Commencing an Application under the Substitute Decisions Act
A recent decision by Brown, J. heralded good news for the Estates Bar.
The applicant wished to issue a guardianship application under sections 22 and 55 of the SDA in the Toronto Region Estates Office. The guardianship application was in respect of her son who was injured in a car accident in 1997. The applicant and her son lived together in Bradford, Ontario. The applicant’s counsel wrote to Brown J. asking for directions as to whether the application could be commenced in Toronto.
In his Endorsement [not yet reported], Brown, J. noted that an informal policy existed in the Toronto Region Estates Office that it would only accept applications under the SDA where the supposed incapable person resided in Toronto notwithstanding the fact that no statute or rule imposed such a limitation. In fact, Rule 13.1.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a “proceeding may be commenced in any court office in any county named in the originating process” unless a “statue or rule requires the proceeding to be commenced, brought, tried or heard in a particular county.”
Brown, J. noted that neither the SDA nor any statute or rule specified the place of commencement for an application under the SDA. Brown, J. therefore held that the applicant was permitted to commence her guardianship application in Toronto and directed the Toronto Region Estates Office to accept her application for issuance.
With this decision in hand, it is now possible for counsel to commence a guardianship application where they see fit and as appropriate. This is good news indeed.