital, the person must be released. 

If the first psychiatrist decides the person needs to stay at the hospital, the person must be examined by a second psychiatrist. 

Second exam. If the second psychiatrist decides the person doesn’t need to stay at the hospital, the person must be released. 

If the second psychiatrist decides the person needs to stay at the hospital, the hospital has 48 hours to do one of these things: