Sometimes adults who still have capacity would benefit from the help of a person they trust when making or communicating decisions about personal matters.
Adults can sign a form called a Supported Decision-Making Authorization. The adult who prepares this form is called the supported adult. The person who assists the supported adult is called the supporter. A supported adult can name up to three supporters in a Supported Decision-Making Authorization.
This arrangement may be helpful where:
- a capable adult faces difficult decisions and wants a supporter’s help in working through the decision-making process
- a capable adult has difficulty communicating in English and wants a supporter to help communicate their decisions to other people
- a capable adult has other communication difficulties
- a capable adult has mild disabilities
- a capable adult needs help for a little while due to a temporary condition
If you are considering a Supported Decision-Making Authorization and you have not yet completed a Personal Directive, you may also think about preparing a Personal Directive. A Personal Directive comes into effect when you lose capacity to make decisions about personal matters.
Making a Supported Decision-Making Authorization
There is no formal court process to make a Supported Decision-Making Authorization. The Supported Decision-Making Authorization form is available from the Public Guardian, either online or at one of their offices.
The supported adult and their supporter(s) must:
- agree to the Authorization, and
- sign the Authorization in front of a witness. (The witness must be an adult who is not named as a supporter or the supported adult and who did not sign the Authorization on behalf of the supported adult.)
The Authorization sets out what powers the supporter has. A supported adult can authorize a supporter to:
- access, collect or get information from any person that relates to the decision being made
- help the supported adult to access, collect or get information from any person that relates to the decision being made
- help the supported adult understand the information relating to the decision being made
- help the supported adult make a decision, or
- communicate or help the supported adult communicate the decision to another person.
Once the Authorization is complete, the supported adult and each supporter should keep a copy of it. The supported adult and the supporter(s) may need to show the Authorization to others as proof of the arrangement. The Authorization is not registered anywhere.
Ending a Supported Decision-Making Authorization
The supported adult can cancel an Authorization by completing a Termination of Supported Decision-Making Authorization form. The supported adult must have capacity in order to complete the termination form.
An Authorization automatically ends if one of the following happens:
- the supported adult’s capacity decreases and the court appoints a co-decision maker
- the supported adult loses capacity and the court appoints a guardian (if the supported adult does not have a Personal Directive), or
- the supported adult’s Personal Directive comes into effect.
For more information:
- CPLEA’s Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship booklet
- Government of Alberta: Supported Decision-Making
- Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee