This publication provides legal information on a variety of topics of interest to people at, or near, retirement age. Each section provides basic facts about a particular area of the law. The organizations or agencies mentioned in each section can provide detailed information about their programs and services, as well as updates about any changes to the law. Contact information is listed in the Directory located near the end of this booklet.
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code deals with discrimination in the areas of schooling, housing, public services, contracts, publications and employment. In these areas it is against the law to discriminate against anyone on the basis of age (over 18), ancestry, race, perceived race, nationality, place of origin, religion, creed, disability, sex, sexual orientation, family status, marital status or receipt of public assistance.
Although discrimination is generally prohibited in the area of housing, the Code does allow for housing units to be offered exclusively to adults over the age of 55. Such housing developments are sometimes referred to as independent retirement communities or seniors' housing.
In 2007, changes to The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code eliminated mandatory retirement. These changes mean that employers can no longer end an older person's employment just because the employee has reached a certain age. In some instances, employers may be able to terminate an older person's employment if the employer can show that advancing age affects their ability to perform duties required for the job.
Older adults can still choose to retire at age 65 or take early retirement; they just cannot be forced out of a job based solely on their age.
The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 applies to almost all residential renting situations, including senior residences that provide meals, light housekeeping and other services for independent living. The Act, however, does not apply to special-care homes or personal care homes.
Under the Act tenants and landlords each have certain rights and obligations. These duties exist whether there is a written lease or an oral agreement.
Owners of rental properties must keep the property in reasonable repair and must respect the privacy of the tenant. Tenants must keep the property reasonably clean and repair damages that they cause. Tenants must also pay rent when it is due, and must not disturb other tenants. A landlord can require a tenant to leave if the tenant does not pay rent, or does not keep the property clean and repair damages.
Landlords may require a security deposit of up to the amount of one month's rent. Tenants may pay one‑half at the beginning of the tenancy and the remainder within two months. The security deposit must be held in trust. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord must either return the security deposit or make a claim for some or all of it for things like damages and unpaid rent. The tenant can dispute a claim against the security deposit. The Office of Residential Tenancies helps landlords and tenants settle these and many other types of disagreements.
If a rental agreement is month‑to‑month, a landlord who is not a member of an approved landlord association must give at least twelve months' notice of any rent increase. Landlords who are members of an approved landlord association must give at least six months' notice. In the case of longer lease‑type rental agreements, rent increases must be agreed to at the time the lease is entered into. Different rules apply to public housing authorities or subsidized housing, where rent increases may be tied to increases in income.
Assistance Dealing with Significant Rent Increases
The Saskatchewan Landlord Association operates a program designed to assist tenants facing significant rent increases that they are unable to afford. Through the Tenant Assistance Process (TAP), a panel can review the rent increase and try to work out a solution that is agreeable to the tenant and the landlord. TAP can also try to help the tenant find alternate housing options. Tenants may also consider contacting their local Housing Authority to learn more about eligibility and availability of subsidized housing.
A tenant who wishes to end a rental agreement must give written notice no later than the day before the rent for the final month is due. For example, a tenant who wants to quit renting and leave the rental property at the end of March must give notice by the last day of February. Further information about the rights of tenants and landlords can be obtained from the Office of Residential Tenancies, the PLEA publication Renting a Home, or the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
Owning, Buying or Selling a Home
This section discusses some property laws that are of particular interest to people selling their home or looking at estate planning. General information on buying and selling homes can be found in the PLEA publication Buying and Selling a Home.
Joint Ownership of Real Estate
Joint tenants are two or more people who own a single piece of property, with a right of survivorship. Registering property in both names as joint tenants avoids payment of estate fees and extra legal fees when one of the owners dies. If two people are registered on the Title as joint tenants, and one of them dies, the survivor becomes the sole owner of the property. The surviving joint tenant need only complete the required forms, provide proof of death and pay the land registry fees to become the sole owner of the property.
Spouse's Consent for Mortgage or Sale of a Home
One spouse cannot legally sell or mortgage any home in which the couple lives or has lived unless the other spouse agrees, even if the property is registered only in one name. This applies to married couples and couples in a common law relationship of at least two years duration. If the non‑owning spouse does not agree with the sale or mortgage, they can refuse to give written consent.
Living in a Home after it has Been Sold: Life Estates
Some older people have most of their money invested in their home. They may require money for living expenses, but don't want to sell and leave their home. In such cases they may be able to sell the house or access some of the equity but remain living in the home. This arrangement is called a life estate but some people may refer to it as a reverse mortgage. A life estate is most commonly made with a family member or lending institution, but can be made with others as well. The buyer doesn't actually take over the house until after the seller dies or gives up the property.
A life estate arrangement usually means the buyer gets the house for a cheaper price because they do not take possession until the seller decides to move out or dies. The seller gets money to use right away, but remains in their own home. If the seller decides to move out earlier, they may give up the life estate in return for extra money.
A lawyer can help ensure that a life estate arrangement is properly set up.
Buying a Condominium
A condominium is any building that has been divided into separately owned residential units. Buying or selling a condominium is similar to buying or selling a house, but there are some additional considerations. It is usually necessary to consult a lawyer to handle the sale or purchase of any property.
The owners of each unit in a condominium get a Title document, which gives the legal description of their own unit. This Title describes the individual unit and the parts of the building owned in common, such as hallways, entrances and grounds. The Title allows the condominium owner to sell or mortgage the property in the same way as any other type of real estate. However, there may be restrictions about what the owner can or cannot do with the property. For example, there may be restrictions on the type of renovations that can be made to the unit, pets, and visiting hours.
Each owner of a condominium unit becomes a member of the condominium corporation for that building. All the owners have voting rights in the corporation. The corporation can make and enforce bylaws for the building. The corporation is responsible for the management and administration of the common parts of the building. The corporation can charge residents annual or monthly fees for these services.
It is important to understand what these fees cover. Fees may cover things like building repairs and maintenance, lawn care, snow removal, insurance on the common elements of the building, taxes and property management. Some utilities may also be covered. Generally speaking, lower condo fees mean that individual owners are responsible for more expenses.
A portion of condo fees must also be set aside in a reserve fund for significant expenses, such as a new roof or heating system, which may become necessary in the future. It is important to know how much money is in the reserve fund and whether any major expenses are expected in the foreseeable future.
Individuals considering buying a condo may want to talk to current owners or review the minutes of the condo's board meetings to get a sense of the types of issues that have been problematic in the past and how the board has dealt with them. Most complaints about matters relating to a condominium can be handled through the corporation. Owners also have the right to take matters to court in the same way as any other property owner. An owner having difficulty settling a matter may wish to consult a mediation service or a lawyer.
Options for Independent and Assisted Living
When age‑related limitations begin to affect an older adult's independence, there are a number of programs and services designed to help them continue to live in their own homes with some outside support. Many services such as meal preparation, physiotherapy, nursing and personal care can be accessed through Regional Health Authorities. Individuals are assessed to determine needs and coordinate available services. While some services are available free‑of‑charge, the cost of others may be income‑based.
There are also a number of community‑based groups, volunteers and private businesses that offer many of the same services. Some may be not‑for‑profit while others may be for‑profit businesses. There are also retirement communities and other housing options that provide assisted living with a range of services and programs.
Personal and Special Care Homes
In addition to options such as retirement communities that offer assisted living, there are personal care homes that have a range of services and programs, and special care homes.
Personal care homes are licensed and monitored by the Ministry of Health; however they are privately owned and operated. Personal care homes vary in the type of care they offer, how many residents they have, and cost. Individuals can look for a home that suits their needs. The Ministry of Health maintains a Personal Care Home Registry and can provide additional information about choosing a personal care home.
Individuals who choose a personal care home pay the full cost. Low‑income seniors may be eligible for assistance through the Personal Care Home Benefit, managed by the Ministry of Social Services.
When a person chooses a personal care home they sign a contract with the home operator. Since this contract will outline the terms of the agreement between the operator and the resident, it is important to read it and fully understand it before signing.
A complaint concerning a specific personal care home can be made to the Ministry of Health. As well, anyone who suspects that fire or health regulations are being violated can contact the local Public Health Inspector or Fire Department.
