Directing Residential Care Concerns to External Bodies

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Directing Concerns to External Bodies[edit]

Police Services[edit]

A matter considered a crime in the community is also a crime in residential care. That includes if it is carried out by a staff member, administration, volunteer, family member, or another resident. If there is a suspected crime (such as assault or theft) in a residential care facility, the local police department should be contacted. Their role is to investigate to determine if there is evidence of a criminal offence. Their role is also in keeping the peace.

Police services can function as a sword and a shield in residential care facilities, in the sense they can be used for the benefit of the resident, or as a mechanism of control over residents and families. In some cases, health authorities have used adult guardianship law to obtain a Justice of the Peace Warrant to prevent family from removing a resident from the care facility. (1)Issues related to the use of police by operators to control access to the resident are described in the Chapter 4 “Legal Issues When Living in Residential Care”.

Police investigations: Police sometimes seek information from staff at the care facility about a resident or family member. Staff may erroneously believe they can simply share resident information with police inquiries.

Residents have a right to have their personal information kept private. As one health authority notes, the release of client personal information to police or designated/ delegated authority is not permitted unless:

  • the client has provided informed consent,
  • there is a lawful investigation,
  • a court order, search warrant, notice to produce or other lawful instrument has been presented, or
  • it is an urgent request (e.g. life and death). (2)

The term “lawful investigation” in this context means where there is an active investigation and file number. The police or other designated/delegated authority must also provide sufficient reasons why normal procedures are not reasonable in the circumstances (e.g. such as warrants, court orders). Operators must keep track of these police requests for information and how the request has been handled.

Information and Privacy Commissioner[edit]

Where the care issue deals with privacy of information or access to health information, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner may be contacted for assistance. Common examples of privacy breaches include: where the care facility staff member has given personal information to a third party without consent, or the care facility has refused to allow the resident or their substitute decision-maker access to the resident’s records.

It should be noted that the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (3) sets out the access and privacy rights of individuals, but only as they relate to the public sector. The Personal Information Protection Act (4) covers information privacy disputes and related matters between private citizens (e.g. where the resident is in a private pay bed) and is outside of the Commissioner's jurisdiction.

Human Rights Tribunal[edit]

Copyright www.shutterstock.com

British Columbia’s Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on several grounds, including:

  • age,
  • physical or mental disability,
  • marital status, family status,
  • race, colour, ancestry, place of origin,
  • sex, sexual orientation
  • religion

If a resident in a care facility experiences discrimination or harassment based on a protected ground, the resident can apply to the Human Rights Tribunal. The provincial Code, in contrast to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, covers both public and private actors. It also does not matter whether or not there was any intention to discriminate.(5)

The BC Human Rights Code places an important responsibility on all private and public bodies providing services to accommodate those who would otherwise be discriminated against. The duty to accommodate includes making suitable policy, practice and resource adaptations. For example, that might include modifying or adapting a private operator’s residential care practice or a Ministry of Health policy in order to alleviate or eliminate the harsher impact that the requirement had on a particular resident, or on a group of residents. This duty to accommodate is always in relation to the prohibited ground of discrimination. Human rights protections and the duty to accommodate are important.

The responsibility or “duty to accommodate” is significant; it exists up to the point where it would cause the operations “undue hardship”. Significantly more effort and potential cost will be required to get to the point of “undue hardship” for larger residential care operations or government bodies, than for small facilities with fewer resources. Undue hardship to the business must be based on actual evidence, not just a belief that it will be inconvenient or cost money to make changes in order to avoid the discrimination.

In practical terms, the most significant value of the human rights remedy is probably the educative and interpretive provisions of the Code. These can be a useful, persuasive tool in good residential care advocacy. Most cases of discrimination in residential care will relate to section 8 of the BC Human Rights Code (“Discrimination in accommodation, service and facility”), or section 43 (“Non-retaliation”). The most common protected grounds in residential care would likely relate to the residents’ physical and mental disability, age, race, marital or family status or sexual orientation.

Copyright www.shutterstock.com

It is possible, although challenging, to launch a “representative” case (“class action”) complaint with the Tribunal, where a number of similarly situated persons are experiencing the same discrimination. (6) The Tribunal has the capacity to hear adverse effect discrimination and systemic discrimination cases, both of which are important and relevant in residential care.

Within the Code there is the opportunity to argue that residents have experienced “adverse effect discrimination”. (7)This refers to a policy or practice that appears neutral (e.g., it applies to everyone), but imposes penalties, obligations or restrictive conditions that have a disproportionately negative effect on an individual or group because of some special characteristic of that individual or group that is protected by the Code. For example, this might occur if the services are only provided by English speaking care providers, but many of the residents in that facility speak Mandarin. These residents will likely be socially isolated, will not be able to understand any care instructions, and may be at greater risk of harm than other residents.

