降低 COVID-19 的風險
Reduce Your Risk from COVID-19
A Comprehensive Fact Sheet
for Seniors and Others
Compiled and Developed by
Chinese Cultural Association of Toronto
under the NHSP Program of the Government of Canada
This fact sheet is intended for people at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. It will help you determine what you can do to decrease your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
降低 COVID-19 的風險
本概況介紹適用於患有 COVID-19 的嚴重疾病風險較大的人群，如老年人和慢性病患者。它將幫助您確定您可以做什麼來降低您接觸 COVID-19 的風險。
Who is at increased risk? 誰的風險增加？
Risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19 increases with:
Age, as you get older the risk increases especially in older adults;
Having a chronic medical condition including obesity, diabetes, lung/heart/kidney/liver diseases,
stroke, high blood pressure, and conditions that weaken the immune system
(e.g., some cancers, untreated HIV/AIDS);
Taking medications that weaken the immune system (e.g., chemotherapy, oral steroid
Limit the number of people you are physically near
Aside from those you live with:
Limit the number of people you are near;
Stay as far apart as possible from people (at least 2 metres/6 feet apart).
Stay in touch with friends and family through phone, video chats, or text whenever possible.
Work from home if possible.
See your health care providers virtually (e.g., doctors, physiotherapists) whenever possible.
Avoid closed indoor spaces and crowded places
Visit with your friends and family outdoors whenever possible.
If you must meet indoors, open windows and doors to improve ventilation whenever possible.
Avoid crowded stores and other indoor spaces if possible. Choose less busy times to go shopping and use delivery services or ask others to pick-up food and supplies for you.
Limit the use of public transportation, taxis and rideshares. If you must use these forms of transportation, choose less busy times where possible, practice physical distancing, wear a mask and wash hands frequently. If you must take a taxi or rideshare, wear a mask, ensure the driver
wears a mask, sit in the back and open the window.
• 盡可能與人保持距離（至少相距 2 米/6 英尺）。
Wear a mask and ensure those near you do too
Wear a non-medical mask to help you from spreading infection to others.
Wear a mask when you are indoors with people outside of your household and ensure those near you do too (assuming that you know them, and it is safe to discuss mask use with them).
Wear a mask whenever you are outdoors within 2 metres/6 feet of people outside of your
household and ensure those near you do too. Clean your hands frequently
Wash hands often with soap and water. Do not share hand towels.
Carry and use an alcohol-based hand rub (60% - 90% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
Clean your hands whenever you touch objects or surfaces touched by others, and also if you touch another person. Avoid touching your face, and if you need to, clean your hands first.
• 每當您在戶外，在 2 米/6 英尺外的人，請戴上口罩。
• 如果沒有肥皂和水，請攜帶並使用酒精手擦（60% - 90% 酒精）。
Other strategies to help stay healthy
Get your influenza vaccine when available to protect you from influenza virus.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your house (e.g. doorknobs, light switches).
If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, contact your health care provider or visit
an assessment centre as per Ministry of Health guidance.
If you have concerns about your or a loved one’s mental health, seek help.
Public Health Agency of Canada: Vulnerable
Populations and COVID-19
The Canadian Coalition for Seniors'
Tips for Battling Anxiety During this
Public Health Situation
Things to Do While Physical Distancing
CATIE: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), HIV
and Hepatitis C: What You Need to Know
Ministry of Health: Resources for
Ontarians Experiencing Mental Health and
Addictions Issues During the Pandemic
Canadian Cancer Society:
Cancer and COVID-19
About Kids Health: Information for
Parents of Immunocompromised Children
and Children with Chronic Medical
Public Health Ontario: Public Resources
• 如果您出現與 COVID-19 一致的癥狀，請聯絡您的醫療保健提供者或訪問
Learn about the virus
To learn more and access up-to-date information on COVID-19 visit the Ontario Ministry of Health’s
website at ontario.ca/coronavirus.
For more information please contact:
要瞭解更多資訊並獲取有關 COVID-19 的最新資訊，請訪問安大略省衛生部
How to stay active during the COVID-19 quarantine?
在 COVID-19 隔離期間如何保持活躍？
Follow an online exercise class. Take advantage of the wealth of online exercise classes. Many of these are free and can be found on YouTube. If you have no experience performing these exercises, be cautious and aware of your own limitations.
Walk. Even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you remain active. If you have a call, stand or walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down. If you decide to go outside to walk or exercise, be sure to maintain at least a 1-meter distance from other people.
