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Adult Guardianship & Trusteeship Act, Unjust legislation

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The Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act is unjust legislation that disregards citizenship rights and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Ruth Maria Adria, an advocate with the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society. The society receives and investigates complaints of elder mistreatment.
The Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act replaces the 30-year old Dependent Adults Act..

“Some people need protection but there is abuse in the system and it always involves money,” she said.

Adria spoke about the legislation to a crowd of about 30 people Thursday afternoon at the Lethbridge Legion. She relayed story after story about rights abuses that have occurred in Alberta. In one case, a senior’s property was sold without consent, in other cases seniors haven’t been able to speak for themselves in court. In one instance, a senior was placed under guardianship without being informed.
Many sections of the legislation concern Adria, including the section that enables the court to compel a senior to undergo a capacity assessment and permits the assessor to enter the adult’s residence to do so, thereby violating a senior’s rights to privacy and safety in his or her home.
Another section of the act allows the court to determine competency without the senior being present or without an assessment. Further, the Act allows any interested person to apply for guardianship of a resident of Alberta and, if it’s thought to be in the best interests of the senior, that they not be notified they’ve been placed under guardianship.

The legislation gives extraordinary powers to the Office of the Public Guardian, the Office of the Public Trustee and the courts, Adria said. A person under trusteeship will not be allowed to see how their money is being spent and only the courts can examine the financial records.

With a court order, the trustee can disregard a person’s last wishes or liquidate property bequeathed in a will. Neither does the legislation protect personal directives or power of attorney as they can be overturned by the courts, she added.