The central issue in the hearings has been what to pay for 24/7 live-in care, if it was provided by a guardian. By the time of the hearing Caroline had provided for about 30 months of live-in care.
At the hearing Caroline was applying for guardianship based on two plans, a guardianship plan and a management plan that together would “honour our mothers wish known to all, to remain in her own home … this wish is well within my mother’s financial means and can be accommodated with the guardianship and management plans”. The guardianship plan stated: “I would begin to employ, part time at first, in home third party care”.
In third-party in-home care is expensive. If it is provided by third-party Personal Service Workers it is $26.75/hour plus GST ($725/day or $264,792 annually). SunLife in a document on in home care costs suggests 24 hour live-in care cost between $19 and $33.00/hour is the range in Ontario. While the Ontario Ministry of Labour states that foreign care workers must be pays a minimum of $11.00/hour and can work a maximum of 48 hours per week. For 24/7 care 3.5 workers are needed. Annual costs $96,380.
In the management plan, Caroline and I had used the annual amount everyone agreed to in 2013. That was substantially less that the lowest of the rates above.
If everyone agreed on the amount why wasn’t it implemented in 2013? Michael insisted on NOT paying Caroline fairly for the first 4 months she provided 24/7 care. That financially advantaged him and put my mothers wish to remain at home at risk. I pointed this out at the time. He would not remove the clause.
A year and a half later Michael removed the 4 months of low pay when it benefited Andrew but also required the same pay to apply to Andrew for care at Sand Lake and care at his home. Mrs. Childs wanted to live at Sand Lake. It was worth more to her than care at Andrew’s. This too was never implemented.
The Judge and Michael say we refused a reasonable pay for 24/7 care offer made in late January 2014. The amount was fine but that wasn’t the full agreement. That agreement also required Mrs. Childs to be placed, and the cost of care homes was capped at the CCAC rates. CCAC rates cap costs as approximately $2,500/month while retirement homes range up to 8,000/month for rooms and $13,000/month. Mrs. Childs could easily afford every option but for some reason, Andrew and Michael wanted care cost restricted. (this will turn up in the Guardianship Plan the Judge approved in December)
To ensure that compensation for care was an issue when Andrew and Michael filed their application for guardianship they did not seek compensation for care BUT asked the court to award Andrew the same rate as Caroline if she asked. Caroline had provided more than twice the care anyone else had – and all of it at Mom’s home, requiring Caroline to be away from her home, husband and friends and unable to work. Again Michael benefited financially from this:
- they would receiving equivalent compensation if Caroline’s efforts are successful
- they would receive legal costs, and a larger estate if she was not successful
This heightened the conflict and extended legal costs, around an issue on which there had been fundamental agreement as to the annual amount.
Prior to the June 2015 hearing, there were a series of “settlement” discussions. Michael’s position hardened, though it was him that had proposed the amount for care agreed to in 2013 he would agree to an amount that was 88% less than what he thought was reasonable. That said he had no problems when BMO’s fees simply to manage money were estimated to be very similar to care costs.
Section 3 was particularly obtuse, confounding guardianship with 24/7 care at every turn. While at that same time stating that Caroline should not be the caregiver but the manager of care.
On October 9, 2015 there was a further change – Michael now agreed his April 2013 rate for care was reasonable – but only if caroline was not the guardian. Section 3 proposed that the family law provisions of allowed that level of compensation – when the Substitute Decision Act specifically allows it (contrarty to Section 3’s representations in June) and the Public Guardian had approved a management plan that used the April 2013 amount.