The HPCO Practical Guide to Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning in Ontario

What is the Guide to HCC and ACP?

This Guide has been developed by HPCO as a resource to anyone with questions about health care consent and advance care planning. It includes the information that everyone needs to know to understand the health care decision making system in Ontario. It provides answers to questions about a wide variety of topics such as:

  • What are the rights of a patient to get information on their health and the options for treatment?
  • What are a patient’s rights in the health decision making process?
  • What is the requirement of health practitioners to get informed consent before providing health care?
  • From whom must that informed consent be obtained
  • What is Advance Care Planning and how is it different from a health decision?
  • What are Goals of Care and how are these different from health decisions and advance care planning?
  • Who is a person’s substitute decision maker when a person in not mentally capable to make health decisions?
  • What is a DNR confirmation form?

The questions included in the Guide are common questions frequently asked by participants in education forums and webinars organized or presented by HPCO, and by members of the HPCO Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning Community of Practice.

How to Use the Guide

The Guide is organized into sections. There are three sections on Consent, Advance Care Planning, and on Substitute Decision Makers (SDMs). Additional sections on other topic areas will be added in the future.

Each section is introduced by a short description of its general contents and a Table of Contents that lists all the questions in that particular section.

The Guide is in a question and answer format. Users should search through the Table of Contents list of questions for a question that is similar to their own question and click on that question to find the answer. Some questions are repeated but worded in different ways to assist users in finding the answer that they are looking for.

The Guide is a “living” document and will be expanded over time, both with the addition of new Sections as well as the addition of new questions and answers within a section.

The intent of HPCO is to create a comprehensive resource that contains the answers to any questions that a user may have about Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning in Ontario.

Who Should Use this Guide

This Guide is a resource for the general public as well as health care practitioners, allied health providers, and anyone needing information about the health decisions system in Ontario. Each answer includes references to relevant sections in Ontario legislation that is the authority for the answers. This has been included so that the user may look up that source legislation if they want additional information.

How to Help HPCO Expand the Guide

Please send suggestions for additional sections or questions to Julie Darnay, Manager Partnerships and Communities of Practice at Sending in a question does not guarantee it will be included in the Guide however any and all questions will be given serious consideration.

The Guide is an online educational resource. Users sending questions to HPCO will not be sent an immediate answer however the questions sent in may be included with answers in the guide as the online guide continues to be expanded.

HPCO thanks everyone that sends in additional questions or feedback for consideration to be added to the Guide.


HPCO would like to thank Judith Wahl of Wahl Elder Law for her respected expertise in the development of this resource guide. Her willingness to give her time so generously has been very much appreciated.

Copyright © Hospice Palliative Care Ontario 2018


This Guide contains general legal information for Ontario. It is not intended to be used as legal advice for a specific legal problem.