About Powers of Attorney
Power of Attorney or “POA” is a legal planning tool that mentally capable adults can use to appoint someone else to make decisions for them. Older adults often use POAs to plan for a time, should it occur, that they become mentally incapable of making their own decisions.
Provincial laws govern Powers of Attorney and these laws differ from one province/territory to another throughout Canada. Depending on province/territory, the term Power of Attorney may have different meanings and limits on decisionmaking authority. For example, in British Columbia a Power of Attorney is limited to financial and legal decisions while health and personal care decisions are covered by Representation Agreements and other incapacity planning documents. Ontario, on the other hand, allows for a Power of Attorney for Property (legal and financial affairs) and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care (health and personal care).
Officers should refer to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation for details about the parameters of specific legal planning tools in each jurisdiction Although not a substitute for reviewing the legislation, one starting point is the Practical Guide to Elder Abuse and Neglect Law in Canada at http:// www.bcli.org/ccel/projects/practical-guide-elderabuse-and-neglect- law-canada.
This Theft by Person(s) Holding Power of Attorney Officers Investigation Guide deals with theft by a person holding a Power of Attorney pursuant to Section 331 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The information in this guide applies only to misuse of a POA for Property, not to a POA for health or personal care, although the generic term POA is used throughout.