banner banner

Equality Rights and Adult Guardianship Seminar – September 12

Blank Canvas: Equality Rights and Adult Guardianship
Date: Monday, September 12, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Seminar Overview

This seminar will discuss equality rights, including Charter considerations, procedural and evidentiary issues as well as law reform in the context of adult guardianship law. Specific topics to be addressed will include:

  1. The Nova Scotia Story of Law Reform to Bring Guardianship Law Out of the Dark Ages ~ Charter Challenge of the Incompetent Persons Act leading to the Adult Capacity and Decision Making Act.
  2. Procedural Safeguards in Ontario’s Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 and How They Work in Practice.
  3. Recent Developments in Equality Rights and How to Use These Developments in Adult Guardianship Cases.

Seminar Presenters

Marshall A. Swadron

Marshall practices with Swadron Associates, a seven-member firm in Toronto. He has served as counsel in all levels of Ontario courts, the Federal Court and in the Supreme Court of Canada. He also has considerable administrative law experience before tribunals, inquests and in applications for judicial review. His areas of practice include mental health and capacity law, guardianship and estate litigation, professional regulation, constitutional law and abuse of state power.

Marshall has been appointed amicus curiae before the Superior Court of Justice and in the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He is frequently appointed by the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee to represent alleged incapable persons in guardianship applications. His approach is to seek to enhance the autonomy and participation of vulnerable persons in their own decision making. He works hard to resolve difficult cases in a manner that is consistent with his clients’ wishes.

Marshall’s teaching experience includes numerous speaking engagements as well as thirteen years as an instructor in the Public Law section of the Bar Admission Course and Skills and Professional Responsibility Program that were part of the Law Society of Ontario’s lawyer licensing process. He served as co-chair of the Law Society of Ontario’s Administrative Law Practice Essentials Program from 2011 to 2017. He presently contributes to Ontario’s lawyer licensing process as author of three chapters on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and constitutional litigation in the barrister examination reference material.

Marshall is a member of the Advocates’ Society and the Toronto Lawyers Association and is the Chair of the Mental Health Legal Committee. He sits on the Legal Aid Ontario Mental Health Law Advisory Committee, the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid and the Ontario Estates Bench-Bar Liaison Committee. He is also Honorary Counsel to the Museum of Mental Health Services (Toronto) Inc.

Susanne Litke, Q.C.

Susanne Litke, Q.C. has practiced law in Nova Scotia for 26 years, most of her career as a clinical law instructor at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service in Halifax.  Recently retired from DLAS, she continues a small private practice providing ILA to victims of sexual assault through the NS Department of Justice.  Her areas of practice have been family law, child protection, youth criminal, human rights and poverty law.  She has a particular interest in law reform to address the rights and freedoms of marginalized populations.

Her background lies in social work having graduated from Dalhousie School of Social Work in the mid 80s and worked as a child protection worker for close to a decade.  She completed her Masters of Social Work and Bachelor of Laws at McGill University in a joint degree program.  She brings law and social work together in her approach to social justice, legal practice and previously, to the educational program at Dalhousie Legal Aid.

Susanne was lead counsel in the charter challenge to the NS Incompetent Persons Act in the Webb v. Webb case in 2016, which struck down the legislation to make way for reform.

Michael Collins

Michael Collins was born and raised in St. John’s, graduating from Memorial University of Newfoundland (B.A. (Pure Mathematics) (2006); B.Mus (Hons) (Violin Performance) (2006)) and from the University of Toronto (J.D., 2009). After articling at a large Toronto firm, he returned to St. John’s and worked as a research lawyer at the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal. He has since worked as Associate Counsel at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry and as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada with Justice Rowe, with whom he has published five articles on constitutional and administrative law, criminal procedure, and legal theory. Michael is currently an associate at Goodland Buckingham in St. John’s and appears regularly before all levels of court in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Moderator: Melissa Saunders

 Melissa Saunders is a partner with Tupman and Bloom LLP, a boutique estates, trusts and guardianship law firm with offices in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario. Melissa represents clients in both jurisdictions. Melissa is actively involved in the legal community and currently serves as the section Chair for CBA-NL, Wills, Estates and Trusts section. She is a certified Trusts and Estates Practitioner (TEP) and sits on the board of STEP Atlantic. In 2019, Melissa was co-counsel for the appellants in A.A. Re, 2019 NLCA 7, the leading decision in NL on the law of guardianship of the person. She regularly acts for clients in the context of uncontested and contested guardianship matters and is actively involved in disability rights initiatives involving substitute decision making.

Registration Fee:   $115.00 ($100.00 + HST)       HST # R108086463

Registration Includes:

  1. Seminar attendance and materials
  2. Snacks and refreshments (for in-person attendees)

To register for this seminar, please click the following link:

 For those who prefer to attend online, please note that all registrants will receive a confirmation email from Zoom containing the information you will need to join the seminar.


 CPD Credit:   3 hours