Co-decision-making

Get authority to share decision-making with an adult who needs support making personal, non-financial decisions.

Overview

If an adult struggles with making decisions on their own, they may be vulnerable. When you become a co-decision-maker, the court gives you legal authority to help them make personal decisions.

As a co-decision-maker you and the adult work through decisions together, but the adult always has the final say.

The adult decides:

  • if they want a co-decision-maker
  • who the co-decision-maker is
  • when to stop having a co-decision-maker

Who needs a co-decision-maker

Adults who need a co-decision-maker

  • need help understanding information
  • need guidance and support to make personal decisions

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 when the minor is 17.

Types of decisions

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

  • healthcare
  • living arrangements
  • education
  • 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

If an adult only needs help communicating and understanding healthcare treatment, supported decision-making might be a better option.

An adult can’t have a co-decision-maker if they have a:

How long does it take

To become a co-decision-maker, it usually takes 3 to 6 months before the:

  • paperwork is finalized
  • court makes a decision

Background checks

For all co-decision-making applications, OPGT does a:

  • reference check
  • criminal record check

If you have concerns about these checks and how they’ll impact your eligibility, contact the OPGT.

Is there a cost

If you use a lawyer to complete your application, they can charge legal fees.

You need to get a capacity assessment done to determine whether the adult can make their own decisions. The capacity assessor may charge a fee for the assessment.

You pay a court filing fee of $250 when you submit your application.

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

Choosing a co-decision-maker

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

  • have regular contact with the adult
  • live close to the adult
  • be aware of the adult's beliefs and values
  • work cooperatively with the adult
  • be able to sign paperwork with the adult

Who can be a co-decision-maker

The co-decision-maker must:

  • be over 18 years old
  • consent to being a co-decision-maker
  • have a close and trusting relationship with the adult  – like a:
    • family member
    • close friend

The OPGT can't be a co-decision-maker

Your role as a co-decision-maker

As a co-decision-maker, you share authority with the adult. This means you and the adult discuss decisions and sign consent forms together.

Guidance and support

During the decision process, you provide guidance and support to the adult by:

  • gathering information and asking questions
  • helping the adult understand information
  • discussing all options with the adult

Accountability

As a co-decision-maker you’re accountable for decisions made with the adult. You must:

  • act diligently and in good-faith
  • help the adult make informed decisions in their best interest
  • respect the adult's dignity and privacy
  • be aware of potential conflicts

You can't:

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

For the legal authority to make financial decisions for an adult, learn about trusteeship.

Become a co-decision-maker without a hearing

Follow this process if you don't think your application will be opposed.

With this process:

  • you don't have to appear in court
  • the judge makes a decision based on the information you submit

You may need a lawyer for this complicated process. Help is also available through the OPGT and other community organizations.

Step 1. Get a capacity assessment

Have a professional assess whether the adult can make decisions on their own. This is called a capacity assessment. It can be completed by a:

The capacity assessment must be dated sometime in the 6 months before you submit your application.

Step 2. Fill out the application forms

Form 1: Application for Appointment of a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 80 KB)

Form 2: Affidavit of Applicant – Application to Appoint a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 162 KB)

Form 5: Order – Appointment of Co-decision-maker (Word, 100 KB)

Form 11: Consent of Proposed Assisted Adult (PDF, 34 KB)

Form 12: Consent of Proposed Co-decision-maker (PDF, 33 KB)

Form 30: Personal References (PDF, 31 KB)

Step 3. Fill out the background check forms

 You must:

Step 4. Submit your application package

Your application package is made up of the documents from the above steps:

  • capacity assessment
  • application forms
  • background check forms

When you submit your application:

  • include a cheque or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta
  • don’t include cash
  • your cheque won’t be cashed for 30 to 50 days

If you’re working with a lawyer or one of the organizations that provide free assistance, they’ll submit the application package for you.

If you put the application package together on your own:

After you apply

A review officer from the OPGT will:

  • meet with the adult to ask them what they think about the application
  • prepare a report for the court
  • send a copy of the report to you
  • send a letter to:
    • the people listed as interested parties in the application
    • anyone else they think should know about the application

If someone doesn’t support your application, they can request a court hearing to oppose it.

Become a co-decision-maker with a hearing

Follow this process if you think your application will be opposed.

With a hearing:

  • you or your lawyer must appear in court
  • the application is discussed before a judge
  • the judge makes a decision by considering:
    • the comments of the people at the hearing
    • the information in the application package

You may need a lawyer for this complicated process. Help is also available through the OPGT and other community organizations.

Step 1. Get a capacity assessment

Have a professional assess whether the adult can make decisions on their own. This is called a capacity assessment. It can be completed by a:

The capacity assessment must be dated sometime in the 6 months before you submit your application.

Step 2. Fill out the application forms

Form 1: Application for Appointment of a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 80 KB)

Form 2: Affidavit of Applicant – Application to Appoint a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 162 KB)

Form 4: Notice of Application and Hearing – Appointment of Co-decision-maker (PDF, 38 KB)

Form 5: Order – Appointment of Co-decision-maker (Word, 100 KB)

Form 11: Consent of Proposed Assisted Adult (PDF, 34 KB)

Form 12: Consent of Proposed Co-decision-maker (PDF, 33 KB)

Form 30: Personal References (PDF, 31 KB)

Step 3. Fill out the background check forms

 You must:

Step 4. Submit your application package

Your application package is made up of the documents from the above steps:

  • capacity assessment
  • application forms
  • background check forms

When you submit your application:

  • include a cheque or money order for $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta
  • don’t include cash
  • your cheque won’t be cashed for 30 to 50 days

You or your lawyer:

  • submit your application to the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench
  • set a hearing date
  • notify all the interested parties

A copy of the application package you filed with the court must be served to the OPGT at least 30 days before the hearing date. If you:

  • are working with a lawyer, they’ll do this for you
  • put the application package together on your own, contact the OPGT for instructions

After you apply

A review officer from the OPGT will:

  • meet with the adult to ask them what they think about the application
  • prepare a report for the court
  • send a copy of the report to you

You’re responsible to notify all interested parties about the hearing date.

When co-decision-making is granted

Copies of the court order are sent to:

  • you
  • the adult
  • other interested parties

The court order identifies:

  • the co-decision-maker
  • any alternative co-decision-makers
  • the areas the co-decision-maker has authority

It may also include a co-decision-making review deadline.

Ending co-decision-making

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, 32 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.

Decision-maker notices

If you’re a family member or friend of an adult who needs support, you’ll be notified by mail when someone files an application to become or continue being a co-decision-maker.

After you get a notice, you’ll have the option to:

  • support the application by ignoring the notice
  • oppose the application by responding to the notice

Video

Publications

Co-Decision-Making

Understanding Co-Decision-Making

Decision-Making Options

Contact

Find an OPGT office near you