Advance Care Planning Legal Terms by Province & Territory

Advance care planning is an integral part of life and legacy planning. It outlines the decisions you would like to be made for you, in the event you cannot make them yourself. Each province and territory in Canada uses different terms to describe documents and people who would speak for you if you couldn’t speak for yourself. It is important to know the terms used in your province/territory, and/or the province/territory you are acting as someone’s designated decision maker. While the terminology is different, the principles remain the same.

An advance care planning document provides instruction on how you would like to be cared for in the event you cannot care for yourself. This includes: 

  • Medical and lifestyle preferences

  • Comfort care versus curative care

  • Medical treatment that you do or do not wish to receive

  • Scenarios where you wouldn’t want specific medical treatments 

  • How long you would like life support and life-prolonging medical interventions 

  • Where you would like to live when you can no longer care for yourself

  • Guidance for resuscitation decisions

 

Your designated decision maker will use your advance care plan to make decisions about your health and care when you are unable to do so. Having this guidance can lighten the burden placed on loved ones to make important decisions during an already stressful and emotional time.

In the EstateBox platform we use the term “advance care plan” in order to stay neutral between the provincial terminology. Here’s a list of some of the common terms used in each province and territory.

Province or Territory

Advanced Care Planning Document

Advance Care Planning
Designated Substitute Decision Maker

British Columbia

Representative*

Alberta

Agent*

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Proxy*

Ontario

Attorney*

Québec

Mandatary*

New Brunswick

Donee/Attorney*

Prince Edward Island

Proxy*

Nova Scotia

Newfoundland &
Labrador

SDM*

Yukon

Northwest
Territories

Nunavut +

None

None

Agent

* Note that the substitute decision maker is included in the Advance Care Planning document. 
 

+ In Nunavut, there is no legislation for Advance Directives or the appointment of a substitute decision maker.

We endeavour to provide accurate information, but if you should notice an error, please email us at info@estatebox.ca so we may correct it!

Last updated June 2022