In British Columbia, a Representation Agreement (“RA”) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone or several persons to make certain health and personal care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. Different Canadian provinces handle this differently, so we’re talking only about how it works in British Columbia.
The RA relates to health and personal care but, technically, there are two types of RAs: a Section 7 agreement and a Section 9 agreement.
The main difference between the Section 7 RA and the Section 9 RA has to do with the capability requirements.
A Section 9 RA is for someone whose is capable of understanding the nature and consequence of entering into a Section 9 RA, and would have capability to enter a contract, sign a will or power of attorney document.
A Section 7 RA is for someone whose capability to understand is in question or at a lower level than that required for a Section 9 RA.
Section 7 Representation Agreement
A Section 7 (RA) gives the person(s) named in the agreement Standard powers. Standard powers cover health care in general (but does NOT include end-of-life decisions), personal care, and routine financial management such as paying bills, buying food, accommodation or other services, and obtaining and instructing legal counsel for you.
Under Section 7, your representative will not be able to perform complex or sophisticated financial maneuvers like buying or selling property or taking out loans in your name.
Section 9 Representation Agreement
A Section 9 RA gives the person(s) named in the agreement Enhanced powers. Enhanced powers covers the health and personal care decisions under Section 7 but also includes end-of-life decisions and more in-depth, detailed powers over personal care.
A Section 9 RA will not include comprehensive coverage of financial powers. For that, you need a Power of Attorney.
In addition to getting a Representation Agreement, you may also choose to get an agreement that includes a “Monitor.” The Monitor’s role is to oversee the representative(s) you have appointed and make sure that person or persons is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
If there are any concerns that the representative is not following their duties or is abusing you, the Monitor could report these concerns to the Public Guardian and Trustee.
Who should have a Representation Agreement?
It’s a good idea to get an RA if you’re over the age of majority, especially if you have any health issues.
Representation Agreements are usually done at the same time as a will is drawn, but you aren’t required to have a will to do an RA.
Why should I have a Representation Agreement?
You should have an RA because the future is unpredictable and problems could occur quite suddenly. If you want the security of knowing and trusting the person who would be making some decisions in the event that you couldn’t, then you should do an RA.
If you are in a position where you are unable to provide medical consent and you do not have an RA in place, family members can often disagree on the choices that must be made and the care that is to be provided. It’s also possible that the government may step in to take on that role.
Keep in mind that under Canadian law (and US law), the law presumes “capacity”, in other words, the law presumes that you can care for yourself and you are in control of your faculties unless a medical professional decides otherwise. No one is going to start making decisions for you unless it’s very clear that you cannot make them yourself.
If you would like to prepare a Representation Agreement, then please feel free to contact us and we can help you.
Based in White Rock, BC, Goddyn Notary Legal Services works with individuals, businesses and families to navigate notarial and legal matters since 1984. If you have any questions about this article or would like to make an appointment with us, please call (604) 531-2611 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.