Representation Agreements – Choosing Who Can Choose

In British Columbia, you can appoint someone with the authority to make health and personal care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. You can do this by creating a document known as a representation agreement.


A representation agreement (“RA”) allows you to explicitly grant this authority to a representative. It also allows you to appoint an alternate representative and a monitor. Creating an RA provides some assurance that, if the need arises, these important personal decisions can be made by the people who you want to make them.

There are two possible types of RA: these are often referred to as:

  1. Section 7 agreements
  2. Section 9 agreements

They differ both in the powers which may be granted and the capacity required to create them.

Section 9 Agreement

Generally speaking, a person may grant more sweeping powers under a Section 9 agreement. For example, under a Section 9 agreement, one can grant the power to refuse life-saving or sustaining treatment. Because some of the types of decisions which may be authorized under Section 9 agreements can have such dramatic consequences, the level of capacity required to create a Section 9 agreement is higher than is required to create a Section 7 agreement.

Section 7 Agreement

Because the capacity requirements for creating Section 7 agreements are less demanding, Section 7 agreements can be a useful tool for affording persons with diminished capacity some control over health and personal care decisions which they lack the capacity to make themselves. However, the powers pertaining to health and personal care that can be granted under a Section 7 agreement are relatively restricted.

For example, under a Section 7 agreement, one cannot authorize a representative to “refuse health care necessary to preserve life.” This is a power that many people want a representative to have.

Over the next several months, we will go into greater detail about Section 7 and Section 9 representation agreements when we discuss:

  • when and how they can be created,
  • how they can be used,
  • why they can be important, and
  • what happens if you have not created one and a health care decision needs to be made for you.

Stay tuned for next month’s post where we will dive a little deeper into Section 9 representation agreements!