Information for Applicants

What is a Substitute Decision Maker?

A substitute decision maker is an individual appointed by the Vulnerable Persons’ Commissioner to make decisions for a vulnerable person who is unable to make certain decisions for him or her self in the area of personal care or property or both. A substitute decision maker has the legal authority to make decisions for the vulnerable person in those specific areas in which he or she has been given power by the Commissioner. Therefore, the decision making authority of a substitute decision maker is limited to those areas where the vulnerable person is incapable and will be only for the specified period of time required (maximum of five years).

How to Apply for a Substitute Decision Maker

Anyone who believes a vulnerable person is in need of a substitute decision maker may complete an application form asking the Commissioner to appoint a substitute decision maker for the vulnerable person. The applicant may ask to be appointed as the substitute decision maker, or may indicate that someone else is willing to be considered for the appointment.

The following information and forms need to be completed when applying for a substitute decision maker.

  1. Guide to Completing Substitute Decision Maker Application (PDF 348KB)
  2. Substitute Decision Maker Application Form (PDF 240KB)
  3. Schedule A - Real and Personal Property (PDF 60KB)
  4. Schedule B - Consent Form for Consideration of Appointment as Substitute Decision Maker (PDF 56KB)
  5. Schedule C - Criminal Record, Child Abuse Registry and Adult Abuse Registry Checks (PDF 48KB)
  6. Protection of Privacy (PDF 32KB)

The Application and the Guide can also be picked up or mailed out upon request from any regional office of Manitoba Families or from the Office of the Vulnerable Persons' Commissioner.

Do I have to tell anyone that I am putting forward an application?

Yes, you should tell the individual who is the subject of the application and others involved that you are putting forward an application.

How does the application process work?

Application Process Flow Chart

  1. The applicant submits an application for the appointment of a substitute decision maker to the Commissioner's office. The Commissioner will provide the person for whom the application is made with a copy of the application.
  2. Once the Commissioner conducts a preliminary investigation of the application, the Commissioner will decide whether enough information has been received to make a decision in regards to appointing a SDM or dismissing the application, or to refer the application to a hearing panel to gather more information prior to making a decision.
  3. If the application is referred to a hearing panel, a three-member panel will conduct a hearing and make recommendations to the Commissioner.
  4. After considering the hearing panel's recommendations, the Commissioner will decide either to appoint a substitute decision maker or to dismiss the application.

At each step of the application process, notices are sent to the individual who is the subject of the application, his or her support network and other parties as determined by the Act. Those receiving notices can submit a request in writing to the Commissioner for written reasons for his or her decision.t each step of the application process, notices are sent to the individual who is the subject of the application, his or her support network and other parties as determined by the Act. Those receiving notices can submit a request in writing to the Commissioner for written reasons for his or her decision.

Withdrawing an application:

Sometimes after an application has been made, circumstances evolve whereby the applicant wishes to withdraw the application.

In these situations the applicant or applicants (where there is more than one), can make a request to the Commissioner to withdraw the application. This request can be made by completing the Request to Withdraw an Application Relating to the Appointment of a Substitute Decision Maker form and forwarding it to the Office of the Vulnerable Persons’ Commissioner.

The Commissioner's Decision

Who decides whether to appoint a substitute decision maker?

After considering the application, the supporting/additional documentation and possibly the Hearing Panel’s recommendations, the Commissioner will decide whether or not the individual needs a substitute decision maker.

How does the Commissioner decide?

The Commissioner’s decision is based on the following criteria:

  • whether the individual is a vulnerable person;
  • whether the individual is incapable of personal care and/or managing his/her property even with the involvement of his/her support network;
  • whether there are decisions to be made;
  • whether the appointment is reasonable under the circumstances.

If all of the criteria are met, then a substitute decision maker appointment is made and the Commissioner decides:

  • who the substitute decision maker will be;
  • in what area(s) the substitute decision maker will have authority to act (personal care and/or property);
  • what decision-making powers will be granted to the substitute decision maker;
  • the duration of the appointment; and
  • any terms and conditions (if applicable)
 
If any of the above criteria are not met, the application is dismissed.

When will I know the Commissioner’s decision?

Normally the Commissioner’s decision will be issued within two weeks following the hearing. Delays may occur where the necessary documentation (For example Child Abuse Registry Check and Criminal Record Check) has not been received from the proposed substitute decision maker(s). If there is no hearing panel, the decision will be made once all supporting documentation and information is received and considered.

Who is notified of the decision?

All parties who received notice of the hearing will also receive notice of the Commissioner’s decision.

When does an Appointment take effect?

The substitute decision maker’s authority takes effect on the date stated in the Appointment Document.

How long does an Appointment last?

A substitute decision maker shall be appointed for as long as is appropriate given the decision(s) to be made. The maximum length is five years. If at the end of the appointment, the vulnerable person continues to require decisions to be made and is unable to make them, the appointment may be renewed.
 

What is the scope of the Appointment?

The scope of the appointment is outlined in the Appointment Document. It includes:

  • the area for which the appointment is made (personal care or property),
  • the name of the vulnerable person,
  • the name(s) of the substitute decision maker(s) appointed,
  • a list of the specific powers granted, and
  • if applicable, any terms and conditions to the appointment.

For more detailed information on the powers that may be granted to a substitute decision maker see pages 7, 8, and 9 of the Guide to Completing the Substitute Decision Maker Application.
Other relevant information can also be found under SDM Duties and Responsibilities.

Emergency Applications

What types of emergency applications are there?

There are 3 different applications to address emergency situations that may arise.

  1. Appointment of an emergency substitute decision maker where no legal decision maker is in place to act on behalf of a vulnerable person.
  2. An emergency variation application where there is a need to vary an existing substitute decision maker appointment.
  3. An emergency suspension and replacement application where there is a need to temporarily suspend the appointment of an existing substitute decision and appoint a replacement in the interim.

Emergency Appointment:

When would an emergency substitute decision maker be needed?

An emergency substitute decision maker may be needed in situations where:

  • there is immediate danger of death or serious harm or deterioration to the physical or mental health of the person, or of serious loss to his or her property;
  • the person involved:
    • is a vulnerable person;
    • is incapable of personal care or managing his or her property; and
    • needs decisions to be made on his or her behalf on an emergency basis to prevent the danger described above; and
  • prompt action is required in view of the nature and urgency of the situation.

The above are the criteria used by the Commissioner to assess and decide whether or not an emergency substitute decision maker will be appointed.

 

When would an emergency suspension and temporary replacement of an existing substitute decision maker application be needed?

 

An emergency suspension and temporary replacement of an existing substitute decision maker may be needed in situations where:

  • there is immediate danger of death or serious harm to, or deterioration in, the physical or mental health of the vulnerable person, or of serious loss to his or her property;
  • the vulnerable person’s substitute decision maker has:
    • failed to act in accordance with the terms and conditions of his or her appointment; or
    • acted in an improper manner or in a manner that has endangered or may endanger the well-being or property of the vulnerable person;
  • prompt action is required in view of the nature and urgency of the situation; and
  • the vulnerable person needs decisions to be made on his or her behalf on an emergency basis to prevent the danger described above.

The above are the criteria used by the Commissioner to assess and decide whether or not an emergency suspension of the existing substitute decision maker’s appointment will be made.