What is an Advance Directive?

An advanced directive is a legal document prepared and signed by a person in advance of a severe illness or injury, which will guide health care providers when providing health care and treatment. It may give instructions -- i.e., state what treatment or care someone wants to receive or not receive if he or she becomes unable to make medical decisions (for example, because he/she is unconscious or in a coma). A health care directive is also used to plan in advance for situations where a person is no longer mentally capable of making her or his own health care decisions.

Some advance directives will identify a person (a proxy) who would be responsible for making treatment decisions on behalf of the person if she or he becomes mentally incapable.

There are several different types of advance directives in Canada. Each province uses slightly different language, and very importantly, each has different laws for making and relying on these powerful documents.

 

Province Instruction Proxy
NU No Legislation
NWT
YK
BC
AB
SK
MB
ON
QC  
NS  
NB No Legislation
PEI
NL

 

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Resources

ONTARIO

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

 

ALBERTA

 

MANITOBA

 

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

 

NOVA SCOTIA

QUÉBEC

 

NEWFOUNDLAND

 

CANADA-NATIONAL

 

INTERNATIONAL

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