Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian helps family members or close friends become legal guardians of individuals 18 years of age and older, who are unable to make decisions about their personal or health care.  The Public Guardian can become the guardian for the individual if the individual has no family members or friends who are willing, suitable or able to act as guardians.

People who need help with their decisions may have:

  • a long-term mental condition;
  • brain damage;
  • dementia; or
  • a serious mental illness.

If you want to become a legal guardian for a loved one, you will need to call the Office of the Public Guardian.  They will then do an assessment.  That means they will test your loved one’s ability to make decisions to find out if a legal guardian is necessary.  That assessment then goes to the courts.  The courts decide what kind of decisions the legal guardian may make, and grants an order giving specific powers to the guardian.

The kinds of decisions that the legal guardian may make include:

  • health care;
  • living arrangements;
  • employment;
  • social and recreational activities;
  • education;
  • day-to-day decisions;
  • consent to withhold life supports; and
  • consent to restraint and confinement.

The guardian does not make decisions about money.  A different person called a trustee makes those decisions.  For more information about trusteeship, contact the Department of Justice at (867) 767-9252, ext. 82447 or visit their website:

To learn more about guardianship, please call your local health centre and ask to speak to someone about guardianship. You can also call the Office of the Public Guardian at 867-767-9155, ext. 49460.