This section outlines:
- A snapshot of the law in BC
- Key laws and regulations
- The adult protection provisions of the Adult Guardianship Act
- The abuse and neglect provisions of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act
- Reporting abuse by a regulated health care professional
- Exceptions to confidentiality and privacy rules
- Criminal prosecution policies related to elder abuse
- The family violence provisions of the Family Law Act
- Financial substitute decision-makers in BC and how to challenge their authority
- Employment law protections for people who report, or experience, elder abuse
- Immigration sponsorship and income assistance
- Key government and community contacts.
Key features of elder abuse and neglect law in BC
The Adult Guardianship Act creates mechanisms for responding to abuse, neglect and self-neglect of vulnerable adults. Reports should be made to a designated agency. There is no general public duty to report elder abuse.
The Community Care and Assisted Living Act requires operators of assisted living and long-term care facilities to respond to all incidents of abuse and neglect of residents.
The court may grant a civil protection order under the Family Law Act if an older person is experiencing family violence or at risk of family violence. An order can be obtained against:
- A spouse or former spouse of the older person;
- A person with whom the older person lives, or previously lived, in a marriage-like relationship; or
- A relative the older person lives with, including relatives of a spouse or former spouse.
The BC Public Guardian and Trustee has the power to respond to some types of abuse by substitute decision-makers.
An older person who is an employee may be eligible for up to ten days job-protected leave of absence under the Employment Standards Act if they have experienced, or been threatened with, domestic or sexual violence (5 days of which are paid leave).
A sponsored immigrant may be able to get income assistance through BC Employment and Assistance if there is a breakdown in the sponsorship relationship and they are experiencing abuse. If the permanent resident is fleeing abuse, the sponsor will not be contacted until the risk of abuse is over.
2. Key Laws and Regulations
- Adult Guardianship Act
- Patients Property Act
- Public Guardian and Trustee Act
- Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act
- Community Care and Assisted Living Act
- Health Professions Act
- Representation Agreement Act
- Power of Attorney Act
3. Adult Guardianship Act
Part 3 of the Adult Guardianship Act provides a framework for responding to abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults. Key features of the legislation include:
3.1 Guiding principles
The Act sets out three guiding principles for interpreting and administering the adult protection regime. These principles prioritize the decision-making autonomy of capable adults, stating all capable adults have the right to live at risk or refuse support, and characterizes court-ordered guardianship as the last option for supporting adults with reduced capacity.
- 2 This Act is to be administered and interpreted in accordance with the following principles:
- (a)all adults are entitled to live in the manner they wish and to accept or refuse support, assistance or protection as long as they do not harm others and they are capable of making decisions about those matters;
- (b)all adults should receive the most effective, but the least restrictive and intrusive, form of support, assistance or protection when they are unable to care for themselves or their financial affairs;
- (c)the court should not be asked to appoint, and should not appoint, guardians unless alternatives, such as the provision of support and assistance, have been tried or carefully considered.
3.2 Definitions of abuse and neglect
The definition of abuse is quite broad, covering physical, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse.
- “abuse” means the deliberate mistreatment of an adult that causes the adult
- (a)physical, mental or emotional harm, or
- (b)damage or loss in respect of the adult’s financial affairs,
- and includes intimidation, humiliation, physical assault, sexual assault, overmedication, withholding needed medication, censoring mail, invasion or denial of privacy or denial of access to visitors;
- “financial affairs” includes an adult’s business and property, and the conduct of the adult’s legal affairs;
The Adult Guardianship Act also applies to neglect and self-neglect, and defines these terms.
- “neglect” means any failure to provide necessary care, assistance, guidance or attention to an adult that causes, or is reasonably likely to cause within a short period of time, the adult serious physical, mental or emotional harm or substantial damage or loss in respect of the adult’s financial affairs, and includes self-neglect;
- “self-neglect” means any failure of an adult to take care of himself or herself that causes, or is reasonably likely to cause within a short period of time, serious physical or mental harm or substantial damage or loss in respect of the adult’s financial affairs, and includes
- (a)living in grossly unsanitary conditions,
- (b)suffering from an untreated illness, disease or injury,
- (c)suffering from malnutrition to such an extent that, without intervention, the adult’s physical or mental health is likely to be severely impaired,
- (d)creating a hazardous situation that will likely cause serious physical harm to the adult or others or cause substantial damage to or loss of property, and
- (e)suffering from an illness, disease or injury that results in the adult dealing with his or her financial affairs in a manner that is likely to cause substantial damage or loss in respect of those financial affairs;
3.3 Mandatory response to reports of abuse
In BC, there is no general public duty to report elder abuse. The Adult Guardianship Act allows a person to report the abuse or neglect of an adult who cannot seek support and assistance to a designated agency.
- 46 (1)Anyone who has information indicating that an adult
- (a)is abused or neglected, and
- (b)is unable, for any of the reasons mentioned in section 44, to seek support and assistance,
- may report the circumstances to a designated agency.
The law states that an adult cannot seek support and assistance if they do not have decision-making capacity or have a physical disability that would prevent them from seeking help.
- 44 The purpose of this Part is to provide for support and assistance for adults who are abused or neglected and who are unable to seek support and assistance because of
- (a)physical restraint,
- (b)a physical handicap that limits their ability to seek help, or
- (c)an illness, disease, injury or other condition that affects their ability to make decisions about the abuse or neglect.
The law applies regardless of where an adult is living, such as in the community in their own home, in a health care facility, or any other place, such as assisted living or long-term care.
3.4 Designated agencies to respond to abuse
Under the Adult Guardianship Act framework the designated agencies must respond to reports of abuse. The regulations name the following designated agencies:
- Fraser Health Authority
- Interior Health Authority
- Northern Health Authority
- Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
- Vancouver Island Health Authority
- Providence Health Care Society (for adults who are patients or persons in care at hospitals or facilities owned and operated by Providence Health)
- Community Living BC (for adults eligible to receive community living supports)
3.5 Broad powers of response
The designated agencies have very broad powers, including the power to:
- Conduct investigations
- Access the adult’s private information
- Enter premises & examine the adult (with a court order)
- Make a report to police or Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT)—required if they have reason to believe that a criminal offence has been committed
- Get a no contact order
- Develop a support and assistance plan
- Impose a support and assistance plan (with a court order)
- Remove the adult without a court order (in an emergency)
When a designated agency receives a report of potential abuse or neglect of an adult who is unable to seek support and assistance, they may conduct an investigation. The adult must be consulted during the investigation to determine if the adult is being abused and to help identify what support to offer. After the investigation, the designated agencies may:
- Not take any action;
- Refer the adult to community services;
- Help the adult designate a substitute decision-maker; or
- Apply to the court for several possible orders. The court can order the abuser vacate the premises, stay away from the older adult, or not contact the older adult.
