On December 1, 2019, the Community Care and Assisted Living Amendment Act, 2016, S.B.C. 2016, c. 13 (Bill 16) will come into force. Bill 16 will make a number of changes to the current Community Care and Assisted Living Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 75 (the "Act"), which is the legislation that governs the operation of assisted living residences and community care facilities.
Of significance, Bill 16 will create more categories of persons who are prohibited from residing in an assisted living residence, but will also broaden the scope of who may make necessary decisions on behalf of a resident of such a residence.
An assisted living residence is a premises in which housing, hospitality services, and other supports and assistance are provided to residents. Assisted living residences are distinct from community care facilities in that they do not provide residents with "care" or "supervision".
Under the current Act, a person who is unable to make decisions on their own behalf is prohibited from residing in an assisted living residence unless (current s. 26(3) and (6)):
- that person's spouse will also be residing in the residence with the person; and
- that person's spouse is able to make decisions on behalf of that person.
"Spouse" is not currently defined in the Act.
Bill 16 will particularize and expand the prohibition to persons who (new s. 26.1(1)):
- are unable to make, on their own behalf, decisions that are necessary to live safely;
- cannot recognize an emergency, take steps to protect themselves in an emergency, or follow directions in an emergency,
- behave in a manner that jeopardizes the health or safety of others; or
- require, on a regular basis, unscheduled professional health services.
All of these categories of persons will soon be prohibited from residing in an assisted living residence.
The new Act will still contain an exception to the prohibition under 26.1(1)(a) where a resident's spouse also resides at the residence and can make decisions on the resident's behalf, and will extend such decision-making authority to a common-law partner of a resident. This outcome is achieved in the new Act by adding a definition of "spouse" which is defined to include a person who has lived in a marriage-like relationship with another person for a continuous period of at least two years.
The amendments also include a definition of "prescribed services" (previously undefined), an expansion of prohibitions against the inducement of residents, increased investigation powers, and increased protections for persons who report abuse. For a description of other amendments effected by Bill 16, see https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/40th-parliament/5th-session/bills/third-reading/gov16-3.
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