Residents’ Rights and How to Advocate For Your Loved Ones

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Residents’ Bill of Rights

Every long-term care resident is entitled to fair, respectful, and compassionate treatment. With the passing of Bill 37: Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021, the Residents’ Bill of Rights are here.

Resources from Community Legal Education of Ontario and Advocacy Centre for the Elderly can help you understand the Bill’s terms.

Violation of residents’ rights

If you believe your loved one’s rights in the Bill of Rights are not being followed, you can consider pursuing any of the options below:

  1. Make a complaint to the long-term care home.
  2. Make a complaint to the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
    • You may call the Long-term Care ACTION Line toll-free at 1-866-434-0144. TTY users call 1-800-387-5559
  3. Sue the long-term care home for breach of contract.
  4. Consider other options.
    • Patient Ombudsman
      • The role of Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman is to investigate and resolve complaints about health care, without taking sides. This includes complaints about long-term care homes.

You have to make a complaint in writing. For more information, visit or call:
Toll-free: 1-888-321-0339
TTY: 416-597-5371
Toronto area: 416-597-0339

You need to give as much information as you can about the issue. You should include:

  • name of the home
  • address of the home
  • a description of what happened and whether it is an ongoing problem
  • when and where it happened
  • who was involved
  • what you would like done to resolve the complaint

The people answering the ACTION Line are not inspectors, so they will not be able to answer detailed questions or give advice.

They will pass your information to a “triage inspector” who will call you, usually within 2 business days. If the triage inspector thinks that the home might be breaking the rules, they will get an inspector for the area where the home is located to investigate.

If you prefer, and if the matter is less urgent, for example less serious complaints related to diet, activities, or care, you can write the Ministry at:

Long-Term Care Inspections Branch
Long-Term Care Homes Division
Central Intake, Assessment and Triage Team (CIATT)
119 King St. W. 11th Floor
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y7

You should keep a copy of your complaint. Written complaints go through the same process of review and inspection as complaints made by telephone.

More information on what you can do to help your loved one in long-term care enforce their rights can be found here.

A Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom Project

Team K – Project 61
York University
Toronto, Ontario