Advance Directives

August 15, 2011

On September 1, 2011 changes to the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act and other acts (the Representation Agreement Act, Mental Health Act, Power of Attorney Act, Adult Guardianship Act) come into effect. The changes affect all health care providers. Patients may hear about the changes and ask how they are affected.

Summary of changes to the Act

  • Advance directives gain legal status.
  • Health organizations, physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and all other regulated health care professionals in BC, plus emergency medical assistants, are legally bound by an adult’s instructions in their advance directive made while capable (includes both consent and refusal).
  • The list of people eligible to be chosen as temporary substitute decision makers is broadened.
  • The rules are tightened as to who can be named as a representative, and a capable adult may name their representative without having to visit a lawyer or notary public.
  • A process is set out for making an application to court to resolve health care consent disputes.

Video - Q & A


  Watch the full video (6mins and 9 secs) or just answers to specific questions below.

/files/playbutton.png   Introduction

   Q1 - What is an Advance Directive?  (45secs)

   Q2 - When do substitute decision makers come into play?  (1min and 11secs)

   Q3 - What is the role of the physician in an advance care plan?  (44 secs)

   Q4 - What is the procedure for Representative Agreements?  (1min and 15 secs)

   Q5 - What do the changes mean for physicians?  (1min and 16secs)

   Additional thoughts  (50 secs)

Printable booklet

Click here to view the booklet.

The booklet will also be included with the September issue of the BC Medical Journal.





Printable FAQs

Advance directives
Advance care plan
Representatives, personal gurdians, other decision makers
Consent rules


For more information

Health Care Providers’ Guide to Consent to Health Care—Ministry of Health, July 2011 

Detailed information on advance directives and advance care plans, decision support flow charts, case scenarios, scope and duties of personal guardians and representatives, representation agreements, changes to the list of people eligible to be appointed temporary substitute decision-maker.’-guide-to-consent-to-health-care.pdf