Special care homes, sometimes called nursing homes, are regulated by the Ministry of Health to provide long-term care to people whose needs cannot be met in the community. These homes are publicly‑funded and residents pay a fee based on their income. Individuals are admitted to special care homes after an assessment to determine the type of care they require. Special care homes also provide support to family care providers through respite services and adult day programs. For more detailed information see our publication Special Care Homes.
Driver's Licence Requirements
Generally, anyone who holds a valid Saskatchewan driver's licence may renew their licence every year without taking a test. The age of the person does not make a difference unless the person experiences difficulty in driving due to aging or medical problems. Any driver that has a medical condition that could affect their driving ability must report it to SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance). Medical practitioners, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists and optometrists, are required to report such conditions. Family members or the police may also contact SGI. An assessment may be required to evaluate the individual's ability to drive.
If necessary, restrictions may be placed on the driver's licence. For example, the driver may be restricted in rural areas to driving to town for the mail, or the driver may not be allowed to drive in cities. If a driver's night vision is poor, they may be restricted to driving during daylight hours. If the examiner believes the person is not capable of driving safely, their driver's licence may be suspended.
There are a number of resources designed to help aging drivers drive safely for as long as possible. Sometimes an assessment or evaluation can help identify particular issues and suggest modifications or adjustments to improve safety. Driving courses designed for older drivers, such as the 55 Alive program, include self‑evaluation as well as information about the aging process and medications and their effect on driving. Other web‑based resources such as Older Driver Safety provide some safe driving strategies and tips for easing into driving retirement. Further information can also be obtained from SGI.
Following are a few areas of consumer protection that may be of particular interest to older adults. For a more detailed discussion of these and other consumer areas, see the PLEA publications Consumer Purchases and Warranties and Guarantees.
Many manufacturers include warranties and guarantees with their products. These may be written on a card included in the package, or they may be written on the package or the product itself.
In addition to the manufacturers' warranties, Saskatchewan law (The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act) requires manufacturers and sellers to provide certain warranties concerning quality, durability, and servicing of consumer products. These warranties apply whether or not the manufacturer specifically offers them.
Further information about warranties is available from the Consumer Protection Division, listed in the Government of Saskatchewan blue pages.
If a disagreement about a warranty cannot be settled, a consumer may sue a seller or manufacturer in Small Claims Court. Costs in Small Claims Court are low and the consumer does not need a lawyer. There are limits on the amount you can claim in Small Claims Court. Further information is available in the PLEA publication Small Claims Court.
Any item a consumer buys in a private sale is not covered by the warranties in The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act. When buying a major item like a car or trailer in a private sale, a buyer can check whether the previous owner owes money on the item, or whether it has been used as security for a loan. This check is done by requesting a search from the Saskatchewan Personal Property Registry, which is operated by the provincial Information Services Corporation (ISC). A small fee is charged for the search.
The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act and The Direct Sellers Act provide protection for consumers dealing with door‑to‑door salespeople, including people who sell over the telephone. The legislation offers additional protection to consumers against deceptive and unfair marketplace practices. The legislation also allows the Consumer Protection Division to take action on behalf of disadvantaged or vulnerable consumers.
All door‑to‑door salespeople must be licensed. Consumers can call 1‑877‑880‑5550, toll‑free, to determine whether a seller is licensed to sell in Saskatchewan and can also ask to see the seller's license and identification. A consumer who buys a product from a door‑to‑door salesperson can cancel a contract, for any reason, by notifying the seller within ten days of making the purchase. The consumer can also cancel the contract if the goods or services purchased are not supplied within 30 days.
Cancelling a contract will not help a consumer if the seller has cashed the payment cheque and disappeared. A consumer can help prevent such a situation by agreeing to pay only when the goods are received, or by writing a postdated cheque.
Consumers must be careful about buying through the mail, telephone, television ads, or the internet. This is especially true when ordering from a company based outside the province. When buying from companies outside Saskatchewan, buyers must beware.
If foreign companies offer goods, the prices to Canadians may be much higher than advertised because of the difference in the value of the dollar. In addition, the consumer may have to pay extra mailing charges, duty, or Canadian import taxes. It may also be difficult to get repairs or to recover money from a foreign‑based company.
When individuals are not "face‑to‑face" with a seller there are some additional consumer protections in place. Before the sales contract is made the seller must disclose the complete purchase price and payment information, shipping and delivery arrangements, and information about cancelling the contract and refund and exchange policies. If this information is not provided, the contract can be cancelled at any time. Different types of contracts can also be cancelled under other circumstances. Detailed information is available from the provincial Consumer Protection Division.
Frauds, Schemes and Swindles
Local police, the RCMP and some financial institutions offer free information and advice on crime prevention. Some common frauds, often aimed at older people, are discussed here. Further information is available from the Consumer Protection Division.
Home Improvement Offers
Home improvement offers are a popular type of swindle. Legitimate contractors do not pressure people into signing contracts and will provide information about their business. Reputable salespeople will supply the name of the people or of the company for whom they work. Legitimate businesses allow consumers plenty of time to read over the contract and discuss it with a friend or advisor. If a contractor comes to your door, ask to see their direct seller's license. Take time to think the offer over and get other quotes for comparison purposes.
Registered charities give official income tax receipts for any charitable donation. An official income tax receipt has a number on it that has been given to the organization by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for identification purposes. Ask to see the CRA number on the receipt if there is any doubt whether or not a door‑to‑door canvasser represents an official charity. As well, canvassers will often have identification badges on their jackets or coats. But be aware that false charities often have names that could be confused with a legitimate charity.
If there is doubt about the canvasser's honesty, ask for a mailing envelope and consider sending a cheque directly to the charity once you have satisfied yourself that it is legitimate.
Fake laboratory tests, miracle cures and mail‑order treatments are sometimes used to defraud consumers. Consumers should be skeptical of miracle cures and advertisements announcing new scientific breakthroughs. Consumers should always talk to qualified medical personnel.
Under Saskatchewan law private hearing aid dealers must be licensed by the Ministry of Health. As well, staff must be trained to a provincial standard. Consumers who purchase hearing aids have three working days to reconsider their purchase and return the hearing aid for a refund or cancel their contract.
Consumers who have a complaint about a hearing aid dealer can contact the Ministry of Health. The Ministry can investigate the complaint and take action against a dealer if necessary, including suspending their licence and ordering product repairs or refunds.
Consumers must be careful when giving a credit card number over the telephone, online, or anywhere else for that matter. A consumer may avoid fraud by only dealing with well‑known companies or by asking for the telephone number of the seller and calling back a few days later to make the order. Phoning back may prevent giving a credit card number to someone who might use it to commit fraud. This also gives the consumer a chance to make sure the business is legitimate. A consumer can check the Corporate Registry or with the Consumer Protection Division to see if the business is licensed in Saskatchewan. The Better Business Bureau may be able to provide information about the business's reputation.
While consumers need to be cautious, the law does offer some protection. Credit card companies cannot send you credit cards in the mail that you did not apply for. Under Saskatchewan law a credit card application must show the interest rate of the card, whether there is a "grace" period that is interest‑free and the amount of any other finance charges or fees. It must also state the maximum amount you will be responsible for if there are unauthorized charges. Charges are not unauthorized if you allowed someone to use your credit card. In this case you will be responsible for all charges they made.
If there are unauthorized charges you will only be responsible for a maximum of $50 or the amount set by your agreement, whichever is less. You will not be responsible for any amount if your card is lost or stolen and the purchases were made after you notified the company that the card was lost or stolen. If someone uses your credit card, without your agreement, you are also not responsible for any charges if you notify the company within 30 days of receiving your statement about the unauthorized transactions. You can notify the credit card company of lost or stolen credit cards or unauthorized use of your card number verbally or in writing.
Victims of Crime
In addition to protecting themselves from the frauds and schemes discussed in the previous section, older adults can reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime. The RCMP and local police services may provide free information and programs in this regard. Many community organizations interested in crime prevention have neighbourhood or community watch programs. Further information on this topic may be provided by some of the agencies listed in the Directory at the end of this publication.
