The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has undertaken a project to examine and review Ontario’s laws related to legal capacity, decision –making and guardianship. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending one of their focus groups. Spokespersons from various groups were there representing those with autism, mental health issues and the hearing impaired, to name a few.
While the disability groups may have different issues, there was more in common than not.
The key areas included issues regarding protecting and enhancing autonomy, who can act as a substitute decision maker; preventing and addressing abuse or misuse of powers of attorney; supports to access the law as well as larger issues relating to lack of information and understanding and system monitoring, transparency and dispute resolution.
In my work with seniors and their families, the same issues apply. We are dealing with clients who may or may not be capable and their Powers of Attorney who hold the title but may not understand the implications. It is complicated.
However as more and more of us are living longer and with so many health issues that can compromise ability in communication and in making decisions, it is a needed and necessary project. I am glad to have had an opportunity to participate and I look forward to reading their recommendations.
For more information, please visit the LCO’s website at https://www.lco-cdo.org/en/older-adults-final-report-framework and https://www.lco-cdo.org/en/disabilities-final-report.