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Report points to no legal protection for seniors

|Written By Jean Sorensen

A major legal problem is facing Canada’s aging baby boomers who may soon be moving into assisted living complexes across Canada.

Many provinces do not have tenancy legislation, which protects these elderly individuals, says Laura Watts, national director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, based at the University of B.C.

Watts says assisted living falls between “home care and a nursing home,” where the elderly can pay $2,000 up to $10,000 a month for accommodation and some forms of assistance. Watts says these facilities often promise amenities such as “gourmet meals,” but if the accommodation or amenities are not delivered as advertised, there is no recourse for the individuals in many provinces.

Her centre completed a study, released in late November, looking at assisted living and legislation that relates to these facilities.

“This is the first review across the country,” she said, adding that only Ontario has legislation in place, while B.C. is in the process of implementing legislation. “Dangers in Aged Care: The Tension Between the Rights of Care Recipients and Those of the Aged Care Providers” appears in volume 1, issue 1 of the Canadian Journal of Elder Law.

Watt says there is also a lack of agreement between terminology used by operators of these facilities.

“There are something like 27 terms that mean the same thing,” she notes.

Watts says with the greying of baby boomers, and the large amounts of cash accrued, the elderly are a target group for victimization. By 2030 in B.C. alone, 25 per cent of the population will be over age 65.

The CCEL hosts an annual conference and also has a web site ( where information on studies can be downloaded. The CCEL is a division of the British Columbia Law Institute.

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