Frequently Asked Questions

Must a vulnerable person have a substitute decision maker?

No. If a vulnerable person is making his or her own decisions, alone or with the involvement of his or her support network, a substitute decision maker appointment is not required.

Who can be appointed as a substitute decision maker?

The Commissioner may appoint any adult, who consents to act as a substitute decision maker and who, in the opinion of the Commissioner,

  • is apparently capable, suitable and able to act as the substitute decision maker, and
  • will not be in a position where his or her interests conflict with the vulnerable person’s interests.

Proposing a substitute decision maker is a very important decision and one should familiarize themselves with the duties and responsibilities of a substitute decision maker.

Service providers may not be appointed as substitute decision makers for the vulnerable person for whom they provide service.

If a substitute decision maker is required for a vulnerable person and there is no one who meets the above eligibility requirements, The Public Guardian and Trustee will be appointed as the substitute decision maker. Learn more about the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

Can more than one substitute decision maker be appointed?

Yes, there are three different variations of appointments that can be considered when proposing either one or more persons to be appointed to act as a substitute decision maker: 

1. Sole substitute decision maker:

The applicant can propose one person to be appointed to act as the substitute decision maker for the individual in the area of personal care and/or in the area of property. This means that there may be one person proposed to be a substitute decision maker in both areas of personal care and property, or there may be one person proposed as substitute decision maker for personal care and a different person as substitute decision maker for property.

If applying to act in the area of property, the proposed sole substitute decision maker must reside in Manitoba.

2. Joint substitute decision maker:

The applicant can propose two or more persons to be appointed to act as joint substitute decision makers in one or both areas of personal care and property. A joint appointment requires the parties to act together in their roles as substitute decision makers. One cannot make decisions independent of the other. In the event of the death of one of the joint substitute decision makers the other substitute decision maker will continue on in his or her role as substitute decision maker.

If applying to act in the area of property, one of the proposed joint substitute decision makers must reside in Manitoba.

3. Alternate substitute decision maker:

The application can propose the appointment of an alternate substitute decision maker to act on the death of, or in the temporary absence of, the sole or joint substitute decision makers.

All proposed substitute decision makers must consent to the appointment by completing Schedule B – Consent Form for Consideration of Appointment as Substitute Decision Maker and must submit a Criminal Record Check, Child Abuse Registry Check and Adult Abuse Registry Check (see Schedule C for more details).

If applying to act in the area of property, there may also be a requirement for the substitute decision maker to post a bond with or without surety equal to the amount of the sworn value of the property to be managed by the substitute decision maker. This will be determined by the Commissioner at the time of the appointment. For more information see the Guidelines, Policies and Procedures on Bonds and Sureties for Substitute Decision Makers for Property and A Fact Sheet on Substitute Decision Making.

What happens when The Public Guardian and Trustee is appointed as the substitute decision maker?

If The Public Guardian and Trustee is appointed to act as the substitute decision maker, he or she will assign a person called a Client Administration Officer (CAO). That person will be the contact on behalf of The Public Guardian and Trustee.

Please refer to the “A Client Guide to The Public Guardian and Trustee’s Client Administration Section” for more information on what The Public Guardian and Trustee will do if appointed as the substitute decision maker and how they make decisions.

Appealing the Decision

If I disagree with the Commissioner's decision what can I do?

Decisions made by the Commissioner, other than decisions pertaining to the referral or non-referral of a matter to a hearing panel and the temporary placement of a vulnerable person in a development centre, can be appealed to the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.

To commence an appeal, the person appealing must file a Notice of Application with the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench within 30 days of receiving a copy of the Commissioner’s decision or within such further time as the Court permits.

Upon receiving a copy of the Notice of Application, the Commissioner will provide the court with copies of all documentation which gave rise to the decision being appealed. The court has the authority to determine the appeal procedures. A judge will hear the appeal as a “fresh” matter and may consider the documents provided by the Commissioner or any other evidence relevant to the appeal.

Upon hearing the appeal, the court may decide to set aside, vary or confirm the decision of the Commissioner.

For more information on the appeal process refer to the General Information Regarding Appeals factsheet or Division 9 of The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act or consult a lawyer.

Changes and Reviews of an Appointment

What changes can be made to an existing appointment?

Any person may apply to the Commissioner for the termination or variation of an existing substitute decision maker appointment or for the replacement of a substitute decision maker who has died or whose appointment has been terminated. The Commissioner may also initiate an application to terminate, vary or replace an appointment. 

The Application process is similar to the one for the original substitute decision maker appointment, with the primary distinction that the Commissioner may consider these applications without referring them to a hearing panel. If the Commissioner considers an application without referring it to the hearing panel, the applicant and the persons notified of the application are given an opportunity to present information in writing for the Commissioner’s consideration.

The Commissioner may refuse to consider an application for termination, variation or replacement which is considered by the Commissioner to be frivolous or vexatious, and if so, the Commissioner will notify the applicant and the vulnerable person.

Those receiving notices during the variation or termination/replacement application process can submit a request in writing to the Commissioner for written reasons for his/her decision.

Can an existing appointment be renewed or extended beyond the initial appointment period?

Yes, however the appointment must be reviewed first.

What is the purpose of a review before renewal?

The purpose of the review is to determine whether the criteria for an appointment of a substitute decision maker continue to be met and if so:

  • whether the appointment of the substitute decision maker should be renewed or whether another person should be appointed;
  • whether an additional or alternate substitute decision maker should be appointed; and
  • whether the powers, terms or conditions of the appointment should change.

Can an appointment be renewed more than once?

Yes, an appointment may be renewed more than once. However, a review is undertaken before each renewal.