Taking action to combat elder abuse in all its forms
GATINEAU, QC, June 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today joined communities across Canada and the globe in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).
The World Health Organization and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse launched WEAAD in 2006 to draw attention to the abuse and neglect that older adults can experience and to provide help in preventing it. The United Nations has also observed the date since 2012.
The Government of Canada has made combatting elder abuse a priority and supports a range of measures to help protect seniors from all forms of elder abuse, including neglect. These include awareness activities and New Horizons for Seniors Program elder abuse awareness projects. The Government has also introduced new legislation, including the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act, which came into force in January 2013 and helps ensure consistently tough penalties for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians.
Visit seniors.gc.ca for access to tools and resources to help detect and prevent elder abuse.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 supports the implementation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which was announced on April 3, 2014. The proposed legislation, Bill C-32, will give victims of crime, including seniors, clear rights and a stronger voice at the federal level in the criminal justice and corrections system.
- 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.
- In January 2013, the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act came into force, helping to ensure consistently tough penalties for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians.
"On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Government of Canada is encouraging communities across the country to help raise awareness of this serious issue and inform seniors on ways to protect themselves. Our government is committed to helping preserve the well-being and security of Canadian seniors, and it continues to introduce new legislation and initiatives to combat elder abuse in all its forms."
- The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
The Government of Canada hosts a website, seniors.gc.ca, which provides seniors, family members and caregivers with tools, information and resources to help prevent and detect elder abuse.
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 older 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 Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act, 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 would allow banks and other organizations to notify authorities or a client's next of kin if they suspect that an older 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, Bill C-32, 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 crime 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.
New Horizons for Seniors Program
The New Horizons for Seniors Program supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. Since 2006, the New Horizons for Seniors Program has funded more than 13,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada.
The Program provides support for networking, developing and delivering education and awareness activities. It also creates tools and resources to help seniors protect themselves from elder abuse, including fraud and financial abuse.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of State (Seniors)