Changes To Adult Guardianship

Adult Guardianship Law in British Columbia is currently governed by the Patients Property Act, but is in a state of transition.

In 2007 the B.C. legislature passed Bill 29, the Adult Guardianship and Planning Amendment Act, which introduced new requirements for adult guardianship and substitute decision making.

Although not yet in force, Bill 29 will repeal the Patients Property Act and will also require mandatory mediation for adult guardianship in some cases where there is a dispute about whether or not the adult, who is the subject of the application, needs a guardian, or a dispute over whom the proposed guardian is.

When Bill 29 comes into force, the Patients Property Act will be repealed and a more supportive focus will be placed on assisting an older adult in decision making, rather than protecting the older adult's estate.

The old “Committeeship” will be replaced by three distinct types of guardianship: property guardians, personal guardians and statutory guardians.

Property and personal guardians will be appointed by the court upon the courts determination the adult is incapable of managing his/her financial affairs and personal health care.

Statutory guardians do not require court appointment and will be triggered by health care providers requesting an assessment as to the capability of the older adult. If determined, the Public Guardian and Trustee will become the statutory guardian over the adult’s affairs.

The actual procedure for an application for a Property and/or Personal Guardian will be similar to that under the current Committeeship application under the Patients Property Act, such as requiring two assessments by qualified health care providers describing the extent to which a person is incapable of making decisions over their financial, health care and personal care.

One significant change for the old system is the requirement of a guardianship plan, outlining how the proposed guardian will manage the adult's care and finances.

For more information, please contact our office.