British Columbia’s adult guardianship legislation were proclaimed in February 2000.
The legislation is made up of four Acts:
- The Representation Agreement Act
- The Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act
- The Adult Guardianship Act
- The Public Guardian and Trustee Act
These four acts were selectively proclaimed with some sections still waiting for proclamation. They work together to create a comprehensive and integrated system of support and assistance for adults who need help in making decisions about their health, personal care, and their financial or legal affairs. Part 3 of the Adult Guardianship Act regarding support and assistance for abused and neglected adults is the part of the legislation most closely connected to CRNs.
While the legislation does not make it mandatory for individuals to report adult abuse, it is mandatory for Designated Agencies to respond to reports of abuse.
For further information contact the Public Trustee’s Office at (604) 660-4444 or visit Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia.
Early on in the process of developing the legislation, it was acknowledged that the best guarantee of a secure quality of life for any adult is the active involvement of caring and committed people in their life.
The Acts are based upon some important guiding principles and presumptions:
- Self determination and choice – All adults are entitled to live in the manner they wish, which includes the right to accept or refuse support, assistance, or protection, as long as they do not harm others and they are capable of making decisions about those matters
- Most effective but least intrusive support – All adults should receive the most effective, but least restrictive and intrusive, form of support, assistance, or protection when they are unable to care for themselves or their assets
- Court is a last resort – The court should not be asked to appoint, and should not appoint, decision-makers or guardians unless alternatives, such as provision of support and assistance, have been carefully considered
- Adults are presumed capable – Every adult is presumed to be capable of making decisions about personal care, health care, legal matters, or about the adult’s financial affairs, business, or assets until the contrary is demonstrated
- Different ways of communicating – An adult’s way of communicating with others is not grounds for deciding that they are incapable of making decisions