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BCCNM board approves revisions to NP Scope of Practice to align with changes to the Mental Health Act

Feb 1, 2023

The BCCNM board on Jan. 26, 2023, approved revisions to the Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice relating to changes to the Mental Health Act that authorize nurse practitioners (NPs) to request involuntary admission of clients to a designated facility.

In order to reflect the recommendations from the Ombudsperson of B.C. report Committed to Change - Protecting the Rights of Involuntary Patients Under the Mental Health Act, BCCNM has developed broad standards NPs apply when completing any mental health or capacity assessment, as well as specific limits and conditions to apply when completing a Form 4 (Medical Certificate – Involuntary Admission).

These changes take effect Feb. 1, 2023, to coincide with the Order-in-Council bringing these legislative changes into effect.

Summary of changes

New broad standards for mental health and capacity assessments by nurse practitioners have been added, limits and conditions for completing a Form 4 (Medical Certificate – Involuntary Admission) under the Mental Health Act have also been added, while the existing Advanced Assessments standards have been revised and renamed to incorporate the standards for mental health assessment.

The limits and conditions specific to mental health assessments focus on recommendations from the Ombudsperson of B.C.'s report and findings from other organizations. These limits and conditions include the completion of additional education, only allowing the NP to assess a client in person, and following the Ministry of Health document The Guide to the Mental Health Act.


BCCNM consulted with a number of groups, including the Canadian Mental Health Association (BC Division), the Provincial Health Authority Nurse Practitioner Leadership Council, the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of B.C., and the Ministry of Health (Nursing Policy Secretariat). Feedback from these groups was positive and supportive of the proposed standards, limits, and conditions.

Prior to being approved by the BCCNM Board, feedback was obtained from legal counsel and from the BCCNM Professional Practice & Standards Committee.