Residential tenancy agreements of provinces and territories usually exclude care facilities in the act, which can include nursing homes, supportive living accommodations, and government-operated senior lodges.
The term "residential care facilities" usually refers to facilities that have four beds or more and are approved, funded or licensed by provincial/territorial departments of health and/or social services.
If you decide to live in a care facility, you should make sure to have a written tenancy agreement, because you are likely not protected under the residential tenancy agreement of your province or territory. In most provinces/territories a written tenancy agreement is a must.
Therefore, you should ensure that you have rights and that your rights are protected under the care facility tenancy agreement so that you can be legally protected if your landlord breaches the terms of the agreement.
If the care facility already has their own agreement, you want to make sure to go through the contract carefully and note what your rights are and what the complaints mechanism is. It is actually a very good idea to have a lawyer review these agreements.
If the RTA doesn’t apply to me is there any legislative protection?
For many provinces there is some sort of act dealing with care facilities that ensures that these facilities are held to a proper standard and hire proper staff in order and that residents’ rights are protected.
For example, in British Columbia if you are living in a care facility, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act applies. The act sets out a set of standards of how the facility is to be run, what kind of people can be hired and that the facility make sure that the rights of residents are made clear to residents, family, and care staff.
Another example of protections available is in Saskatchewan, where there are Program Guidelines for Special Care Homes that care facilities have to follow. Special care homes in Saskatchewan are defined as long term homes, such as nursing homes.
Saskatchewan also has separate rules for personal care homes, which are defined as facilities that provide housing, meals and assistance with or supervision with the activities of daily living. Such facilities are run and monitored by the ministry of Health of the province and are licensed under The Personal Care Homes Act.
In other words, it is the ministry’s responsibility to make sure residents’ rights is upheld. If the care facility fails to do so, you can either speak to the manager of the care facility or file the Complaint Reporting Form with the government of Saskatchewan.
Differences between being a residential tenant and a care facility tenant
Every province and territory has their own rules and legislation for residential tenants and care facilities and the rights you are entitled to in one province, you may not be entitled to in another province.
For example, in Ontario, the landlord must give you a Care Home Information Package before you sign a written tenancy agreement. However, that may not be mandatory in other provinces and under the RTA, residential tenants are usually not entitled to information packages.
Other differences include how landlord’s right of entry is treated, notice requirements when ending tenancy, eviction process and more.
If you are planning on living in a care facility, you may want to consult with a lawyer about your rights as a tenant.
Assisted Living British Columbia
Personal Care Homes Saskatchewan
Care Home Information Packages Ontario