Provides older adults with non-medical support services to assist them in living independently within their own homes and in remaining connected to their communities. Services may vary from community to community and may include friendly visiting, transportation to appointments, light yard work, minor home repairs, snow shoveling, light housekeeping, and grocery shopping. Eligible older adults can access services by contacting the community agency serving their area.
A provincial, not-for-profit that provides information, education, and support to caregivers who provide physical and/or emotional care to a family member, friend, or neighbour. FCBC also operates the BC Caregiver Support Line, which provides information and referrals to caregivers, healthcare navigation, emotional support, and information about support programs and resources.
Assists with and investigates complaints from members of the public about the administration of government programs and services such as (list not exhaustive): provincial ministries and programs; Crown Corporations; health authorities and hospitals; public schools, universities, and colleges; local/municipal/regional government bodies; and organizations that regulate professions.
A neutral organization that receives, reviews and responds to suggestions, compliments and complaints about Service Canada’s delivery of services. Please note that OCS is not in a position to assist with the reconsideration or appeals processes for decisions that relate to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan or the Old Age Security Program, nor to speed up or influence in any way the application or payment process for a Service Canada program on individual’s behalf.
Works independently from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to improve the service that the CRA provides to taxpayers by reviewing service-related complaints. Also looks at issues that can affect more than one person, or a segment of the population. OTO will not examine a service complaint until CRA Service Feedback has finished its review, unless individual’s situation is compelling (limits them from having the basic necessities of life, limits their business from operating, and/or significantly impacts their mental health and/or reputation).
Is the province’s independent civilian oversight agency that provides an accessible way for the public to voice their concerns about the conduct of any municipal police officer or department. While investigations into police misconduct are completed by the police, OPCC adds a layer of accountability and transparency to the complaint process by ensuring that investigations into police misconduct are thorough and fair.
An independent agency that ensures that public complaints made about the conduct of RCMP members are examined fairly and impartially. The Commission receives complaints from the public and conducts reviews when complainants are not satisfied with the RCMP’s handling of their complaints. The Commission is not part of the RCMP.
The regulatory body for the legal profession in British Columbia. It has the authority to review the conduct and competence of lawyers practising in BC, including lawyers in private practice, legal aid lawyers, government lawyers and Crown prosecutors. The Society can also review the conduct of a lawyer outside the practice of law if the conduct reflects badly on the legal profession.
Accepts complaints from persons or entities (business-to-business) that have issues within a marketplace “relationship”. Complaints are accepted regardless of whether the business is BBB accredited or not; however, cooperation from a business that is non-accredited by the BBB is voluntary. Complaints must allege a deficiency in the company’s marketplace performance regarding the services or products that the business agreed to provide. This can include allegations of business conduct that might also be considered a criminal violation, such as deceptive advertising, telemarketing fraud, pyramid schemes, identity theft or computer trespass.
An agency under the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. It is the regulator of a variety of sectors and specific types of consumer transactions in British Columbia including: motion pictures, debt repayment and collection, telemarketing, travel agencies, cemetery and funeral services, home inspections, and pay lending, gift card legislation, and ticket sales. Its purpose is to license and inspect regulated businesses, respond to consumer inquiries, investigate alleged violations of consumer protection laws, and educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.
An independent organization dedicated to resolving TV and telecom services complaints. The CCTS’s mandate is to determine whether the provider has complied with its obligations to consumers under its Terms of Service, any relevant industry code of conduct, and the provider’s internal policies and procedures.
An independent regulatory agency of the Government of British Columbia that regulates BC's energy utilities, ICBC's universal compulsory automobile insurance, common carrier pipeline operations and rates, and the reliability of the electrical transmission grid. Reviews complaints on a variety of topics, including billing issues, disconnection matters, maintenance of power lines and equipment, and metering/meter reading.
A federal agency that supervises federally regulated financial institutions including banks, federal credit unions, authorized foreign banks, insurance companies, and trust and loan companies. FCAC does not resolve individual disputes or provide redress/compensation. Provides an online search tool for the public to find their financial institution’s complaint handling process, which can be accessed here.
