The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee – How can it help?
The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (“OPGT”) is a corporation established under the Public Guardian and Trustee Act. The OPGT’s primary responsibility is to protect the rights and interests of incapable Ontarians who have no one else to assist them.
The OPGT can help in a variety of circumstances, and some of the roles it fulfills are summarized below.
Conducting Investigations: The OPGT will investigate when it receives information that an individual may be incapable and at risk of suffering serious financial or personal harm and no alternative solution is available. In some circumstances, an investigation may result in the OPGT being appointed temporary statutory guardian for the at-risk individual.
Managing Finances: The OPGT may be appointed as guardian of property for incapable persons who have no one else authorized to do so.
Managing Personal Care: On occasion, the court may grant the OPGT authority over one’s personal care. This may happen for the purpose of removing the individual from a harmful situation or removing access by an abuser. Such decision-making authority may be accompanied by the ability to make decisions about other areas of personal care, such as health care, residence, nutrition, hygiene and clothing.
Appointing a Lawyer: In capacity proceedings under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, and if ordered by the court, the OPGT appoints lawyers to act for parties to the proceedings who are alleged to lack capacity.
Capacity Assessment Resource: If a capacity assessment is needed, a list of assessors (by location) can be obtained from the Capacity Assessment Office of the OPGT by calling 416-327-6766 or 416-327-6424 or toll-free at 1-866-521-1033.
Acting As Litigation Guardian: The OPGT may be appointed as litigation guardian of last resort, where there is no suitable alternative, for a person involved in litigation who lacks capacity to instruct a lawyer or make settlement decisions.
Participating in Accountings: The OPGT reviews accounts when attorneys for property, guardians of property and/or estate trustees apply to the court to pass accounts for their administrations, and any of the OPGT’s concerns/objections about the accounts are provided to the applicant so they can be addressed. Unresolved objections may ultimately be determined by the court.
Administering Estates: In certain instances when a person dies and there is no one who can administer the estate, the OPGT will apply to be appointed estate trustee.
As you can see, there are various protections in place for incapable persons in Ontario. The OPGT’s website is an excellent resource for more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/office-public-guardian-and-trustee.
Thanks for reading and have a great day,