Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

June 16, 2008 14:15 ET

Government of Canada Taking Action to Address Elder Abuse

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 16, 2008) - the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors) announced plans to launch a national awareness campaign on elder abuse in a keynote speech at a conference marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) 2008.

"Seniors from all walks of life are vulnerable to elder abuse, and it's happening in communities across Canada. We want everyone to know that it cannot and will not be tolerated and that help is available," said Minister LeBreton. "A substantial portion of the $13 million allocated over three years to elder abuse in Budget 2008 will support an awareness campaign planned for launch on October 1st, the International Day of Older Persons."

In addition to an advertising campaign, the Government of Canada will develop information tools to help frontline professionals in the health, financial and justice fields deal with incidents of elder abuse.

June 15, 2008 marks the third annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Canada was chosen to host the 2008 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day conference by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) in recognition of its contribution to awareness and action on this issue.

Canadian research indicates that between four and ten percent of older adults experience some kind of abuse or neglect. According to recent Government of Canada public opinion research on elder abuse, 96 percent of Canadians think most of the abuse experienced by older adults is hidden or goes undetected. And, thinking about seniors they know personally, 22 percent of Canadians say a senior they know might be experiencing some form of abuse. Sixty-seven percent of Canadians think older women are more likely to be abused than older men.

"As a society that honours its seniors, we cannot and must not tolerate elder abuse," said Minister LeBreton. "Seniors deserve to live with dignity and respect, and we as a government are committed to help ensure their quality of life is not diminished by abuse of any kind."

The new funding announced in Budget 2008 builds upon the following federal activities:

- Last fall, the National Seniors Council held regional meetings on the issue of elder abuse, releasing a report with advice to the government in December 2007.

- Budget 2007 announced the expansion of the New Horizons for Seniors Program by $10 million per year, in part to help community organizations raise awareness of elder abuse and fraud.

- The Family Violence Initiative (FVI), coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada 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.

- The Government of Canada participates in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Safety and Security for Seniors, which developed materials to help promote awareness of abuse and neglect of older adults to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. These resources may be found on the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse's Web site at

For more information on the Government of Canada's work on elder abuse, visit


World Elder Abuse Awareness Conference, June 16-17, 2008

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, 2008

June 15, 2008, marks the third annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). In recognition of Canada's dedication to raising awareness about elder abuse, and the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to address the issue, the 2008 special event is being hosted in Ottawa. This day of awareness was first declared by the World Health Organization and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) to "reflect the need for people to understand what abuse and neglect of older adults is and how it can be prevented." The first INPEA Elder Abuse Awareness day was held at the United Nations in New York in 2006. The second day was held in Geneva in 2007.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference, June 16-17, 2008

This year, INPEA, in conjunction with the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, has organized World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The objective of the WEAAD conference is to raise national and international awareness of elder abuse, provide a forum to showcase Canadian initiatives to combat elder abuse, discuss innovations and best practices from around the world and exchange information.

The Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Secretary of State (Seniors), will address conference participants on June 16 and outline the steps the Government of Canada is taking to combat elder abuse. On June 18-19, Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) will host an Expert Roundtable Forum on Elder Abuse. In addition, HRSDC has partnered with the Province of Ontario to conduct a federal/provincial/territorial-sponsored forum on the financial abuse of older people (June 19-20).

Advertising campaign announced to create awareness of elder abuse

As promised in Budget 2008, plans are under way to launch an advertising campaign in October 2008. The campaign will focus on creating awareness of the issue of elder abuse and its many forms: physical, financial, psychological and sexual. Campaign messaging will also inform Canadians that help is, indeed, available.

Creating tools and resources for frontline workers to combat elder abuse

As part of the awareness campaign, the federal government plans to create training materials to support national professional associations in adapting and creating their own materials and tools for their frontline workers (e.g., health, legal, police, and financial professionals who work with seniors). The training materials will then be field-tested with a cross-section of professionals representing national organizations. The materials are expected to be ready for use with organizations in spring 2009, to help them identify and address the elder abuse situation.

New Horizons for Seniors Program expands to combat elder abuse

The New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors are able to benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their community through their social participation and active living. The program was recently expanded to enable it to fund regional projects that raise awareness of the abuse of older adults. Through this funding, new resources are available to improve safety, security and quality of life for seniors.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

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