Changes to Assisted Living Legislation Consistent with BCLI/CCEL Recommendations

CCELProposed amendments introduced in the Legislative Assembly on March 7 in Bill 16, the Community Care and Assisted Living Amendment Act, 2016, are consistent with recommendations made by the British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) and Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) in a 2013 report.

“We are very pleased to see that a number of changes to the legal framework for assisted living that are proposed in Bill 16 are consistent with the recommendations developed by our expert committee,” says Kathleen Cunningham, Executive Director of BCIL and CCEL. “Our volunteer experts devoted an enormous amount of time and expertise to improving the legislation governing assisted living.”

Among the recommendations in the Report on Assisted Living in British Columbia published by BCLI and CCEL in 2013 were to repeal the restriction on assisted living residences limiting them to providing no more than two prescribed services. Bill 16 would remove this restriction. This will allow for a greater range of living and care options to residents and allow them to remain longer in the same apartment-style setting and retain much independence as possible.

“We applaud the British Columbia Law Institute for their leadership and commitment to making changes to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA. “In particular, a special acknowledgement goes out to long-time BCCPA member and former Board Director Al Jina who worked tirelessly on the Project Committee back in 2013.”

Other recommendations included clarifying the mental status requirement for eligibility to enter and remain in assisted living, and amending the meaning of “spouse” in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act to include a person who has been in a marriage-like relationship with a resident for at least two years as well as a legally married spouse. Bill 16 would also make these legislative changes in terms that coincide closely with the recommendations in the BCLI/CCEL report.

The recommendations in the 2013 report were developed by an expert multidisciplinary committee representing a spectrum of stakeholders in assisted living, and were endorsed by BCLI/CCEL’s Board of Directors.