What is incapacity?
A person is incapable when they are unable to care for themselves or manage their affairs.
Incapacity may be declared due to a mental or degenerative illness, stroke, intellectual disability, head injury or weakened state as a result of old age that alters the mental faculties or physical ability to express one’s wishes.
What is meant by need for protection?
Under the law, the need for protection exists when an incapacitated person must be assisted or represented in the exercise of their civil rights. This need may arise from the person’s isolation, the duration of their incapacity, the nature or state of the person’s affairs, etc.
These are the first steps to take when someone close to you is vulnerable and needs protection:
The first thing you need to do is inform the other family members or friends of the person’s vulnerable state and try to agree on what needs to be done. Insofar as possible, the person must be involved in the process. You must then contact the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) or the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) in the territory where the person lives, where you will find the help you need to have him examined and, if necessary, obtain the medical and psychosocial assessment reports confirming his incapacity and need for protection. The family physician and the CISSS or the CIUSSS are the best placed to help you if the person still lives at home. If he lives in a residence or is hospitalized, the attending physician and a healthcare professional at the facility will perform the necessary assessments.
Incapacity does not always mean that legal protective supervision will be instituted. There are other less restrictive solutions for the person concerned and their immediate circle. Once protective supervision is instituted, the protected person’s rights are exercised by someone else and their freedom is limited. Clearly this is a decision with far-reaching consequences for the person concerned.
It is not necessary to institute protective supervision simply to obtain or renew a health insurance card or to submit an application for waiver of housing costs for a person who is mentally incapacitated. Instituting protective supervision is a serious step that restricts the rights of the person concerned.