Stand up. Reduce your sedentary time by standing up whenever possible. Ideally, aim to interrupt sitting and reclining time every 30 minutes. Consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials, to continue working while standing. During sedentary leisure time prior
How are senior citizens being supported during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We are supporting older Canadians financially by:
• reducing minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
• supporting community services and supports, such as the delivery of items and personal outreach
through United Way Canada and other organizations
• providing a one-time tax-free payment to help seniors cover increased costs caused by COVID-19
• temporarily extending the Guaranteed Income Supplement and allowance payments
走。即使在狹小的空間里，四處走動或當場散步，也可以説明你保持活躍。如果你有一個電話，站在或走你的家，而你說話，而不是坐下來。如果您決定到外面散步或鍛煉，請務必與其他人保持至少 1 米的距離。
站起來。盡可能站起來，減少久坐時間。理想情況下，目標是每 30 分鐘中斷一次坐姿和仰臥時間。考慮使用高桌子或堆疊一堆書籍或其他材料來設置站立的辦公桌，以在站立時繼續工作。在久坐的閒暇時間之前
• 提供一次免稅付款，説明老年人支付 COVID-19 導致的額外費用
Limit contact with others
Do not leave home unless it is to seek time-sensitive medical services.
Do not use public transportation (such as municipal transit, taxis or ride-share services).
Arrange to have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door to minimize contact.
Avoid isolating at home if you cannot separate yourself from those who live with you. For example, if:
you live in a group or communal living setting
you share a small apartment
you live in the same household with large families or many people
you have roommates who have not travelled with you that you cannot avoid
your location is a camp, student dorm or other group setting where there is close contact, and you share common spaces
Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possible.
This includes if you are living with friends/family who did not travel with you.
Thoroughly and regularly clean and disinfect common areas after use.
If you have to be in contact with others, practise physical distancing and keep at least 2 metres between yourself and the other person.
Avoid contact with people who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes.
If you are staying in a hotel, do no use shared spaces, such as lobbies, courtyards, restaurants, gyms or pools.
Keep any interactions brief and wear a medical mask if available when you need to be in the same room with others in the home, or when coughing or sneezing.
If unavailable, wear a non-medical mask or facial covering:
made with at least 2 layers of tightly woven fabric
constructed to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping
secured to the head by ties or ear loops
Follow instructions online for the safe use and disposal or laundering of face masks, or as provided by your Public Health Authority.
Avoid contact with animals, as there have been several reports of people transmitting COVID-19 to their pets.
Keep your hands clean
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and dry with disposable paper towels or dry reusable towel, replacing it when it becomes wet.
You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm or into a tissue.
Avoid contaminating common items and surfaces
At least once daily, clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch often, like toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes.
Do not share personal items with others, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils or electronic devices.
To disinfect, use only approved hard-surface disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN).
A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms the disinfectant product is approved and safe for use in Canada.
Place contaminated items that cannot be cleaned in a lined container, secure the contents and dispose of them with other household waste.
Put the lid of the toilet down before flushing.
Wearing a face mask, including a non-medical mask or facial covering may trap respiratory droplets and stop them from contaminating surfaces around you.
It should be made with at least 2 layers of tightly woven fabric, constructed to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping and secured to the head by ties or ear loops.
Wearing a mask does not reduce the need for cleaning and disinfecting.
Care for yourself
Monitor your symptoms as directed by your health care provider or Public Health Authority.
If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your health care provider or public health authority and follow their instructions.
If you are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, you should monitor yourself for worsening or urgent symptoms, such as:
new or worsening cough
shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
temperature equal to or over 38°C
fatigue or weakness
muscle or body aches
new loss of smell or taste
gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
feeling very unwell
If you develop urgent symptoms, call 911 or your local emergency help line and inform them that you:
may have COVID-19
are at high risk for complications
Get some rest, eat a balanced diet and stay in touch with others through communication devices.
Supplies to have at home when isolating
Medical masks if available for the case and the caregiver
If unavailable, wear non-medical masks or facial coverings:
made with at least 2 layers of tightly woven fabric
constructed to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping
secured to the head by ties or ear loops
Eye protection (face shield or goggles) for use by caregiver
Disposable gloves (do not re-use) for use by caregiver
Disposable paper towels
Waste container with plastic liner
Over the counter medication to reduce fever (e.g., ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
Alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
Regular laundry soap
Regular household cleaning products
If unavailable, use concentrated (5%) liquid bleach and a separate container for dilution
Alcohol prep wipes or appropriate cleaning products for high-touch electronics
The Government of Canada is implementing an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires persons entering Canada-whether by air, sea or land-to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19, in order to limit its introduction and spread. The 14-day period begins on the day the person enters Canada.
