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A Personal Directive, or Health Care Directive or Power of Attorney for Personal Care, allows someone, the maker, to give a person of their choice the authority to make decisions about their personal care should they become mentally incapable, and to give directions to their health care providers about health care. Decisions about personal care involve things such as where one lives, what one eats, and the kind of medical treatment one receives.
How to use this document
For a Personal Directive to be valid, it must be in writing, dated, and signed by the person making it. In some provinces, witnesses are also required to sign the document. Our document will indicate whether or not witnesses are required according to the province where the person making it is residing.
The required age for the Personal Directive to be valid varies from province to province, and is indicated below:
This document does not allow decisions to be made about one's property or finances. If one wants to appoint an attorney for financial decisions, the document called "Power of Attorney for Property" should be used.
Certain people are not allowed to be given the authority to make personal care decisions on behalf of the person making this document. The person making the document should not appoint anyone who provides them with "health care or residential, social, training, or support services for compensation" unless that person is also their spouse, partner, or relative. For example, any of the following people should not be named if they are paid to provide services to the maker unless that maker is also related to the grantor or is the grantor's spouse or partner:
The person making this document may name more than one person to make personal care decisions on their behalf, but they are not required to do so. If there is more than one person involved in the maker's personal care decisions, one may wish to consider appointing more than one attorney. On the other hand, the maker may decide not to name more than one attorney if they are concerned about the possibility of disagreements, or if they believe that it would be too difficult for their caregivers to deal with more than one person.
Alberta: Personal Directives Act (RSA, c P-6)
British Columbia: Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act (RSBC 1996, c 181)
Manitoba: Health Care Directives Act (CCSM, c 27)
Newfoundland and Labrador: Advance Health Care Directives Act (SNL1995, c A-4.1)
Northwest Territories: Personal Directives Act (SNWT 2005, c 16)
Ontario: Substitute Decisions Act (SO 1992, c 30)
Prince Edward Island: Consent to Treatment and Health Care Directives Act (RSPEI 1996, c 10)
New Brunswick: Infirm Persons Act (RSNB 1978, c I-8)
Nova Scotia: Personal Directive Act (SNS 2008, c 8)
Saskatchewan: Health Care Directives and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act (SS 2015, c H-0.002)
Yukon: Care Consent Act (SY 2003, c 21)
Nunavut: Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (SNWT 1994, c 29)
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Other names for the document: Advance Directive, Health Care Directive, Living Will, Personal Directive Agreement, Power of Attorney for Personal Care
Country: Canada (English)