If the adult is in imminent danger of abuse or neglect and the adult does not have decision-making capacity, the designated agency can apply for an emergency order. An emergency order would allow the designated agency to remove the adult from where they are living and bring them to an acute care or other health care facility. The adult can only be held for as long as is required to get the older adult out of imminent danger and apply for a support and assistance order.
If the adult is being abused or neglected, does not have decision-making capacity, and needs support and assistance, the designated agency can apply to the court for a support and assistance order. The designated agency must come up with a support and assistance plan that lists what services they will obtain for the adult, which can include health care, admission to a care facility, social services, and assistance with financial management.
4. Assisted Living and Long-Term Care
The Community Care and Assisted Living Act regulates, among other types of facilities, assisted living and long-term care. The Residential Care Regulation and Assisted Living Regulation require action through a reportable incident framework when abuse or neglect has occurred within a facility regulated under this statute.
4.1 Reportable incidents in assisted living
In assisted living, a reportable incident is when any one of the following has occurred:
- a resident is abused or neglected;
- there is suspicion a resident is being abused or neglected; or
- a resident witnesses abuse or neglect.
The facility operator must immediately respond to the abuse or neglect. The operator must:
- report this incident to the Assisted Living Registrar;
- inform the resident’s contact person; and
- make a record of the incident.
Section 51 of the Assisted Living Regulation outlines the reportable incident requirements:
- Reportable incidents
- 51 (1)This section applies if a resident is
- (a)the subject of or witnesses a type of incident described in Schedule E, or
- (b)the subject of an alleged or suspected incident of any type of abuse or neglect described in Schedule E.
- (2)A registrant must do all of the following if this section applies:
- (a)take immediate and appropriate action to respond to the incident;
- (b)within 24 hours of the incident, report the incident to all of the following:
- (i)the registrar, in the form and manner required by the registrar;
- (ii)the resident’s contact person, if appropriate, and any other person the resident requests;
- (iii)if the resident is the beneficiary of a funding program, a representative of the funding program;
- (c)make a record of the reportable incident and of the actions taken under paragraph (a).
4.2 Reportable incidents in long-term care
In long-term care, a reportable incident is when any one of the following has occurred:
- a person in care is abused or neglected;
- there is suspicion a person in care is being abused or neglected; or
- a person in care witnesses abuse or neglect.
The operator must notify:
- the person in care’s contact person;
- the person’s medical practitioner; and
- the medical health officer.
Section 77 of the Residential Care Regulation outlines the reportable incident requirements:
- Reportable incidents
- 77 (1)For the purposes of this section, a person in care is involved in a reportable incident if the person in care
- (a)is the subject of
- (i)a reportable incident, or
- (ii)in the case of reportable incidents of emotional, physical, financial or sexual abuse, or neglect, an alleged or suspected reportable incident, or
- (b)witnesses a reportable incident.
- (2)Subject to subsection (3), if a person in care is involved in a reportable incident, the licensee must immediately notify
- (a)the parent or representative, or contact person, of the person in care,
- (b)the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner responsible for the care of the person in care,
- (c)a medical health officer, in the form and in the manner required by the medical health officer, and
- (d)the funding program, if any.
4.3 Types of abuse
The regulations define abuse and neglect. The included forms are emotional abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. The definitions capture institutional abuses of power within long-term care:
- “emotional abuse” means any act, or lack of action, which may diminish the sense of dignity of a person in care, perpetrated by a person not in care, such as verbal harassment, yelling or confinement;
- “financial abuse” means
- (a)the misuse of the funds and assets of a person in care by a person not in care, or
- (b)the obtaining of the property and funds of a person in care by a person not in care without the knowledge and full consent of the person in care or his or her parent or representative;
- “neglect” means the failure of a care provider to meet the needs of a person in care, including food, shelter, care or supervision;
- “physical abuse” means any physical force that is excessive for, or is inappropriate to, a situation involving a person in care and perpetrated by a person not in care;
- “sexual abuse” means any sexual behaviour directed towards a person in care and includes
- (a)any sexual exploitation, whether consensual or not, by an employee of the licensee, or any other person in a position of trust, power or authority, and
- (b)sexual activity between children or youths,
- but does not include consenting sexual behaviour between adult persons in care;
4.4 Undue influence in assisted living
The Community Care and Assisted Living Act contains new protections intended to guard against financial abuse or undue influence by assist living facilities and their staff. The operator of an assisted living facility or their agents or employees cannot encourage a resident to change their will, give a gift, create a benefit, or act as their representative or attorney. A resident’s will or power of attorney cannot give a benefit or gift to the operator of an assisted living facility or the operator’s relatives or friends, unless they are the relative of the resident.
- Certain inducements prohibited
- 28.1 (1) In this section:
- “personal representative” includes the following:
- (a) an executor within the meaning of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act;
- (b) a representative under the Representation Agreement Act;
- (c) a trustee of an estate or part of an estate under administration;
- (d) an attorney acting under a power of attorney;
- (e) a committee under the Patients Property Act;
- “registrant” includes an officer or director of the registrant and an agent, designate or employee of the registrant.
- (2) A registrant must not do any of the following:
- (a) persuade or induce, or attempt to persuade or induce, a resident to
- (i) make or alter a will,
- (ii) make a gift,
- (iii) provide a benefit for the registrant, the registrant’s spouse, relative or friend, or
- (iv) conduct the financial affairs of the resident for the benefit of the registrant, the registrant’s spouse, relative or friend;
- (b) require that a person who applies to reside in an assisted living residence, as a condition of becoming a resident, make any payment or donation other than as specified in a written contract;
- (c) act under the authority of a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney under the Power of Attorney Act, granted to the registrant by a resident;
- (d) act as a personal representative of the estate of a resident or former resident, unless the registrant is a child, parent or spouse of the resident or former resident;
- (e) act as a representative under an agreement made under the Representation Agreement Act by a resident or former resident.
- (a) persuade or induce, or attempt to persuade or induce, a resident to
- (3) A provision of a will, an alteration of a will, a gift, a provision of a benefit or another measure described in subsection (2) (a) (i) to (iv) is void if
- (a) it confers a benefit on the registrant or the registrant’s spouse, relative or friend, and
- (b) the Public Guardian and Trustee has not given written consent to it.
- (4) A power of attorney or enduring power of attorney as described in subsection (2) (c), or a disposition made under either of them, is void unless the registrant is a child, parent or spouse of the resident.