We can all do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
For more information, visit Canada.ca/coronavirus or contact 1-833-784-4397.
50 Activities for the Elderly in Lockdown and Isolation
50 Activities for the Elderly in Lockdown and
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing chaos worldwide and this is a hard time for so many.
We need to hang in there - these crazy times will pass.
我們需要堅持在那裡 - 這些瘋狂的時代會過去。
In the meantime, we need to adjust our activity planning in accordance with new rules and
regulations. Many of us are now in complete lockdown situations. Here are some in-room activity ideas for residents to enjoy while in isolation.
Providing spiritual support for people living in long term care is vital to their well-being. It is especially
important now, as residents face the challenges of being isolated from friends and family.
10 Spiritual Activities for Memory Care
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for the Elderly
3 Ways to Practise Mindfulness with the Elderly
Rainbow Guided Meditation
There are also many guided meditation apps you can use.
The therapeutic value of drawing and coloring comes from the need to concentrate. Residents
immersive themselves and ‘forget’ their troubles whilst in the midst of a coloring activity. Everyone
needs a break from reality sometimes.
7 Drawing Activities for Seniors
Line Drawing for Seniors
Stick Figure Story Telling
Drawing from numbers
Residents will love these beautiful coloring-in templates and artist emulations for adults!
The Benefits of Coloring-In for the Elderly
Making Craft activities like making cards, gifts, decorations, bookmarks and collages can be immersive and gratifying. You can find an extensive and varied list of craft activities here
Sorting & Helping Activities
Activities that make residents feel helpful are always wonderful for memory care. Everyone needs to feel useful and like they matter. Ask residents to help, cooperate, or contribute to give them a sense of satisfaction and belonging.
Colour sorting with paint colour swatches from paint store
Sorting out packs of playing cards
Leaving clothes and fabric for residents to sort by color, size etc.
Untying knots (a dozen sailor's knots for example)
Unraveling a wool sweater for recycling
Cutting squares of old clothes to make a patchwork rug
17 Sifting & Sorting Bin Ideas
Phone Calls or Video Chats電話通話或視頻聊天
Have family or volunteers call residents for a chat. It will lift their spirits and provide a welcome break.
For an even more interactive and immersive experience, why not video chat using Skype, Google
Hangout, or FaceTime!
5 Fun Technology Activities For Residents
In-Room Activity Packs
Gather a bundle of activities into a pack for residents to enjoy. Include things like:
Spot the Differences
Who Am I?
Some people are also creating 'Bored Boards' - pockets of different activities for residents to select
from displayed in a prominent position - word searches, coloring etc.
You may even consider making your own DIY Crosswords and DIY Word Search themed to your city,
local area or care home to share with residents.
You may enjoy the activity cart suggestions in this article:
Portable Ideas to Reach Every Resident, Every Day
Travel videos can be fascinating to watch. Choose a country and some suitable YouTube videos to
watch and then follow this up with themed activities based on the chosen country: word search,
quizzes, coloring. etc.
Armchair Travel with Google Maps
Armchair Travel to Spain
Armchair Travel to Greece
Armchair Travel to Australia
Armchair Travel to Italy
8 Ways to Provide Armchair Travel Experiences
Following on from Armchair Travel, why not create decorations in the colours of countries you wish to
celebrate. This could be for upcoming events and national days or just for fun!
How to Make Pom Poms
International Flag Decorations
Letters of the Alphabet Templates
Fiddle Boxes & Sensory Kits
Rummage, Memory or Sensory boxes are containers filled with everyday objects to assist people living with dementia to interact, communicate and reminisce. These activities can also be a soothing
form of distraction.
Garden Inspired Sensory Kit
Cozy Sensory Kits
Coffee & Tea Sensory Kits
Holiday Sensory Box Inspiration
Sensory Boxes & Other Ideas to Stimulate the Senses
Continue to celebrate special calendar days with themed activities. For example, Easter is coming
soon - why not decorate hard boiled eggs with dye, paint or using other coloring techniques? You can combine this with other related activities such as quizzes, trivia and even creating posters using
pictures cut out from old magazines and posters.
Visit the Activities Calendar for a huge range of special days to celebrate.
