The Canadian Centre for Elder Law announced the release of its report “Elder and Guardianship Mediation” on January 12, 2010.
Generously funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia, this report is the first comprehensive and internationally comparative study of elder and guardianship mediation in Canada.
"Disputes needing resolution by families or systems are not new, nor indeed is the experience of growing old. However, the complexity of the challenges faced in the context of the exponentially aging Canadian population cannot be overstated and brings these issues together in a new way.
As older adults, their families, caregivers, health and legal systems and governments struggle with the new realities of the Canadian populace, new methodologies for discussion and dispute resolution are critical. This project examines the component parts of law, aging, social systems, capacity, ethics and societal pressures which make up the context for mediation specifically addressing elder law issues.
This important project provides the first, and much-need, Canadian in-depth study into the recent phenomena of elder and guardianship mediation"
Laura Watts, LLB
Principal, Elder Concepts
Former National Director, CCEL
The Elder and Guardianship Mediation Project arose from a recognition that the reform of adult guardianship and substitute decision-making legislation contained in the Adult
Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007 (commonly referred to as “Bill 29”) would impact significantly on mediation practices involving older participants which is already a new and growing area of practice.
As a person ages, mediation may be used to resolve disagreements in the context of estate planning, financial planning, organizing caregiving, developing a housing plan, discussing lifestyle choices—varied circumstances where an older person may involve family or other support people in problem-solving, especially where there is a desire to resolve a legal matter without going to court. Anticipated changes to guardianship law in BC include mandatory mediation in certain circumstances.
“As a province we are now at the precipice of proclaiming new legislation governing adult guardianship mediation and also of tremendous growth in the field of elder mediation, based on demographics,” says Executive Director Jim Emmerton. “In order to move forward practitioners, policy-makers and educators require access to comprehensive information on elder and guardianship mediation. This report fills that need.”
This large report includes consultation feedback from elder mediation leaders from across North America and compares lessons learned from key pilot guardianship mediation programs in other jurisdictions in the US and Canada.
The report provides expert guidance in support of changes that need to be made in the province of BC when the existing adult guardianship mediation provisions are proclaimed. The report concludes with recommendations for training and standards for elder and guardianship mediators, ethical standards for practice, mediation models and styles, as well as for the design and development of a court-connected adult guardianship mediation program in BC.
The report is available online at http://www.bcli.org/ccel/projects/elder-and-guardianship-mediation.
The Canadian Centre for Elder Law is dedicated to improving the lives of older adults in their relation to the law. The only organization of its kind in Canada, the Centre conducts research, outreach, and public legal education on elder law issues. The Centre is a division of the British Columbia Law Institute.