Toronto – After intervening in the case of The Estate of Kulmiye Aganeh v. Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has reached a settlement with the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (formerly known as Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene).
The OHRC intervened in the case to address the accommodation of patients with diverse religious beliefs, and the link between race, mental health and the disproportionate use of restraints.
Kulmiye Aganeh, a Black, Muslim man, was held in a secure psychiatric unit at Waypoint between December 2007 and March 2009. Mr. Aganeh died in March 2009. He died of a sudden cardiac event due to toxicity from an antipsychotic medication, following an incident that involved the use of restraints at Waypoint.
Under the settlement, Waypoint has committed to consult with independent experts approved by the OHRC to:
- Meet its obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code relating to use of restraints on racialized patients and patients with mental health disabilities (seclusion, chemical, physical and medical)
- Collect human rights-based data on the use of restraints and provide annual reports analyzing this data to the OHRC for three years
- Provide training to all staff, including training focused on racial and religious discrimination and the duty to accommodate
- Develop and implement a policy on the right of patients to be free from creed-based discrimination, including the duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship.
In a statement provided to the OHRC, Carol Lambie, Waypoint President and CEO said: “Waypoint looks forward to working with the independent experts in its continued efforts to enhance the treatment and care of all patients. The Hospital is committed to an environment that accommodates all religious beliefs and is free from discrimination.”
“The steps Waypoint has agreed to undertake are necessary to improve outcomes for some of Ontario’s most vulnerable people,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane. “Even in the most challenging environments, people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to have their religious beliefs accommodated and to live free from discrimination.”
Senior Communications Advisor (Acting)
Ontario Human Rights Commission
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