In Room Gardening房間園藝
You can enliven any room with a pot plant, and there a pot plants to suit any conditions! Residents
should be encouraged to pursue this wonderful hobby, there are many hidden benefits to growing
10 Easy-to-Grow Indoor Plants
How to Create a Desert Terrarium
Activities for Men男子活動
Sanding a chair
Learning to tie sailors knots on YouTube
Watching Football on TV
Listening to Beer Songs on Spotify
Making paper airplanes
Watching TED talks or virtual tours of museums
Spot the Differences
Weather Station Activities
Creative Thinking Exercises
More Activities for Men
How are you getting through the lockdown and isolation period? What activities are working for your residents? Please share in the comments below. Lets band together and share our creative one-on one ideas! x
COVID-19 IMPACTS: Retirees and Family Finances in Canada
Edward Ng, PhD
September 3, 2020
COVID-19 has had a major impact on the labour market, work–life and family finances in Canada. Amid the public health measures and economic lockdown, many organizations and businesses across the country rapidly laid off employees and/or transitioned employees to teleworking. As a result, the unemployment rate increased from 8% to 14% between March and May 2020, reaching the highest figure recorded since comparable data became available in 1976.1 A survey conducted April 10–12, 2020 by Leger, the Association for Canadians Studies (ACS) and the Vanier Institute found that more than one-third of Canadians aged 18 and older were financially impacted due to COVID-19 (i.e. lost their job temporarily or permanently, or experienced pay or income losses).2
Within many families, this context of uncertainty in the labour market can have a major impact on aspirations, such as buying a home, having a child3 or pursuing post-secondary education. Retirement has also been affected, with pre-retirees and retirees alike adapting and reacting to the evolving context to support family.
Retired people are in a unique situation, however, when it comes to the financial impact of COVID-19, as they are not in the labour force, and those who are seniors have access to other income supports. As their capacity to provide financial support to family is shaped by their own finances, understanding their unique realities and experiences will help shed light on this aspect of COVID-19 impacts on families in Canada.
Retirement plans shaped by family finances and available supports
While a growing share of Canadians are working past their 50s and beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, the retired population has grown overall as population aging has continued. According to Statistics Canada, the average age at retirement for all workers in Canada was 64.3 in 2019. That said, many older Canadians continue to work well into their 60s and beyond. In 2017, nearly one-third of Canadians aged 60 and older said that they worked (or wanted to work) in the previous year, half (49%) of whom did so “out of necessity.”4
Prior to COVID-19, many Canadians expressed concern about their financial preparedness for retirement. According to the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey, 69% of pre-retired Canadians are preparing financially for retirement, on their own or through a workplace pension plan.5 But more than one-third of surveyed Canadians aged 55 and older reported are concerned they do not have enough savings (37%) and/or that they will be able to cover health care costs as they age (34%).6
Retirees who are seniors have access to income support through government pension payments, available to all Canadians at age 65 who have lived in the country for at least 10 years. On top of privately arranged retirement schemes and/or personal retirement savings or investments, public income programs for seniors, such as the Old Age Security (OAS) program, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, provide senior retirees in Canada with fixed and relatively stable income sources that can help protect them against economic instability, such as the economic shock resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2020, in response to the financial stress placed on retirees and seniors, the federal government announced additional financial support for seniors as a one-time payment of $500 for individuals who receive both the OAS and the GIS to offset additional costs from COVID-19.7
Retiree investments impacted, but overall family finances less affected
A survey conducted by the Leger, ACS and the Vanier Institute in early May provided one of the first glimpses into the pandemic’s financial impact on retirees.8 It showed that only 1 in 5 retirees9 reported a decrease in income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, compared with close to one half of pre-retirees (47%) (fig. 1).
8 8 結果顯示，只有五分之一的退休人員9報告因COVID-19危機而收入減少，而退休人員前近一半（47%）（圖1）。
In fact, the polling data showed that some (7%) of retirees reported difficulty in their capacity to meet financial obligations, such as paying bills, compared with close to 1 in 4 pre-retirees (24%). Similarly, 1 in 20 (5%) retirees reported difficulty in paying mortgage or rent, compared with close to 1 in 5 pre-retirees (18%).
事實上，民調數據顯示，有（7%）退休人員報告難以履行財政義務，如支付帳單，而近四分之一的退休前人員（24%）。同樣，20 分之一 （5%）退休人員報告難以支付抵押貸款或租金，而退休人員前五分之一（18%）。
While retirees have access to public income support, many also have access to additional income support through savings or other investments. (In 2015, 50% of seniors in Canada reported receiving income from investments.)10 The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in financial market uncertainties and turbulences that added considerable stress on investors in general, and this is the area where retirees were most adversely affected. The polling data showed that more than half (52%) of retirees reported negative impact on their retirement savings or other investments – though the impact was greater among pre-retirees (59%).
