In Ontario, a power of attorney for personal care is a legal document that allows you (the “grantor” or “donor”) to appoint someone else (the “attorney” or “decision-maker”) to make decisions about your personal care and medical treatment if you become incapable of making those decisions yourself.
This legal arrangement ensures that your wishes and preferences regarding your healthcare and personal well-being are respected and followed when you are unable to express them.
Here are some key points to understand about the power of attorney for personal care in Ontario:
- Legal Authority: The Substitute Decisions Act (SDA) of Ontario governs the power of attorney for personal care. It outlines the rules and procedures for creating, implementing, and managing this document.
- Decision-Making Authority: The attorney appointed under the power of attorney for personal care has the authority to make decisions related to your health, medical treatments, living arrangements, nutrition, hygiene, and other personal care matters. They are obligated to act in your best interests, taking into account your known wishes, beliefs, and values.
- Capacity Assessment: The power of attorney for personal care only comes into effect when a capacity assessor determines that you are incapable of making personal care decisions. This assessment is typically conducted by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a physician.
- Selecting an Attorney: You have the freedom to choose any capable adult as your attorney for personal care. It is essential to select someone you trust, who understands your values and preferences regarding personal care, and who is willing to take on the responsibility. You can also appoint more than one attorney, either to act jointly (making decisions together) or to act in succession (one attorney takes over if the other becomes unavailable or unable to act).
- Specific Instructions: You can include specific instructions in your power of attorney for personal care document regarding your preferences for medical treatments, end-of-life decisions, religious beliefs, and any other personal care matters. Your attorney is required to follow these instructions to the best of their ability.
- Communication with Healthcare Providers: Your attorney will work closely with your healthcare providers and professionals to gather information, understand your medical condition, and make informed decisions. They have access to your medical records and can consult with healthcare providers to make the best decisions on your behalf.
- Revocation and Termination: You can revoke or terminate the power of attorney for personal care at any time as long as you have the legal capacity to do so. It is advisable to review and update this document periodically, especially if there are changes in your personal circumstances or relationships.
To create a power of attorney for personal care in Ontario, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer or a legal professional who specializes in estate planning or elder law. They can guide you through the process, ensure that the document is properly drafted, and help you understand the legal implications of this arrangement.
It is important to bear in mind that the “Power of Attorney’ is a document or piece of paper, while the person selected is your “Attorney”.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker