Short bio: Rob Wipond is a freelance journalist and creative nonfiction writer who writes frequently about the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, policing, surveillance and privacy, and social change. His articles have been nominated for seventeen magazine and journalism awards in science, law, business, and community issues, and he’s the author of the book Your Consent is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships (BenBella, 2023).

More info: Rob Wipond began his career working in performance art and theatre. His stand-up political rock comedy with Allen Booth, “When I’m Big”, ventured into such venues as Toronto’s famed El Mocambo and Bamboo Club. CBC Radio Sunday Showcase/Monday Night Playhouse produced his satirical play, “Gypsy Moth”.

He was for ten years a regular columnist and feature writer for Focus, and now often contributes investigative journalism to the science, psychiatry, and community web magazine and blogging community Mad In America. His writing has appeared in more than a hundred varied outlets, including Adbusters, Chatelaine, the European Journal of Law and Technology, and Queens Quarterly. And he’s almost certainly the only writer to have ever published in both the medical journal BMJ and as a one-time member of the notorious “usual gang of idiots” for the infamous MAD Magazine–which probably sums up his work more than anything else on this web page.

His writing has been nominated for three National Magazine Awards, nine Western Magazine Awards, and five British Columbia Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He’s won WMAs for business, science, and public issues writing, and won two Websters for community reporting. In 2016-17, he co-founded and was a senior researcher and editor for Inner Compass Initiative and The Withdrawal Project, websites which provide information about psychiatric drugs and how to withdraw from them more safely. In 2023, BenBella released his book Your Consent Is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships. which recounts people’s experiences of psychiatric detentions and involuntary commitment, and critically examines the science, economics, politics, and expanding uses of psychiatric legal powers across North America.

He has also worked as an instructor in creative nonfiction and journalism at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University.

Over the years, he has occasionally done contract research, writing and/or editing for organizations that are working to protect fish and wildlife habitat, including the Conservation Lands Program, Nature Trust, Ducks Unlimited, and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and for groups fostering grassroots community resilience such as Hey Neighbour Collective.

Other highlights include:

  • Collaborated with Citizen Lab’s Christopher Parsons and security researcher Kevin MacArthur in reporting on a police surveillance program, which ultimately led to the Information and Privacy Commissioner ordering changes to the program.
  • Once had an article of his land at the top of SlashDot and Reddit World News.
  • Co-wrote a theatrical show currently touring high schools, “My Impractical Life”, starring mime and monologue artist Trent Arterberry.
  • Collaborated as contributing writer and project rapporteur with Will Weigler on the “unsettling the settler within” reconciliation theatrical project involving hundreds of people, From the Heart.
  • Co-wrote with Martin Gallop the song “Silver Lady” on the 2008 special edition CD “Teilzeithippie” from German pop princess Annett Louisan.
  • Volunteers a lot for Building Resilient Neighbourhoods.

Surveillance & Privacy

Investigations into police use of automatic licence plate surveillance in Canada led to the program being declared illegal. Learn more.

A joint municipal-federal police vehicle-tracking program was storing and analyzing the movements of a wide array of people.

Hidden Surveillance

Privacy Commissioner Slams BC Surveillance Program

So It’s Illegal Surveillance, So What?

RCMP Agrees to Stop Tracking Innocent Drivers

Police Accountability

Associations of chiefs of police do extensive political lobbying and official police work -- covertly and outside the law. Learn more.

Civil Rights & Psychiatry

People from many walks of life are being detained under mental health laws for a widening array of reasons. Learn more.

An Overabundance of Caution — Calling 911 to help a distressed person can be disastrous, say victims.

The Case for Electroshocking Mia — An elderly woman, with the support of her family, struggles to avoid forced treatment.

Escape from British ColumbiaA constitutional challenge says mental health laws lead to abuse, fear and the flight of “psychiatric refugees.”