Mental Health Act

Information for Health Professionals

Alberta’s Mental Health Act (MHA) was enacted to provide safeguards, supports and supervision, for people suffering from mental disorder. In 2019, the Minister of Health initiated the process to examine the Act to ensure the legislation complies with the Charter and remains responsive to the needs of Albertans. Several amendments came into effect in September 2020 as a result of that review.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Refining the admission/detention criteria to ensure the act is only used to detain those whose mental disorder can be improved by treatment.
  • The definition of “mental disorder” has changed as of March 31, 2021 and further clarifying language can be found in the Mental Health Regulation.
  • Expanding the roles of nurse practitioners and physicians to perform certain assessments and supervise community treatment orders.
  • Strengthening procedural safeguards for patients, including a new role for the mental health patient advocate.
  • Explicitly allowing the use of videoconferencing for examinations.
  • Authorizing the minister to establish additional secure locations for the purpose of first assessments. (Note: none have been established yet.)

Quick Reference

MHA Information


For questions regarding the Mental Health Act legislation, email

The contacts listed in The Mental Health Act / Community Treatment Orders Resources for Information can provide clarification on the Mental Health Act and CTO legislation and related processes.