Adverse effect discrimination in services might occur where there is little if any effort to accommodate cultural and gender restrictions about receiving personal care. It may occur when the care facility foods are cooked off premise, or if the facility rules prohibited gifts of outside foods that met their cultural needs, and there was no accommodation for the cultural or religious preferences or dietary restrictions of a resident (e.g. kosher, halal, vegetarian). Culturally familiar foods, social and recreational activities are increasingly being recognized as important to strengthen cultural connectedness and maintain ethnic identity in residential care. (8) However, to amount to discrimination under the Code, it must be possible to draw a reasonable inference from the facts that there is a connection between the adverse discriminatory conduct and a prohibited ground of discrimination.

“Systemic discrimination” is discrimination that results from the simple operation of established procedures, none of which is necessarily designed to promote discrimination. For example, LGBT seniors point out that many aspects of care- from the way admission forms are worded to the day to day operations - effectively overlook even the possible existence of LGBT seniors in care, and treat them as “invisible”. The discrimination is then reinforced by the exclusion of the disadvantaged group (“obviously we don’t have any LGBT seniors in our resident population”). The exclusion fosters the belief, both within and outside the group, that the exclusion is the result of “natural” forces. To combat systemic discrimination, it is essential to create a climate in which both negative practices and negative attitudes can be challenged and discouraged.

One of the major challenges for residents whose human rights have been violated, is that these rights are treated as “personal rights”. The Human Rights Tribunal will not deal with the matter if the person dies after the matter has been referred to a Tribunal and before it has been heard by that Tribunal. (9) Unfortunately this means systemic forms of discrimination can continue by simply delaying and waiting for resident (human rights complainant) to die.

The Process[edit]

British Columbia’s human rights system has had a “direct access” process since 2003 where cases can be brought to the BC Human Rights Tribunal. (10)About three to five percent of all complaints received go before the Tribunal. (11)

Complaints are received by the Tribunal Registrar who screens the complaints according to whether they are within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and whether there is an apparent human rights claim. In recent years, in efforts to become “more efficient”, the Tribunal has “screened out” substantially more cases at first instance, an interesting development given that the Tribunal is purported to be “direct access."(12)

The Tribunal has a settlement process to resolve received discrimination complaints at an early stage (within three to four months of application). The Tribunal itself is a highly legalistic and technically cumbersome process for most individuals, especially for those who are vulnerable. Complainants using the direct access process have a lower rate of success with the Tribunal than through the old Commission process. (13)Unrepresented complainants have a low chance at success in a hearing.(14)

Help with the Process[edit]

The BC Human Rights Clinic (formerly known as the BC Human Rights Coalition) in partnership with the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) runs a human rights clinic program that offers client services and public legal education. It may be able to provide legal advice and representation before this Tribunal. The Coalition has a number of qualifying criteria to determine initial client eligibility focusing on alternative redress processes, assistance from other legal or professional sources, financial status, the nature of the issue and whether there are systemic issues, the merits of the case and likelihood of success, and whether the case raises novel issues of law. (15)

Because other processes such as the Patient Care Quality Office and Patient Care Quality Review Tribunal exist in theory as an alternative redress, residents in care facilities may face a significant barrier to accessing this human rights resource. However this is only one of many barriers to drawing on this remedy. Other barriers include the timeliness, (16) access to legal representation, the resident’s mental capacity (to retain services, instruct counsel), their physical frailty, and cost implications. Legal advocates in other jurisdictions have typically found older clients, especially those in long term care facilities unwilling to consider using this remedy.

In British Columbia, very few legal resources have had the opportunity to develop experience in arguing or hearing discrimination cases affecting older adults on any protected ground, with the notable exception of age related workplace discrimination. It is only very recently that the Human Rights Tribunal has begun hearing cases involving discrimination in accommodation or services affecting older adults. (17)

Special note : BC Human Rights Code
Discrimination in accommodation, service and facility.

8 (1) A person must not, without a bona fide and reasonable justification:

  • (a) deny to a person or class of persons any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public, or
  • (b) discriminate against a person or class of persons regarding any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age of that person or class of persons.

