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Living Will

Advance Health Care Directive - Newfoundland and Labrador

Advance Health-Care Directive – Saskatchewan

Affidavit of Execution for Witness

Authority Regarding Medical Treatment - Nova Scotia

Continuing Power of Attorney for Personal Care – Ontario

Declaration of Incapacity by Designated Person

Declaration of Incapacity by Two Physicians

End-of-Life Treatment Clauses

Health Care Directive_Manitoba

Health-Care Directive - Prince Edward Island

Personal Directive - Alberta

Personal Mandate in case of Incapacity - Quebec

Representation Agreement with Limited and General Powers - BC

Representation Agreement with Limited Powers - BC

Preparation of your

Living Will

(Advanced Health Care Directive) 

Relevant Acts

Each province has it's own Act related to wills.


Why have a Will?

A Will determines who controls your estate after your death (the executor/trustee) and identifies the people that will receive your estate (the beneficiaries). If you die without a will (Intestate), the Courts will determine who is entitled to your estate and the amount of your estate that they will receive, based on the law.  If you have young children and you die without a Will, and your Spouse is also deceased or cannot act as parent to your children, the Court will also appoint someone to care for them. 

Although traditionally, a living will (also called an advance health care directive) is used to document decisions about your end-of-life chioces, they can also be used to establish legally binding directives that appoint a substitue decision maker, who will make decisions for you when you can't make them for yourself, and detail how the decision are to be made about your care. It is only used when an illness or injury leaves you unable to communicate your health care wishes yourself. You can use an advance health care directive to do two things:

1) To appoint a "substitute decision maker," to make decisions regarding health care for you.

2) To provide instructions to the "substitute decision maker" regarding your treatment and detail the general principals regarding the type of health care you want.


Preparation of you Living Will (Advance health Care Directive)

 An advance health care directive includes the following:

 a) A written statement of your health care wishes or instructions, which may be as simple as saying that if you will not recover to live independently, then you do not want care providers to use machines or medical treatments to keep you alive. You may wish to include more detailed instructions that explain specific treatments and illnesses, in which case, you should consult with your physician or other health care professionals to make sure you understand the options and that the directive is written clearly and accurately.

 b) Your signature on the health care directive. If you are unable to sign, it may be signed by someone else at your request and in your presence. However, the person signing cannot also be your substitute decision maker or their spouse.

 c) The signature of at least two witnesses. You must sign in the presence of two independent witnesses, neither of whom can be your substitute decision maker or their spouses.

 d) identification of a substitute decision maker. The name, address and phone number of your substitute decision makers, as well as their relationship to you. The substitute decision maker will also have to sign to indicate that they accept the appointment. You can appoint more then one substitute decision maker.   

Legal Assistance

Although you do not need a lawyer , you may wish to have a lawyer ensure the person wishing to prepare a living will is legally and mentally capable of doing so.

A lawyer can also be used to help resolve disagreements that might arise between the family and the substitute decision maker. In addition all this information, which is always included in a living will (or advance health care directive), you also have the option to include instructions as to how you want you body to be treated after death.


In Canada you must be 16 years or older to make an advanced health care directive. If you are under 16 years of age, special rules will apply. You must also be considered mentally competent. This means that you must be able to understand the information that is relevant to making a health, within reason.

Informal Arrangements

 In a medical emergency a physician does not need your consent to give treatment. If it is not an emergency, then they must obtain consent from you or someone on your behalf. If you are not capable of providing consent and you have not appointed a substitute decision maker, then a substitute decision maker is appointed for you. It will be one of the following people (in this order): your spouse; children; parents; siblings; grandchildren; grandparents; uncles and aunts; nephew and nieces; other relatives and, finally, if none of these people are available, then it till be the responsible health care professional who is providing your care.

 After making a Living Will

After you have completed the living will, you should give copies to your substitute decision maker, your family physician, family members and your lawyer.


Relevant Acts

The Health Care Directives and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act; Saskatchewan 
For information contact the Public Guardian and Trustee (306) 787-5424

Personal Directives Act; Alberta 
For information contact the Public Guardian (708) 427-7876

Representation Agreement Act; British Columbia
For information contact the Public Guardian and Trustee (604) 660-444

Substitute Decisions Act; Ontario
For information contact the Office of the Public Guardian (1-800) 366-0335

The Health Care Directives Act; Manitoba 
For information contact the Office of the Public Trustee (204) 945-2700

Law of Mandate, Articles; Quebec 
For information contact the Office of the Public Curator (1-800) 363-9020

Medical Consent Act; Nova Scotia
For information contact the Public Trustee (902) 424-7760

Advance Health Care Directives Act; NFL and Labrador
For information contact the PublicTrustee (709) 729-0850

Consent to Treatment and Health Care Directives; Prince Edward Island
For information contact the
Public Guardian (902) 368-6506

New Brunswick, The Yukon, The Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have substitute decision making laws but if you write a directive with explicit instructions, it will still apply. However, if you name a substitute decision maker they will have to apply for a court order to have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.

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