Time to Throw Out the Incompetency Act

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date



Law Reform, Incompetency Act, Mental Health, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada


When the Law Reform Commission recommended the Act be repealed in 1995, their indictment was damning and comprehensive: the law used offensive language; it took an all-or-nothing approach, imposing no limits on guardianship orders; it emphasized property and said nothing to constrain the powers nor to stipulate the responsibilities of a guardian of the person; it had few provisions for monitoring guardians of the estate and none for guardians of the person; it showed a lack of respect for the autonomy of adults, permitting "undue interference in decisions about daily living and healthcare"; it egregiously conflicted with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it failed to give people the right to the least restrictive alternative and it was manifestly procedurally unfair.