The use of surveillance cameras at long-term care facilities was on the agenda Wednesday at the ongoing hearings to fight elder abuse.

The Quebec government is holding hearings on Bill 115 at the National Assembly to establish guidelines to best prevent and legislate against elder abuse.          

Seniors' Minister Francine Charbonneau said the legislation is aimed at capturing the reality of how the elderly are sometimes treated.

"We are acknowledging that we need different methods to make sure that we do treat our elderly the right way. The camera is one method," she said.

The government wants to regulate the use of cameras and is studying a proposal that would allow seniors in CHSLDs to choose whether they would prefer cameras in their rooms.           

"What we want to do is make sure that if you have a camera, and you have the right to use it, you do it within the rights of everybody around you," said Charbonneau.

Some residences currently do not permit cameras and their use is up to each individual residence.

Surveillance video could offer proof in cases of abuse or mistreatment, but might also present privacy issues for staff taking care of seniors.

Union leaders representing those workers are raising concerns about the surveillance issue.

Patients' rights lawyer Jean-Pierre Menard said he supports having some cameras at these facilities, but not necessarily in every room.

"The possibility that a patient can use a camera in a long-term care facility is very important because it's a means to make sure that the care will be appropriate, that the saftey of the patient will be preserved," said Menard.

He added that he feels it's sad cameras are now a solution due to excessive government cuts.

“We have cut the training program, we have cut on the supervision, we have cut on the ratio of employees versus patients,” he said. “So we have created a lot of situations in which (mistreatment) becomes possible.”

On Thursday, the CSQ will share its point of view at the ongoing hearings.