Retirees assisting other family members financially
Family can be viewed as a potential source of insurance against abrupt financial shocks. Since some retirees were less exposed to the pandemic-related economic shocks, they have been a potential source of financial support for their children or younger family members, who may have been more adversely affected. A study on the impact of severe economic recessions found that, during the 2008 financial crisis, 28% of households in the United States reported getting financial help from family and friends.11
How did COVID-19 affect retirees’ ability to assist other family members in Canada? When asked, about 1 in 5 retirees (21%) reported that the pandemic had affected their ability to assist other family members financially. Among the pre-retirees, who were more exposed to the economic shock produced by COVID-19, the rate was 45%. Retirees who received income assistance from their children or grandchildren (some of whom could be pre-retirees) may therefore have also been indirectly affected in this way.
Retirement timing is being affected for one-third of surveyed Canadians
As families continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, data show that many workers are adapting their retirement plans. A recent US survey found that 39% of American workers are changing their retirement timing,12 primarily for financial reasons (e.g. they had to use some of their savings, some of their investments may have lost value during the pandemic, there is less certainty in general about how much money they will need in retirement).
A separate survey from Canada suggests a similar trend may be taking place in Canada, with one-third (33%) of adults who plan to retire saying that they will retire later than planned as a result of COVID-19.13 However, 8% of respondents said they would retire earlier than originally planned, possibly due to wanting to avoid continued uncertainty and turbulence in the labour market (if they are financially able to do so).
While it is too early to draw a clear picture of the diverse ways COVID-19 has impacted retirement in Canada, early data shows that retirees are less financially impacted on average, as pre-retirees seem to have been more exposed to the economic impacts. Nonetheless, surveys show that the increased uncertainty is having an impact on people’s retirement planning, and further research will be important to understanding how this is affecting family finances and well-being more generally.
What every older Canadian should know about: Powers of attorney (for financial matters and property) and joint bank accounts
What every older Canadian should know about: Powers of attorney (for financial matters and property) and joint bank accounts
[PDF - 1.7 MB]
Many Canadians are concerned about how to manage their money, property, and finances as they age or as life changes take place. They may worry about what will happen if they become unable to deal with their own finances. It is a good idea to plan ahead for a time when you may need help managing your affairs.
Two tools often used for managing financial affairs are powers of attorney and joint bank accounts.
It is important to know how a power of attorney, or a joint bank account works before you use them. There are risks and advantages to both.
You should never feel pressured to sign a power of attorney or to open a joint bank account. Carefully consider all of your options before making any decisions.
Powers of attorney
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that you sign to give one person, or more than one person, the authority to manage your money and property on your behalf. In most of Canada, the person you appoint is called an “attorney.” That person does not need to be a lawyer.
Among other requirements, you must be mentally capable at the time you sign any type of power of attorney for it to be valid. In general, to be mentally capable means that you are able to understand and appreciate financial and legal decisions and understand the consequences of making these decisions. However, the legal definition of mental capacity will vary based on the laws in each province or territory.
What types of powers of attorney are used in Canada?
The names and requirements for the different types of powers of attorney that deal with finances and property will vary depending on the province or territory where you live.
Generally, there are two main types of powers of attorney commonly used for finances and property in Canada:
A general power of attorney is a legal document that can give your attorney authority over all or some of your finances and property. It allows your attorney to manage your finances and property on your behalf only while you are mentally capable of managing your own affairs. It ends if you become mentally incapable of managing your own affairs.
A general power of attorney can be “specific” or “limited,” which can give authority to your attorney for a limited task (e.g. sell a house) or give them authority for a specific period of time. The power of attorney can start as soon as you sign it, or it can start on a specific date that you write in the document.
An enduring or continuing power of attorney is a legal document that lets your attorney continue acting for you if you become mentally incapable of managing your finances and property. It can also give your attorney authority over all or some of your finances and property. An enduring or continuing power of attorney can take effect as soon as you sign it. In some cases, it is possible to have the power of attorney come into effect only when you become mentally incapable, if this was specified in the document.
What can my attorney do?
Unless you limit your attorney’s authority, they can do almost everything with your finances and property that you could do. If you do not have any limitations in your power of attorney document, your attorney can do your banking, sign cheques, buy or sell real estate in your name, and buy consumer goods. Your attorney does not become the owner of any of your money or property. He or she only has the authority to manage it on your behalf.
Your attorney cannot make a will for you, change your existing will, change a beneficiary on a life insurance plan, or give a new power of attorney to someone else on your behalf.