International Human Rights[edit]

There are a number of international human rights conventions that can also be relied to support human rights (non discrimination) based arguments for people living in residential care, such as equitable access to wheelchairs. These include for example, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Canada signed in 2007 and ratified it in 2010. (18)It places a responsibility on Canada to address the many barriers faced by persons of any age with a disability. The provincial and territorial governments are responsible for implementing rights in the Convention within their jurisdictions. From a human rights perspective, for example, a wheelchair is more than an assistive device for many people with disabilities; it is the means by which they can exercise their human rights and achieve inclusion and equal participation. (19)

Ombudsperson Office[edit]

(20)The Ombudsperson is an independent officer of the Legislature appointed under the Ombudsperson Act. The focus of the Office is to ensure that every person in British Columbia is treated fairly in the provision of public services. The Ombudsperson has the responsibility to advise government on systemic causes of unfairness and to recommend changes to practices, policies and legislation that contribute to recurring unfairness.

Role, mandate, function[edit]

The general function of the Ombudsperson is to oversee the administrative actions of government authorities. The Ombudsperson determines whether provincial ministries and public agencies have acted fairly and reasonably, and whether their actions and decisions are consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedures. The Ombudsperson can

  • respond to inquiries from the public,
  • conduct investigations of complaints of individual cases.

The Ombudsperson can also consult with authorities to improve administrative practices by identifying issues, providing reasons, and making recommendations. The Ombudsperson provides reports to the Legislative Assembly about administrative fairness issues, the causes of recurring unfairness and how these can be remedied.

According to the Ombudsperson Office, the focus of administrative fairness to assure procedural fairness and effective public administration. This involves having appropriate legal authority; useful policies and procedures; clear public information; accessible programs; consistent standards of practice; adequate monitoring and enforcement; and timely and responsive complaint resolutions. (21)

The Ombudsperson has authority over a wide range of government departments and Ministries; perhaps one of the most relevant ones here is the Ministry of Health. From 2008 to 2009 the Ombudsperson carried out an extensive review of care for seniors in British Columbia, identifying a wide variety of situations where seniors and families were not being treated in a fair manner in home support and residential care services. (22) In 2012 the Ombudsperson also reviewed the circumstances under which certificates of incapability were being issued in British Columbia to declare persons (typically seniors) incapable of managing their financial affairs. (23) The Ombudsperson’s review focused on whether the incapability certificate process was fair, and whether there were sufficient procedural safeguards to protect the person’s rights.

Issues[edit]

A wide variety of residential care issues potentially come under the scope of the Ombudsperson’s mandate of assuring administrative fairness. These may include, for example, examining whether or not

  • a health authority or other public body makes a decision affecting a resident’s rights and provides adequate reasons, or has adequate procedural safeguards in place
  • a public body acts within the actual scope of their authority, or uses a law intended for one purpose for a very different one,
  • a policy seems to treat some people unfairly,
  • a health authority provides operators with objective and enforceable standards of care,
  • people are provided with sufficient information at the appropriate time to make informed decisions about admission, placement or transfer to a care facility,
  • a public body has failed to act – e.g. a health authority “turns a blind eye” to care facility operators charging residents extra for services that are included in the accommodation fees paid.

Process[edit]

Complaints to Ombudsperson may be made by a person or group of persons.(24) A complaint must be in writing. (25)The Ombudsperson is a resource of last resort; that is, the person must have gone through the other avenues first.

Available remedies[edit]

The Ombudsperson can make recommendations which may or may not be acted upon by the public body. These recommendations are typically couched in language of “administrative fairness” and “natural justice” not whether the actions are legal. (26) The Ombudsperson’s work is guided by the democratic principles of openness, transparency and accountability.

The Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT)[edit]

Copyright www.shutterstock.com

The Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) has numerous roles. In the context of residential care, the PGT’s responsibilities can include investigating

  • the personal care and health care decisions made by a representative or guardian, (27)
  • the affairs of a representative, guardian or person holding a power of attorney, if the Public Guardian and Trustee has reason to believe that the interest in the trust, or the assets of the adult, may be at risk. (28)
  • adult who is apparently abused or neglected, as defined in the Adult Guardianship Act. (29)

These investigations can also occur if the Public Guardian and Trustee has reason to believe the representative or guardian has failed to comply with his or her duties. The PGT responsibilities includes the power to investigate and audit the affairs, dealings and accounts of certain trusts. The PGT can handle disputes about substitute decision making.

The Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) has jurisdiction over health care decisions, when no one is available or qualified from the list of substitute decision makers. The PGT office can authorize another person such as a friend of the adult to make substitute decisions. If there is no person to authorize, the PGT can take the role as Temporary Substitute Decision-Maker.