A Crown agency that regulates credit unions, mortgage brokers, trust companies, pension plans, real estate professionals, and insurance companies. It also protects consumers from undue loss and unfair market conduct by investigating, ensuring compliance with the government laws and supervisory standards and, where necessary, disciplining various parties in the financial services sector.
An insurance regulatory body appointed by the BC provincial government to ensure licensed insurance agents, salespersons, and adjusters act within a professional framework. Has the authority to investigate insurance agents, salespersons, independent adjusters, agencies and firms, and discipline them if they are found to have breached Council’s Rules, Code of Conduct, or the Financial Institutions Act.
An independent organization for consumers with complaints or concerns involving their home, auto, or business insurers. Topics that GIO generally deals with include claims, interpretation of policy coverage, policy processing and handling. A list of the insurance companies that are members of GIO is available on their website here.
An alternative dispute resolution public service that provides information about life and health insurance concerns that consumers cannot resolve with their insurer. Services may include guiding consumers through the complaints process, answering their questions, and helping them find lost policies or policies of deceased loved ones. A list of the insurance companies that are members of OLHI is available on their website here.
A pan-Canadian, self-regulatory organization that sets and enforces rules regarding the proficiency, business, and financial conduct of all Canadian investment dealers (firms and advisors). Regulates trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada, including all exchanges and alternative trading systems, under a single set of rules. Consumers can make a complaint with IIROC if they believe IIROC rules have been broken and their concern cannot be resolved with their investment firm.
A national self-regulatory organization that oversees the operations, standards of practice, and business conduct of mutual funds dealers in Canada. Individuals can contact their mutual fund dealer about their concern before making a complaint with MFDA but can contact MFDA at any time without needing a response from their dealer first.
An independent provincial government agency that enforces BC’s Securities Act, which regulates how businesses raise money and how securities, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, are bought and sold. It protects investors and BC’s capital markets by investigating complaints and taking action against breaches of the BC Securities Act.
Regulatory colleges are responsible for ensuring BC’s regulated health professionals serve the public by providing qualified, safe, and ethical care. Colleges respond to complaints from the public and other health care providers, overseeing 30 practitioner groups including: dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians (doctors), social workers, and psychologists.
Reviews policies and procedures guiding health authority services. Additionally, it handles unresolved complaints of services provided by a health authority and liaises between patients and health-care providers during the complaint process. Concerns can include services provided by a health authority through a contracted agency and services that someone expected to receive from a health authority but did not. Complaints can be made by phone, in person, or in writing by email, fax or letter.
Reviews outstanding concerns after the Patient Care Quality Office’s (PCQO) response, including concerns about the PCQO’s response itself. Makes recommendations to health authority or the Ministry of Health on service improvement or on handling of patient concerns. Reviews can be requested online, in writing, or over the phone.
Issues registrations to residences and regulates operators who provide hospitality services and assisted living services to more than two people. If needed, the Registrar takes action in circumstances where the registrant is not protecting health and safety.
Investigates concerns about the health, safety or well-being of a person in a licensed residential care facility that cannot be resolved with the management of the facility. If the investigation by the Licensing Officer reveals non-compliance with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act or its regulations, the facility will be required to correct the situation and ensure future compliance.
The federal government has a tool for seniors called the Benefits Finder. It uses an online survey to develop a customized list of federal and provincial programs based on the answers to the survey, and where in Canada the older person lives. The Benefits Finder does not require or collect any personal information.
Provides services and information on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security pension (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and related benefits; a Canadian retirement income calculator; and retirement planning. There is also information on Employment Insurance (EI), pensions, benefits and taxes, for those who work or live outside of Canada.
Provides British Columbians in need with a system of social and economic support programs, including the Income Assistance and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (Disability Assistance).
Low-income seniors in BC who receive Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) allowances may be eligible to receive an automatic monthly payment from the B.C. government in addition to their federal income. This payment may also be eligible for those who are aged 60 to 65 and receive the federal spouse’s allowance.
A program that helps make rents affordable for BC seniors with low to moderate incomes. SAFER provides monthly cash payments to subsidize rents for eligible BC residents who are age 60 or over. Existing clients need to reapply each year.
