Help with personal decisions

Co-decision-maker authority allows you to assist an adult who needs help with making personal decisions on their own. The co-decision-maker and adult work through decisions together – and the adult makes the final decision.

Who needs a co-decision-maker

Adults who need a co-decision-maker

  • are 18 years of age or older
  • have had a capacity assessment completed that indicates they need a co-decision-maker
  • need help understanding information
  • need guidance and support to make personal decisions
  • less intrusive and less restrictive options are not likely to be effective
  • do not have an enacted personal directive or a court-appointed guardian
  • do not have a court-appointed trustee

The adult decides:

  • if they want a co-decision-maker
  • who the co-decision-maker is
  • if they want an additional co-decision-maker – and who that is
  • when to stop having a co-decision-maker

Minors who will need a co-decision-maker

  • will be 18 years old in the next year
  • will need guidance and support to make personal decisions after they become an adult

If you want the court order to go into effect when the minor turns 18, you must apply as soon as possible after the minor turns 17.

Just because someone disagrees with an adult’s decisions does not mean they do not have the ability to make their own decisions. If they fully understand the impact of a decision, they’re probably capable of making it.

Types of decisions

Co-decision-makers can help with personal, non-financial decisions about:

  • healthcare
  • where to live
  • who to associate with
  • participation in educational, vocational and other training
  • participation in social activities
  • employment
  • legal proceedings

Depending on the adult’s needs, a co-decision-maker might only be needed for some decisions. The court decides:

Is co-decision-making needed

You may want to look into other options for personal decision-making, such as:

How long does it take

To become a co-decision-maker, it usually takes 6 months – from the time your paperwork is ready to be submitted to court – before the court makes a decision.

Is there a cost

There are costs for different parts of this process:

  • legal fees – if you use a lawyer to complete the application
  • capacity assessment – charged by the capacity assessor for the completion of the assessment
  • court filing fees – up to $250 for the court to process your documentation
  • background check fee – for the background check to be completed so the results can be provided to the court with your application

If these costs are a financial hardship for you, contact the OPGT.

Requirements to be a co-decision-maker

The adult selects someone they trust to be their co-decision-maker. The co-decision-maker must:

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • consent to being a co-decision-maker
  • consider the views and wishes of the adult
  • have a relationship with the adult
  • be available to help make decisions – and provide consent
  • work co-operatively with the adult
  • not have a conflict with the adult
  • complete a criminal record check and reference checks – following the OPGT’s process

The OPGT can't be a co-decision-maker.

Your responsibilities as a co-decision-maker

As a co-decision-maker, you share authority with the adult. This means you also have a responsibility to:

  • act in the adult’s best interests
  • be diligent and act in good faith
  • assist the adult to access, collect or obtain information to make decisions
  • discuss relevant information with the adult
  • sign consent forms together

You can't:

  • refuse to sign anything – unless it might harm the adult
  • make financial decisions

A co-decision-maker has a responsibility to:

  • only access information that has been authorized and is needed for a decision
  • keep personal information about the adult safe from unauthorized access, use or disclosure

Apply to be an adult’s co-decision-maker

To be an adult’s co-decision-maker – and to ensure you follow the correct process and complete the correct paperwork – you need to think about these 2 ways to apply:

  • without a hearing (desk application)
  • with a hearing
Without a Hearing (Desk Application) With a Hearing
  • if you don't expect anyone to disagree with the application
  • not time sensitive
  • you don't need to appear in court
  • the judge makes a decision based on the paperwork you submit
  • someone might disagree with the application
  • time sensitive
  • you or your lawyer appears in court
  • application is discussed with the judge
  • the judge makes a decision based on the paperwork you submit and the discussion in court

To start the application process
Select the one option below that best meets the adult’s situation:

When a court order is granted

The newly-appointed co-decision-maker is legally responsible to provide a copy of the court order to to:

  • the adult
  • other interested parties
  • the OPGT

Read the court order carefully to learn:

  • who has been appointed
  • what authority has been granted
  • when the order needs to be reviewed
  • any other provisions

How co-decision-making authority ends

By the adult

The adult can stop having a co-decision-maker at any time by following these steps:

Step 1. Fill out the form

Form 13: Withdraw of Consent of Assisted Person (PDF, 31 KB)

Step 2. Submit the form

You or your lawyer file the form with the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench.

By the co-decision-maker

The co-decision-maker can also end their support if they’re no longer able to act as the co-decision-maker by completing a co-decision-making review.

Adult loses capacity to make decisions

If the adult is no longer making decisions, then an application should be made to appoint a guardian.

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