The Glossary is an educational tool to help people understand the different aspects of the Speak Up Ontario / ACP website.


  • Attorney for Personal Care - This is one type of substitute decision maker. The Attorney for Personal Care must be assigned in a Power of Attorney Document.
  • Health Care Consent Act - This name of the Ontario law that defines informed consent, mental capacity and who may give or refuse consent for an incapable person.
  • Healthcare provider - A person with a licence in one of the regulated healthcare professions (for example: doctor, nurse, social worker, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, dietician, speech-language therapist etc).
  • Incapable - This is a term to describe a person who no longer has the mental capacity to make a specific healthcare decision.
  • Informed Consent - Healthcare providers must ask you or your substitute decision-maker (if you are incapable) for permission before any treatment or care is provided. They must give you all the information you need so that you are able to make the decision.
  • Mentally Capable - Having the ability to understand the information needed to make a healthcare decision AND having the ability to think about how your life will be affected by choosing or refusing a treatment. This is sometimes also referred to as mental capacity or just capacity. Capacity must be assessed for each decision. A person may have capacity to make one decision but not another.
  • Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) - This is the person or people who are legally allowed to make a healthcare decision for a person who has lost the mental capacity to make their own healthcare decision.