No Longer Your Decision: British Columbia's Process for Appointing the Public Guardian and Trustee to Manage the Financial Affairs of Incapable Adults

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Authority Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Public Guardian and Trustee, Provincial Health Services Authority, Health Authorities: Fraser, Interior, Northern, Vancouver Coastal, Vancouver Island
Category Health, Income and Benefits, Seniors
Classification Public Report No. 49
Type Report
Details

On February 6, 2013, the Ombudsperson released Public Report No. 49, No Longer Your Decision: British Columbia’s Process for Appointing the Public Guardian and Trustee to Manage the Financial Affairs of Incapable Adults. This report examined the process for issuing certificates of incapability that result in the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia assuming control over an adult’s financial and legal decision making. The investigation found that the process did not meet the requirements of fairness and reasonableness in a number of respects.

The investigation resulted in 21 findings and 28 recommendations which focused on improving practices followed by the Public Guardian and Trustee and the six health authorities, establishing provincial training for staff, and creating legally binding minimum requirements. The health authorities accepted all five of the recommendations made to them. The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee accepted five of the seven recommendations made to it in full and one in part. The Ministry of Health accepted both of the recommendations made to it. The Ministry of Justice accepted 12 of the 14 recommendations made to it that were directed toward regulatory and legislative changes. Since the report was released, the Ministry of Justice has taken some steps to implement some of the recommendations. Through orders-in-council, sections of the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 have been enacted. Provisions that amend the powers of the Public Guardian and Trustee to protect assets in urgent cases came into effect immediately (Recommendation 2).

Additional provisions of the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 will take effect on June 30, 2014. These provisions include:

  • Standardizing the criteria for deciding when a certificate of incapability is issued (Recommendation 16).
  • Requiring guardians, where reasonable, to encourage the adult’s involvement in decision making that affects the adult (Recommendation 28).
Date Wednesday, February 6, 2013