Legal Definitions of Elder Abuse and Neglect

APPENDIX A: CANADIAN LEGISLATION—COMPARATIVE CHART

Jurisdiction Scope of Application Definition of Abuse Types of Abuse Designated Agency Comments Other Relevant Legislation
British Columbia
Adult Guardianship Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 6.
Adults who are abused or neglected and who are unable to seek support or assistance.i

Adults who are abused or neglected in a public place, in the adult's home, a relative's home, a care facility, or any other place except a correctional centre. s.45(1)

The deliberate mistreatment of an adult that causes the adult (a) physical, mental or emotional harm or (b) damage to or loss of assets, 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 Part 1, s.1
  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Neglect
  • Self-neglect
The Ministry of Children and Family Development, and the five Health Authorities in British Columbia (Designated Agencies Regulation, B.C. Reg. 19/2002) The provincial government has passed the Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Actii, which when it comes into force, will repeal the Patients Property Act and replace it with a new Part 2 of the Adult Guardianship Act, shifting from a committeeship system to a guardianship system with more imbedded rights.
  • Representation Agreement Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 405.
  • Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 181.
  • Public Guardian and Trustee Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 383.
  • Patients Property Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 349.
  • Power of Attorney Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 370.
  • Family Relations Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 128.
  • Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210.
Alberta
Protection for Persons in Care Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-29.
Adults who receive services from an “agency”, which is defined in s. 1(b) to mean an approved hospital as defined in the Hospitals Act, a lodge accommodation as defined in the Alberta Housing Act, a nursing home as defined in the Nursing Homes Act, a facility as defined in the Social Care Facilities Review Committee Act, or any institution organization designated by regulation as an agency.
  • (i)intentionally causing bodily harm,
  • (ii)intentionally causing harm, including, but not limited to, threatening, intimidating, humiliating, harassing, coercing or restricting from appropriate social contact,
  • (iii)intentionally administering or prescribing medication for an inappropriate purpose,
  • (iv)subjecting to non-consensual sexual contact, activity or behaviour,
  • (v)intentionally misappropriating or improperly or illegally converting money or other valuable possessions, or
  • (vi)intentionally failing to provide adequate nutrition, adequate medical attention or other necessity of life without a valid consent. (s.1)
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Neglect
  • Abuse of medications
Ministry of Seniors and Community Supports. s.1(h) The Act is being considered for amendment in 2009 following a review of the Act in 2006 (which was based on results of an earlier consultation process and the report prepared by the former legislative review committee in 2003).
  • Protection Against Family Violence Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-27.
  • Dependent Adults Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. D-11.
  • Personal Directives Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-6.
  • Powers of Attorney Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-20.
  • Mental Health Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-13.
  • Maintenance Order Act, R.S.A. 2000,c.M-2
  • Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. H-14.
Saskatchewan
Victims of Domestic Violence Act, S.S. 1994, c. V-6.02.
Cohabitants, defined as persons who reside or resided together in a family, spousal or intimate relationship or parents (s.2). None.
Defines "domestic violence".
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Property damage
  • Forced confinement

Emergency intervention order may be granted by a justice of the peace. s.3(1)

Victim's assistance order may be made by the Court of Queen's Bench. s.7(1)

