With the recent decision in Earl v. Gillesse2011 ONCA 614, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that Ontario’s Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 (“SDA”) grants the Court the authority to appoint a “time limited” guardian of the person.

In Earl v. Gillesse, the applicant appealed the dismissal of her motion seeking appointment as the time limited guardian of the person of her adult daughter (who has Downs Syndrome and is autistic) so that she would have the authority to have necessary medical assessments completed.   The motions judge held that the Court had no authority to make a “time limited” guardianship appointment, and treated the motion as an application for permanent guardianship and dismissed motion. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, and overturned the motion’s judge’s decision. The Court of Appeal held that the Court is granted such power to appoint a “time limited” guardian of the person under section 58(2)(a) of the SDA, which provides that an order appointing a guardian of the person may “make the appointment for a limited period as the court considers appropriate.” The Court accordingly held that the parties in the matter were at liberty to initiate or continue proceedings for time limited or permanent guardianship, as may be appropriate. 

While time limited guardianship of property was not considered in Earl v. Gillesse, section 25(2)(a) of the SDA similarly provides that an order appointing a guardian of property may “make the appointment for a limited period as the court considers appropriate.”

While we rarely see applications for time limited guardianship appointments before the Court, having the Ontario Court of Appeal’s (albeit brief) consideration on this point is certainly useful direction for estates practitioners. 

Thanks for reading. All the best for the weekend.

Saman M. Jaffery – Click here for more information about Saman M. Jaffery