The judiciary of the Victoria Integrated Court is busy working with the Court’s partners and neighbours. In November, Judge Ernie Quantz and Judicial Justice Brenda Edwards met with Island Health doctors and managers to learn how the Court can better support their work with patients who appear in Integrated Court. They discussed the challenges the Health Authority faces in providing physical and mental health services to its clients and how the Court might assist. In turn, the judicial officers told Health Authority personnel about the barriers encountered in obtaining and keeping housing for the most challenged of the Court's mentally disordered and substance addicted offenders.
Later in the month, Judge Quantz and Judicial Justice Edwards served on a committee at the University of Victoria's School of Public Administration to evaluate a master’s project. Students Anne-Marie Beliveau and Sarah Mason successfully defended their thesis, "The Victoria Integrated Court: Integrating Health, Justice and Social Services". The thesis will soon be available publicly.
Finally, Judge Quantz is pursuing opportunities for Integrated Court clients to perform worthwhile community service. The B.C. Ministry of Health is attempting to expand the vocational rehabilitation opportunities for persons with mental health and/or addiction issues, since evidence shows that supportive volunteer or work opportunities are one key to successfully addressing these problems. Integrated Court clients already work in the Community Garden project at Seven Oaks tertiary care facility. The Court is discussing inclusion of clients who have been ordered to perform community service in the Ministry’s new initiatives.
For more information on Victoria Integrated Court and its successful community work programs see the annual reports available at this link on the Provincial Court website.