Understanding the Lived Experience of Supported Decision Making

Project Status: Completed
Project Contact: Krista James
Telephone Number: 604-822-0564
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The Representation Agreement Act is recognized as pioneer legislation, being one of the first supported decision-making legal regimes in the world. Other Canadian jurisdictions have since enacted legislation that recognizes supported or assisted decision-making to some degree, using different language and legal frameworks, generally as part of adult guardianship and adult protection legislation.

With funding from the Law Commission of Ontario, the Canadian Centre for Elder Law  undertook qualitative and quantitative research on supported decision-making in Canada. This research initiative engaged individuals who have participated in supported decision-making, both professionally or personally, in order to enhance our understanding of how supported decision-making occurs in practice, within diverse communities. One of the project goals was to share strategies and practices that enable supported decision-making to be an appropriate, effective and empowering tool. While supported decision-making may not be an ideal fit for everyone, diverse communities have wisdom to offer that can help us to understand how the approach can be best utilized, and how supports could be enhanced to make the approach more accessible, if not safer, for different communities.

Research included:

  1. A legal review of legislation in Canada that creates a framework for supported decision making;
  2. Telephone interviews with key informants from BC, Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan who have expertise in relation to the use of supported decision-making in those jurisdictions; and
  3. Interviews with people in BC who participate in supported decision-making personally, using representation agreements, including:

(a) Supported decision-makers;

(b) Supportive decision-makers under a representation agreement (representatives); and

(c) Other people who form part of an individual’s larger community of support.

This research is funded by the Law Commission of Ontario as part of its project on Legal Capacity, Decision-Making, and Guardianship.


Friesen Conference 2016: Substitute and Supported Decision Making in Canada – Discussion of the study paper

Related Blog Posts

LCO Releases Final Report on Legal Capacity, Decision-making and Guardianship (March 2017)


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Study Papers

7. Understanding the Lived Experiences of Supported Decision‐Making in Canada

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Backgrounder: Understanding the Lived Experience of Supported Decision-making in Canada

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Other Publications

Research Methodology Update Supported Decision-making

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Call for Participation in Research

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