- (5) For the purposes of subsection (3) (a), a benefit conferred by a will, an alteration of a will, a gift, a provision of a benefit or another measure described in subsection (2) (a) (i) to (iv) is deemed to be conferred at the time the will, alteration, gift or provision is made or the other measure is taken.
4.5 Rights of adults living in long-term care
The Community Care and Assisted Living Act sets out the rights of adults living in care. They include a right to be protected from abuse.
- Rights to health, safety and dignity
- 2. An adult person in care has the right to the protection and promotion of his or her health, safety and dignity, including a right to all of the following:
- (a) to be treated in a manner, and to live in an environment, that promotes his or her health, safety and dignity;
- (b) to be protected from abuse and neglect;
- (c) to have his or her lifestyle and choices respected and supported, and to pursue social, cultural, religious, spiritual and other interests;
- (d) to have his or her personal privacy respected, including in relation to his or her records, bedroom, belongings and storage spaces;
- (e) to receive visitors and to communicate with visitors in private;
- (f) to keep and display personal possessions, pictures and furnishings in his or her bedroom. 
5. Regulated Health Professionals and Reporting
5.1 Professional poses a danger to the public
Regulated health professionals have obligations to report abuse by another regulated health professional to the college’s registrar under the Health Professions Act. The Act’s regulation set out who is a regulated health professional, including doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, dentists, pharmacists, and psychologists.
If a regulated health professional believes another regulated health professional is a danger to the public, they must report this health professional to the college’s registrar. If the regulated health professional suspected of abuse resigns or gives up their professional registration, this abuse must still be reported to the registrar. Section 32.2 sets out the duty to report a registrant.
Duty to report registrant
- 32.2 (1)A registrant must report in writing to the registrar of an other person’s college if the registrant, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that the continued practice of a designated health profession by the other person might constitute a danger to the public.
- (2)If a person
- (a)terminates the employment of an other person,
- (b)revokes, suspends or imposes restrictions on the privileges of an other person, or
- (c)dissolves a partnership or association with an other person
- based on a belief described in subsection (1), the person must report this in writing to the registrar of the other person’s college.
- (3)If a person intended to act as described in subsection (2) (a), (b) or (c) but the other person resigned, relinquished their privileges or dissolved the partnership or association before the person acted, the person must report this in writing to the registrar of that other person’s college.
- (4)On receiving a report under subsection (1), (2) or (3), the registrar must
- (a)act under section 32 (2) as though the registrar had received a complaint under section 32 (1), or
- (b)with the prior approval of the inquiry committee, enter into an agreement with the other person
- (i)to impose limits or conditions on the practice of the designated health profession by the other person, or
- (ii)to suspend the registration of the other person in order that continued practice by the other person does not constitute a danger to the public.
- (5)Subject to the registrar’s approval, the other person, if ordered under this section to cease or restrict practice as a registrant of the college, may employ another registrant of the college to carry on the practice.
5.2 Sexual misconduct by a health professional
If a regulated health professional believes another regulated health professional has engaged in sexual misconduct, this must be reported to the college’s registrar. If the regulated health professional receives a report from their patient or an incapable patient’s substitute decision-maker that another regulated health professional has engaged in sexual misconduct, this must also be reported to the registrar. However, before a registrant can report abuse that a patient has told them about, the registrant must get the permission of the patient or their substitute decision-maker.
- Duty to report sexual misconduct
- 32.4 (1)If a registrant has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that another registrant has engaged in sexual misconduct, the registrant must report the circumstances in writing to the registrar of the other registrant’s college.
- (2)Despite subsection (1), if a registrant’s belief concerning sexual misconduct is based on information given in writing, or stated, by the registrant’s patient, the registrant must obtain, before making the report, the consent of
- (a)the patient, or
- (b)a parent, guardian or committee of the patient, if the patient is not competent to consent to treatment.
- (3)On receiving a report under subsection (1), the registrar must act under section 32 (2) as though the registrar had received a complaint under section 32 (1).
5.3 Outcome of a report
A report made to a college registrar has limited potential to protect an abused older adult. The college is responsible for regulating health professionals within their jurisdiction, including making sure members are fit for practice and are not committing any infractions. When a report is made that a regulated health professional has potentially engaged in misconduct, the college will investigate the report, conduct an inquiry, and make a decision about the regulated health professional. Outcomes could include training, review of the person’s practice, disciplinary action, or removal of the person’s professional credentials. This process is limited to reviewing the regulated health professional’s actions. A complaint to the college will not result in any remedies for the person who has been abused.
5.4 Other reporting duties
Regulated health professionals may also have some duties to report abuse or misconduct arising from their professional codes of conduct. If you are regulated health professional, examine your professional codes of conduct or practice standards to see if you have any responsibilities under these rules, or contact your college for advice.
6. Confidentiality, Privacy, and Privilege
Generally, professionals, staff, and volunteers must get consent from an older person before disclosing personal or health information, and a lawyer must respect solicitor-client privilege. However, exceptions to confidentiality have been created in various laws.
Professional confidentiality refers to the legal obligation of a professional, employee or volunteer to keep a client’s personal and health information confidential. Confidentiality ensures that vital information is kept private for professions which require a client to disclose private information, such as counsellors, doctors, and nurses. Requirements of confidentiality can be found in legislation, in common law, and in professional codes of ethics, codes of conduct, or professional standards.
6.1 Anonymity of a person who reports abuse
The Adult Guardianship Act contains several provisions relevant to confidentiality. A person who makes a report of abuse or neglect to a designated agency must have their identity kept confidential. The Actstates in section 46(2) that a person cannot be required to disclose who made the report of abuse or neglect:
- (2)Despite the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection Act, a person must not disclose or be compelled to disclose the identity of a person who makes a report under this section.
The Public Guardian and Trustee Act also contains a similar provision requiring the PGT to keep confidential the name of the person who reported abuse or neglect:
- (3)Despite the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Guardian and Trustee must not disclose or be compelled to disclose the identity of a person who makes a report resulting in an investigation or audit under this section.
6.2 Confidentiality of personal and health information
Exceptions under adult protection law
The Adult Guardianship Act empowers designated agencies, health care providers, and the PGT to obtain any information they need to conduct investigations and support adults who are in need of support and assistance. A person who has information that would normally be confidential, such as health care information, must disclose this information to a designated agency, qualified health care professional, or the PGT if requested. This provision overrides other confidentiality laws or requirements, with the exception of solicitor-client privilege. In turn, a designated agency, qualified health care professional, or the PGT may disclose this information as is necessary for performing their duties or performing an incapability assessment under the AGA.
- Right to information
- 62 (1)A designated agency, a qualified health care provider and the Public Guardian and Trustee have the right to all the information necessary to enable them to perform their duties, powers and functions under this Act.
