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.
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.
Elder and guardianship mediation is a new but growing area of practice. The work gives rise to complex ethical and practical questions in regard to maximizing the ability of the older person to participate in decisions about his or her future as well as ensuring age-based discriminatory assumptions and values are not affecting the decision-making process.
“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 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 strives to be a leader in law reform by carrying out the best in scholarly law reform research and writing and the best in outreach relating to law reform as they relate to older adults.