The Provincial Victims Services Program coordinates services for victims of violent crimes in Saskatchewan. The victim of a crime such as assault, robbery, impaired driving, arson or other acts of a similar nature may be eligible for compensation. Compensation may cover such things as medical expenses, prescription drugs, and counselling during the criminal justice process.
The crime must be reported to the police. A victim may receive compensation even if the offender is never caught. The program does not provide compensation for property damage.
Abuse of Older Adults
Abuse of older adults includes a number of behaviours that cause harm to an older person's well‑being or safety. The abuse can take on many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse and neglect.
Elder abuse can happen to any older person. Older adults are often isolated from their family, friends and community, making them particularly vulnerable to abuse. Many are dependent on the very people that are abusing them, further complicating the matter.
While there is currently no law that specifically identifies abuse of older adults as a separate crime, several forms of elder abuse may involve crimes such as assault, forced confinement, uttering threats, theft, fraud, forgery and extortion. Anyone who suspects criminal abuse or neglect should report the matter to the police. In the case of an emergency, call 9‑1‑1.
There are also numerous provincial laws designed to protect older adults from different types of abuse. For example, The Victims of Domestic Violence Act can protect older adults from violence and abuse by a family member, while The Power of Attorney Act, 2002 contains special provisions and restrictions on who can deal with a person's affairs under a power of attorney. Consumer protection laws are also in place to regulate marketing practices for things like the sale of hearing aids and door‑to‑door sales, and other regulations are in place to set standards related to elder care in personal care homes and long‑term care facilities.
Older adults are among the most vulnerable victims of abuse and neglect and many are dependent on others to meet their everyday needs. Victims need the abuse and neglect to stop. They need safety, shelter and access to their financial resources. They need support services so they do not need to be dependent on an abuser. These services include housing options, emotional support, counselling and other community‑based services. Advice, referrals and support is available through local police services, social service agencies and government organizations, as well as many senior‑serving community groups. For more information and contacts, see the PLEA publication Abuse of Older Adults.
Custody and Access of Grandchildren
Sometimes grandchildren's visits to grandparents stop when parents separate or divorce. Sometimes grandparents want to raise grandchildren who are being seriously neglected by their parents. Some grandparents seek agreements or court orders that give them access to, or custody of, their grandchildren.
An order or agreement granting a grandparent access recognizes the right of the child to spend time with the grandparent. Access could be weekly or monthly visits, overnight stays, or holiday time together.
Custody means having the care and control of the child. The person who has custody of a child makes the major decisions about the child, such as where the child will go to school, and usually has the child living with them.
It is important to note that, generally speaking, the parents of a child have a fairly broad legal right to determine what is best for their own children. A more detailed discussion of custody and access can be found in the PLEA publications When Couples Separate and ParentEdge. If parents and grandparents are unable to reach an agreement on their own they may wish to consider other options.
Agreement or Mediation
Matters such as access to, and custody of, children may be settled out of court. If parents and grandparents agree, a lawyer can assist in drawing up a formal agreement or getting the appropriate court orders.
If parents and grandparents cannot agree on custody and access, they may choose to go to mediation. Mediators discuss the issues with the people involved and help them come to an agreement. Mediation services are listed in the yellow pages of the phone book. Family counselling services often have mediators skilled in dealing with these issues.
Sometimes the parents and grandparents cannot agree (either on their own or through mediation) on the issues of access and custody. If a court is asked to decide these matters they will consider only what is in the best interests of the child. The court will look at relationships between the child and the various persons involved with the child.
A grandparent applying for access may have to prove to the court why contact would be good for the child. The court may put conditions on the access granted to the grandparent. For example, the court could require that visits occur under supervision if the grandparent has a disability that affects their ability to care for the child.
If a grandparent wants custody of a child, but a parent opposes it, the grandparent will likely have to prove to the court why the child should live with the grandparent and not the parent.
The grandparent may have to prove that the parents are unfit, or that the child is being neglected. The fact alone that the parent has limited financial means compared to the grandparent or that the parent and grandparents have different parenting styles is not enough. The best interests of the child are always paramount. When a court gives custody to a grandparent, it may give access to the parents.
The courts will not always award custody of the children to a grandparent, even if the parents are unfit. The court considers what is in the best interests of the child, taking into account the age of the grandparents and their ability to look after the child.
The court may decide to award joint custody to one or both of the parents and to a grandparent. An order for joint custody would probably be given only where the parents and grandparent all agree. This may happen, for example, in the case of very young parents who are having trouble making decisions about what is best for the child and who would like the help of one or more of the grandparents.
Power of Attorney
There may be times when an older adult needs someone to handle some or all of their affairs, either for a specific period of time, such as while they are on a trip out of the county, or indefinitely in the event that they become incapacitated. A power of attorney document allows you to give someone else the authority to act on your behalf. You can, however, continue to take care of your own affairs for as long as you are mentally competent.
There can be many advantages to setting up a power of attorney, but there is always some risk involved when you give someone else the power to access or manage your financial affairs. The following information sets out the legal framework for a power of attorney but it is very important to weigh the risks and only grant such a power to a trustworthy individual. The Government of Canada's publication What Every Older Canadian Should Know about Financial Matters provides information that can help you consider and manage such risks.
Who can give a power of attorney?
The person who gives a power of attorney is called a grantor. The person you name to act for you is called an attorney. You can give someone power of attorney if you are...
- at least 18 years of age
- mentally competent
- capable of understanding what you are doing
Who can be given a power of attorney?
You can appoint someone as your attorney if they are...
- at least 18 years of age
- able to understand information relevant to making decisions they are authorized to make under the power of attorney
- able to appreciate the consequences of making or not making decisions they are authorized to make under the power of attorney
There are certain people who cannot be appointed to act under a power of attorney...
- A person who is an undischarged bankrupt cannot be appointed under a power of attorney to deal with your financial affairs.
- People who have been convicted, within the last ten years, of a criminal offence relating to assault, sexual assault, other acts of violence, intimidation, criminal harassment, uttering threats, theft, fraud or breach of trust cannot be appointed to act under a power of attorney unless they have been pardoned or the grantor consents in writing. The consent must acknowledge the conviction and be made while the grantor is still mentally competent.
- A person whose occupation or business involves providing personal care or health care services to you cannot be appointed as your attorney.
Other than these restrictions you can name anyone you choose as your attorney. It should be someone you trust. It can be a relative, friend, lawyer, or an officer of a bank or trust company. When deciding who to appoint it is important to consider what kind of decisions you are giving them the authority to make and in what circumstances. The person you choose can refuse to take on the responsibility, so it is important to discuss the matter with them first.
Types of Powers of Attorney
When you appoint someone to act for you under a power of attorney, there are a number of choices that must be made about what kinds of decisions the attorney will be able to make and when the attorney can act for you. It is important to consider the options and have a power of attorney document that suits your needs.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
When appointing someone to act for you under a power of attorney you must decide if you want your attorney to be able to continue to act for you if you lose your mental capacity. Capacity means...
- being able to understand information that is relevant to making the kind of decisions in question
- being able to appreciate the consequences of making or not making those decisions
Unless you specifically make an enduring power of attorney, any authority under the power of attorney will end if you should lose your capacity.
Contingent Enduring Powers of Attorney
A contingent enduring power of attorney only comes into effect if you lose capacity or another specified event occurs. Whether or not you have lost capacity can be determined by one or more individuals chosen by you and named in your contingent enduring power of attorney. Persons with the authority to make this decision cannot be the attorney or a member of the attorney's family. If no one is named by you, or the person(s) you named cannot make the decision, the opinion of two professionals is required. The legislation names those professional groups that are allowed to make this decision.
Personal and Property Powers of Attorney
A property attorney can be given the authority to make decisions about property and financial matters. This could include the ability to withdraw money from bank accounts, pay bills, and sell or purchase property. Unless you state otherwise, a property attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney may provide for the maintenance or education of your spouse and/or dependant children. They may also make gifts on your behalf provided that you can afford it and it is in keeping with what you would normally do. The total value of all gifts in any one year cannot exceed $1000. A property attorney cannot make a Will for you or change your existing Will.
