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Forensic Psychiatric Services

The Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (FPSC) provides court-related forensic psychiatric assessment, treatment and community case management to adults with mental health disorders who are in conflict with the law.

Our specialized forensic mental health teams work to enable the re-integration of patients back into the community.

Core services

We provide specialized assessment, treatment and case management services

These services include:

  • Court-ordered assessments
  • Inpatient and community-based services to persons found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) or Unfit to Stand Trial
  • Psychiatric / Psychological Pre-sentence Assessment Reports
  • Hospital treatment of adults with mental health disorders who are in conflict with the law and in provincial correctional centres, admitted on temporary absence to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital
  • Court-ordered assessment and treatment of individuals on bail, probation and conditional sentences

The FPSC supports a team approach to patient care and service delivery. Our specialized mental health teams include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers and rehabilitation specialists. The FPSC teams work together to ensure patients are supported with a coordinated and comprehensive range of services, and also collaborate with other professionals and community partners.


British Columbia's Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (FPSC) is a multi-site health organization providing specialized hospital and community-based assessment, treatment and clinical case management services for adults with mental health disorders who are in conflict with the law. This unique provincial service ensures that forensic psychiatric patients throughout the province have equitable access to high quality care and services; and that the BC Review Board and court authorities across the province are supported by the expert advice and opinions provided by specialized, interdisciplinary teams of health professionals.

The Commission takes its authority from the Forensic Psychiatry Act, the Criminal Code of Canada and the BC Mental Health Act. In complying with BC Review Board decisions, the Commission works within its authority to ensure patients are supported in hospital and in the community. Forensic mental health teams also liaise with other authorities and community agencies to support patients and ensure public safety. 

In December 2001, the FPSC became part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). PHSA is responsible for managing the quality, coordination, accessibility and cost of selected province-wide health care programs and services.

FPSC is fully accredited and has received the highest accreditation standing from Accreditation Canada: Accredited with Exemplary Standing.

The British Columbia Review Board is an independent tribunal established under the Criminal Code of Canada. The mandate of the BC Review Board is to protect public safety while safeguarding the rights and freedoms of mentally disordered persons who have committed criminal offences. 

The BC Review Board has ongoing jurisdiction to hold hearings and to review dispositions (orders) where persons have been found by the Court to be Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) or Unfit to Stand Trial by reason of mental disorder.

For Families

We welcome and encourage the involvement of family in the care and treatment of our patients and clients at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and Regional Forensic Clinics. 

Our Patient and Family Handbook provides an excellent overview of forensic psychiatric services. 

We work collaboratively with patients and families to provide care that is respectful and compassionate, and culturally safe and competent. We are responsive to their needs and values, cultural backgrounds, beliefs and preferences. 

Families are often the first to know when their loved ones are distressed or experiencing emotional difficulties. Family members are encouraged to communicate any concerns they may have about their relative to their relative’s treatment team to ensure optimal care and safety. If you have any questions or information to share please do not hesitate to contact the clinical team. 

Contact us

For Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, call 604-524-7700 and ask to speak with the Social Worker assigned to the patient. If the Social Worker is unavailable and/or it’s an emergency, ask to speak to the nurse in charge. We encourage you to visit your family member at the hospital. 

For a Forensic Regional Clinic, please contact reception at the relevant clinic and ask to speak with the client’s assigned Nurse or Social Worker. 

Availability of interpreters

All patients and families have the right to be provided information in a language they are able to understand. The Provincial Health Services Authority provides interpreting and language services to Forensic Psychiatric Services. If you would like an interpreter to be present when you meet with the treatment team, please advise your relative’s treatment team in advance of the meeting.

Safety & Security

FAQs about Safety & Security 

What is the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at Colony Farm?

The Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission (FPSC) is mandated to work in partnership with BC’s criminal justice system to provide psychiatric treatment and assessment at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital to individuals who have been referred by the courts. As a specialized facility, it is the job of staff and physicians at the hospital to treat and rehabilitate people deemed unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible due to mental illnesses, with a goal of restoring fitness and/or reintegrating them gradually and safely into the community.

What’s involved when a patient is being considered for outings?

