Law governing those with intellectual deficits needs change: advocates

The Canadian Press
October 16, 2017
By The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — A national advocate says Nova Scotia’s proposed law that aims to give more autonomy to those with intellectual or cognitive disabilities would likely face a constitutional challenge if it is passed without changes.

Michael Bach, of the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion in Society, told a legislature committee that the Adult Capacity and Decision Making Act needs a legal process for people to have decision-making supporters appointed to assist them.

Bach says the new law, which replaces the Incompetent Persons Act, only provides for a court appointed “representative,” which he says means people will be making decisions on behalf of those who need help.

Bach says that runs counter to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it takes away the liberty and authority of those who may be capable of making a decision, but simply need some help to do so.

Other presenters to the law amendments committee complained the government consultation process was rushed, and said more time is needed to ensure the new legislation meets the needs of those it affects.

In June 2016, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court gave the province until the end of this year to enact a new law to conform with the Charter of Rights.

Despite the reservations of the presenters, the committee voted to send the bill back to the legislature without amendments.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017

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