Provides financial help in the form of rebates to eligible low-income households to complete home adaptations for independent living. Tenants and landlords may also be eligible for the program.
Partners with community-based agencies or local non-profit organizations to offer rent bank services throughout the province. While, BC Rent Bank does not work directly with tenants or administer loans, local rent banks can provide interest-free financial assistance, advice and support to help low-to-moderate income renters through difficult times.
Offers a grant payment program for residential customers who may have fallen behind on their BC Hydro Bill to avoid disconnection of their service due to a temporary financial crisis, such as a loss of employment or benefit income, unanticipated medical expenses, or a death in the family.
In situations of emergencies or disasters, may work in partnership emergency responders provide vital services to the public, such as for emergency food and clothing, emergency lodging, reception and information, personal services and family reunification services. The Canadian Red Cross may also provide support for individuals who have experienced personal disasters, such as a house fire.
BC seniors may be eligible for various provincial and federal deductions. Visit the links below to learn about various deductions, credits, and expenses claimable on tax returns.
Provides financial grants for medical needs (prosthetics, eyewear, medical equipment, home adjustments for barrier free living, respite services, braille books, short-term counseling services, physiotherapy), basic household needs, food, and clothing.
Provides funding for requests from persons with physical disabilities. Requests can include, but are not limited to, manual and power wheelchairs, hospital beds and mattresses, wheelchairs ramps, lifts and repairs, and costs of recreation therapy programs.
An accredited non-profit charity that helps Canadians solve their money problems by providing free credit counselling, low-cost debt solutions, and education to help Canadians manage money better.
Provides a directory of free health equipment loan programs and list of organizations that provide information and support based on an individual's health condition.
Provides permanent loans of refurbished hearing aids for those who cannot afford new ones - through donations of used hearing aids, government grants, and income from hearing aid sales. Located in Vancouver.
Maintains an online searchable Public Register of Registered Speech and Hearing Health Professionals in British Columbia. Audiologists or Hearing Instrument Practitioners can advise of possible funding options for hearing aids.
The following infographic created by the Seniors Services Society explains the different types of housing services available to BC seniors. Click on the image to enlarge.
A Crown Corporation that develops, manages and administers a wide range of housing options for low-income seniors, families, Indgenous people, people with disabilities, women and children at risk of violence, and people experiencing homelessness across the province
The Seniors Services Society website contains an interactive map that shows housing listed in BC. Search results can be filtered by city, housing type (market rental, subsidized housing, assisted living, and long-term care), and other options (pets allowed, smoking permitted, and wheelchair accessible).
The Long Term Care and Assisted Living Directory contains an interactive map with information of all 132 publicly funded assisted living facilities in BC in addition to the 294 long-term care facilities. The directory contains options to narrow searches by health authority, municipality, facility names, and room configurations. After selecting a facility, the directory provides basic information such as room configuration, languages spoken by staff, and meal preparation. In addition, it provides an insight into how the residence is doing based on care quality guidelines, such as reports on the use of medications, types of care provided to each resident, complaints, and inspection results.
An online directory listing of senior care services (independent living, home health care, assisted living, and long-term care). Listing includes both subsidized and private pay services. Directory is a free service developed by EngAge BC, an operating arm of BC Care Providers Association.
Learn more about our legal programs here.
Provides legal aid for low-income BC residents who experience serious family law problems, child protection matters, criminal law issues, and some immigration law matters through a province-wide call centre and at legal aid offices and courthouse locations across BC. Services include offering legal information (print, online, or by phone), legal advice, and full legal representation.
A non-profit organization that provides legal training, resources, information, and pro bono legal services to individuals and non-profit organizations of limited means. Facilitates access to justice through Continuing Education courses and publications.
A non-profit agency that provides legal information, referrals, summary advice, and full representation. Practice areas include sexual harassment/gender discrimination in the workplace, human rights cases before the Human Rights Tribunal, and representation of people detained under the Mental Health Act or subject to the mental disorder provisions of the Criminal Code. Also reviews final decisions by administrative bodies in the areas of workers' rights, income security, housing, mental health and human rights, including the Residential Tenancy Branch, Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal, Employment Standards Branch, Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal, and the Social Security Tribunal.
