A majority of Public Curator wards are seniors, and their number will be growing with the aging of the population. If they are inapt, that is, unable to look after themselves and manage their affairs, they are attributed legal representatives for that purpose. The Public Curator may be appointed if they have no family or friends or there is strife in the family despite the presence of an able and willing family member.
The Public Curator does not follow the incapable person and is not able to detect and report mistreatment, neglect, disrespect, or lack of services. Besides the absence of the Public Curator from day-to-day activities, operational deficiencies have been consistently noted and reported in the press.
- The Public Curator rarely consults its wards for decision-making as required by law.
- The Public Curator, by law, does not have custody of its incapable wards and leaves them to stay at home or, if unable, places them in public or private residences.
- It institutionalizes wards instead of providing home care services contrary to Minister of Health and Social Services priorities.
- It visits them at most once a year and many not all.
- The ward is abandoned to the mercy of the residence for care and residences bill for products and services sometimes never supplied.
- It doesn’t inventory property as required by law and there is no annual accounting of its administration to anybody. In many cases, valuable real estate is disposed against the will of wards and family.
When the Public Curator slips up there is no other resource to protect the incapable ward and when in the rare event that a relative or friend does appear, the Public Curator uses its internal firm of lawyers to defend itself against anyone acting for the benefit of the ward and legal fees are incurred by the good Samaritan. The Public Curator often wages war against wards and their families when its own law provides for the primacy of relatives.
Structural flaws are also inherent diminishing principles of good governance. There is a lack of transparency by misuse of confidentiality and effective accountability is neutralized by lack of any independent external oversight. Personal and financial information held by the Public Curator is deemed confidential and shrouded in a veil of secrecy and inaccessible which serves as an obstruction for obtaining information on abuse and alerting authorities. In that respect, these seniors are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.
The Association for the Defence of People and Property under Public Curatorship provides assistance to people who need advice and help on how to deal with the Public Curator.