Legal Capacity, Decision-making and Guardianship

Project Overview

Cognitive, intellectual, mental health or other disabilities may affect the ability of some individuals to make decisions. Ontario has a comprehensive legal framework that applies in such situations, including mechanisms and standards for assessing capacity, the designation of substitute decision-makers, and the creation of enduring powers of attorney to enable individuals to plan ahead. In the 20 years since the development of Ontario’s laws in this area, there have been considerable demographic, social and legal changes, and during the LCO’s development of its frameworks for the law as it affects persons with disabilities and the law as it affects older persons, many individuals, experts and organizations identified a need for comprehensive review and reform of this area of the law. The LCO Board of Governors approved a project in the area of capacity and guardianship in the fall of 2011, and work began on the project in the summer of 2012. The project will apply both of the LCO frameworks to develop specific recommendations for reform.

The LCO is currently undertaking preliminary consultations in order to shape the parameters of this project and we have created an advisory group to assist the project head, Lauren Bates. In April 2013, the LCO issued a Call for Research Papers and commissioned several research papers. The final papers were released in early 2014.

If you are interested in being information about the progress of this project or being consulted during the project, get in touch with us.

See for the Final Report in the older adults project, A Framework for the Law as It Affects Older Adults. The Framework is also available as a separate document.

The Final Report in the project relating to persons with disabilities was released on December 10, 2012. 


Project Documents

Call for Papers - April 2013

Commissioned Papers


Project Scope - April 2013



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Completed Projects


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