ST. JOHN'S, Oct. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), officially opened the Awareness To Action: Training to Recognize, Report and Respond to Elder Abuse conference today in St. John's, where people from across the province have an opportunity to connect with each other and receive training to help prevent elder abuse.
The two-day conference is hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, which is part of the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is providing the Centre with $600,000 in funding for its project Awareness to Action: Preventing Elder Abuse by Connecting Communities. The project started in 2012 and focuses on developing and disseminating resources that seniors and organizations can use to help prevent elder abuse. By the end of the project, the Centre will train up to 300 front-line service providers to recognize, respond to and report incidents of abuse.
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 abuse, including neglect. To raise awareness about elder abuse, the Government recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day each year on June 15, creates activities and information resources, and provides funding for elder abuse awareness projects through the NHSP. The Government has also introduced 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 seniors in Canada.
To find out more about elder abuse prevention and recognition, as well as other resources for seniors, visit seniors.gc.ca.
- In September, the Government of Canada released the Government of Canada Action for Seniors report, a comprehensive information resource highlighting federal programs and services that can be accessed by seniors, their families and caregivers. The report can be found on seniors.gc.ca.
- 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.
- 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 power of attorney.
"The Government of Canada is proud to recognize awareness-raising activities, such as this conference, that aim to eliminate elder abuse. We are committed to supporting the wellbeing of seniors. I invite you to visit seniors.gc.ca and read our new report, Government of Canada Action for Seniors, to find out how our government is improving the lives of seniors."
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
"We are very pleased to have Minister Wong's support for action against elder abuse in the province. Our work, funded by the New Horizons for Seniors Program, has made a huge difference for seniors over the past three years. We have been able to provide ample opportunity to build capacity and share resources in the community that allows our members to strengthen their ability to take action against elder abuse."
– Kelly Heisz, Executive Director, Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador
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 allow banks and other organizations to notify officials or a client's next of kin if they suspect that a senior is the victim of financial abuse.
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
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