Human Rights Day was an appropriate time to recognize Alberta’s new Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, according to Central Alberta Diversity Association.
The association’s Rights Learning Theatre group intends to teach the public about what the new act means for people with developmental disabilities.
“It seems to me this new act is really trying to encompass human rights and look at rights for persons with developmental disabilities,” said Lucinda Sheardown, public educator project co-ordinator with the association, during her presentation at a Human Rights Day celebration at the Hub centre on Thursday afternoon.
About 11,000 adults in Alberta have a public or private guardian.
The new act replaced legislation that was 30 years old and provides a range of assistance rather than an all-or-nothing approach to guardianship.
It helps Albertans who require assistance to remain as independent as possible and provides more choice and safeguards for protection.
The theatre group has written a fun play to explain the rights of people under the act. The play will be ready for its debut in February.
Sheardown said there are four important changes to the act, like presuming adults are able to make decisions until the contrary is determined.
“We don’t look at someone and just judge them automatically and make a decision for them.”
Under the act, the inability to communicate verbally doesn’t mean a person can’t make decisions, for example a person can communicate with sign language. Guardians are also required to help in the least restrictive and intrusive way and must base decisions on what the adult would want.