Section 9 Representation Agreements – Plan for Incapacity, Pick your Person

In British Columbia, if you wish to appoint someone to make health and personal care decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapable of doing so, you may make a representation agreement in accordance with Section 9 of the Representation Agreement Act (a “Section 9 RA”). A Section 9 RA allows you to explicitly appoint someone with authority to do almost anything they consider necessary in relation to your health or personal care, including to:

  • decide to refuse health care necessary to preserve or prolong your life;
  • decide where you are to live and with whom, including whether you should live in a care facility;
  • decide whether you should have contact or associate with another person;
  • make day-to-day decisions on your behalf, including decisions about your diet or dress;
  • give or refuse consent to health care for you, including giving or refusing consent, in the circumstances specified in the agreement, to specified kinds of health care, even though you refuse to give consent at the time the health care is provided;
  • physically restrain, move and manage you, and authorize another person to do these things, if necessary to provide you with personal care or health care.

You can give your representative the power to make some, or all, such decisions. You can also include instructions and statements of your wishes to guide or constrain the decisions made by your representative on your behalf.

Because the kinds of decisions listed above can have very significant consequences, you can only create a valid Section 9 RA if you can understand its nature and consequences. Therefore, it is generally best to create your Section 9 RA when your health is good and there is no question as to your ability to understand.


Section 7 Agreement

If you do not create a Section 9 RA while capable and your capacity to do so is lost, you may still be able to appoint someone with the power to make a more limited set of health and personal care decisions by creating a representation agreement in accordance with Section 7 of the Representation Agreement Act.

These “Section 7 RAs” can be very helpful in giving people with diminished capacity some control over their health and personal care decisions despite their inability to understand the nature and consequences of a Section 9 RA.

Join us again next time when we will discuss Section 7 RAs in greater detail.