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CanAge presenting to House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights

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The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has invited CanAge to appear in support of its study on elder abuse on May 25th.

This study will examine the sufficiency of current laws in fighting elder abuse, options to explicitly penalize those who neglect seniors under their care, and how to more effectively combat elder abuse.

Fighting elder abuse is a core pillar of our advocacy and we’re excited to have the opportunity to represent our members in such a powerful way!

We’ll provide an update after our presentation.

Update: June 4th

The recording of our presentation is now available!

Update: May 19th

We’ve made our written submission in advance of our presentation to the committee.

Summary of our recommendations:

Recommendation 1

That the House of Commons acknowledge the significant harms caused by elder abuse and neglect, recognize that these harms are not captured in criminal law at present, and further recognize that forms of elder abuse and neglect, such as physical and financial abuse, are often preceded by or connected with a pattern of coercive or controlling behaviour.

Recommendation 2

That the Minister of Justice engage with his provincial and territorial counterparts to initiate a taskforce of experts with a mandate to review existing federal criminal legislation using an age-inclusive analysis, plus other measures, and make recommendations concerning the drafting of government legislation regarding a specific elder abuse and neglect offence in the Criminal Code. Consideration of the language of Bill C-247 as possible language for such an offence, and related measures to meet the needs of victims, may be helpful.

Recommendation 3

That the House of Commons calls on the federal government, the provinces, and territories to implement measures to combat the challenges presented by the justice system for victims of elder abuse and neglect, including those facing cognitive impairment and other social vulnerabilities, and further calls on the federal government to fund measures to support all victims of elder abuse and neglect through court processes.

Recommendation 4

That the federal government support and fund implementation of a National Elder Abuse Response Strategy (NEARS) including the creation of a standing Committee on Elder Abuse and Neglect, to assist organizations working to support victims of elder abuse and neglect to deliver adequate levels of support services, such as counselling, housing, and other services aimed at helping victims in re-establishing their lives, and ensure that culturally appropriate services are available and accessible.

Recommendation 5

That the federal government engage with provincial and territorial governments and other relevant stakeholders to promote and fund a public awareness campaign on elder abuse and neglect, as well as training of judicial system actors, such as police, lawyers, and judges, about the dynamics of such behaviour and how to engage with older victims, some of whom may have cognitive impairment. Training must be trauma-informed, dementia-friendly, and integrate intersectional perspectives. This training should be accompanied by tools and policies to support action on elder abuse and neglect.

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By becoming a CanAge member, you’re adding your voice to our calls for change in protecting and improving the lives of older Canadians.

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