About Assisted Living

Find out more about the 3 different classes of assisted living residences in B.C. and the criteria for living in assisted living.

Philosophy and Principles

The philosophy of assisted living is to support people to live as independently as possible. Services are designed to meet residents' needs, capabilities, preferences and values in ways that promote and protect their health, safety, dignity and well-being.

Assisted living embraces the principles of:

  • Choice
  • Privacy
  • Independence
  • Individuality
  • Dignity
  • Respect

Criteria for Entry

A person needs to meet these criteria to be eligible for assisted living:

  • Can live in the residence safely, given their needs and capabilities
  • Is able to make decisions on their own, or lives with a spouse who can do so on their behalf
  • Is able to take steps to protect themselves or follow directions in an emergency
  • Does not have behaviours that jeopardize the health and safety of others
  • Does not require unscheduled professional health services on a regular basis
  • Does not require care (i.e., dependent on caregivers for continuing assistance or direction)

Class of Assisted Living Residences 


An assisted living residence provides housing accommodation, hospitality services and assisted living services.  

Services are offered to all residents in ways that:

  • Protect a person’s health and personal safety
  • Promote a resident’s independence; and
  • Are responsive to the resident’s needs, capabilities and preferences

Hospitality Services include:

  • Planning and providing meals and snacks
  • Housekeeping services
  • Laundry services
  • Planning and providing social and recreational opportunities
  • 24 hour personal emergency response system

Assisted Living Services may include: 

  • Support with activities of daily living
  • Assistance with managing medication
  • Programming (or psychosocial) supports
  • Behaviour management support
  • Therapeutic diets support
  • Safekeeping of money and other personal property

An operator needs to provide at least one assisted living service to be registered as an assisted living residence. There is no limit on the number of assisted living services a residence can offer to its individual residents, as long as the services meet requirements of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Assisted Living Regulation.

You can find out more on assisted living services here.


An assisted living residence may be:

  • Private-pay
  • Publicly subsidized, or
  • A mix of private-pay and publicly subsidized services

In either case, operators must be clear with residents up-front if there are any additional fees for any services.

Private-pay Assisted Living Residences:

  • Residents pay all costs. Operators may charge a fixed rate for a package of services or on a fee-for-service basis, or a combination of the two.

Publicly Subsidized Assisted Living Residences: 

  • Costs are subsidized by the provincial government. What subsidy applies and how to apply for a subsidy will differ depending on the class of residence.

Subsidized Costs

Classes: seniors and persons with disabilities, and mental health

  • Eligible residents pay a monthly fee of 70% of their after-tax income for rent, hospitality services and assisted living services.
  • Case managers in health authorities determine a person’s eligibility for subsidized funding.
    • You can find out more on publicly subsidized services here

Class: supportive recovery

  • Residents in the supported recovery class of assisted living may be eligible for the standard user (per diem) fee for support and shelter and a comforts allowance, for personal expenses, from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. 
  • To receive assistance while a resident in supportive recovery, a resident must be eligible for income assistance, hardship assistance or disability assistance.

Funding is often arranged by the operator in assisted living. Per diem assistance is provided to the assisted living residence operator, not paid directly to the resident. The comforts allowance is paid to the resident.

You can find out more on publicly subsidized services here.


The rules for operating an assisted living residence can be found in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Assisted Living Regulation. The legislation and regulation are in place to promote and protect the health, safety and well-being of all residents.

  • The Community Care and Assisted Living Act sets out the legal principles and framework for operators of assisted living residences. The Act sets requirements and grants powers to the registrar in registering and monitoring assisted living residences.
  • The Assisted Living Regulation fills in the details of the Act’s intent and directs operators about what they must (and must not do) in operating an assisted living residence. The Regulation outlines operators’ responsibilities in 10 key areas.