- (2)Any person who has custody or control of information that a designated agency, a qualified health care provider or the Public Guardian and Trustee is entitled to under subsection (1) must disclose that information to the designated agency, qualified health care provider or Public Guardian and Trustee, as applicable.
- (3)This section overrides
- (a)any claim of confidentiality or privilege, except a claim based on solicitor-client privilege, and
- (b)any restriction in an enactment or the common law about the disclosure or confidentiality of information, except a restriction in section 51 of the Evidence Act.
- Disclosing information
- 62.1 (1)A designated agency may disclose information obtained under this Act for the purposes of exercising the powers or performing the duties or functions of the designated agency under this Act.
- (2)The Public Guardian and Trustee may disclose information obtained under this Act for the purposes of exercising the powers or performing the duties or functions of the Public Guardian and Trustee.
- (3)A qualified health care provider who performs an assessment of an adult’s incapability under this Act may disclose information obtained under this Act for the purposes of providing a report of the assessment to
- (a)the Public Guardian and Trustee,
- (b)a health authority designate, for the purposes of exercising the powers or performing the duties or functions of the health authority designate under this Act,
- (c)a designated agency, for the purposes of exercising the powers or performing the duties or functions of the designated agency under this Act, and
- (d)a person who
- (i)makes a request, in writing, to the qualified health care provider for the report, and
- (ii)confirms in the request that the report is to be used only for the purpose of an application to the court for an order under this Act.
- (4)Subsection (3) overrides any restriction in an enactment or the common law about the disclosure or confidentiality of information.
Exceptions under privacy law
In BC, there are two statutes that outline privacy rights:
- Personal Information Protection Act—applies to employees of private bodies, such as non-profit organizations and private long-term care and assisted living facilities.
- Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act—applies to public bodies such as hospitals and government agencies.
The Personal Information Protection Act requires a person to give consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information after the organization has disclosed why it is collecting the information. A person can consent to their personal information being disclosed. Under both acts, an organization, body, or person can disclose personal information without consent for a number of reasons.
Public bodies can disclose confidential information without consent for prescribed reasons, including:
- To assist with a police investigation;
- As required or authorized by another law;
- If the head of the public body finds compelling circumstances that affect the health and safety of an individual;
- For the purposes of investigating or disciplining a regulated professional, such as a doctor or lawyer; and
- To reduce the serious risk of domestic violence.
Private bodies can disclose confidential information without consent for prescribed reasons, including:
- To assist with a police investigation;
- As required or authorized by another law;
- If compelling circumstances exist that affect the health and safety of an individual; and
- When disclosure is necessary for the medical treatment of the person and the person does not have the legal capacity to give consent.
Exceptions that apply to solicitor-client privilege
Solicitor-client privilege is a legal principle that ensures the confidentiality of all information clients give their lawyer in confidence to obtain legal advice. Solicitor-client privilege does not only apply to past and current clients. It may also apply before a retainer is established. The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized the fundamental importance of solicitor-client privilege to the administration of justice. The privilege allows clients seeking legal advice to speak freely to their lawyers with the knowledge that their information will not be disclosed without their consent.
The Supreme Court of Canada has determined that a lawyer is required to maintain solicitor-client confidentiality at all times, unless:
- the client consents to disclosure;
- an exception regarding criminal communications applies;
- there is a risk to public safety from non-disclosure;
- it is required to preserve the accused’s right to make full answer and defence; or
- disclosure is authorized or required by another law.
The Law Society of BC sets out the following exceptions to confidentiality in the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia (BC Code), some of which overlap with the requirements sets out by the Supreme Court of Canada.
- Confidential information
- 3.3-1 A lawyer at all times must hold in strict confidence all information concerning the business and affairs of a client acquired in the course of the professional relationship and must not divulge any such information unless:
- (a) expressly or impliedly authorized by the client;
- (b) required by law or a court to do so;
- (c) required to deliver the information to the Law Society, or
- (d) otherwise permitted by this rule.
The BC Code also permits disclosure of limited confidential information where a person is at risk of serious bodily harm or death and disclosure is necessary to prevent this harm or death, circumstances which could apply in rare instances of elder abuse. The BC Code states.
- 3.3-2.1 A lawyer who is required, under federal or provincial legislation, to produce a document or provide information that is or may be privileged must, unless the client waives the privilege, claim solicitor-client privilege in respect of the document.
- 3.3-3 A lawyer may disclose confidential information, but must not disclose more information than is required, when the lawyer believes on reasonable grounds that there is an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm, and disclosure is necessary to prevent the death or harm.
7. Criminal Prosecution Policy
While criminal law falls primarily under federal jurisdiction, the BC Prosecution Service has three policies relevant to vulnerable adults in their Crown Counsel Policy Manual. These policies are:
The Charge Assessment Guidelines describe the factors crown counsel should consider in starting or continuing a prosecution. Some portions are particularly relevant to elder abuse. The policy describes public interest factors that favour prosecution. These factors include:
- “the relative vulnerability of the victim”
- “the alleged offender’s position of authority or trust in relation to the victim”
- “evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability, or any other similar factor”
The Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses – Adult policy was created in 2015 to address barriers faced by vulnerable witnesses in testifying. This policy states that:
- All victims and witnesses should have equal opportunity to participate, and vulnerable individuals will require support throughout all the stages of prosecution.
- A person is considered vulnerable if they would not be able to participate in the process without support or accommodation.
- Crown counsel should give information on supports, arrange for accommodations, and expedite the process.
- Where possible, the assigned crown counsel should be one who has received training in relevant areas.
- If a witness has difficulty communicating due to a disability, video evidence may be used.
- If the witness will be significantly adversely affected by the proceedings, crown counsel should request direct indictment.
- If charges are not laid, crown counsel should consider providing supervision or counselling.
- Crown counsel should consider arranging for safety planning for the victim or witness if the accused is to be released on bail.
- Crown counsel should ask for needed accommodations for witnesses, including using testimonial aids.
- If the accused is given probation or a conditional sentence, crown counsel should take measures to protect the victim or witness.
The Elder Abuse – Offences Against Elders policy sets out guidelines for dealing with elder abuse-related criminal charges. The policy is fairly short, but lists a few considerations.
- Crown counsel should consider the Charge Assessment Guidelines in regard to the public interest factor in prosecuting a crime against a vulnerable adult.
- Crown counsel should consider the Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses policy.
- Crown counsel should consider the Criminal Code provisions regarding age as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
- Crown counsel should consider a recognizance if charges are not laid. If no charges are laid and there is no recognizance, crown counsel should remind police that a designated agency, PGT, or community organization may need to be contacted by the police to help support and protect the older adult.