This is a domestic violence statute. Saskatchewan has not enacted a comprehensive adult protection statute.
  • Adult Guardianship and Co-decision-making Act, S.S. 2000, c. A-5.3
  • Powers of Attorney Act, 2002, S.S. 2002, c. P-20.3
  • Health Care Directives and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act, S.S. 1997, c. H-0.001
  • Personal Care Homes Regulation, 1996, c.P-6.01
  • Public Guardian and Trustee Act, S.S. 1983 c. P-36
  • Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, S.S. 1979, c. S-24.1.
Saskatchewan
The Public Guardian and Trustee Act, S.S. 1983, c-P-36.3
"vulnerable adult" means an individual, 16 years of age or more, who has an illness, impairment, disability or aging process limitation that places the individual at risk of financial abuse. (s.19) "financial abuse" means the misappropriation of funds, resources or property by fraud, deception or coercion. s. 40.5(1) Financial   The Public Guardian and Trustee Actiii was amended in 2001 to protect vulnerable adults. Section 40.5 allows a financial institution to act on its own initiative and freeze assets for five business days. Section 40.6 permits the Public Guardian and Trustee to freeze assets for up to thirty days, and s. 40.7 gives the Public Guardian and Trustee powers to investigate financial abuse.  
Manitoba
Protection for Persons in Care Act, C.C.S.M., c. P144.
An adult resident, in—patient or person receiving respite care in a health facility.iv Mistreatment, whether physical, sexual, mental, emotional, financial or a combination of any of them, that is reasonably likely to cause death or that causes or is reasonably likely to cause serious physical or psychological harm to a person, or significant loss to the person's property (s.1).
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Financial
Ministry of Health, Protection for Persons in Care Office (s.1).  
  • Domestic Violence and Stalking Act, C.C.S.M., c. D93.
  • Mental Health Act, C.C.S.M., c. M110.
  • Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act, C.C.S.M., c.V90.
  • Powers of Attorney Act, C.C.S.M., c. P97.
  • Health Care Directives Act, C.C.S.M., c. H27.
  • Human Rights Code, C.C.S.M., H175.
Ontario
Nursing Homes Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. N.7.
Adults residing in a nursing home.v None.
Residents' bill of rights includes the right "to be free from mental and physical abuse… [and] and properly sheltered, fed, clothed, groomed and cared for in a manner consistent with his or her needs."
s.2(2)
  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Neglect
The Director at the Ministry of Healthvi. This Act will be repealed once Bill 140, An Act Respecting Long-term Care Homesvii comes into force. The Nursing Homes Act is currently the only legislation in Ontario dealing with the reporting of abuse. However, Ontario government policies found in the Long-Term Care Standards Manual may extend the reporting requirement across all Long-Term Care Facilities.
  • Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.13.
  • Charitable Institutions Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.9.
  • Long-Term Care Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, c. 26.
  • Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 30.
  • Health Care Consent Act, 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 2, Schedule A.
  • Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19.
Québec
Charte des droits et libertés de la personne, R.S.Q., c. C-12 (s.48)
Aged or handicapped persons who may be exploited. Every aged person and every handicapped person has a right to protection against any form of exploitation.
  • Financial
  • Physical
Commission des Droits de la Personne et des Droits de la Jeunesse (s.57).  
  • Civil Code of Québec L. Q. 1991, c. 64., Title IV: Capacity of Persons; Chapter III: Protective Supervision of Persons of Full Age.
  • Public Curator Act, R.S.Q. c. 81.
Nova Scotia
Adult Protection Act R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 2.
Adultsviii who are physically or mentally incapable, not living in a care facility and in need of protection.ix None.
However, "in need of protection" is defined to include abuse, cruelty and neglect (s. 3(b)).
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Mental
  • Neglect
  • Self-neglect
Minister of Healthx This Act is currently under review.
The Homes for Special Care Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 203 covers care facilities; however, it is silent on the subject of abuse in care facilities.
  • Homes for Special Care Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 203.
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Act, S.N.S. 2001, c. 29.
  • Incompetent Persons Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 218.
  • Powers of Attorney Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 352.
  • Human Rights Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 214.
Nova Scotia
Protection for Persons in Care Regulation R.S.N.S. 2004, c. 33.
Patients and residents 16 years of age and older who are receiving care from hospitals, residential care facilities, nursing homes, homes for the aged or disabled persons under the Homes for Special Care Act, or group homes or residential centres under the Children and Family Services Act.
  • a. the use of physical force resulting in pain, discomfort or injury, including slapping, hitting, beating, burning, rough handling, tying up or binding;
  • b. mistreatment causing emotional harm, including threatening, intimidating, humiliating, harassing, coercing or restricting from appropriate social contact;
  • c. the administration, withholding or prescribing of medication for inappropriate purposes;
  • d. sexual contact, activity or behavior between a service provider and a patient or resident;
  • e. non-consensual sexual contact, activity or behaviour between patients or residents;
  • f. the misappropriation or improper or illegal conversion of money or other valuable possessions; or
  • g. failure to provide adequate nutrition, care, medical attention, or necessities of life without valid consent. s.3(1)
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Neglect
  • Abuse of medications
Department of Health and Community Services   Protection of Persons in Care Act, S.N.S. 2004, c. 33.
New Brunswick
Family Services Act S.N.B. 1980, c. F-22, Part III.
Physically or mentally disabled or elderly adults.
s.1. "elderly" means sixty-five years of age and over; s.34(1).
An adult is a disabled person or an elderly person, or is within a group prescribed by regulation, and is a victim of or in danger of
  • (a) physical abuse;
  • (b) sexual abuse;
  • (c) mental cruelty; or
  • (d) any combination thereof.
s. 34(2)
  • (a) Physical
  • (b) Sexual
  • (c) Mental
  • (d) Neglect
  • (e) Self-neglect
Minister of Family and Community Services (s.1) New Brunswick is considering developing substitute decision-making legislation.
  • Mental Health Act, R.S.N.B. 1973, c. M-10.
  • Infirm Persons Act, R.S.N.B. 1973, c. I-8.
  • Nursing Homes Act, S.N.B. 1982, c. N-11.
  • Human Rights Act, R.S.N.B. 1973, c. H-11.
Prince Edward Island
Adult Protection Act R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. A-5.
Adults who are physically, mentally, or otherwise incapable. Means offensive mistreatment, whether physical, sexual, mental, emotional, or material, or any combination thereof, that causes or is reasonably likely to cause the victim severe physical or psychological harm or significant material loss to his estate.
Neglect means a lack of or failure to provide necessary care, aid, guidance or attention which causes or is reasonably likely to cause the victim severe physical or psychological harm or significant material loss to his estate.. s.1
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Material
  • Neglect
  • Self-neglect
Minister of Health and Social Services. s.1(j) This Act is currently under review.
An assessment to determine what, if any, assistance or protection is necessary must be a comprehensive investigation of the person's condition, circumstances and needs, and include a number of factors related to the individual's needs and abilities.xi
  • Adult Protection Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. A-5.
  • Victims of Family Violence Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. V-3.2.
  • Community Care Facilities and Nursing Home Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. C-13.
  • Nursing Home Regulation, P.E.I. Reg. EC10/88.
  • Mental Health Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. M-6.1.
  • Powers of Attorney Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. P-16.
  • Human Rights Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. H-12.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Neglected Adults Welfare Act R.S.N.L. 1990, c. N-3.
Adultsxii who are mentally or physically incapable of caring properly for themselves, but not suitable to be in a treatment facility under the Mental Health Care and Treatment Act. s.2(i) Neglected adult means an adult
  • (i) who is incapable of caring properly for himself or herself because of physical or mental infirmity,
  • (ii) who is not suitable to be in a treatment facility under the Mental Health Care and Treatment Act,
  • (iii) who is not receiving proper care, and
  • (iv) who refuses, delays or is unable to make provision for proper care and attention for himself or herself (s.2).
  • Neglect
  • Self-neglect
Director of Neglected Adults (Ministry of Health and Community Services). xiii Newfoundland is looking at revising its legislation
  • Mental Health Act, R.S.N.L. 1990, c. M-9.
  • Mental Health Care and Treatment Act, S.N.L. 2006, c. M-9.1.
  • Mentally Disabled Persons' Estates Act, R.S.N.L. 1990, c. M-10.
  • Advance Health Care Directives Act, S.N.L. 1995, c. A-4.1.
  • Health and Community Services Act, S.N.L. 1995, c. P-37.1.
  • Personal Care Home Regulations Under the Health and Community Services Act, N.L.R. 15/01.
  • Human Rights Code, R.S.N.L. 1990, c. H-14.
  • Family Violence Protection Act, S.N.L. 2005, C. F-3.1.
Yukon
The Adult Protection and Decision Making Act being Schedule A to the Decision-Making Support and Protection to Adults Act, S.Y. 2005, c. 21, Part Four: Adult Protection.

