Harper Government marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and supports local seniors project

VANCOUVER, June 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), marked the upcoming World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by encouraging communities to get informed about this serious issue and help seniors to protect themselves against abuse.

The Government of Canada has made combatting elder abuse a top priority and is addressing the issue through awareness activities, legislation, and the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP).

During her visit to the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS), Minister Wong announced over $24,500 in NHSP funding to support its project entitled Breaking the Silence of Abuses: Empowering Elders.

Seniors will play a leading role in the project by helping to produce video recordings of testimonials from elderly people who have experienced abuse. They will also compile resources on elder abuse, including financial abuse, for use in awareness sessions that will encourage peer sharing, mentoring and networking.

The Government of Canada is providing more than $33.4 million in funding for over 1,770 community-based projects across Canada. These projects, approved through the NHSP's 2013-2014 call for proposals, will lead to new programs and activities for seniors.

Quick Facts

  • Economic Action Plan 2014 has recently proposed an extra $5 million per year for the NHSP to support more 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, which will close on July 4, 2014, organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding for projects that are led or inspired by seniors.
  • 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 such abuse and neglect 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.
  • The Government of Canada website seniors.gc.ca provides seniors, their families and caregivers with important information and resources about elder abuse.

Quotes

"In anticipation of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, our government is encouraging communities across the country to raise awareness of this serious issue and empower seniors to protect themselves. I applaud Multicultural Helping House Society for taking on this project that educates and inspires seniors to work within their community to combat elder abuse."  
- The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

"Thanks to the generous funding from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, organizations like the Multicultural Helping House Society have the opportunity to empower seniors through workshops and mobilize key partners and stakeholders in breaking the silence of elder abuse. This program will certainly benefit the seniors ' population in British Columbia."
- Tomas Avendano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Multicultural Helping House Society

Associated Links


Backgrounder


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, social participation, capital assistance and expanding awareness of elder abuse. 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 the entire country. 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: Employment and Social Development Canada

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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