Powers of Attorney

Proxies and Living Wills

   
As long as you are conscious and competent, your expressed wishes concerning your care and treatment will guide doctors and other professionals. But if decisions need to be made when you are unconscious or incompetent, either temporarily or permanently, two alternative sources of direction can serve.
   
The one that is legally binding in most parts of Canada is a proxy directive (called by different names in the various provinces and territories). In it you formally authorize at least one person to speak and act in your place, when choices have to be made about your care. Usually there is an official government document which needs to be filled in and witnessed.
   
The second source of guidance is an instructional directive (popularly known as a "living will"). These are not legally binding except in Quebec, where an Advance Medical Directive has compelling force.
   
Sometimes the two kinds of directive are combined in one form.


PROXY DIRECTIVES


ALBERTA

Document Name = Personal Directive
Role Name = Agent
Form = www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/opg-personal-directives-form-opg5521.pdf


BRITISH COLUMBIA

Document Name = Representation Agreement
Role Name = Representative
Help & Info Source = www.nidus.ca (Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, Tel. 604-408-7414 or 1-877-267-5552)


MANITOBA

Document Name = Health Care Directive
Role Name = Proxy
Form = www.gov.mb.ca/health/livingwill.html


NEW BRUNSWICK

Document Name = Power of Attorney for Personal Care
Role Name = Attorney for Personal Care, or Donee
Help & Info Source = www.legal info legale.nb.ca/en/powers_of_attorney


NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

Document Name = Advance Health Care Directive
Role Name = Substitute Decision Maker
Booklet and Form = www.swsd.gov.nl.ca/seniors/pdf/ahcd_booklet.pdf


NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Document Name = Personal Directive
Role Name = Agent
Booklet = www.hss.gov.nt.ca/sites/default/files/personal_directives_act.pdf


NOVA SCOTIA

Document Name = Personal Directive
Role Name = Delegate
Booklet and Form = www.novascotia.ca/just/pda/_docs/PersonalDirectiveLongForm0311.pdf


NUNAVUT

www.nunavutcourts.ca/how-to/42-nunavut-courts/95-find-a-lawyer (there does not seem to
be a special form yet), or inquire from the Court of Justice Registry at 1-866-286-0546


ONTARIO

Document Name = Power of Attorney for Personal Care
Role Name = Substitute Decision Maker
Booklet and Form = www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/pgt/poa.pdf


PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Document Name = Health Care Directive
Role Name = Proxy
Help & Info Source = www.cliapei.ca/sitefiles/File/publications/PLA9.pdf, or
(HCD Form) www.cliapei.ca/sitefiles/File/publications/PLA14.pdf


QUEBEC

Document Name = Mandate for Incapacity
Role Name = Mandatary
Help & Info Source = www.curateur.gouv.qc.ca/cura/publications/dep_mandat_A.pdf


SASKATCHEWAN

Document Name = Health Care Directive
Role Name = Proxy
Booklet = www.plea.org/legal_resources/?a=305&cat=18&pcat=4


YUKON

Document Name = Representation Agreement
Role Name = Representative
Booklet = www.hss.gov.yk.ca/pdf/rep_agreement_booklet.pdf





INSTRUCTIONAL DIRECTIVES


   
If you have been able to designate one or more person(s) as your official agent(s), you will have had long and detailed conversations with them, but a written summary will be a useful reminder if the need arises. And if you have not been able to designate a proxy, a written (or videotaped) document can go some distance towards telling medical personnel about your desires regarding treatment or non-treatment.
   
Instructional directives can be written in doctor language or patient language or both.
   
Doctors typically think in terms of diagnoses and treatments, so living wills have traditionally tried to save them time by using the structure "If I have Condition X, you are permitted to apply Treatment Y but I would not want Treatment Z". Since wills like this require the writer to be given a crash course in crisis medicine, they are usually embedded within a long educational document. Here are two popular examples:

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics Living Will
www.jcb.utoronto.ca/tools/documents/jcb_livingwill.pdf


Your Life, Your Choices
www.mccl.org/document.doc?id=275


   
It could be said that with traditional wills, the writer is trying to get inside the doctor's head. With patient-language wills, the goal is to let the doctor get inside the writer's head. These wills try to make their readers see the writer as a real person, with particular hopes and fears and values - perhaps someone who reminds them of their quirky Aunt Jane or Uncle Bob. Here is an example of such a will:

Guidance for My Proxy Decision-Makers and My Care Providers
Living Will


   
The reason why living wills can be quite free-form, and can even use a document which comes from outside Canada (such as the second doctor-language will mentioned above), is that they are not legally binding in any part of Canada except Quebec. Nevertheless, medical personnel are often respectful of a patient's wishes, and appreciate being informed about them.

   
In Quebec, an official and personalized form called Advance Medical Directive can be obtained from the Regie de l'assurance maladie. To request your form, call the Regie at 418-646-4636 (Quebec City) or 514-864-3411 (Montreal) or 1-800-561-9749 (elsewhere in Quebec).