Removal of a POA or Guardian

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Section 33(1) of the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA) outlines that Power of Attorneys /Guardians hold personal liability for any damages (money awarded for being wronged or for suffering loss) that result from a breach (violation) of duty. What does this mean?

Having personal liability means that you are personally responsible (accountable) for mistakes you make. In the context of being a POA or Guardian, this means that you are responsible for your actions in your role as a POA or guardian. If any loss of property (e.g. home, money, etc.) occurs due to specifically your actions, you will be personally responsible for paying any loss of money. Similarly, guardians/POAs will be held responsible for any action that puts an elder into harm.

For this reason, POAs/Guardians need to act responsible in their role. A POA/Guardian who can show that they have acted in a reasonable, honest, and diligent manner may be given relief from their liability (protection from accountability partly or completely) as indicated by s.33(2) of the SDA.

When a POA/Guardian acts deliberately (intentionally) or negligently (with a lack of care) in using their role for the wrong purpose, they may be found criminally responsible for breaking s.331 of the Criminal Code.

Acting deliberately or negligently can be reason for a judge ordering the removal of guardian or power of attorney.


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