For those provinces without specific legislation, the above-noted common law principles apply to the issue of informed consent and minors. However, several provinces have enacted legislation in an effort to clarify when and how minors may give informed consent to medical treatment. The following sections give a brief overview of provincial legislation dealing generally with minors and consent to medical treatment. Due to the general nature of this article, legislation dealing with mental health and child welfare are not included.
Prince Edward Island: There is no general statute stating at what age a minor will be presumed to have capacity to give informed consent to medical treatment. However, section 48 of the Hospital Management Regulations, issued pursuant to the Hospitals Act, states that no surgical operation shall be performed unless a consent in writing for the performance of the operation has been signed by the parent or guardian of the patient if the patient is unmarried and under 18 years of age.
New Brunswick: Section 2 of the Medical Consent of Minors Act states that minors aged 16 years and older will be considered as adults for the purposes of the law respecting consent to medical treatment.
Section 3 states that minors under the age of 16 can give consent to medical treatment where, in the opinion of a “legally qualified medical practitioner . . . attending the minor” and in the written opinion of another, similarly qualified practitioner:
(a) the minor is capable of understanding the nature and consequences of a medical treatment and
(b) the medical treatment and the procedure to be used are in the best interests of the minor…