On September 1, 2011, the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility Admission (Act) was amended to provide for advance directives. Advance directives replaced what was usually referred to as a living will in B.C. A living will done before September 1, 2011 is valid as an advance directive if it states:
An advance directive is a capable adult’s written instructions expressed directly to their health care provider, or to their representative if they have named one in a representation agreement, for the health care the adult consents to, or refuses in the event they are incapable when the care is needed. Advance directives are legally binding documents provided for in the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act. An advance directive may not include anything that is prohibited by law or an instruction to omit to do anything that is required by law.
The legal requirements for an advance directive are that it be in writing (i.e., not verbal), be made and signed by the adult at a time when the adult is capable, and be witnessed by two people who may each act as a witness (or one person if the witness is a lawyer or a notary public).
Additionally, in the advance directive, the adult must indicate in writing that the adult knows:
- A health care provider may not provide to the adult any health care for which the adult refuses consent in the advance directive, and
- A person may not be chosen to make decisions on the adult’s behalf for any health care for which the adult has given or refused consent in the advance directive.