Can my attorney make decisions about my healthcare and personal care?
In most parts of Canada, it is possible to prepare documents that give another person the authority to make health and other types of personal and non-financial decisions for you, if you were to become mentally incapable of doing so for yourself. Depending on where you live, these documents may be called powers of attorney, personal or health directives, representation agreements, or mandates.
These documents are different from powers of attorney for finances and property. It is important to be clear about what type of document you are signing. This publication deals with powers of attorney for financial matters and property only. This includes your money, investments, and everything that you own, including your home.
Can I still make decisions for myself if I grant someone a power of attorney?
As long as you are mentally capable, you can continue to make your own decisions about your finances.
Understand the laws where you live
Each province and territory has its own laws relating to powers of attorney. You need to follow the law in the province or territory where you live. You may want to consult a lawyer when entering into a power of attorney to be sure that your document is valid, and to fully understand what your attorney will be able to do. It is important that you learn how you or others can monitor your attorney’s actions, and what to do if you want to change or cancel the power of attorney. Be sure that you fully understand any document before you sign it.
What are the advantages and risks of having a power of attorney?
Makes it clear who will be responsible for your money and property if you cannot manage them on your own, even temporarily.
Your attorney must manage your money and property for your benefit and can be required by law to account for and explain how he or she is managing it.
Can be as general or specific as you need.
You can choose to appoint two or more attorneys. You can require that your attorneys make all decisions together (“jointly”), or to act together or separately, if one of them is unavailable (“jointly and severally”). You can also appoint alternate or successive attorneys.
Having two or more attorneys could reduce potential fraudulent use of a power of attorney.
A general power of attorney allows your attorney to look after your affairs if you are away temporarily or if you need help managing your affairs.
An enduring power of attorney allows your attorney to continue looking after your affairs if you lose your mental capacity.
If you lose your mental capacity and do not have a valid power of attorney document in place, someone will need to get authority from the court to manage your money and property. This can be time consuming and expensive.
May make you vulnerable to financial abuse
Can lead to mismanagement of your money and property if the attorney you choose is not trustworthy, uses your money improperly, or does not make decisions that are in your best interest.
Too directive or not specific enough
Not enough information or limitations in the document could lead to the mismanagement of your finances or to your finances being managed in a way with which you do not agree.
Your attorney must manage your affairs in the way that you direct in the document. Strict limitations can make it difficult for your attorney to take care of your finances.
If you appoint more than one attorney to act jointly, disagreements between them could cause problems and lead to delays in the management of your financial affairs.
Not up to date
If not reviewed regularly, your power of attorney document might not meet your current needs or the requirements of the law.
The person you previously selected to be your attorney may no longer be the best choice or may no longer be available.
Possibility of “competing” powers of attorney if you have signed more than one power of attorney document. If you appoint a new attorney, you should cancel your previous power of attorney document and advise your financial institution of the change.
Choosing an attorney
Who can I ask to be my attorney?
You should ask someone you trust. You may choose your spouse, a close friend, a family member or anyone else that you trust. Carefully consider whether they are the best choice to manage your money and property and do so in your best interest.
The minimum legal age for an attorney varies according to the province or territory where you live. The person you ask to be your attorney can refuse to act for you, so it is important to ask the person first if they are willing to take on this responsibility and everything that it entails. You should also consider appointing a substitute attorney in case the first attorney can no longer act for you.
Do I have to pay my attorney?
In some provinces, unless you state otherwise in the power of attorney, a person appointed under a continuing power of attorney may have a right to be paid. Before you sign any documents, it is a good idea to have a conversation with the person you choose as your attorney regarding compensation for their work. You should include this information in your power of attorney document.
You may also consider appointing a trust company or a legal or financial professional with the skills to manage finances and property. You will probably need to pay fees for this service. Also, these options may only be available to you if your property is over a certain value.
What are my attorney’s legal responsibilities?
The attorney’s role carries many legal responsibilities. Your attorney must comply with the legal duties and responsibilities of attorneys in the province or territory where you live. Your attorney must manage your finances and property, and keep records, according to any directions you have given in your power of attorney document. They must act in your best interest. However, there is always a risk that they may not do so, which is why it is important to name someone that you can really trust and that understands the legal responsibilities they will be taking on.
What to consider when choosing an attorney
Does this person know how to manage money and property? Do they do it well for themselves?
Do you think this person will manage your money and property in the way that you want and in your best interest?
Has this person always been open and honest with you?