A personal attorney can be given the authority to make decisions about your personal affairs. This could include deciding where you should live and what kind of help you need around the home. A personal attorney cannot be given the power to make health care decisions for you. This must be done by making a health care directive.
You can appoint a personal attorney, a property attorney or both. You can only appoint a personal attorney if you choose to make an enduring power of attorney. If you appoint both a property and a personal attorney, you can choose to appoint the same person as both or appoint two different people.
If you appoint a property attorney and a personal attorney and they disagree, the decision of the property attorney will be preferred if...
- it is not clear by the terms of the power of attorney document who should make the decision, and
- the decision involves spending money
Alternatively if the two attorneys disagree, either one can ask the court to give direction.
General and Specific Powers of Attorney
In addition to deciding whether to appoint a personal attorney, a property attorney or both, you can choose to give an attorney general authority or specific authority. If you give your attorney general authority, they can make decisions regarding your financial or personal affairs as the case may be.
If you only want your attorney to make certain decisions you can say this in the power of attorney document. For example, a property attorney may be given the power to pay certain bills from a chequing account or you may give a personal attorney authority to decide on a place of residence for you.
Duties of an Attorney
An attorney can do the things that you have given them authority to do in the power of attorney document. You can still act for yourself unless you lack capacity. Unless an enduring power of attorney states otherwise, an attorney cannot pass their power on to someone else.
Anyone who is given authority to act for someone else by power of attorney has certain obligations concerning how that authority can be used. An attorney must act honestly, in good faith, in the best interests of the grantor and with the care that could be reasonably expected of a person with the attorney's experience and expertise. An attorney must also, wherever possible, take into consideration the wishes of the grantor in carrying out their duties.
It is important for your power of attorney to keep proper records. If there are concerns that an attorney may be acting improperly an accounting can be requested or required or the power of attorney may be ended. These options are discussed more fully below.
Appointing a Power of Attorney
Although you can prepare a power of attorney document yourself, you may want to consult a lawyer. A lawyer can help ensure that you understand the effect of the power of attorney and help you consider what powers to include.
There are different requirements for creating a power of attorney depending on the type of appointment being made. A non‑enduring power of attorney should be in writing and signed by you. The attorney does not need to sign the document.
Sometimes financial institutions may provide a power of attorney form that gives someone a specific power of attorney over funds held by that institution only. Unless this is the only power of attorney you need, you may want to prepare a single comprehensive power of attorney to avoid confusion and disputes.
If you want the power of attorney to be enduring (continue even if you later lack capacity) there are additional requirements. The document must clearly state that you want the person to be able to continue to act for you in the event that you lack capacity to act for yourself. The document must be in writing and be signed and dated by you.
The document must also be witnessed. It can be witnessed by a lawyer who has given you legal advice on the document. Alternatively, it can be witnessed by two adults with capacity. The witnesses cannot be the attorney being appointed or a family member of either the attorney or yourself. Witnesses must complete a witness certificate in the form required by the legislation.
If you meet the requirements described, it is not necessary to use any particular form for a power of attorney document although you may choose to use the form included in the legislation. Witness certificates on the other hand, if required, do have to be completed using the form authorized by the legislation. Power of Attorney Forms are available online at saskatchewan.ca, including forms for witness certificates and for creating an enduring power of attorney.
An attorney can receive a fee for services they provide. Unless you specify a fee for services, or a court has made an order setting a fee, the Regulations to The Power of Attorney Act, 2002 set out a maximum fee that may be charged under an enduring power of attorney. The maximum fee a property attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney can charge is based on the amount of money they deal with in a month. The maximum fee a property attorney can charge is set out as an hourly rate. Currently the maximum fee a property attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney may charge is 2.5% of the amount of money dealt with per month. The maximum fee a personal attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney may charge for services is $15 per hour. This fee will be paid out of your assets.
Your attorney must give you an annual accounting of any money they were paid. If you lack capacity, this accounting is made to someone you have named in the power of attorney document for this purpose or, if no one is named, to your most immediate and available family member and the Public Guardian and Trustee.
It is important to continue to regularly monitor your financial accounts as long as you are able to do so. If you have concerns about a particular matter, ask questions or discuss the matter with another trusted individual, financial advisor or lawyer. If you are not entirely satisfied, you can ask for an accounting.
Someone you appoint as your attorney must give you an accounting anytime you request one. If you lack capacity, an accounting can be requested by a person you have named for that purpose in the power of attorney document. If no person is named, an adult member of your family can request an accounting. This is a comprehensive listing of assets and debts at the beginning of the accounting period and of any transactions made by the Attorney.
If you have named both a personal and property attorney they can request that the other do an accounting. If you or someone asking on your behalf cannot get an accounting from the attorney, the Public Guardian and Trustee can be asked to direct that the attorney make an accounting.
As well, any interested party can ask the Public Guardian and Trustee to direct that an accounting be made. The Public Guardian and Trustee can direct that an accounting be made or investigate to ensure that an accounting is accurate. If the Public Guardian and Trustee does not direct an accounting, or the attorney fails to provide an accounting after being directed to do so, a court application can be made.
When an enduring power of attorney comes to an end every attorney must provide a final accounting. There are different final accounting forms for property attorneys and personal attorneys. The final accounting must be provided within six months of the power of attorney coming to an end. If no final accounting is provided an application for a court order directing the attorney to provide it can be made.
Ending a Power of Attorney
Ending a Non‑Enduring Power of Attorney
Either you or the attorney can cancel a non‑enduring power of attorney at any time. You can cancel it by giving written notice to the attorney. You do not need to give any reason.
The attorney can cancel the power by telling you that they are ending the power. In this case they should return the document to you. All organizations and companies dealing with the attorney should be notified in writing that the power of attorney has been cancelled.
A power of attorney may also come to an end on a date specified in the document. A specific power of attorney ends when the task is completed or a specified time or event occurs. For example, a power of attorney to sell certain real estate ends when that property is sold.
A power of attorney ends if you become mentally incompetent, unless you have given an enduring power of attorney. A power of attorney also ends if your attorney becomes mentally incompetent or your attorney or you die. A bankruptcy may also affect a power of attorney.
Ending an Enduring Power of Attorney
An enduring power of attorney can be ended in much the same way as a non‑enduring power of attorney. You can cancel it by giving a written revocation to the attorney. You can only do this if you have the capacity to understand the nature and effect of the enduring power of attorney and the effect of ending it.
As well, the attorney can cancel the enduring power of attorney by giving you a written resignation. If you lack capacity the written notice can be given to another attorney, if you have appointed more than one. If there are no other attorneys, your most immediate and available family member will be given the written resignation.
An enduring power of attorney, like a non‑enduring power of attorney, ends if you or your attorney dies. It does not end if you lack capacity but will end if your attorney lacks capacity. If you appoint your spouse as an attorney the enduring power of attorney will end if you stop living together as spouses because you have decided to end your relationship.
An enduring power of attorney will also end if the court appoints someone else to make decisions for you, or the Public Guardian and Trustee is given the authority to make decisions for you. For example, a power of attorney appointing a property attorney would end if the court appointed a property decision‑maker for you and a personal power of attorney would end if the court appointed a personal decision‑maker for you.
Any interested party can apply to court to have a power of attorney ended if they think that an attorney has abused their authority. If the court is satisfied that this is the case the court can end the power of attorney.
An enduring power of attorney will also end if the attorney no longer meets the conditions for being appointed as an attorney. This means that an enduring property attorney cannot continue to act if they become bankrupt. It also means that an enduring power of attorney will end if the attorney starts providing personal or health care services to you or is convicted of certain criminal offences.
Health Care Directives
The Health Care Directives and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act provides the framework for preparing a health care directive in Saskatchewan. Before this legislation came into effect, the term "living will" was often used to describe what we now call a health care directive.
