What If #FreeBritney Happened in Quebec?

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The American singer Britney Spears recently made headlines for trying to break free from the control that her father has been exercising over her business and her personal life for the past 13 years. 

Is a similar control possible in Quebec? In Quebec, the law includes several measures that not only protect vulnerable people but also prevent abuse. In addition, a new law will create more protections for vulnerable people starting in June 2022. 

Protective Supervision in Quebec versus California 

There are currently three kinds of protective supervision in Quebec: 

  • Advisors can be appointed when adults are slightly unable to manage their property. 
  • Tutorship is put in place when adults are temporarily or partly unable to take care of themselves or their property. 
  • Curatorship, the most drastic type of protective supervision, is put in place when adults are totally or permanently incapacitated. 

In 2008, a “conservatorship” was placed on Britney Spears according to California law. This “conservatorship” started as a temporary measure but was made permanent less than a year later. If Britney lived in Quebec, it would be as if she had been under tutorship and then under curatorship. 

Measures to Prevent Abuse 

In Quebec, the law includes several protective measures designed to prevent the kinds of abuse that Britney alleges she suffered, regardless of the kind of protective supervision put in place. 

Here are some examples when an adult is under tutorship: 

  • Medical and psychosocial evaluations of the person needing protection must generally be done before presenting the case to a judge. This ensures that the person’s level of autonomy and needs are considered. 
  • The person has a right to be heard and a right to a lawyer. The person can challenge the request for tutorship. 
  • At a meeting of relatives, spouses, or friends, three people are named to a tutorship council to supervise the tutorship. 
  • It is possible to change the tutorship at any time in response to changes in the protected person’s situation or to end the tutorship by getting new medical and psychosocial evaluations. The tutorship is re-evaluated every 3 years. 

Tutorship as of June 2022 

In June 2022, a new law takes effect. There will only be tutorship because curatorship and advisors will be abolished. 

The philosophy behind this new law is to emphasize the autonomy, the wishes, and the preferences of the person under tutorship. The goal is to adapt the tutorship to each person’s situation. 

New protective measures to prevent abuse will be put in place: 

  • The person under tutorship will be able to ask to be re-evaluated at any time. 
  • The medical and psychosocial evaluation reports will have to follow a government model to ensure quality standards. 
  • Notaries will have to take several hours of training about putting tutorships in place.