In the most basic terms, a child’s guardian makes all decisions, whether they are day to day decisions, or significant decisions, for a child until they become adults.

Under Alberta’s Family Law Act, a guardian is entitled to:

  • receive information and be consulted so that they can make decisions affecting the child; and
  • have enough contact with the child to be able to make decisions affecting the child.

A guardian has the responsibility to:

  • nurture a child’s development and guide the child toward adulthood; and
  • to ensure the child has “the necessaries of life” including medical care, food, clothing, and shelter.

It is not a guardian’s responsibility to financially support a child. This is the responsibility of a parent. However, a guardian is often a child’s parent as well.

A guardian has some or all of the following powers:

  • to make day-to-day decisions affecting the child;
  • to decide where and with whom the child is to live;
  • to make decisions about the child’s education, health, culture, and religion; and 
  • to give consent on behalf of the child.


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