Resident Bill of Rights
Retirement homes are now regulated and must follow a law called the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (Act). The Act provides protections for retirement home residents so they can live with dignity and make choices about their care. The Act is enforced by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA).
The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority
The RHRA is a not-for-profit organization that oversees retirement homes to make sure the law is being followed. RHRA staff process retirement home licence applications, respond to calls about harm to retirement home residents and inspect retirement homes to make sure they meet the law's standards. The RHRA is accountable to the government of Ontario through a written agreement called a "Memorandum of Understanding".
The RHRA's mission is to improve the lives of residents in Ontario retirement homes.
In Ontario, all retirement homes must have a licence from the RHRA to operate. Retirement homes that have applied for a licence, or that have received a licence, are listed in the Public Register. The Register can be viewed here. The Public Register also lists the services a home offers and includes copies of any inspection reports or conditions on a licence for each home.
Retirement homes must also post their licence in view of residents.
The Act sets out a Residents' Bill of Rights. Operators of retirement homes must respect and promote these rights. They must also post these rights in the home and ensure staff members receive training about them.
The Residents' Bill of Rights includes:
1. The right to:
o know what care services are provided and how much they cost
o be informed before fees for a care service(s) are increased
o receive notice before a care service(s) is discontinued
2. The right to apply for publicly funded care services and assessments
3. The right to be informed about and apply for care services and assessments from an external care provider (i.e. not by the home)
4. The right to have choice of care services provided by qualified and trained staff
5. The right to:
o participate fully in making care decisions
o participate fully in the plan of care (e.g. development, revision and review)
o give or refuse informed consent to any treatment, care or service where consent is
required by law
6. The right not to be restrained except in keeping with the common law (i.e. permitted if risk of serious bodily harm to self or others)
7. The right to privacy during treatment and care
8. The right to live in a safe and clean environment with dignity and respect
9. The right to have lifestyle choices respected
10. The right to raise concerns or recommend changes in policies and services without fear of coercion, discrimination or reprisal Reporting Harm
The RHRA responds to calls about harm or risk of harm to retirement home residents resulting from certain events. These events include abuse, neglect, improper care or treatment, unlawful conduct and misuse of a resident's money. Persons that suspect harm must report it to the RHRA at 1-855-ASK-RHRA (1-855-275-7472). Reports of harm may be made anonymously. Residents are not required to report harm, but may.
Residents may also benefit from the RHRA’s complaint handling process. All retirement homes are required to have a complaints process in place. If you have a complaint about a retirement home, contacting the home is often the most direct and fastest way to ensure your concerns are addressed.
The RHRA may provide you with information that can assist you in speaking with the home. For help with your complaint, contact the RHRA at 1-855-ASK-RHRA (1-855-275-7472) and press "1".
If you believe a retirement home is not following the Retirement Homes Act, you may choose to file a formal complaint with the RHRA. The RHRA can only handle complaints that relate to the Act. If RHRA staff are unable to assist you with your complaint, they will try to provide you with information about other sources of help for dealing with your problems or concerns.
All complaints must be in writing. To file a complaint with the RHRA about a retirement home, the RHRA Complaint Form must be completed and submitted with all required information to the RHRA.
If you have questions or require assistance to complete the Complaint Form, contact the RHRA at 1-855-ASK-RHRA (1-855-275-7472) and speak with an Intake Representative.
Detailed steps on how to file a complaint are provided on the Complaint Form.