Hover over the images above to view a timeline of Nidus history in more detail.
The history of Nidus is inseparable from the history of the Representation Agreement Act and the reform of British Columbia’s adult guardianship legislation. The practice is evolving. We have identified some phases or stages in our record of highlights to date.
The reform of adult guardianship in British Columbia is unique – both in terms of the the process and the outcome.
Amendments to personal planning legislation came into effect September 1, 2011. Nidus celebrated by creating a special interactive website. Please click to join us at niduspersonalplanning.tumblr.com (The link is currently de-activated as the tumblr template we used is no longer supported and we are trying to retrieve and re-format as it has lots of great info and photos!!)
The Representation Agreement Act of BC was selected as one of eight best policies in the world by disability experts and a scientific advisory panel of the World Future Council. Nidus is recognized as the driving force behind the legislation and presented at an international conference in Vienna, January 22 and 23, 2012, attended by 240 stakeholders from 35 countries. View the Zero Project Conference presentation on The Right to Supported Decision Making in Canada.
The law reform was initiated by citizens and community groups and they have provided leadership through all phases including implementation and practice. Government often consults citizens and the community. However in this case, the community was a partner in the legislative drafting process. This proved a challenge for the community and for the traditional stakeholders. The community feels ownership of the legislation and its intent whereas policy makers are used to interpreting the law and managing its implementation with limited consultation. This tension is obvious at various stages of the process.
This history is rich, the lessons are informative, and the legacy is an achievement that we can all be proud of. With the Representation Agreement Act, British Columbia put into law, a different way to view capability than the traditional one. The new vision takes the individual into account and makes the need for support the priority not assessing mental incompetency. Representation Agreements are a legal model for supported decision making.
Nidus has taken this innovative legislation from a theoretical model and put it into practice. Nidus was established by citizens and community groups involved in the law reform to ensure the public had access to information and assistance with Representation Agreements.
Nidus serves as a living lab for other provinces and jurisdictions that want to reform their legislation and practice. Nidus is a repository for the history and for people’s experiences in the present.
3 Phases of Law Reform
Project to Review Adult Guardianship
Envisioning and developing a new legal framework
Through collaboration of the BC Association for Community Living and the Alzheimer Society of BC, and with funding from the Law Foundation, PRAG set up offices at the Community Legal Assistance Society.
Discussions about the problems with the existing legislation and ideas for a new framework resulted in a set of key principles. These principles and a new legal framework were outlined in a document called How Can We Help. The community and government each signed off on the document and the principles guided the development of the new legislation.
A Joint Working Committee of community and government drafted legislation. Four Acts were passed unanimously in the legislature in 1993: The Representation Agreement Act, the Health Care Consent and Care Facility Admission Act, the Adult Guardianship Act and the Public Guardian and Trustee Act.
After being passed, laws are subject to implementation. This can happen overnight or take much longer. During this period, policies, procedures and other details needed to make the law work are put in place.
Principles from How Can We Help
“Of all the opportunities I had as Attorney General, bringing in guardianship legislaiton was among the most exciting. It was truly significant and important for so many people now and on into the future. It was a great achievement. I was very proud and fortunate to have been a part of a wonderful group of people who make it happen.” Colin Gabelmann, former Attorney General of British Columbia. Reprinted from Transition Magazine 2001.
Community Coalition for the Implementation of Adult Guardianship Legislation
Developing regulations, policies, and procedures to enable practice of the new legislation
In 1993, the Community Coalition for the Implementation of Adult Guardianship Reform was formed and its Representation Agreement Task Group (RATG) became the policy and planning group for the Representation Agreement Act. purpose was to ensure that Representation Agreements would be accessible and would work for those most affected and vulnerable to adult guardianship.
The Representation Agreement Task Group conducted ground-up research to gather input from citizens for implementation of the Representation Agreement Act. Volunteers held 35 workshops 1993 to 1994.
An independent researcher analyzed the data and produced a report, which was presented at a provincial conference organized by the Community Coalition. Conference participants approved the report and directed the RATG to establish a Legislative Sub-committee to make recommendations to government for amendments, regulations, and policy.
The Legislative Sub-committee Report was presented to the Deputy Attorney General in July 1995. It sat on the shelf until 1999 when the community negotiated with government for proclamation.
About the Community Coalition
Principles of Implementation
Representation Agreements from the Ground Up: Report on Community Workshops
Representation Agreement Task Group Legislative Sub-committee Report
For more background:
Read newsletters published by the Community Coalition in Archives of the Newsletter Section.
Read an Interview with Christine Gordon who was coordinator of PRAG during the drafting of the legislation and volunteer coordinator of the Community Coalition. Christine reflects on the law reform process and the delay in proclamation of the new legislation. Summer 1998, Scrivener Magazine, pages 12 to 17.
Representation Agreement Resource Centre / Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre
Using the legislation according to its intent and principles
The RARC, established in 1995 by citizens and community groups involved in the law reform, hired an Executive Director and set up its office in 2000 to coincide with proclamation of the Representation Agreement Act. RARC produced publications, conducted presentations, and assisted people to make Representation Agreements with standard powers.
In 2002, RARC launched the first community-based Registry for personal planning documents – called the Nidus eRegistry.
RARC also provided input on behalf of citizens and community groups to government reviews and consultations on the legislation held since 2000.
Response to McClean Review, 2002
Response to Ministry of Attorney General, 2004
RARC organized a workshop for the 2005 Canadian Elder Law Conference on Representation Agreements and Supported Decision Making.
In 2006, RARC submitted recommendations for amendments to resolve outstanding issues and end the uncertainty created by government reviews. Some amendments stem from the July 1995 Legislative Sub-Committee Report of the RATG. This new proposal became the basis for the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, which was passed in 2007.
Charting the Course Ahead – full version
Charting the Course Ahead – summary.
In 2008, RARC changed its name to the Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre to reflect the broader legislative framework and our practice (no longer one law – the Representation Agreement Act – for personal planning).
Nidus brought community groups together to discuss the draft regulations (related to Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act, 2007) posted by the Ministry of Attorney General with submissions due December 2008.
Response to Regulations for Bill 29
Responses specific to Adult Guardianship Act Amendments.