Questions regarding Ontario’s Public Guardian

Attached is the content of an email sent to the Attorney General of Ontario on September 16, 2015. No answer has been received.

I am finding the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) appears to operate in without clearly defined policies, procedures and regulations. The specific area of concern is in relation to Section 3 counsel. The PGT must hire Section 3 counsel for the incapable person – but once hired they seem to lend the entire weight of the government to Section 3 rather than protecting the integrity of the Substitute Decision Act and as a result ALL incapable persons in Ontario.

I recently wrote the PGT regarding my mothers Section 3 counsel billings. Specifically is it reasonable for Section 3 counsel bill my mother to prepare an affidavit and Property Management Plan for Bank of Montreal?

The answers I received suggest that the PGT has no policy on the matter. That said it seems to me that to prepare an affidavit and Management plan (as opposed to swearing them) requires the person to be a client. The interests of the bank and my mother are different. The bank is a profit making organization. My mother, or those who act for her, may want to get the most value for money. Acting for my mother and the bank at the same time seems to create opportunities for conflict of interest.

The bank is also not very clear as to how it’s very vaguely defined fee structure would apply. I have calculated fees as high as $239,000 over 5 years. BMO and the PGT have been asked repeatedly to clarify the fees. No answer has been forthcoming.

One are of concerns is that when the bank charges 3% when it takes asset in for management, 3% on top of any disbursements and an annual management fee of 0.6%. In the case of real property they could charge 3% of the value of the property to take it in, 0.6% management fee AND the 3% disbursement fee if they hire a property manager to carry out the physical management. That seems like double dipping to me.

Investment fees are similarly unclear. They do not define what constitutes investment advice ie is placing money in a money market fund investment advice? Does it apply only to equities? What is not unclear is the fees $8000/year minimum.

It is unclear how the Public Guardian defines best interest of the incapable person and unclear how they oversee Section 3 counsel.

What appears to be lacking is policy and regulation – and unless this is addressed thousands of people will fall into a policy black hole.

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This entry was posted in Attorney General, BMO, Law Reform, Legal issues, Public Guardian, Section 3 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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