Ontario Ministry of Health reverses course on guardianship requirement for disabled woman
An Ontario judge on Wednesday ruled there was no legal basis for a province to require disabled women to get male guardians with the right to consent, instead of an adult male relative with the right to consent.
In an opinion article posted Wednesday in the National Post, Judge Thomas Walsh explained the government’s reversal of a ruling it made in 2010 on whether a woman cannot enter into a guardianship agreement with a relative who is incapable to consent.
Walsh ruled the ministry was not required to consider whether she was a minor because it did not want to deal with the underlying issue.
Under the previous ruling, a woman who had a disability and received services only from the government, was not required to obtain a guardian to agree to the terms of her disability plan.
The government reversed course in 2010 after a complaint was made, because at the time the government deemed the woman to be an adult.
“The ministry has always known that the case involved a woman who had been fully entitled to the assistance of the Ontario Disability Support Program …
(I was thinking that if they would make it as clear as they did in the last case why this case was different)
That the woman was entitled to benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Program and the government had the responsibility to review her eligibility if the need arose to protect her welfare through the appropriate authorities,” he wrote.
The ruling noted that the woman’s eligibility for ODSP and the fact that the woman had been enrolled in ODSP when her father passed away had no bearing on whether she was a minor.
“The question presented is whether a female applicant must obtain a guardian who is not the adult child of the applicant to be deemed a minor because she is a vulnerable adult who is receiving no other service because of her disability.”
The ruling noted that a person is “vulnerable” when they are unable to provide for their own care and support, or are in need of protection from abusive relationships, or when they require the assistance of others for basic living expenses.
“While the Court recognizes that persons who