Substitute decision-making documents (also called powers of attorney, personal directives, etc…) delegate authority to one person to act on behalf of another with respect to financial, property or legal affairs and/or personal or health care matters. A valid substitute decision-making document must conform to the laws of the jurisdiction where it is executed.
Requirements among provinces
Execution requirements, however, are not uniform across jurisdictions. As a result, a substitute decision-making document may not be recognized outside of the jurisdiction in which it was made. This creates problems for people who hold assets or spend significant time in two or more jurisdictions; they may have to turn to specific statutory provisions in order to have their substitute decision-making documents recognized in a jurisdiction other than the one where the document was made.
Unfortunately, not all jurisdictions have statutory rules governing the recognition of foreign substitute decision-making documents, and those that do often differ from place to place. Even within Alberta, there are gaps and inconsistencies in the statutory recognition rules governing the different types of substitute decision-making documents.
ALRI to review ULCC’s Uniform Act
To address this problem, in August 2016, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (”ULCC”) approved the Uniform Interjurisdictional Recognition of Substitute Decision-Making Documents Act (”the Uniform Act”). The Uniform Act complements existing provincial and territorial legislation by providing recognition provisions where none exist, and by supplementing current provisions that lack the desirable features of the Uniform Act.
This project focuses on whether the Uniform Act is suitable for implementation in Alberta. Specifically, ALRI will review the Uniform Act to ensure that any proposed legislation meets the needs of Albertans. Potential law reform could include enacting new legislation modeled on the Uniform Act or amending the recognition provisions currently found in the Powers of Attorney Act, the Personal Directives Act, and their respective regulations.