"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Let's Talk Landon Webb Guardianship, Part V

You might recall a post from back in February of this year, where I questioned whether or not that was a good time for a family to pursue legal guardianship, given what was on the horizon with the Landon Webb case. I know many of you are now well aware as to exactly how Landon's case ended.

For several years, in the presentations I have given around the Province, I have repeatedly called for a reform of the Incompetent Persons Act, noting that it is an "all or nothing, one size most definitely does not fit all" sort of deal. Apparently the court agreed.
[22] The Incompetent Persons Act takes an all or nothing approach. It allows for no nuance. It does not allow a court to tailor a guardianship order so that a person subject to that order can retain the ability to make decisions in respect of those areas in which they are capable.
Just to be clear, there were absolutely no surprises here with respect to the court's finding that the legislation, as written, is unconstitutional. Not only did Landon's parents acknowledge and agree that the Act was unconstitutional, but, from almost the beginning of this court challenge, the Department of Justice had taken the position that it would not oppose the constitutional challenge and was committed to reviewing the current Act with a view to improving it. As noted in the Webb decision, that was a "remarkable thing", as governments rarely concede that legislation is unconstitutional. In the words of the court, "It happens only where there is a clear and compelling case, such as this".

Leaving us with the question ... What now?

First, let's take a look at what did not happen; what the decision in the Webb case does not mean. To put it simply, all current guardianship orders under the Incompetent Persons Act remain valid and the decision regarding the constitutionality of the Incompetent Persons Act will not affect my current Guardianship Orders.

Now that we know what didn't happen, let's take a look at what did.

Yes, Landon successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Incompetent Persons Act. To put it simply, on June 28, 2016 (as expected) the court found certain provisions of the legislation unconstitutional, but granted one year for the Act to be updated.As noted above, all orders remain valid during this period.

The government tells us that it is currently researching and consulting, with a view to crafting a new law on substituted decision making. Which shouldn't be too difficult to do, considering the help they previously ignored were given. In fact, you might recall that the Law Reform Commission was kind enough to draft an entirely new piece of legislation for the government in 1995.

Be that as it may,this means that applications can still be brought under the current legislation until either a new law is brought in or the one-year time period has expired (which would be June 27, 2017).In addition, the process of review that always existed under the Incompetent Persons Act (contrary to what some would have you think) is still available.

Now for the really important part for your family: