Assisted Living and Regulation in BC

Assisted Living and Regulation in BC


British Columbia was the first province in Canada to regulate assisted living residences, the category under which many retirement residences fall. Assisted living in British Columbia is regulated by the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, Assisted Living Regulation, and Community Care and Assisted Living Regulation. All operators of assisted living residences must comply with these three pieces of legislation.  The Community Care and Assisted Living Act is the governing legislation and details & defines the standards for health and safety of residents in licensed homes. The regulations dictate license application procedures, policies, health and safety provisions, staffing, and management requirements. Many types of residences and facilities are governed by this legislation ranging from group homes for those with disabilities or mental illness to residential care homes housing 3 or more unrelated people regardless of the funding body or profit status of the home. Assisted living units can be for-profit or not-for-profit and vary in size and accommodation.

In order to be considered an assisted living residence, residents living in the home must require assistance with their activities of daily living in one or two areas (more than two falls into the realm of long-term/residential care). Examples include assistance with personal hygiene, dressing, eating, walking, medications, financial management, etc. Residences that meet these criteria – both publicly subsidized and private pay – must be registered with and follow regulations set out by the Assisted Living Registrar. The mandate of the Registrar as indicated in the governing legislation is to “protect the health and safety of assisted living residents”.[1] This is accomplished through registering all qualifying residences, creating and upholding standards for health and safety (including staffing, safety, personal care services, and emergency preparedness), investigating complaints and inspecting residences as deemed necessary. For additional information on the Assisted Living Registry and/or associated legislation visit


[1] Information obtained and quoted from: (July 2019).

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59 other articles by Esther Goldstein, B.Sc., B.S.W., RSW