250 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
cognitive changes, lengthy trial delays (particularly for people with diminishing
capacity), and vulnerability to abuse and undue influence.
The Honourable Thomas Cromwell noted that “transformative justice is
urgently needed”. He questioned why access to justice is not improving in
Canada despite decades of excellent work developing reports that identify
the problems. He suggested that one answer is that our leaders do not recognize
the need for change. He spoke to a need for public and political
desire for change. He challenged the diverse groups working on access to
justice to come together to create an access to justice movement that will
be a “unified force for change”.
Day two of the conference featured a panel discussion on human rights
for people living with dementia, moderated by Emily Clough, BCLI board
member and a partner at Clark Wilson LLP.
• Mario Gregorio, a person living with dementia, shared his experiences
of living with dementia, noting that people living with
dementia need to know their rights.
• Jane Meadus, a lawyer with Ontario Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
(Toronto), explained that people living with dementia face
misconceptions about capacity, paternalism, improper informed
consent and discrimination in accessing health care. People living
with dementia often lack access to legal advice.
• Barbara Lindsay, Director of Advocacy and Education for
the Alzheimer Society of B.C., outlined the services they provide
to people living with dementia, including dementia education,
resources and support groups. Lawyers and notaries can better
help people with dementia by taking their time during meetings,
having patience and creating an accessible and supportive
• Laura Track, a lawyer with the Community Legal Assistance Society,
described her office’s Human Rights Clinic and the B.C.
Human Rights Tribunal’s efforts to support representative complainants
who may have capacity issues.
Anne-Isabelle Cloutier, the recipient of the Gregory K. Steele, Q.C. Prize
for best paper on an elder law topic (sponsored by Clark Wilson LLP), presented
her paper on the potential of creating guardianship tribunals in
Canada. She argued that the current guardianship regime often fails to
uphold the presumption of capacity and show adequate respect for individual
autonomy, and instead defers to medical and psychosocial assessments
which fail to recognize the rheostat nature of capacity. She explained that a