The PGT also has jurisdiction when there is a dispute between potential substitute decision-makers of equal rank about who is to be chosen to make decisions on the person’s behalf and the issue cannot be resolved by the health care provider. In those circumstances, the health care provider is required to contact a Health Care Decisions Consultant at the Public Guardian and Trustee. (30)

The PGT also has the authority to act as Committee of the Estate when a person is declared mentally incapable under the Patient Property Act. (31) This area of law on the role of the PGT and “incapability certificates” is undergoing major change at present, and a new approach is expected to be in place by the end of 2014.(32)

Directing Concerns to Review Boards[edit]

Mental Health Review Board[edit]

As noted in Chapter 3 (Legal Issues in Admission & Transfer), older adults are sometimes admitted to a hospital where they become involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act and then involuntarily transferred to a residential care facility on “extended leave. “ They can also be transferred from a care facility to a hospital and become involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act. In both cases, they lose basic rights and can be treated without consent.

There is a formal process for medically certifying adults under the Mental Health Act. However, the adult does not have to be personally examined by a psychiatrist or even a physician in order to be involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act. (33) The physician may operate on collateral information when “medically certifying “the person. This can sometimes lead to unnecessary loss of liberty. However, the Mental Health Review Board can review the continued involuntary detention of people “medically certified” under the Mental Health Act. (34)

Purpose[edit]

The Mental Health Review Board is an independent tribunal established to conduct review panel hearings under the Mental Health Act. The review panel makes a decision on only one issue - whether the person continues to meet the criteria to remain as an involuntary patient under the Mental Health Act. (35) It does not make decisions about treatment. However, if the person is no longer involuntarily detained, the treatment issues usually become moot.

The Board's mandate is based on involuntary patients' periodic rights to fair and timely reviews of their loss of liberty. Its function is to ensure that people admitted by physicians and detained involuntarily in the designated facilities have access to an objective review process.

The system is subject to the constitutional rights of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (36) which states that "[e]veryone has a right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Composition[edit]

The Mental Health Review Board is comprised of a chair and members appointed by the Minister of Health to conduct “review panel” hearings. A review panel must consist of a medical practitioner, a member in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia or a person with equivalent training, and a third member who is neither a medical practitioner nor a lawyer.

Currently, the Board has 83 legal, medical and community members living in various locations throughout the province. A review panel is comprised of three or more members of the Board. After a hearing, the review panel decides whether a patient should be discharged from involuntary status. In the Lower Mainland, Community Legal Assistance Services delivers the Mental Health Law Program, which may be able to provide representation at a review panel hearing. Its resources are very limited.

Process[edit]

A person is eligible to apply for a review within strict statutory time limits following the issuance of the second medical certificate. Board members must conduct hearings within either 14 or 28 days from the day the application is received unless the person waives this right.

Mental Health Review Board controls its own processes and makes rules respecting practice and procedure. It has considerable latitude in terms of who can attend, who can stay in the hearing, whether the patient can have a support person present throughout the hearing, and the allowable evidence.

If the Mental Health Review Board confirms the continuing need for the person’s involuntary detention, this can be reviewed, but subject to the time frames in the Mental Health Act.

Remedies[edit]

Basically the Mental Health Review Board’s authority is limited to whether or not the person should continue to be an involuntary patient .The Review Board (review panel) does not make decisions about treatment. The review panel also does not inquire into whether a person's initial certification was justified.

Special Note on Treatment
The Mental Health Review Board and review panels do not deal with treatment issues. The Mental Health Act permits a request for a second medical opinion on appropriateness of the treatment, within one month, three month and six month time frames under the Act. (37)

Also if a patient, relative or other person has a complaint about the treatment provided to an involuntary patient, the complaints may be brought to the attention of several different parties. This includes the patient's physician, the director of a designated facility, the hospital administration, the patient care quality officer (a service available at all hospitals in BC to deal with patient complaints), the health authority, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., the College of Registered Nurses of B.C., the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of B.C., the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of B.C., or the provincial Ombudsperson. (38)

Professional Colleges & the Health Professions Review Board[edit]

If the concern in a care facility relates to the actions of a specific person who is a member of a professional college (e.g., doctor, nurse or social worker), a complaint can be brought to their professional College for investigation.

One of the major issues with relying on these regulatory bodies for residential care concerns is how long the complaint and investigation process takes. The College of Physicians and Surgeons notes for example, that the College tries to resolve complaints within six to eight months, but matters can take much longer. Decisions of the various professional colleges can be reviewed by the Health Professions Review Board. However, these reviews will be limited to the adequacy of the investigation and reasonableness of the decision (“disposition”) by the college. Even if a matter is found in favour of the person who made the complaint, the review board can only redirect the matter back to the professional college.

