Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

September 26, 2007 11:10 ET

HRSDC: The National Seniors Council Holds Meetings on Elder Abuse

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2007) - Today in Calgary, the National Seniors Council (NSC) will bring together experts and stakeholders to engage in a discussion concerning elder abuse and how to better address it.

The National Seniors Council was established to advise Canada's New Government on seniors' issues of national importance, and to help ensure that federal government policies, programs and services continue to meet the evolving needs of Canada's aging population. Elder abuse is one of its first priority issues.

"Elder abuse remains largely hidden behind closed doors because many seniors who experience abuse are isolated or reluctant to speak out. In holding these meetings, we are exploring ways to address elder abuse in all its ugly forms," said the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors).

"Most importantly, our government is intent on breaking down the barriers and showing seniors and all Canadians that elder abuse exists, and it is not tolerated. It is important that people know that there is help available in our communities."

According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse usually occurs in relationships where there is an expectation of trust. Abuse can take many forms including physical, emotional, verbal or financial. Neglect is also considered a form of abuse.

"The abuse of older adults is undeniably a sensitive matter," said Mr. Jean-Guy Souliere, Chair of the National Seniors Council. "Participants in these meetings represent a range of views and the broad interests of seniors and community organizations. By listening to the voices of experience, I know we can find ways that will make a difference."

Later this year, the National Seniors Council will submit a report to the Government providing details of the meetings' discussions. This report will be made available on the NSC Web site.

The Government of Canada already has in place a number of initiatives to help combat elder abuse:

- Budget 2007 announced the expansion of the New Horizons for Seniors Program by $10 million per year, with a portion of the new funding to be used for education about elder abuse and fraud.

- In addition, the Family Violence Initiative (FVI), coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, consists of 15 member departments, and promotes public awareness of the risk factors of family violence, and the need for public involvement in responding to it. The FVI has identified the abuse of older adults as an issue warranting specific attention. As well, the Agency's Population Health Fund is supporting a project by the University of Toronto to enhance community capacity and respond to abuse and neglect in long-term care.

- Through the Forum of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Seniors, the Government of Canada has collaborated with other jurisdictions in the development of materials for the annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, to help promote awareness of abuse and neglect of older adults. These resources may be found on the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse's Web site at

National Seniors Council regional meetings on elder abuse are also taking place in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Moncton. For more information on the Council, please visit the following Web site:

Contact Information

  • Office of the Secretary of State (Seniors)
    James Maunder
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office