Act to combat maltreatment of seniors and other persons of full age in vulnerable situations

Mandatory adoption of an anti-maltreatment policy

Under the Act, all institutions in the health and social services network are required to adopt and implement an anti-maltreatment policy.

The term "institution" refers to:

  • Public or private institutions
  • Intermediate and family type resources
  • Private seniors’ residence 
  • Home care services

Policy objectives

The main objectives of the policy are to:

  • Establish measures to prevent maltreatment of persons in vulnerable situations
  • Combat maltreatment
  • Support people in any steps taken to end maltreatment, whether at the hands of a person working for the institution or of any other person

Dissemination of the policy

The institution must publicly display its policy in full view of the public and publish it on its website.

Furthermore, means must be deployed to make its policy known to:

  • People who work in the institution
  • Users and residents, including those who receive home care services
  • Close family members of users and residents

Expansion of the local service quality and complaints commissioner's role

The local service quality and complaints commissioner is responsible for upholding users’ rights and diligently addresses complaints made by users regarding care and services received in health and social services institutions.

Under the Act, the Commissioner must also address all reports regarding situations of potential mistreatment, including reports by people other than the user, for example, by a member of their family or an employee.

Consult the list of local service quality and complaints commissioners This hyperlink will open in a new window. to find out the contact information for the local service quality and complaints commissioner for your sector.

Possibility of lifting confidentiality or professional secrecy when there is a significant risk of death or serious injury, protection against reprisals and immunity from prosecution

The Act facilitates the reporting of situations of maltreatment by witnesses of acts against persons of full age in vulnerable situations by means of the following provisions:

  • the lifting of confidentiality or professional secrecy:
    • A person who witnesses maltreatment and who is bound by professional secrecy may report or participate in the examination of a report in some cases. Professional secrecy or confidentiality may be lifted if there is a significant risk of death or serious injury. A serious injury is defined as a “physical or psychological injury that has a significant adverse effect on an identifiable person’s or group of persons’ physical integrity, health or well-being”.
  • protection against reprisals:
    • Reprisals are prohibited against a person who, in good faith, reports maltreatment or cooperates in the examination of a report or complaint of maltreatment. These include demotion, dismissal, disciplinary measure, unwarranted transfer of a user or early termination of a lease.
  • immunity from prosecution:
    • Legal proceedings may not be brought against a person who, in good faith, has reported maltreatment or cooperated in the examination of a report.

Regulation of the use of cameras or other monitoring mechanisms

The regulation allows the use, for a user monitoring purposes, of any mechanism, device or technological means, whether concealed or not, to capture images or sound, for example:

  • A monitoring camera
  • A tablet
  • A smart phone

The Regulation respecting the terms governing the use of monitoring mechanisms by a user sheltered in a facility maintained by an institution operating a residential and long-term care centre sets out the terms of use of monitoring mechanisms by a user or their representative.

In particular, the Regulation determines:

  • The user’s and their representative’s obligations with respect to the installation of monitoring mechanisms
  • The terms governing the use of monitoring mechanisms that the user and their representative must comply with
  • The rules applicable to the images or sounds recorded by monitoring mechanisms
  • The obligations of health and social services institutions with respect to the use of monitoring mechanisms

These obligations, terms or rules with respect to monitoring mechanisms apply to users, their family members and friends, institutions and to anyone who works in a facility operated by a residential and long-term care centre.

Implementation of a Québec-wide framework agreement and collaborative intervention processes to combat maltreatment of seniors

The framework agreement aims to establish a partnership and promote collaboration between the different actors involved in combatting maltreatment of seniors.

Québec-wide framework agreement to combat maltreatment of seniors

The objectives of the Québec-wide framework agreement are to:

  • Ensure better protection for seniors in vulnerable situations
  • Provide necessary assistance to seniors in vulnerable situations
  • Ensure the best intervention is carried out to put an end to situations of mistreatment of seniors in vulnerable situations

Collaborative intervention processes

The Act provides for collaborative intervention processes between the various stakeholders in cases of mistreatment, such as the police, social workers, prosecutors, etc.

Collaborative intervention processes promote:

  • A rapid and accurate assessment of the abusive situation
  • An appropriate and timely response
  • An intervention that is complementary to the legal system in order to put an end to the abusive situation or protect the older adult effectively
  • A decrease in the negative impact of stakeholders’ actions and procedures on the victim of mistreatment while ensuring they are effective.

The deployment of collaborative intervention processes across Québec began in March 2018 and is expected to be completed in December 2020.

Obligation to report certain cases of maltreatment

Under the Act, any health services and social services provider or any professional within the meaning of the Professional Code, except lawyers and notaries, who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is a victim of mistreatment must report it immediately. Reporting is mandatory if it concerns:

  • Users of residential and long-term care centres (CHSLD)
  • Incapacitated, protected persons, irrespective of their place of residence, namely:
    • A person under tutorship
    • A person under curatorship
    • A person for whom a protection mandate has been registered

The report must be filed with the local service quality and complaints commissioner of the institution where the mistreated person receives services, if applicable, or, in any other case, with the police force concerned. To find out the contact information for the commissioners in your region, go to the list of local service quality and complaints commissioners This hyperlink will open in a new window..

For more information, watch the video Obligation to report certain cases of maltreatment This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Voluntary reporting

While the Act makes reporting of mistreatment mandatory in some circumstances, it encourages voluntary reporting of situations of mistreatment at any time.

Anyone who witnesses mistreatment of an older adult or a person of full age in a vulnerable situation may make a voluntary report. The mistreatment may be reported to:

  • The police
  • The region’s integrated health and social services centre (CISSS);
  • The region’s integrated university health and social services centre (CIUSSS);
  • the local service quality and complaints commissioner of an institution if the victim of mistreatment receives services there. To find out the contact information for the commissioners in your region, go to the list of local service quality and complaints commissioners This hyperlink will open in a new window..

To find out the best place to report mistreatment, contact the Elder Mistreatment Helpline (1 888 489-2287). You will be referred to the appropriate resources.