Legal advocates working in institutional environments also note that regulatory colleges and review boards may not promote compliance or enforce the existing law (such as health care consent law) with their members, especially if the person’s actions are simply considered a “standard practice“. (39)

For example in one British Columbia case the Health Professions Review Board appeared to implicitly condone a physician’s use of a consent to treatment given at admission when he prescribed a psychoactive medication to a cognitively impaired resident without consulting the family (a common occurrence in residential care). The Review Board accepted that the physician felt he had implied consent for “what was termed ‘minor‘ forms of treatment such as painkillers and anti-diarrheal medications”. (40) As noted throughout this manual, legally operators cannot request blanket consent to treatment at admission or any other time. The substitute decisionmaker cannot legally give it either because it violates the underlying premise of giving “informed consent” based on the condition and information at hand The Health Review Board referred to the physician’s actions simply as a “failure to communicate”, not as a breach of the resident’s legal rights around consent.

Community Care and Assisted Living Appeal Board[edit]

Licensed residential care facilities can seek an exemption from certain sections of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. Among other things this administrative tribunal (Board) is responsible for appeals dealing with the certification for care facilities and exemptions from the Act of certain standards or requirements. An operator is expected to show how the current regulations or standards cannot be met and how exemption will not increase the risk to the residents’ health and safety. (41)

People other than the operator or licensee can appeal these exemptions. (42) The appeal can be brought within 30 days by a resident or the resident’s agent or personal representative of a person in care, or resident’s spouse, relative or friend. (43) It has been used by residents’ families to appeal an operator’s efforts to close the facility without adequate notice. The Appeal Board is authorized by Community Care and Assisted Living Act.

Addressing Systemic Concerns: BC Seniors Advocate[edit]

The BC Seniors Advocate was appointed in March 2014 and is the first position of its kind in Canada. The Advocate has a broad mandate to identify and examine systemic issues affecting the well-being of seniors, raise awareness about resources available to seniors, and make recommendations to government and others who deliver seniors’ services related to health care, personal care, housing, transportation and income support. The Seniors Advocate does not investigate individual complaints. The position is governed by the Seniors Advocate Act. (44)

The Seniors Advocate is responsible for:

(a) monitoring the provision of seniors' services,
(b) analyzing issues believed to be important to the welfare of seniors generally, and
(c) advocating in the interests of seniors. (45)

The Advocate has authority to:

(a) identify and analyze systemic challenges faced by seniors;
(b) collaborate with persons who deliver seniors' services for the purpose of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery;
(c) promote awareness, by seniors, their caregivers and their families, of systemic challenges faced by seniors, and of the resources available to seniors;
(d) make recommendations to government and to persons who deliver seniors' services respecting changes to improve the welfare of seniors. (46)

The Seniors Advocate’s power to gather information is largely in relation to developing an advisory council, conducting research and consulting with persons who deliver seniors' services and with the public. The Seniors Advocate may request available data from provincial bodies such as the health authorities on matters that relate to seniors' services. The Seniors Advocate may also request information from public and private sector service providers, other than personal information. In January 2016, the Seniors Advocate released the first provincial report monitoring key services to seniors in health care, housing, transportation, income support and abuse. (47)

The Seniors Advocate Act provides a notable safeguard for residents in care facilities, their families and advocates in that the law specifically offers a protection from retaliation for people who provide information to the Seniors Advocate. (48)However the Seniors Advocate Act does not identify penalties or repercussions if a person or organization contravened the protections from retaliation.

Like the BC Ombudsperson, the Seniors Advocate is limited by law to making recommendations to government, which public bodies may or may not act on.

References[edit]

