Financial Incapability Assessment – Adult Guardianship Act

The Limits and Conditions on RPN Practice: Financial Incapability Assessment – Part 2.1 of the Adult Guardianship Act come into effect December 1, 2014.

What are the changes to the Certificate of Incapability Process?

Health authorities issue certificates of incapability (a quasi-judicial process) for adults who they find to be incapable of managing finances, where the adult does not have an appointed substitute decision maker for managing finances or the substitute is not complying with their duties. Certificates of incapability are typically issued on the basis of a medical examination and an assessment of the adult’s functioning with respect to financial decision making. Issuing a certificate of incapability is a significant decision because it results in a loss of independence and autonomy for the adult, as the Public Guardian and Trustee becomes Committee of Estate/Statutory Property Guardian to manage the adult’s finances.

The Certificate of Incapability process under the Patients Property Act was investigated by the Ombudsperson in her February 2013 report “No Longer Your Decision: British Columbia’s Process for Appointing the Public Guardian and Trustee to Manage the Financial Affairs of Incapable Adults.” The Ombudsperson made 28 recommendations directed at health authorities, the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health to enhance the fairness of the process of issuing certificates of incapability. Many of the recommended changes will be brought into force on December 1, 2014 under Part 2.1 of the Adult Guardianship Act and Regulations. The new framework will provide significant procedural protections for the adult, including enhanced notifications, standards for conducting assessments, and clarity on what factors must be considered prior to issuing a certificate of incapability.

As part of the new legislative framework, the Statutory Property Guardianship Regulation, which requires that an assessment include both a medical and functional component, sets out which health care providers, in addition to physicians, are qualified to conduct the functional component of the assessment to determine incapability for managing financial affairs. Several disciplines are listed as health care providers that may be qualified, provided they meet the standards, limits and conditions set by their respective regulatory colleges. These professions include:

  • registered nurses and nurse practitioners
  • registered occupational therapists
  • registered psychiatric nurses
  • registered psychologists
  • registered social workers

Which RPNs can conduct a functional assessment?

Any RPN that has met the CRPNBC limits and conditions, subject to their employer’s policies, may conduct the functional component of the assessment to determine incapability for managing financial affairs.

Can RPNs issue certificates of incapability?

A health authority may designate specific people as having the authority to issue certificates of incapability on behalf of the health authority; this person can be an RPN.

What can you do to get ready if this is part of your role?


Contact CRPNBC’s Practice Consultant by email at [email protected] or call 604.931.5200 or 1.800.565.2505.


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