A searchable map to find a Legal Advocate that works in your community or provincially. Areas of advocacy include income security, debt, family law, employment, residential tenancy, human rights, Indigenous legal issues, mental health law, and immigration law.
A provincial, cross-disability voice in British Columbia that provides direct services to people with disabilities, including assisting with provincial and federal (Canada Pension Plan Disability) income supports and other government services. Also provides free legal advice and representation to people with disabilities who are dealing with human rights violations and discrimination.
Provides an online directory of Registered Roster Mediators in BC.
A non-profit organization that facilitates access to justice for migrant workers through the provision of legal education, advice and full representation. Services are available by appointment.
Provides free education and resources to help people deal with everyday legal problems. Resources include an interactive website, classes/information sessions on legal topics, and booklets on how to handle everyday legal problems.
An online resource that provides information about planning for incapacity, end-of-life, and other support needs, such as enduring powers of attorney, representation agreements, medical assistance in dying, advance directives, adult guardianship, and estate planning.
The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) conducts research and develops reports and educational tools on legal and policy issues related to aging. CCEL collaborates with community stakeholders and organizations to identify and address subjects that impact older adults.
Provides equal access to legal help for people in BC on an online centralized space. Find out relevant legal information, educational resources, and services from over 40 contributor organizations.
Home and Community Care Offices, operated by regional health authorities, provide services including case management, in-home daily living support and care, caregiver support and respite, and intake for subsidized assisted living and long-term care homes.
Provides non-emergency health information and advice, including health, mental health, and addictions treatment services in BC. Information and advice are available by telephone, a website, a mobile app and a collection of print resources.
Provides information about reduced cost dental clinics in BC.
Provides information about accessing Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in BC.
MAiD occurs when an authorized doctor or nurse practitioner provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about a person’s death, at that person’s request and only if they are eligible. People looking to access MAiD should discuss their wishes or questions with their doctor or nurse practitioner, who can discuss the options available to them or assist them to find someone who can help.
Every BC health authority has a designated person to help provide information on medical assistance in dying with a doctor or nurse practitioner who can provide guidance. Visit the links below for information and contacts in your health authority:
Mental health support services for older adults can be accessed via local health authorities.
Operated by Health Link BC, provides free, confidential, multilingual, 24/7, information and referral to community resources for individuals struggling with substance use problems. Provides information about detox, counselling, treatment programs, recovery homes, and support groups.
The BC bus pass program for provincial transit systems is available to assist eligible individuals to participate more fully in their communities. It consists of two components: a bus pass for low-income seniors and a bus pass for persons with the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation.
Provides a list of transportation options for seniors across BC, as well as educational information about transitioning from driving, healthy aging, and active mobility. For the list of transportation options for seniors, see here.
A health authority based regional travel assistance program that offers subsidized transportation options to help defray costs for rural residents who must travel to obtain non-emergency, physician-referred medical care outside their home communities.
A BC Ministry of Health program that helps alleviate some of the transportation costs for eligible B.C. residents who must travel within the province for non-emergency medical specialist services not available in their own community.
A parking permit for people with disabilities ensures that when a person has mobility limitations, they can park in one of the designated parking spots throughout British Columbia.
The British Columbia Law Institute has a guide on practices recommended for legal practitioners to follow in the interests of ensuring that the wills and other personal planning documents they prepare represent the genuine independent wishes of their clients and can withstand challenge on the basis of undue influence.
The guide sets out and explains practices that enable lawyers and notaries to better ensure that the wills they prepare represent their clients’ genuine independent last wishes and can withstand later challenge on the basis of undue influence exerted by a third person. The guide tells its readers how to recognize signs (“red flags”) that undue influence is being exerted on a client, or that the potential for undue influence is present due to the client’s personality characteristics, family and social circumstances, or other causes.
The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) created a booklet in consultation with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to help people living with dementia to understand their health care decision-making rights.
The American Bar Association has a brochure that explains the “Four C’s” of elder law ethics—client identification, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and competency. It helps family members and professionals understand the relationship between a lawyer and an older client.