  1. See Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society, 2014 BCSC 165.
  2. Interior Health. Policy AL1500. Police -designated/delegated authority access to clients and client information.
  3. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act [RSBC 1996] c.165.
  4. Personal Information Protection Act [SBC 2003] c. 63.
  5. BC Human Rights Code, [RSBC 1996] c. 210, s.2.
  6. See for example, Cole and Joseph obo others v. Northern Health Authority and others, 2014 BCHRT 26, where a group in the Prince Rupert area argued that the hospital services available to First Nations people were significantly lower or deficient compared to those in other communities.
  7. Ontario Human Rights Commission v. Simpsons-Sears Ltd.1985 CanLII 18 (SCC), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 536.
  8. Kolb. P.J. (ed.)(2007).Social work practice with ethnically and racially diverse nursing homes. Columbia University Press. p. 185.
  9. British Columbia v. Gregoire, 2005 BCCA 585. The Court of Appeal held that the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to proceed further upon the death of the complainant. However, for a bit more promising approach (outside of the human rights code) to actions surviving the death of the complainant, See Dudley v. Canada (Attorney General) [2013] B.C.J. No. 1191.
  10. McNaughton., H. “Lessons learned: the BC direct access Human Rights Tribunal” Online: http://www.justice.gov.yk.ca/pdf/Heather_MacNaughton_Article.pdf (Last accessed January 9,2016) [“MacNaughton”]
  11. In 2010-11, of 1063 complaints (828 filings) received by the BCHR Tribunal, only 38 made it to the Tribunal stage and 20 of these were dismissed. Online: http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/shareddocs/annual_reports/2010-2011.pdf (Last accessed January 9, 2016). In 2012/1, 1028 complaints were received, of which 51 led to Tribunal hearings. Forty percent of complaints were rejected for filing at the first instance in 2012/13. (Pg. 2 of 2012/13 Annual Report). Online; http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/shareddocs/annual_reports/2012-2013.pdf (Last accessed January 9, 2016)
  12. There is currently no specific legal authority for the Tribunal Registrar to undertake the screening. In the 2012/ 13 BCHRT Annual Report, the Tribunal specifically asked the government to amend the Code to give the Tribunal Registrar authority to screen complaints.
  13. MacNaughton, p.5.
  14. The 2011-12 BCHRT annual report notes for example that Complainants with counsel succeeded in 56% of their cases. Without counsel, the complainants succeeded in only in 31% of the cases. Pg. 11. Online: http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/shareddocs/annual_reports/2011-2012.pdf. (Last accessed January 9, 2016). In 2012-13, complainants with counsel succeeded in 71% of the cases, those without counsel succeeded only in 36%, pg 9. Online: http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/shareddocs/annual_reports/2012-2013.pdf (Last accessed Januay 9, 2016)
  15. BC Human Rights Clinic. Online: http://www.bchrc.net/ (Last accessed January 9, 2016)
  16. The 2011-12 BCHRT Annual Report noted it was taking 280 to 400 days from application to resolution .
  17. See: Perry v. Strata #49 Council, 2014 BCHRT 7. However, the complaint’s case was dismissed not on the merits, but because the complainant did not specifically base her case on age discrimination.
  18. Chantal, C. Canada and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,Social Affairs Division. 5 December 2012, HillNote Number 2012-89-E. Online: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2012-89-e.htm (Last accessed May 1, 2014). Also see: World Health Organization. Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings. Online: http://www.who.int/disabilities/publications/technology/English%20Wheelchair%20Guidelines%20(EN%20for%20the%20web).pdf?ua=1 (Last accessed May 1, 2014) [ “WHO Wheelchair Guidelines”]
  19. WHO Wheelchair Guidelines, pg. 22.
  20. Ombudsperson Act [RSBC 1996] c. 340. [“Ombudsperson Act”]
  21. Office of the Ombudsperson. “Administrative fairness”. Online : https://www.ombudsman.bc.ca/home/fairness-checklist (Last accessed May 1, 2014).
  22. Document Review - staff reviewed documents obtained from the health authorities and provided to office by the public and other interested organizations. Information reviewed included: legislation, regulation and policies; government letters of expectations, international, national and provincial documents that establish basic principles and standards for the care of seniors, guidelines, directives and bulletins, statistics related to the population of seniors in B.C., organizational charts and job descriptions; program descriptions, policies, guidelines and public information; handbooks, brochures, booklets and online information about home and community care; information about programs and services offered in other jurisdictions; service agreements between health authorities and contracted service agencies; reports about seniors’ care in B.C. and other jurisdictions
  23. BC Ombudsperson (February 2013). No longer your decision: British Columbia’s process for appointing the public guardian and trustee to manage the financial affairs of incapable adults. Public Report No. 49. Online: https://www.bcombudsperson.ca/sites/default/files/Public%20Report%20No%20-%2049%20No%20Longer%20Your%20Decision-%20BC%27s%20Process%20for%20appointing%20the%20Public%20Guardian%20and%20Trustee-%20Incapable%20Adults.pdf (Last accessed January 9, 2016) [ “No longer your decision”]
  24. Ombudsperson Act, s. 10(1).
  25. Ombudsperson Act, s. 10 (2).
  26. An administrative fairness checklist can be found in the Ombudsman’s 1990 Annual Report to the Legislative Assembly.
  27. Public Guardian and Trustee Act [RSBC 1996] c. 383, s. 17(2) (“PGTA”)
  28. PGTA, s. 17(1) (c), (d), and (e).
  29. PGTA, s. 17(1) (b).
  30. See section 16(3) Health Care (Consent) And Care Facility (Admission) Act [RSBC 1996] c.181 . Online: http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_96181_01#section16 (Last accessed January 9,2016)
  31. Patients Property Act [RSBC 1996] c. 349.
  32. These changes are the direct result of the recommendations made in the BC Ombudsperson 2013 report “No longer your decision.”
  33. BC Ministry of Health (2005) Guide to the Mental Health Act, pg. 11. Online: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2005/MentalHealthGuide.pdf (Last accessed January 9,2016)
  34. Mental Health Act, sections 25(2), 25(4.1) [“MHA”]
  35. Mental Health Review Board. Online: http://www.mentalhealthreviewboard.gov.bc.ca/ (Last accessed January 9,2016).
  36. Constitution Act, 1982 (80). Part I Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  37. MHA, s. 31.
  38. Mental Health Review Board. “Commonly asked questions. What are the limits of what the review panel can decide? “ Online: http://www.mentalhealthreviewboard.gov.bc.ca/questions.html# (Last accessed January 9,2016)
  39. Romano,L., Wahl, J.A. & Meadus, J. (2008). Submission to the Law Commission of Ontario concerning the law as it affects older adults. Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, pg. 7. Online: http://www.advocacycentreelderly.org/appimages/file/Law_as_it_Affects_Older_Adults_July_2008.pdf (Last accessed January 9,2016).
  40. See for example, Complainant vs. College of Physicians and Surgeons and 5 Registrants. 2011-HPA-219(a); 2011-HPA-220(a);2011-HPA-221(a);2011-HPA-222(a) Re: The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (Grouped file No. 2012-HPA-G03). Online: http://www.hprb.gov.bc.ca/decisions/2011-HPA-219(a);2011-HPA-220(a);2011-HPA-221(a);2011-HPA-222(a).pdf (Last accessed January 9,2016).
  41. VIHA. What is an exemption? Community Care Facilities Licensing Program. Online: http://www.viha.ca/NR/rdonlyres/453B43E6-16A4-4BC7-A441-7B98CAD28996/0/WhatisanExemption.pdf (Last accessed January 9,2016). See for example, Community Care and Assisted Living Appeal Board.
  42. CCALA, s. 16.
  43. CCALA, S. 30 (a) and (b)
  44. Bill 10, the Seniors Advocate Act, 2013. Online: http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th5th/1st_read/gov10-1.htm
  45. Seniors Advocate Act, s. 3 (1) [« SAA »]
  46. SAA, s.3 (2).
  47. Office of the Seniors Advocate. Monitoring Seniors Services, 2015. Released January 2016. Online: https://www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/01/SA-MonitoringSeniorsServices-2015.pdf (Last accessed May 10, 2016)
  48. SAA, s.9. “A person must not discharge, suspend, expel, intimidate, coerce, evict or impose a financial or other penalty on or otherwise discriminate against another person because the other person gives information to the Seniors Advocate or otherwise assists the Seniors Advocate in the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Seniors Advocate under this Act.”
This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support, June 2014.


