CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI, Oct. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced today New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) funding worth more than $23,000 to Family Service PEI for its Elder Financial Abuse Resource Tool Project.
Family Service PEI's project aims to recruit seniors to participate in designing a website that features a resource toolkit on financial abuse. The online toolkit will promote awareness, detection and prevention of financial abuse. It will be tailored to the needs of seniors, their family and friends, as well as professionals who work with seniors. Seniors will also help develop hands-on training and a self-learning brochure.
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 NHSP 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.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 recently increased funding for the NHSP by $5 million per year. 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 is now closed, organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding for projects that are led or inspired by seniors.
- 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.
- The Government of Canada launched the Government of Canada Action for Seniors report in September 2014. The report is a new information resource highlighting federal programs and services that can be accessed by seniors, their families and caregivers. It was created in collaboration with more than 22 federal departments and agencies. The report can be found on seniors.gc.ca.
"This is a wonderful example of how the New Horizons for Seniors Program helps put partnerships in place, allowing seniors to become more informed about financial abuse and better equipped to deal with it. By supporting projects such as these, we are acting to ensure that seniors can maintain a good quality of life and continue to be active members of their communities."
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
"This funding has allowed Family Service PEI to work with PEI seniors to create a website featuring a financial resource toolkit with supportive print materials. Information on the site will address the specific financial needs of PEI's aging population. The project is designed to educate and empower seniors themselves, encouraging them to utilize available resources to take a proactive approach to protecting themselves financially. When we increase financial literacy at any age, we decrease a person's vulnerability and subsequently help prevent financial abuse."
– Ellan Dickieson, Education and Outreach Specialist, Family Service PEI
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 $750,000 in funding for up to 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 also 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 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, firstname.lastname@example.org