8. Protection Orders under the Family Law Act
BC’s Family Law Act,following an overhaul in 2011, now includes elder abuse within the provisions on family violence. Family violence is addressed in Part 9 of the Act and also in the definition section (s 1).
8.1 Definition of family member
The definition of family member was expanded to include any family member living in the home with the adult and some family members who may not live in the home, including grandchildren.
- “family member”, with respect to a person, means
- (a )the person’s spouse or former spouse,
- (b) a person with whom the person is living, or has lived, in a marriage-like relationship,
- (c) a parent or guardian of the person’s child,
- (d) a person who lives with, and is related to,
- (i)the person, or
- (ii)a person referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (c), or
- (e) the person’s child,
- and includes a child who is living with, or whose parent or guardian is, a person referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (e);
8.2 Definition of family violence
The definition of family violence was also expanded to include psychological abuse and some aspects of financial abuse and neglect.
- “family violence” includes
- (a)physical abuse of a family member, including forced confinement or deprivation of the necessities of life, but not including the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or others from harm,
- (b)sexual abuse of a family member,
- (c)attempts to physically or sexually abuse a family member,
- (d)psychological or emotional abuse of a family member, including
- (i)intimidation, harassment, coercion or threats, including threats respecting other persons, pets or property,
- (ii)unreasonable restrictions on, or prevention of, a family member’s financial or personal autonomy,
- (iii)stalking or following of the family member, and
- (iv)intentional damage to property, and
- (e)in the case of a child, direct or indirect exposure to family violence;
8.3 Protection orders
The Family Law Act sets out the rules for obtaining a protection order, which is similar to a peace bond available under the Criminal Code. A person who is at risk of family violence from a family member, as defined above, can apply to the provincial or supreme court for a protection order. Possible terms of a protection order are:
- No direct or in-direct communicate with the older adult;
- Staying away from specific locations (not limited to the residence);
- Restrictions on the possession of firearms of other weapons;
- Removal of the abuser from the residence by a police officer;
- Police accompaniment to collect belongings;
- Seizure of any weapons by police; and
- Any terms or conditions the court considers necessary to protect the safety and security of the at-risk family member.
A protection order is valid for up to one year. The court can issue a protection order without criminal charges being laid. Protection orders are only valid within BC.
Section 184 states that age can be a factor that increases the at-risk person’s vulnerability to abuse.
9. Financial Abuse by Substitute Decision-Makers
This section outlines BC’s substitute decision-making framework and identifies protections and remedies available when an older person experiences financial abuse by a substitute decision-maker. These protections and remedies are found in adult protection legislation, supportive and substitute decision-maker legislation, and health care legislation.
9.1 Financial substitute decision-makers in BC
In BC a substitute decision-maker for financial matters could be:
- A representative under a representation agreement (RA) (chosen by the older adult);
- An attorney under a power of attorney (POA) (chosen by the older adult);
- A guardian appointed by the court, called a Committee; or
- The PGT as property guardian, appointed through a statutory process set out in the Adult Guardianship Act.
An adult can appoint a representative to support them in decision-making, or to make decisions for them. A section 7 RA can cover major and minor health care, personal care, routine financial affairs, and legal decisions. A section 9 RA can cover major and minor health care and personal care.
Power of attorney
An adult can appoint an attorney to be their substitute decision-maker before or during incapacity under a document called a POA. A POA can cover the adult’s financial affairs, but not health care.
Statutory property guardian
If the adult is not capable of making decisions and they have not previously appointed a substitute decision-maker, the PGT may be appointed as statutory property guardian or the court may appoint a committee of estate or person. If a person suspects an adult is not capable of making financial decisions and reports this to a health authority or PGT, an incapability assessment may occur. If the adult is found to be incapable by the health authority, the PGT may be appointed to be statutory property guardian. The appointment does not require a court application. The statutory property guardian (the PGT) can make all financial and legal decisions a capable adult would be able to make. The PGT is only appointed as statutory property guardian as a last resort option.
Committee of the estate
A court can appoint a committee of estate (for financial and legal decisions) or committee of person (for personal and health care decisions). An adult can nominate who they would like to be chosen as their committee ahead of time—although in practice this is a rare occurrence. A committee has all of the powers that a competent adult would have to make decisions.
9.2 Duties of substitute decision-makers
A representative under an RA has several duties, including to:
- Act in good faith;
- Exercise reasonable care, diligence, and skill;
- Act within their authority;
- Keep records of actions taken under their authority and produce these when requested by the adult, the monitor, or the PGT;
- Keep their assets separate from the adult’s assets; and
- Consult with the adult and follow their wishes to the extent that is reasonable. If the adult is not capable, they must make decisions based on pre-expressed wishes of the adult. If the adult has no pre-expressed wishes, they must act based on the adult’s known beliefs. If these are not known, they must act in the adult’s best interest.
An attorney under a POA has several duties, including to:
- Act in good faith;
- Exercise reasonable care, diligence, and skill;
- Act within their authority;
- Keep records of actions taken under their authority and produce these records when requested by the adult;
- Act in the adult’s best interest, taking into account the adult’s wishes, beliefs, and values;
- Encourage the adult to be involved in decision-making; and
- Keep their assets separate from the adult’s assets.
A committee of estate or person has two broad duties under the Patients Property Act, to act in the best interest of the adult, and to involve the adult as much as is reasonable. The Act states:
- Exercise of powers
- 18 (1)A committee must exercise the committee’s powers for the benefit of the patient and the patient’s family, having regard to the nature and value of the property of the patient and the circumstances and needs of the patient and the patient’s family.
- (2)A committee must, to the extent reasonable, foster the independence of the patient and encourage the patient’s involvement in any decision making that affects the patient.
The same duties would apply to statutory property guardians because “…once the PGT becomes statutory property guardian under the AGA Part 2.1, the PGT manages the adult’s financial affairs as committee of estate under the PPA.”
9.3 Removal of substitute decision-makers
Substitute decision-makers sometimes abuse their powers and engage in financial abuse or neglect. A substitute decision-maker may need to be removed to protect the older adult’s assets.
The adult can change or revoke the RA at any time, provided they are capable of making an RA. A person can report to the PGT if they suspect abuse or undue influence, including if:
- The adult was not capable of making the RA;
- The adult was pressured into making the RA;
- The representative is not making decisions based on the wishes, values, or beliefs of the adult;
- The representative is abusing or neglecting the adult; or
- The representative is not complying with their duties under the RA.
The PGT must review these reports and may conduct an investigation into whether anything improper has occurred. The PGT can apply to the court to have the RA revoked, changed, or found invalid. The PGT can report potential abuse to a designated agency, or appoint a monitor.
