Adult Guardianship

Introduction to Adult Guardianship ‘Frameworks’

Adult guardianship in BC involves two separate approaches or ‘frameworks’:

  • A framework for assisting abused and neglected adults
  • A framework for the appointment of and authority of personal and property guardians

The first approach or framework is for situations where a vulnerable adult is unable to seek support and assistance because of physical restraint, a physical handicap or an illness, disease, injury or other condition that affects their ability to make decisions about abuse or neglect.  There are agencies with the legal mandate to investigate and respond to these situations – the PGT and designated responsders.

The second framework is for situations where an adult needs ongoing assistance making decisions and informal help is not sufficient and no advance planning  documentation (EPOA, RA, AD, Trusts) has been done.

Legislation sets out formal procedures to allow another person or the state to take over the adult’s affairs and act on his or her behalf.  In British Columbia, ‘Committeeship’ is the [rather archaic -from the middle ages] term used to refer to the formal procedures leading to adult guardianship.  Part of the formal procedures involve declaring the adult mentally incompetent.

Guiding Principles & Presumption of Capability

Sections 2 & 3 of  the Adult Guardianship Act set out some guiding principles in this area, including the presumption of capability:

2) This Act is to be administered and interpreted in accordance with the following principles:

(a) all adults are entitled to live in the manner they wish and 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;

(b) all adults should receive the most effective, but the least restrictive and intrusive, form of support, assistance or protection when they are unable to care for themselves or their financial affairs;

(c) the court should not be asked to appoint, and should not appoint, guardians unless alternatives, such as the provision of support and assistance, have been tried or carefully considered. 

3) (1) Until the contrary is demonstrated, every adult is presumed to be capable of making decisions about the adult’s personal care, health care and financial affairs.

(2) An adult’s way of communicating with others is not grounds for deciding that he or she is incapable of making decisions about anything referred to in subsection (1).

Committeeship [adult guardianship]

Two Ways

There are two ways Committeeship can happen:

1. Someone (usually family member) can apply to the Supreme Court to be appointed private committee (guardian) under the Patients Property Act,

– or –

2. The Public Guardian and Trustee can become statutory property guardian (formerly known as “public committee”) of the adult’s finances and legal affairs by Certificate of Incapability (COI) issued pursuant to the new process outlined in the and Statutory Property Guardianship Regulation to the Adult Guardianship Act.

Two Types of Private Committees

Private Committees can be the Committee of the Estate (finances/property/legal) and/or Committee of the Person (personal care/medical care/end of life matters).

Some effects of Committeeship:

  • The adult loses his or her decision-making rights and is considered a non-person under the law.
  • The adult will likely have a committee for the rest of his or her life; Committeeship is difficult to reverse.

Committee Application

See the article The ABCs of Committeeship from CLE-BC.

As discussed in that article, you should prepare the following documents:

  • Petition (Form 66) pursuant to section 2 of the Patients Property Act
  • Affidavit of Kindred and Fortune (Rule 2(3) of Patients Property Act Rules) see Form 3 in the appendix to the Rules – you can adapt a Form 109 Affidavit)
  • Consent from any other relevant family or friends
  • Doctor’s Affidavits from 2 medical practitioners (section 3(1)(b) of the Patients Property Act – see ABC’s for suggested content – you can adapt a Form 109 Affidavit))
  • Notice of Application (Form 3 in the appendix to the Patients Property Act Rules)
  • Certificate of Medical or Acting Medical Superintendent of Service of Notice of Application for Appointment of Committee (Form 2 in the appendix to the Patients Property Act Rules) (for when the person truly is a patient – in a mental health facility)

 Once you have received any reply, you prepare

  • Application Record
  • Draft Order (Form 35 of the Rules of Court)


CBA Dial-a-Law

CBA BC Dial-A-Law script on Committeeship.  Discusses: what is a committee?; how and when could you become a committee?; choosing or nominating a committee; powers and duties of a committee; are you paid?; the PGT; Committee compared to POA; other statutory remedies under the Representation Agreement Act, the Health Care (consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act; the Adult Guardianship Act and the Public Guardian and Trustee Act; and, finally pension trusteeships.


PGT Resources

A useful discussion of the role and responsibilities of a Private Committee appointed under the Patients Property Act.

A review of various assessment tools by Professor Deborah O’Connor of the UBC School of Social Work

This is a thorough (162 pages) review of the COI process under the Adult Guardianship Act and the Statutory Property Guardianship Regulation.  Includes: Determining the Need; the Assessment; the Health Authority Designate Decision; Second Assessment, Reassessment, court review and ending PGT Authority, Information on Collection and Disclosure of Information and Record Keeping; also, Appendices  setting out Key Terms and Definitions, Options to Consider, Contact Information, the Legislation, and Forms.


This is a recording of the in-person training session on the new certificate of incapability process held in Surrey for Fraser Health Authority staff on November 17, 2014.

This is a recording of the Geriatric Medicine Rounds held via provincial video-conference on November 18, 2014, hosted by Dr. Martha Donnelly.

UBC Law Students Legal Advice Plan


For local agencies – contact the BC Community Response Networks

For Vancouver (Coastal Health) see the VCH reAct material.

To contact designated responders (Health Authorities) see this list:  Designated Responders

Geriatric Assessment Resources

Specialized Geriatric Clinics (Geriatric Assessment Teams)




Fraser Health
Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer CentreSpecialized Seniors Clinics 32900 Marshall Road

(604) 851-4775


V2S 0C2

Delta Hospital 5800 Mountain View Boulevard

(604) 946-1121


V4K 3V6

Mission Memorial Hospital 7324 Hurd Street (604) 851-4775 Mission

V2V 3H5

Victoria Heights 232 Ross Drive

(604) 528-5031

New Westminster

V3L 0B2

Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre 9750 140th Street

(604) 582-4582


V3T 0G9

Peace Arch Hospital 15521 Russell Avenue (604) 535-4577 White Rock

V4B 2R4

Vancouver Coastal  Health
Minoru Residence  6111 Minoru Boulevard Richmond

Geriatric Psychiatry Outreach Team

855 West 12th Avenue, Centennial Pavilion 5D Phone: 604-875-4728 Vancouver

V5Z 1M9

West Vancouver Community Health Centre

Geriatric Outreach Program

2121 Marine Drive #241

Phone 604.904.6200 ext 4112


West & North Vancouver
Providence Health Care
Mount St. Joseph Hospital

Geriatric Assessment Unit

4 East, 3080 Prince Edward Street

Phone: (604) 877-8324 Fax: (604) 877 8116


V5T 3N4

Northern Health
Elderly Services  Nechako Centre 1308 Alward Street – 2nd Floor
Phone: (250) 645-7445 Fax:(250) 565-5607
Prince George

V2M 7B1

Interior  Health
Gerontology Centre

Cottonwoods Care Centre

2255 Ethel Street

Phone: 250-862-4100


V1Y 2Z9

Vancouver Island  Health
St. Joseph’s General Hospital Upper Island Psychogeriatric Outreach Program