BC Legislation related to adult protection

BC legislation to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect or self-neglect.

Adult Guardianship Act (Part 3) - Support and Assistance for Abused and Neglected Adults

The Adult Guardianship Act (Part 3) provides Designated Agencies with authority  to receive reports and to intervene and investigate situations in which vulnerable adults are living at risk due to abuse or neglect. The Adult Guardianship Act applies to abuse, neglect or self-neglect in a public place, the adult's home, a care facility or any other place except a correctional facility.

Designated Agencies will respond to reports of suspected abuse or neglect of adults who are unable to seek support and assistance due to:

  1. physical restraint,
  2. a physical handicap that limits their ability to seek help, or
  3. an illness, disease, injury or other condition that affects their ability to make decisions about the abuse or neglect.

Adult Guardianship Act (Part 2) Statutory Property Guardians

Working in collaboration with the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) of BC, Designated Agencies have a role to protect the financial affairs of vulnerable adults who are incapable of managing on their own and have a need for assistance.  The Designated Agency will participate in the investigation to determine the need, be involved with assessing incapability, and if appropriate the Health Authority Designate will issue a Certificate of Incapability which authorizes the PGT to be Committee of Estate.

Adult Guardianship Act Guiding Principles 

The Adult Guardianship Act sets out Guiding Principles and a presumption of capability which govern all activities under the Act.

The Adult Guardianship Act is to be administered and interpreted in accordance with the following principles:

  • All adults are entitled to live in the manner they wish and to accept or refuse support, assistance or protection as long as they do not harm others and they are capable of making decisions about those matters.
  • All adults should receive the most effective, but the least restrictive and intrusive, form of support, assistance or protection when they are unable to care for themselves or their financial affairs.
  • The court should not be asked to appoint, and should not appoint, guardians unless alternatives, such as the provision of support and assistance, have been tried or carefully considered.

Adult Guardianship Act Presumption of Capability

The Adult Guardianship Act s. 3 provides that:

  • Until the contrary is demonstrated, every adult is presumed to be capable of making decisions about the adult’s personal care, health care and financial affairs.
  • An adult’s way of communicating with others is not grounds for deciding that he or she is incapable of making decisions about these matters.

Other legislation

Other legislation that may be used to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect or self-neglect may include:

Related articles

What is adult abuse & neglect?

Report adult abuse and neglect

First Nations ReAct