The court can change or revoke an RA, including removal of a representative, if it would be within the adult’s wishes, values, or beliefs. The court can order an RA be changed or revoked against an adult’s previously expressed wishes, values, or beliefs if the adult is incapable and it is in the adult’s best interests.
The adult can change or revoke a POA at any time, provided they are still capable of making this decision, which requires understanding the consequences of changing or revoking the POA.
Any person can report to the PGT if they suspect abuse or undue influence, including if:
- The adult was incapable of making the POA;
- The adult was pressured into making the POA;
- The attorney is abusing or neglecting the adult;
- The attorney is not complying with their duties under the POA; or
- The attorney is not qualified to act as an attorney.
The PGT must review the report and may conduct an investigation into whether anything improper has occurred. The PGT can apply to the court to change or revoke the POA. The PGT can report potential abuse to a designated agency. The PGT can also become the adult’s committee or statutory property guardian.
The court can change or revoke a POA if the PGT or another person makes an application. The court can also change the scope of the attorney’s powers and duties, and declare actions done by an attorney to be void. The court must consider the adult’s wishes, beliefs, values, and instructions unless the adult is incapable, and the change would be in their best interest.
Under a committee of person or estate, if the adult becomes capable the adult can apply to have the committee discharged. The court can put restrictions or conditions on the committee’s powers. The court can also change who is committee upon an application for recession of the appointment, unless the PGT is the committee. A statutory property guardianship would also end when the adult becomes capable.
9.4 The role of the PGT
The PGT receives referrals from designated agencies or reports directly to the PGT about adults who:
- Do not have the capacity to make legal or financial decisions; and
- Are experiencing financial abuse.
The PGT will consult on complex cases where there is financial abuse of an incapable adult. The PGT can investigate when an incapable adult needs immediate help and there is no one else available to help. PGT investigations are intended to find out what kind of support or assistance is needed. The PGT will seek the least intrusive option that is appropriate for the adult’s situation. The PGT can investigate whether a substitute decision-maker is performing their duties. Outcomes of an investigation can include:
- No action;
- Providing information to the older adult; and
- Getting a substitute decision-maker appointed (including the PGT as a last resort).
The Adult Guardianship Act and Public Guardian and Trustee Act outline the powers that the PGT has to investigate financial abuse. Under the Adult Guardianship Act, the designated agencies may advise the PGT if an investigation finds an adult does not need support or assistance, and refer the adult to the PGT if the adult does need support and assistance. A designated agency, upon conclusion of an investigation, can also report the financial abuse or neglect to the PGT. A support and assistance order can include PGT services to manage the financial or legal affairs of the adult.
Under the Public Guardian and Trustee Act, the PGT is given authority to investigate financial abuse, including investigating:
- Whether an adult is being abused or neglected; or
- Whether a substitute decision-maker is performing their duties or abusing the adult.
- Power to investigate and audit
- 17 (1)The Public Guardian and Trustee may investigate and audit the affairs, dealings and accounts of
- (a)a trust, a beneficiary of which is or may be
- (i)a young person,
- (ii)an adult who has a guardian, or
- (iii)an adult who does not have a guardian but who is apparently abused or neglected, as defined in the Adult Guardianship Act,
- (b)an adult who does not have a guardian, a representative or an attorney under an enduring power of attorney but who is apparently abused or neglected, as defined in the Adult Guardianship Act,
- (c)an attorney under a power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney, if the Public Guardian and Trustee has reason to believe that the person who granted the power of attorney or enduring power of attorney is incapable of managing his or her financial affairs, business or assets,
- (d)a representative, or
- (e)a guardian,
- (a)a trust, a beneficiary of which is or may be
- if the Public Guardian and Trustee has reason to believe that the interest in the trust, or the assets of the young person or adult, may be at risk, or that the representative, guardian or attorney has failed to comply with his or her duties.
- (2)In addition, the Public Guardian and Trustee may investigate the personal care and health care decisions made by a representative or guardian, if the Public Guardian and Trustee has reason to believe the representative or guardian has failed to comply with his or her duties.
Section 18 gives the PGT powers to order accounts or records be produced for audits or investigations. These powers include:
- Requiring a person or body to produce financial records, including a substitute decision-maker;
- Requiring a person or body to produce health or personal care records;
- Applying for a court order for a person or body to produce records if they refuse to produce them; and
- Entering a property to procure records, if given a court order to do so.
If an adult’s finances are at imminent risk due to abuse or neglect, the PGT has powers to act to protect the adult’s assets. These powers include:
- Freezing bank account contents;
- Requiring income be held in trust or used only for the adult’s health or safety;
- Stopping any sales or transfers of property; and
- Taking any other steps necessary.
These actions are in force for a maximum of 30 days. They can be renewed for additional periods of 30 days, to a maximum of 120 days total.
The PGT can be appointed as substitute decision-maker if there are no other people available and suitable to be a substitute decision-maker. Most commonly, the PGT is appointed to be the committee of estate under the Patients Property Act. The PGT can also be an attorney under a POA, a representative under an RA, a committee of person, a committee of estate, or a litigation guardian. The PGT is also the temporary substitute decision-maker of last resort for health care decisions under the Health Care (Consent) and Facility (Admission) Act.
9.5 Protections for adults living in care facilities
See also above regarding financial abuse or undue influence by assist living facilities and their staff.
10. Employment Protections
10.1 Whistle-blower protections
The Adult Guardianship Act contains protections for people who report abuse or neglect of an adult to a designated agency in section 46. These protections include that:
- A legal action cannot be brought against a person for helping with an investigation into abuse or neglect, unless the report of abuse or neglect is made by a person knowing it is false.
- A person cannot be fired for reporting abuse or neglect.
- A person cannot have conditions of their employment changed for reporting abuse or neglect.
- A person cannot be disciplined for reporting abuse or neglect.
- A person cannot have their professional licences or memberships impacted by reporting abuse or neglect.
The Community Care and Assisted Living Act contains protections for people who report abuse of an adult who is living in long-term care or assisted living in sections 22 and 28.1. This report must be made in good faith. These protections include that:
- An action can’t be brought against a person for making a report of abuse.
- A person who works in long-term care or assisted living cannot be fired, have their benefits changed, be disciplined, or be harassed for making a report of abuse of an adult living in long-term care or assisted living.
- An adult who is living in long-term care or assisted living can’t have their services changed because of a report that they are being abused.
10.2 Statutory employment leave
The Employment Standards Act includes employment leave for people experiencing domestic or sexual violence. This leave is intended to help the employee to obtain the services they need, including medical care, counselling, legal advice, victim services, housing, or criminal remedies.
