. . . If the process were one of eradicating a set of disapproved ideas and
washing in different social values, then we would be committing offences as
grievous as those involved in setting up the Third Reich — indeed, the more
sinister, because of their subtlety. On the other hand, if our patients did not
choose to deviate from society’s norms, but rather were driven to such deviations by internal unresolved conflicts, then we should help them to resolve
such conflicts by every means at our disposal, including force, humiliation,
and deprivation, if necessary. Physical force brought the patient to our
hospital, physical force maintains him there, and this force will not be lifted
until he changes his behaviour in a recognizable way.
(E.T. Barker, M.D. (assistant superintendent, Ontario Hospital,
Penetanguishene) and M.H. Mason (patient — Intensive Treatment Unit, Ontario Hospital, Penetanguishene), “Buber Behind
Bars” (1968), 13 Canadian Psychiatric Assoc. Journal 61)
A. Introduction and Overview
 The plaintiff Shauna Taylor, formerly Vance Egglestone,
was and is an involuntary patient at the Mental Health Centre
in Penetanguishene, Ontario, where she was originally detained
in January 1976, at the Oak Ridge Division.
 In 2000, pursuant to the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, S.O.
1992, c. 6, Ms. Taylor commenced a proposed class action against
the defendants, Dr. Elliott Thompson Barker, Dr. Gary J. Maier
and the Province of Ontario (Her Majesty the Queen in Right of
Ontario) (the “Crown”), which operated Oak Ridge.
 In 2001, Danny Joanisse, who as a teenager was detained
as an involuntary patient at Oak Ridge, was added as a
co-plaintiff to the proposed class action.
 Between 1966 and 1983 ( i.e., between 51 and 34 years ago),
Drs. Barker and Maier oversaw the Social Therapy Unit at Oak
Ridge. During those 17 years, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Joanisse and the
putative class members, all of whom were patients at Oak
Ridge, underwent three programs designed by Dr. Barker for the
Social Therapy Unit.
 In the proposed class action, the plaintiffs sued (1) the
defendants for breach of fiduciary duty; (2) Drs. Barker and
Maier for assault and battery; and (3) the Crown for negligence
in respect of its failure to supervise Drs. Barker and Maier.
 Without alleging that it was a separate cause of action, the
plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants had contravened
common law principles and international law norms relating to
the use of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment
 The basic allegation against Drs. Barker and Maier is
that in the interests of research, they engaged in degrading and
abusive human experimentation that could not be justified on