A health care directive is a document that tells health care providers how you would like to be treated if you lose your capacity to make or communicate health care decisions. It is prepared in advance and takes effect when you are no longer capable of consenting to or refusing treatment directly. When a health care provider follows the directions in a health care directive, they are protected from subsequent legal action. A health care directive can be made in any circumstances, not just terminal illness. A health care directive cannot permit active euthanasia, assisted suicide, or anything else illegal.
Making a Health Care Directive
Any person 16 years or older who is capable of making health care decisions can make a health care directive. A person is capable of making health care decisions when they are able to...
- understand information about potential treatments
- appreciate the consequences of making or not making a decision, and
- communicate the decision
A health care directive may be handwritten or printed and must be dated. It must be signed by you or by someone else on your behalf. If you sign the document yourself there is no need for it to be witnessed. However, if someone else signs for you, they must sign it while you are present and another person must witness their signature.
A health care directive comes into effect when you become incapable of making or communicating your health care decisions. You can cancel a directive by destroying it, revoking it, or making a new directive. In an emergency, you can also tell another person that you want to cancel the directive, but it is probably best to cancel it in writing if you can.
You can give specific directions about your care or name another person, called a proxy, to make decisions for you when you become incapable. You may appoint more than one person as a proxy. They can act jointly, independently or in succession. You may also choose to leave specific instructions for some situations and name a proxy for other situations.
Before making a directive, you may want to discuss treatment options and other issues with your doctor or other health care provider, family members, and anyone you wish to name as proxy. Health care providers and proxies must follow your directive if it deals with a particular situation. If the situation is not dealt with, your directive will be used as a guide.
Making a health care directive can help ensure that your health care decisions will be followed. It can also clarify your wishes for your family and health care providers. However, the choice is yours. You can simply decide not to make a directive. If you do not have a directive and are incapable of making health care decisions, your nearest relative can make decisions for you. If there are no family members, or they cannot be found, your doctor or health care provider will make decisions for you.
For more information see the PLEA publication, Health Care Directives.
Adults Who Become Mentally Impaired
Sometimes, people become unable to manage their affairs due to the effects of mental or physical disability. The disability may be a result of disease, like Alzheimer's, the after‑effects of a stroke, or because of injury. Whatever the cause, in Saskatchewan The Adult Guardianship and Co‑decision‑making Act allows the court to give some decision‑making powers to concerned individuals by appointing them as a guardian or co‑decision‑maker. The court will consider what is needed and whether other documents are already in place, such as an enduring power of attorney or a health care directive.
Types of Decisions
There are two general types of guardianship or co‑decision‑making powers. A personal guardian or co‑decision‑maker makes decisions related to the day‑to‑day life of the adult. These decisions may include medical care (where no health care directive is in place), living arrangements, clothing, and even who can see the adult. A property guardian or co‑decision‑maker is concerned with the financial affairs and property of the adult.
In some cases, a guardian or co‑decision‑maker will have to be appointed for both property and personal decisions. In other cases, only one needs to be appointed. If both are needed, then the same person could make each set of decisions. Alternatively, different decision‑makers could be involved for each type of decision.
How to Become a Guardian or Co‑decision‑maker
Under the Act, anyone with a sufficient interest in the personal or financial wellbeing of an adult can ask the court to appoint them as a guardian or co‑decision‑maker for that person. The court can order that the adult needs a co‑decision‑maker to help make reasonable decisions. Or, if the adult's condition is serious enough, the court can order that someone simply has the power to make decisions for the adult, as a guardian.
Before any such order can be made, there must be at least two written opinions that the adult is incapable to some degree of making decisions for their personal affairs. Assessments can be made by a qualified professional such as a doctor, nurse, psychologist, occupational therapist, social worker or speech‑language pathologist.
To be appointed guardian or co‑decision‑maker, an applicant must be at least 18 years old. Certain application forms must be completed, which then are filed with the court. These forms can be filled out on your own, or with the help of a lawyer. People who wish to fill out the forms themselves can obtain copies from the Public Guardian and Trustee's Office.
In cases where no suitable relative or friend is willing or able to take on the responsibility, the Public Guardian and Trustee may be appointed as a property guardian or co‑decision‑maker for the adult.
Notice of the application to be appointed as a guardian or co‑decision‑maker must be served on the adult's nearest relatives and anyone else in a position of trust with the individual, for example someone that holds a power of attorney or a proxy for health care decisions. Usually, the adult must be served with notice as well. However, if the court decides that this would be harmful to the adult, it may decide that serving the adult is not necessary.
Anyone who has been served with a notice of the application, or anyone else who has a sufficient interest, can file an objection with the court. A written objection must include the reasons for an objection and be served on the other interested parties.
The court will consider all of the information in the application, as well as any objection that has been filed. A court can hold a hearing with the parties present, if more evidence is needed. However, the court may decide to either make the appointment or reject the application, based only on written evidence, such as affidavits and medical reports.
In deciding whether to make an order, the court will consider the physical, psychological, emotional, social, health, residential, vocational and economic needs of the adult. Less intrusive ways of support or assistance for the adult must be tried or at least fully considered. The court must be satisfied that an order appointing a guardian or co‑decision‑maker is in the best interests of the adult.
The court can make the order for an indefinite duration or have it subject to review within a certain period of time. For example, the court can consider a built‑in review in circumstances where the adult's abilities may improve over time.
Duties of a Guardian
The guardian must act in the best interests of the dependent adult. The guardian must protect the adult's rights and should encourage the adult to be as involved as possible in making decisions.
Within three months of being appointed, a property guardian must file with the court an inventory of the property owned by the adult. They must also provide an annual accounting to the court every year thereafter.
If the dependent adult or some other interested person, such as a close relative, is not satisfied with the way the guardian is handling matters, they can ask the court to review the guardianship. The court can appoint a new guardian if necessary.
A personal or property guardian may nominate in their Will any person to act in their place. If the guardian dies, the nomination takes effect immediately but must be confirmed by a court within six months of the death.
A personal guardian or personal co‑decision‑maker does not have authority to make certain decisions, such as...
- withdrawal of life support systems
- organ or tissue donations
- sterilization procedures
- divorce proceedings
- choices based on religious freedoms
Canada Pension and Old Age Security Benefits
Sometimes a person who is receiving Canada Pension or Old Age Security benefits becomes unable to handle their own affairs because of mental impairment. In these circumstances a relative or someone close to the person can apply to handle the Canada Pension and Old Age Security benefits. For situations that involve only the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Old Age Security Program (OAS), this procedure is simpler than applying for guardianship and there is no cost. If there are sources of income other than CPP or OAS, guardianship under The Adult Guardianship and Co‑decision‑making Act may still be required to deal with these other matters.
The person applying must sign a form agreeing to look after the benefits in the best interest of the mentally impaired person. A Certificate of Incapability must be signed by the ill person's doctor. If the application is approved, the benefit payments will be sent in care of the applicant.
Contact Service Canada for further information and the necessary forms or visit their website at www.servicecanada.gc.ca.
There are two types of Federal Income Security Programs: the Old Age Security Program (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). If you do not agree with a decision about your federal pension eligibility or benefit amount, you can ask for an explanation or a reconsideration of the decision. There are also ways to appeal a decision.
In some cases the Saskatchewan government provides supplements to these federal programs through the Seniors Income Plan. There is also provincial legislation that regulates employer pension plans.
For more information on Federal Income Security Programs contact Service Canada or visit the seniors section of their website at www.servicecanada.gc.ca. For more information about the Seniors Income Plan visit saskatchewan.ca. For more information on Saskatchewan laws regulating employer pensions contact the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority or visit their website at www.fcaa.gov.sk.ca/sfsc-pension-plan-members.
Old Age Security Program
The Old Age Security (OAS) Program is a vital part of Canada's retirement income system. It is funded from general federal tax revenues and administered through regional offices across the country. The benefits are adjusted every three months to reflect increases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The OAS program includes the basic Old Age Security Pension (OAS Pension), the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and Allowances.
Old Age Security Pension (OAS Pension)
This pension benefit is often called a basic pension. The OAS pension is taxable income that is currently paid monthly to persons who are at least 65 years old and who meet the Canadian residence and legal resident status criteria. Higher income earners repay part or even all of this benefit through the income tax system. This repayment is sometimes referred to as a "claw back."
