Adult Capacity and Decision Making Act

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On December 28th the Adult Capacity and Decision Making Act will replace the Incompetent Persons Act. This week, in preparation for the act coming into force, Governor-in-Council approved the regulations.  

The regulations detail who can carry out capacity assessments, how they are to be conducted and the what is to be included in the report. 

Physicians and psychologists will be able to do capacity assessments when the act comes into force. Other health professionals, specifically, nurse practitioners or registered nurses, occupational therapists, and social workers will be able to conduct these assessments once they have completed the specified training.

Training will be developed in 2018 with the assistance of a capacity assessment coordinator being hired by the Public Trustee’s Office.

The Public Trustee will maintain a registry of all representation orders under this act. Under the Incompetent Persons Act, there was no place to register orders. The Public Trustee will have the authority to receive and investigate written complaints so that anyone can report a guardian’s or representative’s failure to act within the law.

Government has taken steps to remove cost as a barrier for Nova Scotians who make applications under this legislation. Nova Scotians who want a capacity assessment under this act can apply for help with the cost. The Nova Scotia Public Trustee Office will review applications to determine eligibility for financial assistance.

Legal Aid will be available to adults who are or could be subject to a representation order; families that meet a financial means test might also qualify for Legal Aid service.

Information on the act and the duties and responsibilities of representatives, including guides and video resources, is available on the website of the Public Trustee’s OfficeClick here for the regulations.

Two public information sessions are planned, and a video of the presentation will be available on Youtube beginning in January. The first session is Jan. 29, at 9 a.m. at Keshen Goodman Library; the second is Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at Woodlawn Public Library in Dartmouth.

Guardianship orders made under the Incompetent Persons Act continue as representation orders when the new law comes into effect on December 28th.  Guardians become representatives, and will have the same duties and obligations as new representatives under the new law.  A key change is that representatives can only make decisions for the adult that the adult cannot make for themselves. If an existing guardian knows or believes that the adult can make decisions in some areas, that guardian/representative must return to court to have the order reviewed. Information about how to have the order reviewed is provided in the “Guide on Applying for a Review of Adult Guardianship/Representation” available on the Public Trustee Office’s webpage.