Canada has an aging population with more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. As the population of older Canadians grows, so does the concerns for elder mistreatment, most commonly financial abuse. Despite this issue being a serious public health concern, the topic has rarely crept into the legal lexicon.
More recently, Law makers, regulators, and adjudicators have begun to turn their minds to financial abuse of older adults. Paving the way is Vice Chair Laurie Sanford ("VC Sanford") in the recent Licence Appeal Tribunal decision of 2138658 Ontario Ltd. o/a Seeley's Bay Retirement Home v. Registrar, Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority ("Seeley's Bay"). This is the first case to look at financial abuse in the context of the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (the "Act").
Section 67 of the Act requires a licensee to protect residents from abuse by anyone. The regulation under the Act defines "financial abuse" as "any misappropriation or misuse of a resident's money or property". The Act is silent about loans from a resident to the licensee. The question of whether taking such a loan is financial abuse was central in Seeley's Bay.