Ontario Ministry of Health reverses course on guardianship requirement for disabled woman without family members.
Ministry of Health, in response to the recommendations from Justice and Human Rights Committee, has reversed Ministry of Health policy and will allow the woman, who suffers from chronic disability and multiple disability, to be the custodian of her own guardianship.
“We have been waiting for the ministry to come back to us and they are back to us,” said her lawyer, Richard Nadel. “There is no question that she is the one who has the power and the ability to make decisions about her own lives.”
The ministry said they decided to reverse the policy, which was introduced in 2007 to allow a pregnant woman without a spouse or children be the sole guardian of her own property while her parents or spouse could make medical decisions.
The woman’s family was informed Monday and they have been notified of the decision as well.
The woman was born with a condition called “multiple congenital anomalies,” which has left her with physical limitations and problems dealing with her disability. The woman has a severe form of epilepsy and has to use a wheelchair. She has been denied access to life-sustaining medical equipment and treatment because of her disability.
“It can be a challenge for some people to understand the concept of mental capacity,” said John Haffner, Toronto-based lawyer and expert in guardianship law. “A person with multiple disabilities can be the custodian of their own guardianship, while the other person’s guardian retains the ultimate powers and control over the person’s estate and the decisions made regarding it.”
He said the woman’s wishes would probably be the most important factor in how the province would respond — as would be her capacity within the mental capacity of another capable person.
“I think it would be more an issue of