Employment history is not a factor in determining eligibility. You do not have to be retired to receive this benefit.
If you do not meet the residency requirements you may qualify for partial benefits based on how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18. Once the amount of such a partial benefit has been determined it will not increase with additional residence.
To receive any of the benefits under the OAS program you must apply for them. You only need to apply for the OAS pension once. The other two benefits, the GIS and Allowance benefits can be renewed on a yearly basis. Once you are receiving either of these benefits you can re‑apply by simply completing a tax return by April 30 or filing an income statement.
Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
The GIS may be paid monthly to Canadian residents who receive a full or partial OAS pension and have little or no other income. The benefit amount is based on your income and that of your spouse (including a common‑law or same‑sex spouse), if applicable. This pension benefit is not considered taxable income. The GIS must be renewed annually and the benefit amount may change from year to year depending upon yearly income and changes to your spousal relationship, if any.
If you leave Canada, you can receive GIS benefits for six months following your departure from Canada. GIS benefits cease if you leave Canada for more than six months. If you later return to live in Canada, these benefits may be reinstated.
Seniors Income Plan (SIP)
The SIP provides seniors with financial assistance to help meet their basic needs. If you are a permanent resident of Saskatchewan and you receive full or partial OAS pension and GIS benefits you may be eligible to receive assistance under the SIP. To receive SIP benefits your annual income must be below a specified level. If you leave the province you will no longer receive SIP benefits.
The Spousal Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor
If you live in Canada and are either a Canadian citizen or a legal resident...
- You may be eligible for the Allowance if you are 60 to 64 years old, have a low income, and your spouse or common law partner is entitled to receive the OAS pension and the GIS. You must also reside in Canada and meet the residency requirements.
- You may be eligible for the Allowance for the Survivor if your spouse or common law partner has died and you are 60 to 64 years old, have a low income, and you reside in Canada and meet the residency requirements.
Neither Allowance is payable after you turn 65, die, or leave Canada for more than six months. A change in a spousal relationship or income level may also affect eligibility. The Allowances are not considered taxable income.
If you leave Canada, you can receive the Allowance benefits for six months following your departure from Canada. If you later return to live in Canada, these benefits may be reinstated.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
The Canada Pension Plan is a social insurance program based on equal contributions by employees and employers. Employees' contributions are automatically deducted from employees' earnings. Employers' contributions are sent directly by employers. CPP benefits include retirement pension and disability, survivor and death benefits. These benefits are taxable income.
This plan covers most employed and self‑employed persons who contribute between the ages of 18 and 70. If you have made at least one valid contribution to the plan, you are eligible for retirement benefits.
The CPP retirement benefit amount is based on the contributor's earnings during a contributory period. Certain "drop out" periods may be excluded from the contributory period. Drop out periods may include when the contributor was disabled, left the labour force to raise children, or had low earnings. Retirement benefits are adjusted each January to reflect increases in the cost of living.
Persons over 65 may receive the full retirement pension to which they are entitled regardless of their employment status. Individuals may choose to take the retirement pension as early as age 60 for a decreased benefit amount, or postpone receiving it until as late as age 70 for an increased benefit amount.
Spouses or common law partners in a continuing relationship may apply to receive an equal share of the CPP pensions earned by one or both parties during their relationship. This does not increase or decrease the benefit amount paid; the amount that both spouses are entitled to is simply divided equally between them. This may result in tax savings.
Individuals may apply for pension sharing once they are receiving or entitled to receive their pension. Spouses or common law partners may cancel sharing of their benefits at any time.
Spouses who separate or divorce may be able to have the CPP credits of both themselves and their spouse or ex‑spouse split between the two parties. When a marriage or common law partnership ends, the CPP credits built up by the couple can be divided between the two parties, even if one spouse or common law partner did not pay into the Canada Pension Plan. Various factors, including the length of the relationship, determine eligibility for credit splitting. Credit splitting may affect the amount of benefits each spouse is entitled to receive.
If you have made sufficient contributions to the plan and meet the definition of disabled as set out in the CPP legislation, as well as certain other requirements, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Canada has entered into agreements with some other countries that allow contributions made in those countries to be counted.
This monthly benefit is only available to persons under the age of 65 and is taxable income. It is adjusted annually to reflect increase in the cost of living.
While receiving this type of benefit, the contributor's file is subject to periodic reassessment. The contributor must report in writing any changes in their condition that affects their ability to work. If the contributor delays reporting such changes some benefits may need to be repaid.
Benefits for Children of Disabled or Deceased Contributors
A disabled or deceased contributor's child, or someone acting on behalf of that child, may apply for benefits. Eligibility is based on contributions but the amount of benefits is not - these benefits are paid at a flat rate. To be eligible for benefits, the child must be under the age of 18 or a full‑time student who is between the ages of 18 and 25. If the child is over 18 and not a full‑time student, benefits cease. On application, benefits may be reinstated if the child returns to being a full‑time student.
This benefit may be paid to the spouse or common law partner of a deceased contributor. The amount of the payment varies depending on your age, whether you are also receiving other CPP benefits and the contributions of the deceased.
This benefit may continue even if the spouse or common law partner of a deceased contributor remarries. However, the recipient cannot collect more than one Survivor's benefit. If the recipient is widowed more than once, they can receive the higher pension amount.
A lump sum payment may be paid to the estate of the deceased contributor if they made CPP contributions for a specified period. Where the deceased has no estate or Will, the payment may be made to the person responsible for the funeral, the surviving spouse or common law partner, or the next of kin, in that order of eligibility.
Some employers offer a pension plan to their employees. Sometimes pension plan membership is a required term of employment. These plans are independent of government programs (OAS, GIS, CPP, SIP).
Although these plans are not government funded there are laws that apply to employer pensions. In Saskatchewan, The Pension Benefits Act sets out minimum standards concerning when an employee is eligible to join a company's plan, as well as standards regarding vesting and survivor benefits. Not all employer plans are covered by this Act.
Provincial employer pension plans can vary greatly and may contain more generous terms than the minimum requirements under the provincial legislation.
Many senior citizens are entitled to some extra tax credits. If you are over 65 years of age, and your income does not exceed a certain level, you can claim an age amount exemption on your tax return. This exemption is indexed, which means the dollar amount of the exemption is likely to rise each tax year. As well, certain private pensions and other retirement income, up to $2000 per year, may be exempt. Some of these exemptions are transferable between spouses.
Seniors may also be able to split some of their pension income evenly between spouses or common law partners. Splitting income may reduce the percentage of tax payable.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) operates a number of programs to help people fill out income tax forms. Many guides and publications are available in alternate formats for individuals with visual or hearing impairments and can be requested through the local offices of CRA. For further information contact CRA.
Wills and Estate Planning
A Will is a legal document stating how an individual wants their property to be dealt with after death. A Will usually names one or more Executors who distribute the property as directed by the Will.
A properly drafted Will can help ensure that your property is divided the way you intended and benefits the people you intended. If you die without a Will your property will be distributed to your next-of-kin according to The Intestate Succession Act.
Handling the Estate: Probate and Administration
After death, a Will may have to be probated. Probated means proven in court. Probating may not be necessary if the surviving spouse is the Executor and only beneficiary and if there are only a few assets, such as a bank account and personal effects. The Will itself and the Death Certificate may be sufficient to transfer some assets to the beneficiary. The Executor can check with the bank and other places where assets are located to see if they require the Will to be probated or not.
The Will must be probated if the deceased owned real estate in their name alone. The Information Services Corporation (ISC), cannot register the name of the new owner until the Will is probated (also see Joint Ownership of Real Estate).
When there is no Will, a next‑of‑kin may apply to the court to be Administrator of the estate. If the deceased owned land in their name alone, an Administrator must be appointed before the land can be transferred or sold.
Further information about estates can be found in the PLEA publication Wills and Estates.