Before patients are considered for outings into the community and when the request for such access is made, they are thoroughly and carefully assessed for risk and clinical well-being by their multidisciplinary treatment team. On each day that the patient isscheduled to access the community, a nurse on the ward reviews the risk relevant information and assesses the patient to determine if the patient is stable and suitable to access the community.

What is the approval process for a patient going out on a leave?

All patients are reviewed annually by the BC Review Board for a decision as to whether they should remain in hospital or could be discharged with or without conditions.

There are six “privilege levels,” ranging from no access to the hospital grounds to supervised and unsupervised access to different parts of the hospital, to supervised and finally unsupervised access to the community. 

Accessing the community always commences with closely supervised assessment outings and progresses gradually and in stepwise manner if appropriate, to unescorted day leaves. Each level has aseparate application and review process. 

On each day that the patient is scheduled to access the community, an assessment is made by a nurse on the ward to determine if the patient is stable and suitable to access the community. 

At any of these stages, privileges can be withheld or cancelled.

Who escorts patients into the community?

Depending on the privilege level assigned to the patient, there may be several staff that go with patients, and this is decided on an individual basis.

Are the staff armed or do they have special training?

Staff are mental health professionals and have training to manage patients who may become disruptive. They are not enforcement officers and therefore do not carry weapons.

How do you make sure the public is safe?

Public safety is a top priority when assigning privilege levels. Staff are trained to manage patients who may become disruptive, and every effort is made to ensure public safety is maintained.

How is monitoring done when a patient is in the community?

The level of monitoring depends on the level of privilege granted to a patient. Patients with a higher level of privileges may receive day leaves to attend communitybased programs and mechanisms are in place to verify their attendance. Patients who have progressed to the higher levels of privilege may receive day leave for leisure purposes and would not be required to check in with unit staff, but must return at the predetermined time.

What is the purpose of the community access?

Community access provides patients with important rehabilitation-focused goals as partnof their treatment with the ultimate goal of reintegrating the patient back into them community.

What is the hospital’s policy for alerting the public when there is an unauthorized absence?

If a patient fails to return on time from an authorized leave, even if it is only fifteen minutes late, the RCMP are notified, as part of the hospital’s “Code Yellow” policy.

Staff provide information to the RCMP to assist with determining the level of risk. Alerting the public of the UA, along with when the patient has returned, is the responsibility of the police.

What is being done to prevent unauthorized absences? 

Over the past three years the evaluation process to determine patients’ suitability for community access has been refined.

For example, the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital’s assessment committee, called the Program and Privilege Committee (“P&P”) now requires more risk-relevant information, including a current risk assessment (Short Term Assessment of Risk & Treatability –START) and a clear rationale for the requested privilege level, before making a decision regarding privilege levels and community access.

In the event of an UA, all community access privileges are suspended pending a review and re-application to the assessment committee (P&P). As a result of these improvements, fewer day leaves are granted and the number of UAs has decreased significantly.

What have you done to increase safety for staff?

A number of corrective actions have been put in place including:

  • Enhanced aggression management training for staff
  • Implementation of a safety plan for employees changing shifts
  • Enhanced communication processes for staff of patient behaviors, risk factors, and triggers for violence e.g., Implementation of SNAP (Structured Nursing Assessment Protocol).
  • Enhanced security measures on the grounds and in all areas of the hospital

Can I obtain reports about serious incidents at the hospital?

As with any serious incident, there is a “Critical Incident Review”, which is a qualitydriven standard procedure to review whether our services and procedures adhered to policy, and to identify any areas for improvement. Medical, quality-assurance, clinical and security staff are involved in these reviews. 

These reviews as well as the findings of other internal and external reviews are protected under Section 51 of the British Columbia Evidence Act. The purpose of S. 51 and its related confidentiality provisions is to facilitate open and frank discussion among doctors, nurses, support staff, administrators and others to aid quality improvement in the hospital setting.

What are you doing to reassure the community?

We appreciate the community’s interest in the hospital and we have met with various community groups and we are listening. We are mindful of public safety as a primary criterion when deciding community access. We know that this is a challenging population and it is in the best interest of patients, staff and the community for our programs to be successful

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SOURCE: Forensic Psychiatric Services ( )
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