The definition of domestic or sexual violence limits this leave to people who are experiencing physical or psychological abuse by a family member or sexual abuse by anyone.” Psychological or emotional abuse” is defined to include “intentional damage to property”. Therefore, an older adult who is experiencing physical, psychological, or financial abuse by a person who is not a family member would not be eligible for this leave. The Employment Standards Act defines a family member as:
- (a)with respect to a person,
- (i)the spouse, child, parent, guardian, sibling, grandchild or grandparent of the person, or
- (ii)an individual who lives with the person as a member of the person’s family;
- (b)any other individual who is a member of a prescribed class;
An employee is entitled to the following leave each calendar year:
- (a) up to 5 days of paid leave,
- (b) up to 5 days of unpaid leave, and
- (c) up to 15 weeks of additional unpaid leave.
Leaves under subsections (a) and (b) can be can take one continuous period or broken up into smaller periods. Leaves under (c) can be broken into smaller periods with the employer’s consent.
An employee is protected from getting fired or having their conditions of employment or benefits changed due to taking this leave. This leave is a statutory benefit, so the employer cannot deny an employee this leave.
11. Immigration Sponsorship and Income Assistance
In BC, if an older person is a permanent resident and their sponsor is abusing them, there are some exceptions to the general policies on receiving income or employment assistance during the sponsorship period. The BC Employment and Assistance Policy and Procedure Manual sets out the exceptions for people fleeing abuse.
A permanent resident who is fleeing abuse can apply for income assistance. The abuse must be by a family member as defined in the FLA. The older person must meet the general income and asset requirements. If an applicant states that they are fleeing abuse, an alert will be put on the file and the eligibility decision will be expedited. The immediate needs of the adult and their dependents must be the priority, such as housing and medical care. The person fleeing abuse will not be required to meet the work search requirements.
Normally when a permanent resident is applying for income assistance, the sponsor would be contacted and asked whether they are able to support the permanent resident. If the permanent resident is fleeing abuse, the sponsor will not be contacted until the risk of abuse is over. The sponsor will still have to re-pay the amount of assistance under the sponsorship default provisions.
The permanent resident does not have to prove the abuse during the initial application process. At the one-year mark, and each subsequent year, the permanent resident may be asked for proof of the abuse or risk of abuse. The verifiable evidence can include police reports, court orders, hospital records, doctors’ reports, or reports from transition houses or support workers.
12. Key Contacts
Community Living British Columbia
To report abuse or neglect, contact your local Community Living BC office. Visit the website to find your closest office: www.communitylivingbc.ca/contact/local-offices/
- Website: www.communitylivingbc.ca/contact/whistleblower-contact/
- General Inquiries: 1-877-660-2522
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority or Providence Health Care
To report abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults:
- Call: 1-877-732-2899 (1-877-REACT-99)
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.vch.ca/locations-services/directory-sub-pages/report-adult-abuse-neglect
Fraser Health Authority
To report abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults:
- Call: 1-877-732-2808
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/adult-abuse-and-neglect/getting-help-for-adult-abuse-and-neglect#.XtbdElVKiUk
Island Health Authority
To report abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults:
- South Island (Victoria): 1-888-535-2273
- Central Island (Nanaimo): 1-877-734-4101
- North Island: 1-866-928-4988
- Website: www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/adult-abuse-neglect#:~:text=Reporting%20to%20Island%20Health,1%2D877%2D734%2D4101
- General Inquiries: 1-877-370-8699
Interior Health Authority
To report abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults: 1-844-870-4754
- Website: www.interiorhealth.ca/YourHealth/AdultSeniorsHealth/AdultAbuseNeglect/Pages/default.aspx
- General Inquiries: 250-469-7070
Northern Health Authority
To report abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults: 1-844-465-7414
- Website: www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/adult-abuseadult-guardianship
- General Inquiries: 1-866-565-2999
Provincial Seniors’ Phone Line
Older adults and their supporters can report problems with health care to the Provincial Seniors’ Phone Line. This phone line is only available Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.
VictimLinkBC (Victim Services)
VictimLinkBC is a telephone service to provide information and referrals to victim services. The phone line is available 24 hours a day and can provide referrals to victim services across the province and is staffed by victim service workers. Services are available in over 150 languages.
- Phone: 1-800-563-0808
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/bcs-criminal-justice-system/understanding-criminal-justice/key-parts/victim-services
Public Guardian and Trustee of BC
The public can report concerns about the financial or legal affairs of a vulnerable adult, or financial abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult to the PGT. The PGT can investigate concerns about vulnerable adults who cannot manage their financial affairs or and financial abuse, including concerns about substitute decision-makers. To report concerns to the PGT, complete the referral form available on the website: www.trustee.bc.ca/services/services-to-adults/pages/assessment-and-investigation-services.aspx
Office of the Assisted Living Registrar
The assisted living registry oversees registration and regulation of assisted living residences. The registrar can investigate concerns about a resident’s health or safety or non-compliance of an assisted living facility.
- Phone: 1-866-714-3378
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/assisted-living-in-bc/assisted-living-registry
BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner
The Human Rights Commissioner provides information on human rights and duties under the legislation. The office also investigates systemic discrimination issues.
Seniors First BC (SAIL)
Seniors First BC provides legal help to older adults in BC. The Seniors Abuse and Information Line provides information, support, and referrals for older adults and their supporters on abuse, neglect, legal help, and community resources. Seniors First BC also provides legal advice, representation, and advocacy on a range of legal issues for low-income older adults who cannot afford a lawyer. The victim services program provides assistance and support to victims of elder abuse and other crimes. Seniors First BC also conducts public education and outreach on the rights of older adults. Call the SAIL phone line about elder abuse or legal help. The line is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. Language interpretation is available Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
BC Association of Community Response Networks (BCCRN)
BCCRN is a network of community response networks aiming to end adult abuse and neglect in BC. BCCRN conducts education, networks with community stakeholders, and funds projects on preventing abuse and neglect. BCCRN has resources on elder abuse and provides public education on identifying and responding to elder abuse and neglect. You can contact your local community response network to find out about services for adult abuse and neglect in your area: https://bccrns.ca/search/
 RSBC 1996, c 6 [AGA].
 BC Reg 13/2000.
 BC Reg 19/2002.
 BC Reg 115/2014.
 RSBC 1996, c 349 [PPA].
 RSBC 1996, c 383 [PGTA].
 RSBC 1996, c 181 [HCCFA].
 SBC 2002, c 75 [CCALA].
 BC Reg 189/2019.
 BC Reg 96/2009.
 RSBC 1996, c 183 [HPA].
 BC Reg 270/2008.
 SBC 2011, c 25 [FLA].
 RSBC 1996, c 405 [RAA].
 BC Reg 199/2001.
