BC Care Providers Association’s statement on new B.C. Seniors Advocate Report on equal rent protection

This morning, the Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA) released a new report titled “Forgotten Rights: Seniors Not Afforded Equal Rent Protection,” that highlights a perceived lack of tenancy and cost protection for seniors living in retirement communities. BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) acknowledges the concerns directly voiced by seniors but questions some of the conclusions arrived at in the report.

Our members serve seniors and BCCPA is deeply committed to ensuring the quality of life for seniors and their ability to live as they wish. However, BCCPA is concerned the report lacks data, includes unsubstantiated claims about a doubling of complaints, fails to cite the legal advice provided, and lacks the necessary transparency to inform government action.

In B.C., where 30,000 people live in independent living, we have not observed a significant influx of complaints to the residential tenancy branch. This discrepancy raises questions about the accuracy of the report’s portrayal of the issue’s magnitude. Our primary concern across the province remains the insufficient availability of home health and long-term care services, which are crucial for thousands of seniors and their families.

The report’s emphasis on regulating hospitality services within independent living communities overlooks the broader context of inflation, which affects food, labour, insurance, and property taxes. The rent cap imposed by the Residency Tenancy Act (RTA) does not account for these inflationary pressures, making it challenging for operators to maintain high-quality services that seniors expect without some increase in prices.

All seniors in B.C., whether living in independent living or in a single family home, face financial challenges due to fixed incomes and rising costs such as food inflation. BCCPA and its members are committed to transparency, ensuring that individuals fully understand their rental and hospitality service agreements. While we strongly support protecting seniors, balance is required to ensure that seniors retirement communities can remain in operation.

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Independent living involves more than just housing and includes various services not covered by the RTA, as evidence by recent RTB rulings. Seniors choose independent living for these services and it is crucial to acknowledge that hospitality supports should not all fall under the RTA unless the government is willing to regulate food suppliers, labour, insurance and property taxes. The report also fails to address the unique aspects of tenancy in seniors independent living—such as emergency access and short-notice moves—that are not adequately addressed by current legislation.

We encourage the OSA to shift focus on more pressing issues such as a dire need for more home health, assisted living and long term care services which are desperately needed now. We also encourage the OSA to foster more transparency by collaborating with essential stakeholders to address the challenges faced by seniors and their families in B.C.

Read the full report here and the news release here.

Also read BCCPA CEO Terry Lake’s comments in the media using the links below:

Vancouver Sun
Times Colonist

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