Harper government invests in project to raise awareness about elder abuse in Toronto

TORONTO, July 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), together with Member of Parliament Mark Adler, today announced New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) funding worth $22,000 to the Bernard Betel Centre for its project, Empowerment and Expression: Senior Voices through Art.

The Bernard Betel Centre will organize town hall meetings to promote the social inclusion of seniors through art projects that will focus on elder abuse awareness. The Centre's activities include designing and creating an arts-centred elder abuse awareness curriculum based on best practices. Other activities focus on recruiting and training experienced senior volunteer artists, creating outreach materials to disseminate information about elder abuse and displaying seniors' arts projects to make them widely available to the public.

The Government of Canada has made combatting elder abuse a top priority and is addressing elder abuse through awareness activities, legislation and the NHSP.

The Government of Canada is providing more than $33.4 million in funding for over 1,770 community-based projects across Canada. These projects were approved through the New Horizons for Seniors Program 2013-2014 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects. NHSP-funded projects help ensure that seniors maintain a good quality of life and are able to be active, participating members of their communities.

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.
  • On May 13, 2014, Minister Wong launched the NHSP 2014-2015 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects. Through this call for proposals, organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding for projects that are led or inspired by seniors. The call closed across Canada on July 4, 2014, except in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where it was extended until July 18, 2014, as a result of significant damages caused by flooding in June.
  • 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.
  • The Government of Canada's website, Seniors.gc.ca, provides seniors, their families and caregivers with important information and resources about elder abuse.


"Our government is committed to ensuring that Canadian seniors have the information and tools they need to prevent all forms of elder abuse. I commend the Bernard Betel Centre for their hard work in supporting prevention activities which will educate and inspire seniors to work within their community and raise awareness of elder abuse."
-The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

"The well-being and security of Canadian seniors are a priority for our government, and we are proud to work with creative organizations such as the Bernard Betel Centre. With its project, Empowerment and Expression: Senior Voices through Art, the Centre will empower hundreds of seniors to communicate their impressions of elder abuse through art."
-Mark Adler, Member of Parliament for York Centre

"The Bernard Betel Centre, its community partners and most especially the seniors we collectively serve are most grateful and honoured to have been awarded a Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program grant. Our project will provide arts-based opportunities for older adults to share feelings of loneliness, isolation and abuse—to find their voices through means they control."
-Adam Silver, Executive Director, Bernard Betel Centre

Associated Links


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 such as 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 project 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, will work 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)

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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