Have you known this person long enough or well enough to feel that you can trust them?
Is this person able to act in your best interest?
Do they have any personal issues (e.g. financial problems or health concerns) that may interfere with them effectively managing your finances?
Does this person understand financial matters?
Does this person understand the duties and responsibilities involved in being your attorney?
Does the person have the time to handle your money and property as well as their own?
Does this person live nearby and is he or she easy to contact and readily available?
Has this person been someone on whom you could rely?
Has this person carried through on important decisions or duties in the past?
Has this person agreed to take on the responsibility?
Does this person clearly understand what is expected of them as your attorney?
What to consider before preparing a power of attorney
Understand how the different types of powers of attorney work and decide what type will best suit your needs.
Decide when you want the power of attorney to start.
Find out how the power of attorney can come to an end, how you can cancel or change the power of attorney, and what happens if you or your attorney were to lose mental capacity or pass away. These answers may vary depending on where you live.
Make sure the person you choose is someone that you can trust to manage your money and property in the way that you want.
Make sure your attorney understands, or is willing to learn, his or her legal responsibilities and duties.
Decide whether you want to give your attorney authority over some or all of your financial matters (including bank accounts), and whether it will be for general or specific purposes.
Decide whether you want regular updates (e.g. account statements) from your attorney sent to you, or a person you name, to check that your affairs are being effectively managed.
If you use a power of attorney kit or forms from a website to set up your power of attorney, you need to be sure the form is signed in compliance with the law in your province or territory.
Consider having a lawyer review the document to make sure that it is valid.
Decide whether you want to appoint one or more persons, and whether they can act alone or must act together.
If you appoint more than one attorney, and they must act together, consider appointing a third person or including a mechanism to resolve disputes if the attorneys cannot agree.
Consider appointing a substitute attorney in case your attorney is no longer able to act for you.
What to consider after you prepared a power of attorney
Review the terms of your power of attorney regularly to make sure it is still valid and still reflects how you want your money and property managed.
You can make changes to your power of attorney, cancel your power of attorney, change your attorney, or name more than one attorney, at any time, as long as you are mentally capable. If you make any changes, you should advise your financial institution immediately.
Continue to review your own financial records on a regular basis for as long as you can.
Assigning a power of attorney does not prevent you from continuing to manage some or all of your affairs, as long as you are mentally capable.
Talk to your attorney regularly so that you can understand how they are handling your money and property.
Even though your attorney is taking care of things for you, you always have the right to ask questions and get answers from them about your money and property.
If you have questions or concerns about how your attorney is managing your affairs, you can speak to someone at your financial institution or seek legal advice. Attorneys can be held responsible if they fail to manage affairs as directed in a power of attorney document.
Understand that signing a new power of attorney, including one signed at a bank, may cancel the previous one that you had signed.
If you move or will need to use the power of attorney in another province, territory, or country, get legal advice to be sure the document will be recognized. It may be necessary for you to make a new document for certain assets.
What if my bank wants me to sign a power of attorney form?
Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions may also have their own forms to appoint an attorney to make decisions about a specific account or property that you have with that institution.
If you already have your own power of attorney that gives your attorney authority over all of your financial affairs, including accounts with that financial institution, it likely is not necessary for you to sign the bank’s form.
Before you decide whether or not you want to sign the bank’s form, you may want to review it with your lawyer or with another person whose opinion you trust. You can also show your own power of attorney to the bank manager or a knowledgeable bank representative and ask them to confirm that it can be used for banking purposes. If you sign the bank’s form, there is a possibility that your other power of attorney could become invalid.
Joint bank accounts
Financial institutions such as banks, credit unions and trust companies may offer customers the option to set up a joint account. When the phrase “joint bank account” or “joint account” is used in this brochure it refers to joint accounts at any of these financial institutions.
What is a joint bank account?
Joint accounts are bank accounts in which two or more people have ownership rights over the same account. These rights include the right for all account holders to deposit, withdraw, or deal with the funds in the account, no matter who puts the money into the account.
How does a joint account work?
As a joint account holder, you share equal access to the account and responsibility for all the transactions made through the account. In most cases, unless you state otherwise, the other account holder can make transactions without your consent.
In some cases, it may be possible to specify that the consent of all joint account holders is required to access the funds in the account.
In many cases, joint accounts include the right of survivorship. This means that if one of the account holders dies, the surviving account holder becomes the owner of the account, with the right to deposit, withdraw, and deal with the funds in the account.
