Powers of Attorney for Personal Care Part 2 – The Health Care Consent Act

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There are two Ontario laws that define the role of an attorney for personal care: the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA) and Health Care Consent Act (HCCA).

I have a favourite public speaking trick I use when I am invited to speak about powers of attorney, guardianships and other aspects of capacity law. First, I ask everyone to close their eyes. I then ask them to put up a hand if they have read the SDA or the HCCA. After I count the hands in the air, I ask anyone whose hand is in the air to lower it and then I invite everyone to open their eyes. I inform them of the (always) paltry number of persons in the room who had their hands in the air. On one memorable occasion, the only hands in the air were my own, and those of the two directors of the program at which I was speaking. This is always my lead-in to a key message I have for lawyers and other professionals:

Read the act.