The Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA) offers a variety of options to support adult Albertans who need assistance making personal and/or financial decisions. One of the options is a co-decision-making order for adults who:
- cannot make personal decisions on their own but could make personal decisions with the guidance and support of another person; and
- have a close relationship with someone willing to provide decision-making support; and
- do not have a guardian or a personal directive.
What is co-decision-making?
If an adult's ability to make personal decisions is significantly impaired but they can still make decisions with good support, a co-decision-making order may be an alternative to guardianship.
A co-decision-maker can assist in making decisions in one or more of the following areas of authority: health care, where and with whom the adult can live, who the adult may associate with, social activities, education or vocational training, employment, legal matters or any other personal matters the Court determines necessary. Co-decision-makers cannot make decisions on financial and property matters.
With co-decision-making, the adult and their co-decision-maker make decisions together. The decisions are made in the best interests of the assisted adult. The adult must agree to the arrangement and to the person who is appointed as their co-decision-maker.
A co-decision-making order is appropriate for family and close friends.
A co-decision-maker can assist the adult in communicating or carrying out decisions, when necessary or appropriate. For example, when making a health care decision, both the adult and their co-decision-maker would sign the form providing consent for a procedure.
The Public Guardian cannot act as a co-decision-maker.
How do I apply to become a co-decision-maker?
The application process for co-decision-making is similar to guardianship. The decision to grant a co-decision-making order is made by the Court. The Court can appoint more than one co-decision-maker. An application can be made for an individual up to twelve months before his or her 18th birthday.
The Self Help Kit is available below or through the Office of the Public Guardian.
The Self Help Kit includes a number of forms, including a Capacity Assessment form. The adult's capacity to make decisions is assessed by a physician, psychologist or other health care professional specifically trained to be a capacity assessor. The Office of the Public Guardian can provide a list of qualified and trained capacity assessors.
Once completed, the adult and the co-decision-maker must agree to the application and submit the package to the Office of the Public Guardian. A representative from the Office of the Public Guardian meets with the adult to get their views on the application and notifies family members that an application has been made.
What if the adult and the co-decision-maker do not agree?
The intent of co-decision-making is that the adult and their co-decision-maker work through decisions together. This can be rewarding and, at times, challenging.
If the adult and their co-decision-maker cannot reach an agreement on a decision, the adult's decision takes precedence.
At any time, the assisted adult or the co-decision-maker may end the co-decision-making agreement. The Office of the Public Guardian may follow-up to determine next steps—whether there is someone else who could act as co-decision-maker or whether another type of decision-making support is more appropriate for the adult.
Self Help Kit - Court Application Forms
- Co-Decision-Making Order - Desk Application | Application by Hearing
- Review of Co-Decision-Making Order - Desk Application | Application by Hearing | by Other Person
- Other AGTA Forms
- Co-Decision-Making Brochure
- Decision Making Options Brochure
- Understanding Co-decision-making
- Other AGTA Publications
The Office of the Public Guardian is committed to supporting individuals and families as the AGTA is introduced. Please contact us with any questions you may have.