Toronto, ON – People in Ontario have new, interactive tools for making and cancelling (revoking) powers of attorney (POAs). The tools — called Guided Pathways — are available as interest in POAs surges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
You use a POA for property to appoint people to look after your property either when you are not mentally capable or when you are still capable and just want help managing your money and bills. You use a POA for personal care to have someone make personal care decisions for you, including health care decisions, when you are alive but not capable.
"In our current environment, CLEO is seeing a huge demand for information about new programs and laws, as well as existing ones. People are trying to understand how to access benefits, how to stay in their home, and what documents need to be in place if they get really ill," says CLEO Executive Director Julie Mathews. "Many people are now realizing that they need or want POAs – and quickly."
CLEO's Guided Pathways for POAs take users through a series of questions, one-by-one, explained in plain language, and then use the answers to automatically create a power of attorney. Along the way, users are given clear legal information about assessing the risks involved, as well as mental capacity issues. At the end, users are given instructions on steps to take to have their POA signed and witnessed. The Guided Pathways are free to use.
In Ontario, there are two types of POA – one governs property and finances, and the other personal care. The property POA lets you name a person who will manage your money and assets. In situations where you are mentally incapable because of illness, be it COVID-19 or otherwise, this person can file your taxes and pay bills, including life insurance premiums, which could lapse because of a late payment.
The personal care POA lets you name a person who will make decisions for you, if you are not capable, about any health care, including any treatments you may need right up to your end of life. Preparing a POA lets you choose the person or persons that you trust and think best able to make what can be difficult decisions about your health care and other personal care decisions, particularly when you are seriously ill or at end of life.
Where to find the Guided Pathways
The Guided Pathways can be found on CLEO's Steps to Justice and Justice pas-à-pas websites. Stepstojustice.caJusticepasapas.ca give reliable, practical information on common legal problems to people in Ontario.
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) is a non-profit community legal clinic. For over 45 years, CLEO has produced clear, reliable legal information for those who experience barriers to accessing the justice system. Visit cleo.on.ca for more information.
About Steps to Justice and Justice pas-à-pas
Steps to Justice and Justice pas-à-pas are websites that provide people in Ontario with reliable legal information on a wide variety of legal topics. Led by CLEO, the websites are collaborative projects of leading justice sector organizations in the province. Visit stepstojustice.ca and justicepasapas.ca for more information.
Forms that can be completed using Guided Pathways:
- Make a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property that gives another person the power to manage your property for you. Property is anything you own or have the sole right to use, like money, a rental apartment, or furniture.
- Make a Power of Attorney for Personal Care that gives another person the power to make decisions about your personal care, if you can't make them yourself. Personal care includes things like healthcare, housing, food, clothing, hygiene, and safety.
- Family Court forms for many issues in separation and divorce, including custody, support, and property division
- T6 for Landlord & Tenant Board for tenants with maintenance and repair problems
Most of the Pathways are available in English and French.
For more information, please contact: Deb Bourk, Project Manager, Community Engagement and Communications, 416-559-5794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.