Long-Term Care / Retirement Homes

Long-term care and retirement homes are regulated by complex and relatively new provincial legislation:the Long-Term Care Homes Act and the Retirement Homes Act, respectively. Many homes are under-funded and struggle to comply with their numerous obligations. Unfortunately for their residents, this can result in poor service and neglect.

Advice to Families

Numerous legal questions can arise in the context of long-term care relating to:

We provide advice to residents and their family members to navigate these legal situations. With the shortage of long-term care beds available, residents are generally limited as to where they can go if they are displeased with the existing arrangement. We provide advice and acceptable outcome. We explain the legal context, provide you with your options and negotiate on your behalf. We also provide “behind the scenes” advice where the involvement of a lawyer would introduce unnecessary complications. Where necessary, we can assist you to file formal complaints.

We understand the importance of relationships and that an adversarial approach is not necessarily the best strategy when interacting with a loved one’s caregivers.

In addition to difficulties with a nursing home, family members may struggle to reach agreement with their siblings about the kind of care or facility that is best for their parent. If you are constantly struggling to reach agreement with your family or others with decision-making powers, we can help you attempt to become the sole substitute decision-maker for your parent or relative so that you alone can make decisions on your loved one’s behalf. Similarly, we can represent you at the Consent and Capacity Board in other matters in which you may be involved as a party or witness in relation to a loved one’s care.


In addition to our knowledge of the law, we have training and experience as mediators. We offer mediation services to assist family
members to reach a mutually satisfying resolution with their relatives or others. When acting as mediators we remain objective and do not provide legal advice to the parties in dispute. However, we utilize our knowledge of the law to provide relevant information and assist the parties to develop legally-compliant, workable solutions. This area is increasingly being recognized as a specialty area called “elder mediation” as mediators must be cognizant of family dynamics, the potential for exploitation of the elderly person, and the legal

  • Adult guardianship
  • Caregiving duties
  • End of life decisions
  • Health care
  • Independence
  • Living arrangements
  • Long-term care (selection, payment, location, etc.)
  • Neglect
  • New relationships
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Retirement homes
  • Substitute decision-making

Family Council

Every long-term care home in Ontario may have a Family Council. If there is no Family Council, a family member of a resident or a person of importance to a resident may request the establishment of a Family Council for along-term care home and the home is required to assist in the establishment of such Council. The Long-Term Care Homes Act (“LTCHA”) sets out various rules with respect to Family Councils including their powers and the obligations of the home. We provide advice to Family Councils throughout Ontario about their rights under the LTCHA and what the legislation permits and requires. We assist Family Councils to resolve issues within the home and to achieve results in a cost-effective manner.

We provide the following services to Family Councils:

  • Assisting with establishing the Council and asserting independence from the home
  • Drafting terms of reference, policies, bylaws, motions, etc.
  • Providing advice on governance issues
  • Guiding advocacy campaigns
  • Advising on legal matters
  • Negotiating with home administrators
  • Resolving disputes within the Council