Adults who are abused and neglected and who are unable to seek support or assistance.xiv

Adults who are abused or neglected in a public place, in the adult's home, a care facility, or any other place except a correctional centre. s.60(1)

The deliberate mistreatment of an adult that (a) causes the adult physical, mental or emotional harm, or (b) causes financial damage or loss to the adult, and includes intimidation, humiliation, physical assault, sexual assault, overmedication, withholding needed medication, censoring mail, invasion or denial of privacy, denial of access to visitors, or denial of use or possession of personal property.

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 financial damage or loss to the adult, and includes self-neglect. (s.58)

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional Financial
  • Sexual
  • Neglect
  • Self-neglect
Subject to Regulations. s. 84(1)(o). The Adult Protection and Decision Making Act being Schedule A to the Decision-Making Support and Protection to Adults Act, S.Y. 2005, c. 21 also consists of three other Parts that may help to protect adults from abuse: Part One consists of Supported Decision-Making Agreements, Part Two consists of Representation Agreements, and Part Three consists of Court-Appointed Guardians.
  • Family Violence Protection Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 84.
  • Care Consent Act, being Schedule B to the Decision-Making Support and Protection to Adults Act, S.Y. 2003, c. 21.
  • Public Guardian Trustee Act, being Schedule C to the Decision-Making Support and Protection to Adults Act, S.Y. 2003, c. 21.
  • Enduring Power of Attorney Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 73.
  • Human Rights Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 73.
Northwest Territories
Protection Against Family Violence Act, S.N.W.T. 2003, c. 24.
Spouse, former spouse, persons resided or who are residing together in a family or intimate relationship, parents or grandparents. s.2(1) None.
Defines family violence.
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Financial
  • Property damage
  • Forced confinement, s.1(2)

Emergency protection order may be made by a justice of the peace. s. 4(1).

Protection order may be made by the Supreme Court. s. 7(1).

This is a domestic violence statute. The Northwest Territories has not enacted a comprehensive adult protection statute.
  • Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, S.N.W.T. 1994, c. 29
  • Mental Health Act, R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. M-10
  • Human Rights Act, S.N.W.T. 2002, c. 18.
Nunavut
Family Abuse Intervention Act, S.Nu. 2006, c. 18.
Spouse, former spouse, person with whom an intimate relationship exists or existed, person with whom a family relationship exists, person with whom a care relationship exists or existed. s.2 Defines mental or emotional abuse. s.1
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Property damage
  • Forced confinement
  • Neglect
  • Emergency protection order may be made by a justice of the peace. s.7(1).
  • Assistance order may be made by a judge. s.18(1)
  • Compensation order may be made by a judge. s.20(1)
  • Community intervention order may be made by a justice of the peace. s.17(1)

This is a domestic violence statute. Nunavut has not enacted a comprehensive adult protection statute.

This Act was proclaimed in force March 1, 2008.

  • Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, R.S.N.W.T. 1994, c. 29 as duplicated for Nunavut by s. 29 of the Nunavut Act
  • Mental Health Act; R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. M-10 as duplicated for Nunavut by s. 29 of the Nunavut Act.
  • Human Rights Act, S.Nu. 2003, c. 12.
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