A Comparative Analysis of Adult Guardianship Laws in BC, New Zealand and Ontario

An adult guardian is somebody who is appointed to make decisions for an adult who is not capable of doing so. Individuals might need an adult guardian if they suffer from conditions such as a mental illness or handicap, a degenerative disease, or a head injury. This appointed individual is called a committee.

The laws governing adult guardianship vary in different jurisdictions. This study paper provides a comparative analysis of the legislative schemes in BC and other jurisdictions, notably New Zealand and Ontario, and considers key issues that are essential for meaningful reform. Some regimes are more paternalistic, emphasizing protection of the vulnerable adult, while others focus more on individual rights and seeking to promote autonomy. The regime in BC, specifically the Patients Property Act, has been criticized for being outmoded and paternalistic. This study paper was written in light of the BC government’s announcement of its intention to modernize its guardianship laws.

Keywords: guardian, guardian and ward, adult guardianship laws, wills, estates & life planning, guardianship, seniors, disability, older adults, comparative analysis, capacity, aging with challenges, committee, health, patients’ rights, human rights, discrimination


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