Facts or proof of facts presented to a judge at a hearing or trial. Evidence can be given through the oral testimony of witnesses, in writing as business records and other documents, or in the form of physical objects. Evidence must be admissible according to the rules of court and the rules of evidence. See "circumstantial evidence," "hearsay," and "testimony."

In family law, a legal document in which a person gives up a right or a claim, or the entitlement to enforce a right or advance a claim; a waiver. Releases are usually signed following the settlement of a court proceeding or legal dispute. See "action" and "claim."

Agreement; the giving of permission for a thing to happen or not happen.

Conduct that is permitted both by legislation and by the common law; conduct that is not prohibited by law. See "unlawful."

A mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision" and "declaration."

In law, a legal document that sets out certain rights and obligations, or records certain facts or entitlements to certain benefits and obligations, such as a contract, a waiver and a will. See "family law agreements" and "will."

Under the Divorce Act, the schedule of a parent's time with their children under an order or agreement. Access usually refers to the schedule of the parent with the least time with the child. See "custody."

A person named in a court proceeding or joined to a proceeding who is neither the claimant nor the respondent. A third party may be joined to a proceeding where the respondent believes that the person has or shares some responsibility for the cause of action. See "action," "cause of action" and "party."

In law, a judge's conclusions after hearing argument and considering the evidence presented at a trial or an application; a judgment; the judge's reasons. A judge's written or oral decision will include the judge's conclusions about the relief or remedies claimed as well as their findings of fact and conclusions of law. A written decision is called the judge’s "reasons for judgment." See "common law," "conclusions of law," and "findings of fact."