However, in some cases this could be challenged by others who may think they have an interest in the money in the account as an inheritance. The surviving joint account holder may have to demonstrate that the deceased account holder intended the remaining funds be a gift to the joint account holder. This could potentially lead to delays in the surviving account holder being able to access funds in the account.
In Québec, a joint account is frozen upon the death of one of the joint account holders. Consult with your banking institution to obtain more specific information about how this works.
Find out how joint accounts work at your financial institution and ask about what happens if a joint account holder dies. Make sure you fully understand all this information before making any decisions.
Why set up a joint bank account?
There are many reasons why someone may consider opening a joint account. For example, couples may set up a joint account to pay household bills or deal with other shared expenses. This is one of the most common uses of joint accounts.
In some cases, joint accounts may be considered as an option for someone to get help from family members or friends to pay bills and manage their finances.
For example, health conditions or mobility issues could make it difficult for someone to manage their personal banking on their own. Getting to the bank or using online banking services can be difficult for some people. A person may consider setting up a joint account with a family member, such as an adult child, after the death of a spouse who used to deal with the household finances.
It may also be important to consider other consequences of a joint account such as whether probate fees or taxes will apply upon the death of a joint account holder or whether the remaining funds are intended to form part of the deceased’s estate or be gifted to the surviving joint account holder. These considerations may be addressed in consultation with a lawyer.
Risks of a joint account
Control over the joint account
Unless you are able to state otherwise in your banking agreement, any person named on the joint account is able to withdraw money from the account at any time. They do not need permission from you to do so, even if most or all the funds in the account were deposited by you.
Funds withdrawn may never be recovered.
If the relationship between you and your joint account holder breaks down, you risk the money being withdrawn or that the account may not be handled in the way that you wished.
If your joint account holder and their spouse separate or divorce, the money in the joint account could be claimed in the separation or divorce settlement.
It is difficult to hold a joint account holder legally accountable for taking money from the account that they were not supposed to.
You may have to go to court to challenge the actions of a joint account holder. This could be expensive and stressful. It may also take a long time to resolve.
If it is not clear that the money in the account was meant to be a gift to the surviving joint account holder or whether it was meant to become part of the deceased joint account holder’s estate, legal disputes could arise.
Legal disputes can be expensive and difficult to resolve.
You will share responsibility with your joint holder for all transactions made through the account.
If one of the joint account holders has financial problems or declares bankruptcy, creditors could make claims on the money in the account.
Removing someone from a joint account
The bank may require both people named in the joint account to give approval to remove one of you from the account.
What to consider before setting up a joint bank account
Discuss the risks and benefits of a joint account with people you trust
Do you understand how a joint account works?
Do you understand that your joint account holder will have equal ownership of the account with you? This means they will have the right to withdraw and use the money in the account even if you deposited all the money.
Meet with a financial advisor to find the right banking options for your needs
Have you met with a financial advisor to discuss different types of accounts, and what will work best for you?
If you are having difficulty with in-person banking, have you considered preauthorized deposits and bill payments from your own account, instead of opening a joint account?
Is the person you want to name as joint account holder trustworthy?
Has this person always been open and honest with you?
Have you known this person long enough or well enough to feel that you can trust them?
Is this person able to act in your best interest? Do they have any personal issues that may interfere with them effectively managing your finances?
How much control will you have over the money in the account?
Have you discussed with your financial institution if there are ways to keep some control over withdrawals from the account?
Are you able to put any restrictions on the account (e.g. putting restrictions on cheques written from the account)?
Have you considered setting up online banking alerts to be notified when there are withdrawals or other activity on the joint account?
Are you able to check the account statements regularly?
What if something happens to one of the account holders?
Speak to someone at your financial institution or a lawyer to find out what happens if you or your joint account holder dies or if one of the account holders loses mental capacity.
Consider including information about your joint account in your will, so that your wishes are clear.
Consider all your options
Even though setting up a joint bank account may seem to be a convenient option to get help managing your finances, there are many risks involved. Carefully consider all the risks and get information about all the options available to you before making any decisions.
If you prepare a detailed power of attorney that gives your attorney the authority to access specific bank accounts, they will be able to help you pay your bills and manage your finances.
With a power of attorney document, you can limit what your attorney is allowed to do. With a joint bank account, you may not be able to limit what your joint account holder can do with the money in the account.
There are also mechanisms in place to hold an attorney accountable if they mismanage your finances or do not manage your money in the way that you directed them to in the power of attorney document.
It is exceedingly difficult to hold a joint bank account holder accountable for the mismanagement of money in the account.
NOTE: Some information was from websites. Copy rights, if any, belong to the original writers.