Getting help with decision-making is governed by the Alberta Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA).This is a law that came into force on October 30, 2009. It replaced the 30 year old Dependent Adults Act (DAA).
The old DAA was very different from the AGTA. Under the DAA, decision-making ability (or “mental capacity”) was an all-or-nothing concept: a person was either capable or not. The AGTA, on the other hand, is based on the idea that capacity is a continuum – a person may only need a bit of help or may still be able to make some decisions, but not all. Similarly, a person’s capacity may change over time. For more about understanding capacity, see here.
As a result of this new view about capacity, the AGTA enables a variety of support and substitute decision-making options, depending on individuals’ needs. The goal is to keep the person as independent as possible and intrude on them as little as possible, given the circumstances.
There are two kinds of decisions covered by the AGTA: “financial” matters and “personal” matters.
- A financial matter is properly defined as any matters relating to the acquisition, disposition, management or protection of property. You could say it relates to dealing with something you can own (including money), whether obtaining it, getting rid of it, handling it or keeping it safe.
- A personal matter is defined as any issue, except a financial matter, relating to the person of an adult, including:
- health care;
- where, with whom and under what conditions to live;
- with whom to associate;
- social activities;
- participation in any educational, vocational or other training;
- employment; and
- any legal proceedings that do not relate primarily to the financial matters.
With respect to getting help with personal decisions, the AGTA offers several new options. However, with respect to financial decision making, there are still only limited options.
For more information on the AGTA, please see this booklet of over 100 Frequently asked Questions about the Alberta Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act.
The above information relates to Alberta law only. For laws in provinces other than Alberta, please see our page of