With respect to courts, the authority of the court to hear an action and make orders; the limits of the authority of a particular judicial official; the geographic location of a court; the territorial limits of a court's authority. With respect to governments, the authority of a government to make legislation as determined by the constitution; the limits of authority of a particular government agents. See “constitution."

In law, a legal incapacity to do certain things, like enter into a contract or start a court proceeding. Legal disabilities include insanity and being under the age of majority. See "age of majority."

A term used by the Child Support Guidelines to describe circumstances when payment of the table amount of child support would cause financial difficulty for the payor or the recipient, potentially justifying an award of support in an amount different than the table amount. See "child support," "Child Support Guidelines" and "table amount."

A court proceeding in which one party sues another for a specific remedy or relief, also called a "lawsuit" or a "case." An action for divorce, for example, is a court proceeding in which the claimant sues the respondent for the relief of a divorce order.

In law, the directions given by a client to their lawyer about the conduct of their affairs or of a court proceeding.

The assertion of a legal right to an order or to a thing; the remedy or relief sought by a party to a court proceeding.

A resolution of one or more issues in a court proceeding or legal dispute with the agreement of the parties to the proceeding or dispute, usually recorded in a written agreement or in an order that all parties agree the court should make. A court proceeding can be settled at any time before the conclusion of trial. See "action," "consent order," "family law agreements" and "offer."

A request to the court that it make a specific order, usually on an interim or temporary basis, also called a "chambers application" or a "motion." See also "interim application" and "relief."

In law, any proceeding before a judicial official to determine questions of law and questions of fact, including the hearing of an application and the hearing of a trial. See "decision" and "evidence."

In contact law, a promise made by someone about a certain state of affairs, like "the plumbing was replaced last year" or "I had a vasectomy two years ago." See "misrepresentation."

A lawyer; the advice given by a lawyer to their client.

An act; a statute; a written law made by a government. See "regulations."

In law, the re-examination of a term of an order or agreement, usually to determine whether the term remains fair and appropriate in light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of the review. In family law, particularly the review of an order or agreement provided for the payment of spousal support. See "de novo," "family law agreements," "order" and "spousal support."

In property law, the act of an owner of a thing giving ownership of that thing to another person, in exchange for money or other property in the case of a sale or in exchange for other rights in the case of a family law agreement. See "family law agreements," "ownership" and "sale."

Intentionally doing a thing; a law passed by a government, also called "legislation" or a "statute." See "regulations."

A judge of the superior courts of British Columbia, being the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

A person charged with the legal care of someone under a legal disability. A term under the Family Law Act referring to a person, including a parent, who is responsible for the care and upbringing of a child through the exercise of parental responsibilities. See "disability," "parental responsibilities" and "parenting time."

In law, a form of possession of property in which a "trustee" keeps and manages property for the benefit of another person, the "beneficiary," without owning that property and usually without acquiring an interest in that property other than as payment for their services. The trustee holds the property in trust for the beneficiary. See "constructive trust," "ownership," "possession" and "resulting trust."

A term under the Family Law Act that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities."

A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor."

A person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. Not to be confused with "miner." See "age of majority."

A kind of legislation that provides supplemental rules for a particular act. Regulations are created and amended by the government, not by the legislature, and as a result the legislature has no right to a say in how or what regulations are imposed by government. See "act."

An application to a higher court for a review of the correctness of a decision of a lower court. A decision of a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia can be appealed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. A decision of a judge of the Supreme Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia.

In law, someone acting on behalf of someone else, with that person's express permission and normally at their express direction.

Under the Divorce Act, either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the Family Law Act, married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship."

Sending legal documents to a party at that party's "address for service," usually by mail, fax or email, called "ordinary service" in proceedings before the Supreme Court. Certain documents, like a Notice of Family Claim, must be served on the other party by personal service. Most other documents may be served by ordinary service. See also "address for service" and "personal service."

The highest level of court in this province, having the jurisdiction to review decisions of the Supreme Court, all provincial lower courts and certain tribunals. See "appeal."

To change or alter a pleading or document that has already been filed in court or given to the other party. The resulting document is a separate document from the original and is called, for example, the "amended Notice of Family Claim" or the "amended separation agreement."

Short for the Child Support Guidelines, a regulation to the federal Divorce Act, adopted by each province and territory except Quebec, that sets the amount of child support a parent or guardian must pay based on the person's income and the number of children involved.

A person who holds property in trust for the benefit of another person. See "trust."

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Site
Tools
Contributors
Print/export