 RSBC 1996, c 370 [POAA].
 BC Reg 20/2011.
 RSBC 1996, c 165 [FOIPPA].
 SBC 2003 [PIPA].
 RSBC 1996, c 113 [ESA].
 AGA, supra note 1, s 2.
 Ibid, s 1.
 Ibid, s 46(1).
 Ibid, s 44.
 Supra note 3.
 Ibid, s 52.
 Ibid, s 51.
 Ibid, s 59; AH v Fraser Health Authority, 2019 BCSC 227.
 AGA, ibid, s 54-56.
 Ibid, s 51.
 Ibid, s 77. The definitions are virtually identical for assisted living and long-term care. The only difference is the reference to “resident” (assisted living) versus “person in care” (long-term care).
 Assisted Living Regulation, supra note 9, s 51 & Sch E s 1; Residential Care Regulation, supra note 10, s 77 & Sch D s 1.
 Residential Care Regulation, ibid, Sch D, s 1.
 CCALA, supra note 8, s 28.1.
 CCALA, ibid, Sch, s 2.
 HPA, supra note 11.
 HPA, supra note 11, s 32.2.
 Ibid [misspelling of “another” in the original].
 Ibid, s 32.4.
 Ibid; “File a Complaint”, online: College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia <www.cpsbc.ca/for-public/file-complaint>.
 “Duty to report”, online: British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals <www.bccnp.ca/Standards/RN_NP/PracticeStandards/Pages/dutytoreport.aspx>; College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, “Legislative Guidance: Duty to Report” (Last reviewed 17 January 2019), online: <www.cpsbc.ca/files/pdf/PSG-Duty-to-Report.pdf> at 1-4.
 AGA, supra note 1, s 46(2).
 PGTA, supra note 6, s 17(3).
 AGA, supra note 1, s 62.
 Ibid, s 62.1.
 Ibid, s 62.
 Ibid, s 62.1.
 PIPA, supra note 19, s 2-3.
 FOIPPA, supra note 18, s 2-3.
 PIPA, supra note 19, s 6-7, 10.
 PIPA, ibid, s 6; FOIPPA, supra note 18, s 33.1(b).
 FOIPPA, ibid, s 33.2(i).
 FOIPPA, ibid, s 33.1(1)(c).
 FOIPPA, ibid, s 33.1(1)(m).
 FOIPPA, ibid, s 33.1(1)(l).
 FOIPPA, ibid, s 33.1(1)(m.1).
 PIPA, supra note 19, s 18(1)(j).
 PIPA, ibid, s 18(1)(o).
 PIPA, ibid, s 18(1)(k).
 PIPA, ibid, s 18(1)(b).
 Descôteaux v Mierzwinski,  1 SCR 860 at 870–876, 141 DLR (3d) 590, [Descôteaux cited to SCR].
 Smith v Jones,  1 SCR 455 at para 35, 169 DLR (4th) 385, [Smith cited to SCR].
 Ibid at para 46.
 Descôteaux, supra note 66 at 893, cited in Smith, supra note 68 at para 55.
 Smith, ibid at paras 56–57.
 Ontario (Public Safety and Security) v Criminal Lawyers’ Association, 2010 SCC 23 at para 53,  1 SCR 815.
 See for example Mental Health Act, RSNB 1973, c M-10 and Advance Health Care Directives Act, SNL 1995, c A-4.1.
 The Law Society of British Columbia, Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, Vancouver: The Law Society of British Columbia, 2013 (updated December 2019), ch 3(3.3).
 Ibid, ch 3 (3.3-1).
 Ibid, ch 3 (3.3-2.1) & (3.3-3).
 Ibid, ch 3 (3.3-2.1).
 Ibid, ch 3 (3.3-3).
 British Columbia, Prosecution Service, Crown Counsel Policy Manual: Charge Assessment Guidelines, Effective April 16, 2019 (Victoria: BC Prosecution Services, 2019) at 1-5.
 Ibid at 3.
 Ibid at 3-4.
 British Columbia, Prosecution Service, Crown Counsel Policy Manual: Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses – Adult, Effective March 1, 2018 (Victoria: BC Prosecution Services, 2018) at 1-6.
 British Columbia, Prosecution Service, Crown Counsel Policy Manual: Elder Abuse – Offences Against Elders, Effective March 1, 2018 (Victoria: BC Prosecution Services, 2018) at 1-2.
 FLA, supra note 13, s 1.
 Ibid, at 183.
 RAA, supra note 14, s 7,
 RAA, ibid, s 9.
 POAA, supra note 16, s 13.
 AGA, supra note 1, s 32 & 33.
 PPA, supra note 5, s 2, 3, 6.
 PPA, ibid, s 9.
 PPA, ibid, s 17.
 RAA, supra note 14,s 16, 18.
 PPA, supra note 5, s 18.
 British Columbia, Ministry of Health & Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, A Guide to the Certificate of Incapability Process under the Adult Guardianship Act (1 May 2016), online: <www.trustee.bc.ca/reports-and-publications/Documents/A%20Guide%20to%20the%20Certificate%20of%20Incapability%20Process%20under%20the%20Adult%20Guardianship%20Act.pdf>.
 RAA, supra note 14, s 27, 31.
 Ibid, s 30, 32.
 Ibid, s 32.
 POAA, supra note 16, s 28.
 Ibid, s 34, 36.
 Ibid, s 36.
 PPA, supra note 5, s 12.
 Ibid, s 16.
 Ibid, s 13.
 AGA, supra note 1, s 37.
 “Helping a Vulnerable Adult Get Support”, online: Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia <www.trustee.bc.ca/services/services-to-adults/Pages/assessment-and-investigation-services.aspx>.
 AGA, supra note 1, s 47.
 Ibid, s 51.
 Ibid, s 56.
 PGTA, supra note 6, s 17.
 Ibid, s 18.
 Ibid, s 19.
 “Financial Management and Personal Decision Making Services for Adults”, online: Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia <www.trustee.bc.ca/services/services-to-adults/Pages/financial-management-and-personal-decision-making-services.aspx>.
 HCCFA, supra note 7, s 16(3).
 AGA, supra note 1, s 46.
 CCALA, supra note 8, s 22, 28.1.
 ESA, supra note 20.
 Ibid, s 52.5.
 Ibid, s 52.5 (1).
 Ibid, s 52.5 (4).
 Ibid, s 52.5 (4.1).
 Ibid, s 52.5 (5).
 Ibid, s 54(2).
 Ibid, s 54(1).
 British Columbia, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, BC Employment and Assistance Policy and Procedure Manual, online: <www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual>.
 Ibid, at “Persons Fleeing Abuse” & “Sponsorship Undertaking Default”.