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Alberta – Supported Decision-Making Authorization

A Supported Decision-Making Authorization (SDMA) allows an individual to authorize someone he or she trusts (the supporter) to help with his or her personal decisions. The authorization allows the supporter to access relevant information that might otherwise be protected under privacy laws (e.g. information from a pharmacist about potential drug interactions related to the individual’s prescriptions). The supporter is also able to help the individual think through and communicate decisions. A SDMA is useful for capable individuals with communication barriers (e.g., first language is not English or people with mild disabilities).

A Personal Directive allows an adult to appoint an agent to make their personal and health care decisions for them when they are no longer competent. However, when an adult is still capable of making decisions, there may be times when they need someone to help make non-financial decisions. This is called supported decision-making.

A supporter helps communicate the adult’s questions, concerns and decisions by talking to their service providers, who could include doctors, pharmacists, care centres, and employers. A supporter has the legal authority to access the adult’s personal information like medical records, and help the adult think through decisions. A supporter must be over 18 years old, must have a trusting relationship with the adult, and may be a relative or friend of the adult.

Ths SDMA form is available and does not require a lawyer to prepare. The document will have to be signed by the supported adult, the supporter(s) and a witness.


Please contact us if you have any questions about the SDMA.