Transfer of Vehicle Registration after Death of Owner
A family car that is registered in the name of the deceased can be transferred after death without probating the Will. To change the name on the registration, SGI requires a copy of the Death Certificate and a copy of the Will. If there is no Will, the transfer may still be possible if the applicant is the spouse or sole beneficiary. For further information contact SGI. The insurance expires if registration is not changed within 60 days of the death.
Death Certificates can be obtained by contacting the Vital Statistics Registry, operated by eHealth Saskatchewan.
Gifts for Medical Research
In Saskatchewan, organ and tissue transplants or donations are regulated by The Human Tissue Gift Act. This law governs both transplants from one living person to another living person, and organ and tissue donations after death.
In your lifetime, you may wish to donate part of your body, such as a kidney, to another living person. To consent to this you must be 18 years or older, mentally competent to consent, and able to make an informed decision.
You may want to donate your body or organs and tissue after your death for transplants or medical research. To do so, you must be 18 years or older. You can write and sign a consent form yourself. You may also consent by filling in the organ donor consent card that is provided with your Saskatchewan Health Services Card. The card should be signed by you and a family member. Along with the consent card there is also an organ donor sticker that should be attached to your Saskatchewan Health Services Card. It is a good idea to keep the documents with you in your wallet. A consent that is only recorded in your Will is not likely to be useful as it may not be read until sometime after your death.
By law, you may also consent orally to the use of your body after death for transplants or research. Oral consent must be given in the presence of at least two witnesses during your last period of illness.
You may specify the circumstances in which your body is to be used - you can limit use to therapeutic purposes, medical education, or scientific research, if you wish. You may also restrict which organs or tissue you choose to donate. If your body cannot be used for any of the purposes specified, the matter will be dealt with as if no consent had been given.
It is very important to discuss this issue with your family and close relatives. You should make sure that family, relatives and close friends know and respect your wishes in this regard. These people will be the ones left to deal with medical personnel. In Saskatchewan, organ and tissue will not be donated without your family's or next-of-kin's consent.
Saskatchewan Transplant Program coordinators are available in the Regina Qu'Appelle and Saskatoon health regions to provide more information about organ and tissue donation and transplantation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you wish to donate your entire body for medical research and education, you must contact the Body Bequeathal Program, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon.
If a person of any age dies without having given consent to the use of their body, organs or tissue for medical purposes, their next of kin may consent. Next of kin are prohibited from giving such consent if they have reason to believe that the deceased person would have objected to organ donation or use of their body for medical research.
Anyone who has particular burial or funeral requests may want to discuss these in detail with their Executor and with close relatives. The Executor has the legal responsibility for arranging the funeral and is not required to obey the deceased's wishes. But it is rare that such wishes are ignored. Merely stating preferences in a Will is inadequate because the Will may not be read until sometime after death.
Deaths must be properly registered, and permission is needed for burial or cremation. When death occurs, the attending physician will complete a Medical Certificate of Death and forward it for registration. Once a death has been registered, a Death Certificate can be obtained by contacting the Vital Statistics Registry, operated by eHealth Saskatchewan.
In Saskatchewan, a burial requires a burial permit and a plot for interment. Funeral homes are generally responsible for arranging to have a burial permit issued. Services available and prices for burial plots vary from community to community. Cemeteries often have regulations regarding the size and type of marker to be used for burial plots. It is best to check with the cemetery concerned.
Cremation is an alternative to burial. It is important to note that only an Executor or next of kin can authorize a cremation. There are several crematoriums located in Saskatchewan. The same type of caskets used for burial may be used for cremation. In some areas of Saskatchewan one casket can be used during the service but a second, simpler casket or container can be used for the actual cremation. According to individual choice and depending on local municipal regulations, cremated remains may be scattered over fields or water, kept in a house, deposited in private gardens, or interred in a cemetery.
Veterans' Burial Benefits
Most large cemeteries in Saskatchewan have a Field of Honour or soldiers' plot. Veterans or members of the Canadian Forces can be buried in these plots when a discharge certificate or regimental number is produced. It may also be possible to have the spouse of a veteran buried in these areas, depending on the cemetery. Further information may be obtained from Veterans Affairs Canada, the Last Post Fund, or veterans' groups or associations such as the Royal Canadian Legion or the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada.
A person may arrange to pay for a funeral service or cemetery plot before their death. Legislation in Saskatchewan sets out how such pre‑paid plans must operate.
Anyone who sells pre‑arranged funerals in Saskatchewan must be licensed under The Funeral and Cremation Services Act. All money paid before death for funeral services, less some administrative fees, must be held in a trust account.
Similarly, sales of cemetery plots are regulated under The Cemeteries Act. A portion of all sales must be kept in a maintenance fund, to ensure the long‑term care of the cemetery. Money from the advance sale of plots must be kept in a trust fund.
In either pre‑arranged funerals or the advance sale of cemetery plots, the buyer may cancel the agreement. Depending on the circumstances the buyer is entitled to either a full or partial refund.
If the seller does not give the buyer a copy of the contract at the time it is signed or by registered mail or personal delivery within seven business days of the contract being signed, the buyer can cancel the contract and receive a full refund. Buyers who do not receive a copy of the contract within the required time have 30 days to cancel it from the time when they actually do receive a copy of the contract.
A buyer can also cancel, in writing, for any reason within ten business days of the contract being made and receive a full refund. If the seller was not properly licensed or did not use an authorized form of contract, the buyer can cancel the deal, in writing, within one year and be entitled to a full refund.
If the buyer cancels at any other time, the seller can keep a portion of the price to cover costs of administration or special services that were ordered by the buyer or provided by the seller.
The law also limits selling activities. For example, salespeople are not allowed to make telephone solicitations between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. They cannot solicit residents of a hospital, a residential service facility, a special care home or a personal care home unless they first receive a specific request to do so. Salespeople cannot engage in any conduct that harasses people or even appears to harass them.
When applying for financial assistance from Social Services, the regulations allow individuals to keep pre‑paid funeral funds up to a maximum of $7500. The applicant must have paid for the funeral services before applying for assistance.
Many non‑profit agencies and government departments that provide various services for seniors are mentioned in this publication. Following is an alphabetical listing of these and other organizations that are of particular interest to seniors. This is not a complete list but merely a sample of the sort of agencies one might contact to obtain assistance when seeking up‑to‑date information on available services. Individuals can also check the blue pages of the telephone book or contact the Information Services Department at a local library.
A comprehensive online database of government and community programs and services, including emergency/crisis hotlines across the province.
Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan
980 Albert St
Regina SK S4R 2P7
Toll Free: 1-888-352-7601
Deals with consumer complaints.
Body Bequeathal Program
University of Saskatchewan
2D01 Health Sciences
107 Wiggins Rd
Saskatoon SK S7N 5E5
Provides donation forms for those who wish to donate their bodies for medical research and education.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Saskatoon Regional Office
200-119 4th Ave S
Saskatoon SK S7K 5X2
Canada's national housing agency dealing with affordable housing, finance options, information about reverse mortgages, building standards and policy-making.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
Toll Free: 1-800-959-8281 (individual income tax enquires)
Toll Free: 1-800-267-6999 (tax information phone service)
Provides information on income tax.
Canadian Human Rights Commission
344 Slater St
Ottawa ON K1A 1E1
Toll Free: 1-888-214-1090
Investigates complaints of discrimination made by an individual concerning a federal agency.
Canadian Snowbird Association
180 Lesmill Rd
Toronto ON M3B 2T5
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3200
Provides services to travelling seniors including insurance, hotel and auto rates, and a newsletter.
College of Physicians and Surgeons
101-2174 Airport Drive
Saskatoon SK S7L 6M6
Toll Free: 1-800-667-1668 (Complaints)
Regulatory body for the medical profession in the Province of Saskatchewan. Receives complaints from patients who are dissatisfied with the care received from a doctor.
Consumer Protection Division, Saskatchewan Justice
500-1919 Saskatchewan Dr
Regina SK S4P 4H2
Toll Free: 1-877-880-5550
Provincial government office providing education, information, and resources on consumer legislation in Saskatchewan.
Consumers' Association of Saskatchewan
306-220 3rd Ave S
Saskatoon SK S7K 1M1
Provides information on consumer policy, trends and the marketplace. Provides self-help information and directs consumers to the appropriate organization for help with a particular problem.
