Harper Government announces elder abuse awareness project while highlighting World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

OTTAWA, June 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is helping seniors from various backgrounds better protect themselves from elder abuse, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors) recognized today in a speech held at Jewish Family Services of Ottawa. The Minister also highlighted that June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

The Jewish Family Services of Ottawa is receiving $575,000 in New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) funding for its JFS Pan-Canadian Elder Abuse Awareness and Education Program for Ethnocultural Communities three-year project. Collaborating with four partner agencies across the country, the organization brings together volunteer immigrant seniors to help develop information materials and awareness-raising programs for Jewish, as well as other ethnic and cultural communities. By learning to recognize and prevent elder abuse, seniors can help decrease incidents of mistreatment. Unique to this program is the use of theatrical performance as an educational tool.

The Government of Canada has made combatting elder abuse a priority and recognizes WEAAD each year as part of its own efforts to increase awareness about the issue. Canadians can help raise awareness of elder abuse by engaging in discussions, participating in related activities or helping an elder who may be in distress. To find out more about the Government's related activities, or to learn how to get involved, visit seniors.gc.ca.

Quick Facts

  • Economic Action Plan 2014 has recently proposed an additional $5 million per year for the NHSP to support additional projects that benefit seniors. This is in addition to the $45 million the Government already provides to this program annually.
  • Since 2006, the NHSP has funded more than 13,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada. NHSP funding supports projects that focus on issues like elder abuse, social isolation and intergenerational learning.
  • June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It was first launched by the World Health Organization and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse in 2006 to bring attention to the abuse and neglect that some older adults experience and how abuse can be prevented.
  • To better protect seniors from mistreatment such as fraud and financial abuse, the Government has passed or introduced legislation such as the Digital Privacy Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
  • A brochure on powers of attorney and joint bank accounts was released in November 2013 by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum to inform seniors about the risks, benefits and possible unintended consequences of opening a joint bank account or granting someone a power of attorney.

Quotes

"Our government is proud to work with organizations like Jewish Family Services of Ottawa whose elder abuse awareness project will go a long way to ensure that immigrant seniors living in ethno-cultural communities are safer and more secure. This project will help seniors better protect themselves from the many forms of elder abuse, such as neglect and financial abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a great opportunity for Canadians to remember that seniors have played a central part in building this country, and they deserve to enjoy the best quality of life possible."
- The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

"This project has enabled, for the first time, Jewish family service agencies across the country to work together to address elder abuse in communities that often fall through the cracks. By engaging members of various communities in their respective languages, volunteering seniors and non-seniors work together to empower others to respond to, and protect themselves from elder abuse. Jewish Family Services Ottawa is proud to be leading this project, and is thankful for the funding that has made it possible."
- Mark Zarecki, Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Ottawa

Associated Links


Backgrounder


New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. Through the NHSP, the Government of Canada encourages seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences to the benefit of others.

NHSP funding is targeted to community-based projects, pan-Canadian projects and pilot projects that focus on issues like social isolation and intergenerational learning.

Community-based project funding supports activities that engage seniors and address one or more of the program's five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation, and capital assistance. These projects are eligible to receive up to $25,000 per year per organization in grant funding.

Pan-Canadian projects provide support to help seniors protect themselves from elder abuse, including financial abuse and fraud. These projects help community members recognize elder abuse in all its forms and improve the quality of life, safety and security of seniors. Projects focus on developing tools, resources and promising practices that can be adapted and shared across communities, regions or Canada. These projects may be eligible to receive up to $250,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Pilot projects funding provides support to help address seniors' isolation by establishing better social support networks and resources and initiating community interventions. It also supports intergenerational learning projects that help seniors develop new interests and share their knowledge and experience with others. These pilot projects are eligible to receive up to $100,000 in federal funding over a maximum of 24 months, which will be matched with funding from other sources.

For more information on the NHSP, visit esdc.gc.ca/seniors.

Government of Canada's Support of Elder Abuse Prevention

Protecting Canada's Seniors Act

The Protecting Canada's Seniors Act, which came into force in January 2013, better protects seniors by ensuring tougher sentences for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians. Under the amendments to the Criminal Code, evidence that an offence had a significant impact on the victims due to their age—and other personal circumstances such as their health or financial situation—will now be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

The Government of Canada recently introduced the Digital Privacy Act in Parliament, which amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). PIPEDA sets the rules private sector organizations must follow when collecting, using or disclosing personal information in the course of commercial activity.

The new legislation will also allow banks and other organizations to notify officials or a client's next of kin if they suspect that an elderly client is the victim of financial abuse. Officials at Industry Canada, with the support of Employment and Social Development Canada, are working with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to provide guidance to banks and other affected organizations about factors to be considered in using their discretion in this area and about related best practices.

Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

The Government of Canada recently announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would transform the criminal justice system by creating, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime—a first in Canadian history.

The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights would transform the role of victims of crimes in the criminal justice system by creating statutory rights for them. For the first time in Canadian history, criminal law provisions would be framed clearly to include rights for victims of crime.

SOURCE: Canada's Economic Action Plan

For further information:

Earl Maynard
Office of the Minister of State (Seniors)
613-716-5422

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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