A Practical Guide to Elder Abuse and Neglect Law in Canada

Project Status: Completed
Project Contact: Krista James
Telephone Number: 604-822-0564
Email Us About this Project


English Version

French Version



Revised version published July 2011.

Project Overview

This Guide contains an overview of elder abuse and neglect law in Canada.

Although this Guide may be helpful to anyone interested in this area of law, the Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) produced this elder abuse legal resource to assist the following agencies to produce educational materials of relevance to their members:

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

Canadian Nurses Association

Fédération des associations de jurists d’expression française

Fédération des locataires d’habitations à modique du Québec

Fondation du centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Vieille-Capitale


This tool has been designed to apply to abuse and neglect occurring anywhere in Canada.  Each province and territory has a unique set of laws that apply to elder abuse.  See Section D for a summary of the laws in the province or territory in which you work or volunteer.

The following material will:

– Introduce the concept of elder abuse

– Provide a summary of key laws relevant to elder abuse and neglect

– Identify obligations to respond to abuse, neglect and risk

– Identify key agencies to contact if you are concerned that an older adult is being abused or neglected

– Outline the relationship between mental capacity and the law in relation to elder abuse

– Discuss the impact of professional confidentiality obligations and privacy law on the ability of professionals to disclose an older adult’s confidential information in order to follow up on concerns regarding abuse and neglect

– Provide a list of resources


This project was funded by the Human Resources and Social Development Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Table of Contents 

A. Introduction

1.    Purpose of this Legal Resource

2.    Responding to Elder Abuse and Neglect: Guiding Principles

B.  Defining Elder Abuse

3.    What is Elder Abuse?

4.    Examples of Abuse

C. Elder Abuse and the Law

5.    Is Elder Abuse and Neglect a Crime?

6.    Ageism, Elder Abuse and Human Rights Law

7.    Mental Capacity and Consent

8.    Professional Confidentiality and Solicitor-Client Privilege

9.    Mandatory Reporting of Elder Abuse

D. Elder Abuse in your Region

10.  Law in the Provinces and Territories

British Columbia






Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island


Northwest Territories



11.  Table: Responding to Elder Abuse and Neglect – Summary of the Law

12.  Resources


© British Columbia Law Institute

This material is copyrighted by the British Columbia Law Institute.  We encourage wide distribution of this Guide and use of this material by other individuals and organizations, with the understanding that you agree not to make any modifications to the Guide.  We also ask that individuals and organizations inform us prior to using this Guide in order to assist us with evaluation of this material.


This material contains information and guidance for practice.  The information is not legal advice.  Abuse or neglect of older adults can have serious consequences.  In many instances it will be your obligation to ensure that an older adult gets legal advice as soon as possible.  Legal advice will help protect your client.  It can also protect you and your employer from a lawsuit. 

The law is always changing.  All material provided is up to date as of August 31, 2010.  Any changes to the law after August 31, 2010 are not reflected in these materials.

Keywords: elder abuse; neglect; older adults; seniors; violence; practical guide; adult protection law; Canada


This website and its publications are not legal advice. Need legal assistance? Visit our Resources page.

Other Publications

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A Practical Guide to Elder Abuse and Neglect Law in Canada

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