Community Care Branch, Ministry of Health
T.C. Douglas Building
3475 Albert St
Regina SK S4S 6X6
Provides information about personal care homes, special-care homes, individualized funding for Home Care and complaints.
Farm Stress Line
Toll Free: 1-800-667-4442
Provides crisis intervention, short-term counselling, referrals and information to people living in rural Saskatchewan.
Funeral and Cremation Services Council (SK)
3847C Albert St
Regina SK S4S 3R4
Sets standards of practice, provides information for consumers, and receives complaints about prepaid funeral contracts or salespeople of pre-arranged funerals.
Call the HealthLine by dialing 811 at any time for professional health advice free of charge to Saskatchewan residents. HealthLine is a confidential health and support line staffed by registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, social workers and specially trained client navigators.
Hearing Aid Plan
Phone: 306-655-4170 (Saskatoon)
Phone: 306-766-7555 (Regina)
Provides hearing assessments and hearing aid fittings and repairs. Regional and mobile clinics located throughout the province.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan
1738 Quebec Avenue, Unit 26
Saskatoon SK S7K 1V9
Provides education on heart disease and stroke.
Home Care, Community Care Branch
Saskatchewan's home care program helps people remain in their home as long as possible. Services are provided through individual health regions.
Information Services Corporation (formerly Land Titles Office)
Toll Free: 1-866-275-4721
See the online directory or the blue pages of the telephone book, Government of Saskatchewan, under land registration for the address and the telephone number of the nearest ISC Office.
Kidney Foundation of Canada Saskatchewan Branch
1-2217 Hanselman Crt
Saskatoon SK S7L 6A8
Toll Free: 1-888-664-8588
Provides free information about donating organs.
Land Titles Office
(see Information Services Corporation)
Lions Eye Bank of Saskatchewan Inc.
Works in partnership with the Saskatchewan Transplant Program to supply eye tissue for sight-saving procedures for individuals with eye disease or injury.
Medical Services Branch
T.C. Douglas Building
3475 Albert St
Regina SK S4S 6X6
Provides information about health benefits coverage in regards to optometrists, chiropractors, physicians, out of province, and out of Canada.
College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
University of Saskatchewan
110 Science Pl
Saskatoon SK S7N 5C9
Toll Free: 1-800-665-3784
Provides information and advice on prescription, over‑the‑counter, and herbal medications.
Mental Health Services
Provides various services to seniors suffering from mental health disorders. Contact your local health region for more information.
Ministry of Health
T.C. Douglas Building
3475 Albert St
Regina SK S4S 6X6
Toll Free: 1-800-667-7766
Provides the Saskatchewan Health Services Card and information on benefits and registration, continuing care, mental health, disease prevention and more.
Office of Residential Tenancies
304-1855 Victoria Ave
Regina SK S4P 3T2
Sturdy Stone Building
105-122 3rd Ave N
Saskatoon SK S7K 2H6
Toll Free: 1-888-215-2222
Provides information and handles disputes between landlords and tenants.
Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan
1650-2002 Victoria Ave
Regina SK S4P 0R7
Toll Free: 1-855-833-7257
Coordinates pro bono services for eligible individuals.
Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
100-1871 Smith St
Regina SK S4P 4W4
Has the responsibility to protect the property of people who do not have the capacity to manage their own financial affairs.
Public Health Agency of Canada: Aging and Seniors
Provides information for seniors, including information about age-friendly communities, fall and injury prevention, elder abuse and FAQ's.
Walter Scott Building
B19-3085 Albert St
Regina SK S4S 0B1
Toll Free: 1-800-226-7302
The public can purchase copies of provincial Acts, Regulations, and forms, such as those required to apply for guardianship for dependent adults. All orders must be pre-paid. Phone for prices. Copies can be viewed online and printed free of charge.
Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan
2055 Lorne St
Regina SK S4P 2M4
Licensing and governing body for Registered Psychiatric Nurses in the province. Receives complaints from patients dissatisfied with care received from a psychiatric nurse.
(see Canada Revenue Agency)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
Provides crime prevention information and programs.
RCMP - Complaints
Toll Free: 1-800-665-6878
The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is an independent commission that receives and investigates complaints.
Saskatchewan Association for Community Living
3031 Louise St
Saskatoon SK S7J 3L1
Provides information on wills and estate planning for parents who wish to ensure adequate financial provisions for their children who have a mental handicap.
Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses
700A-4400 4th Ave
Regina SK S4T 0H8
Licensing and governing body for Licensed Practical Nurses in the province. Receives complaints from patients dissatisfied with care received from a licensed practical nurse.
Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Inc.
2343A Broad St
Regina SK S4P 1Y9
3-511 1st Ave N
Saskatoon SK S7K 1X5
Phone: 306-352-3323 (Regina)
Toll Free: 1-800-565-3323 (Regina)
Phone: 306-665-6575 (Saskatoon)
Toll Free: 1-800-667-6575 (Saskatoon)
Offers education and information on hearing-related problems, interpreting services, as well as socializing for people with hearing loss.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Driver's Licenses and Motor Vehicle Registration
2260 11th Ave
Regina SK S4P 0J9
Toll Free: 1-844-855-2744
Provides information on driving restrictions and examinations as well as resources for older drivers.
Saskatchewan Housing Corporation
1920 Broad Street
Regina SK S4P 3V6
Provides a range of programs and services designed to assist families, seniors and people with disabilities who have low incomes meet their housing needs.
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission
816-122 3rd Ave N
Saskatoon SK S7K 2H6
Toll Free: 1-800-667-9249
Deals with complaints in the area of human rights.
Saskatchewan Personal Property Registry (SPPR)
Toll Free: 1-866-275-4721
Conducts searches to ensure there are no liens registered against second-hand goods or vehicles.
Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association
2066 Retallack St
Regina SK S4T 7X5
Toll Free: 1-800-667-9945
Licensing and governing body for Registered Nurses in the province. Receives complaints from patients dissatisfied with care received from a registered nurse.
Saskatchewan Safety Council
445 Hoffer Dr
Regina SK S4N 6E2
Toll Free: 1-855-280-7115
Provides safety courses such as the Mature Driver Refresher Course and the Fall Prevention Program.
Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism
112-2001 Cornwall St
Regina SK S4P 3X9
Provides a united voice to the province's seniors, researches and takes action on issues affecting seniors, and coordinates resources for seniors in the province.
Saskatchewan Transplant Program
St. Paul's Hospital
1702 20th St W
Saskatoon SK S7M 0Z9
235 Albert St N
Regina SK S4R 3C2
Phone: 306-655-5054 (Saskatoon)
Phone: 306-766-6477 (Regina)
Provides information about organ and tissue donation and transplantation to the public, to professionals and to prospective transplant candidates through videos, speakers and displays.
Saskatoon Community Clinic, Seniors Program
455 2nd Ave N
Saskatoon SK S7K 2C2
Provides various services to seniors, including Aboriginal seniors' programming.
Saskatoon Council on Aging Inc.
Saskatoon Field House
2020 College Drive
Saskatoon SK S7N 2W4
Community based non-profit organization that promotes positive aging.
Toll Free: 1-800-277-9914
Provides information and application forms for Old Age Security Programs and Canada Pension Plan.
Small Claims Court
Provincial Court Building
1815 Smith St
Regina SK S4P 2N5
Provincial Court Building
220 19th St E
Saskatoon SK S7K 0A2
Phone: 306-787-5375 (Regina)
Phone: 306-933-7053 (Saskatoon)
Other locations: Call the nearest Provincial Court or visit sasklawcourts.ca
An informal court which can be used for smaller claims against retail stores, debtors, and claims arising out of automobile accidents.
Veterans Affairs Canada
108-1783 Hamilton St
Regina SK S4P 2B6
Toll Free: 1-866-522-2122
Provides information on burials, benefits and services for veterans or members of the Canadian Forces.
Toll Free: 1-855-347-5465
A provincial government department which provides marriage and death certificates and registers changes of name.ISBN/ISSN number: 1925-1394