CCEL Celebrates 15th Anniversary

1 October 2018

By Krista James

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the CCEL.

A lot has happened in those years.

8 Elder Law Conferences. 3 National Seniors Day events. 2 International Women’s Day gatherings, 33 projects, 2 promising practicing tools, 9 reports, 13 study papers, 10 videos, 36 educational tools, 7 project advisory committees, 53 consultation focus groups, 4475 tweets, 3 National Directors, and too many webinars, presentations, interviews, and community meetings to count.

We are a tiny shop. It is volunteers, collaborations, and partnerships that makes our work possible. Check out this slide show (below) of some of the people who have contributed to our work over the years. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you,  and learn from you.

If you have only recently started following our work, you may not be aware of all the topics we have studied over the years. On the website you will find reports, study papers and tools on elder abuse and neglect, mental capacity, family caregiving, violence against older women, private care agreements, loans and guarantees, predatory lending, assisted living, adult guardianship, elder mediation, reverse mortgages, financial literacy, frauds and scams, and supported decision making. I bet many of you don’t know what viatical settlements are. Well, we have a paper on that too. We have been busy.

What are we up to now?

  • Valerie Leblanc is leading Inclusive Investing, our project on supported decision making in the investment sector. We will consulting with stakeholders in BC and Ontario this fall. Contact Valerie if you have experiences to share:
  • We are wrapping up work on our Health Care Consent, Aging and Dementia project with the Alzheimer Society of BC. In a few months we will have a report and video to share with you.
  • We are updating our 2011 Practical Guide to Elder Abuse and Neglect Law in Canada. We welcome your thoughts on how to improve the guide. Contact Krista at
  • We are starting to plan our next Canadian Elder Law Conference for 2019. Let us know what topics interest you.
  • We are working with AGEWELL to support researchers to better understand the elder law issues that impact their work. All of our AGEWELL webinars have been recorded, so you can watch them anytime.

2018 is an exciting time! We have a provincial Seniors Advocate, and finally, a national Minister for Seniors. We are thrilled to continue our work supporting people across Canada to understand the legal issues that impact us as we age, and to assist governments with the challenge of enhancing our laws in order to better address the needs of older people in this country.

Thank you so much for supporting our work over the years. We look forward to many additional years of working together.

CCEL in Pictures – Slideshow

Happy Anniversary to us! We put together this short retrospective of the last 15 years. Thank you to all the volunteers, collaborators, funders, students, and staff who have supported us over the years. We could not do it without you!


We asked a few of our steadfast supporters and collaborators to share their views on our work, here is what they had to say:

Since its inception, the Canadian Centre for Elder Law has been a key driver of legal and policy reform efforts that aim to improve the lives of older adults. Made possible by The Law Foundation of B.C.’s Public Interest Articling Fellowship, it was a privilege to work at an institution that’s at the national and international forefront of elder law reform.

-Heather (Campbell) Pope, Articled Student, 2010-2011
Director, Dementia Justice Society of Canada

I have been involved with various programs of the CCEL since 2005.  It was an amazing idea developed at a time when very few had anticipated the imminent demographic change which would create unique legal issues. Since its inception, it has excelled in scholarly research and provided practical resources for vulnerable seniors, particularly women who are more likely to be economically disadvantaged.

-Marion Allan
Retired Judge and CCEL Board member


The CCEL has been at the core of me for 15 years.  When I started we had a desk, a research assistant (Amy), a phone and a computer.  We had the wonderful work that laid the foundation by the BCLI and by Margaret Hall.  But when Arthur said to me “build it – go!” It was the opportunity of a lifetime.  My first day was October 15, 2004.  I remember it well because it was a provincial elder abuse conference hosted by the then BC Coalition of Eliminate Abuse of Seniors (then BC CEAS – now Seniors’ First BC) 400 people in the room, all talking about how we raise the issue of elder abuse and neglect and how we can bring awareness to Canadians about the terrible rising trend.  It was a watershed moment for me.  My work in social justice, law reform and rights issues all came together in a blinding “ah-ha moment”.  It was like lightening striking me.

Laura Tamblyn Watts
CCEL Senior Fellow and past long-time National Director
Chief Public Policy Officer, CARP


Congratulations to the CCEL on the occasion of its 15th anniversary.  I consider it a privilege to have been involved many times over all those years on a wide variety of innovative projects that better the lives of older Canadians in vulnerable circumstances!  Best wishes for continued success in the future

-Alison Leaney
Provincial Coordinator, Vulnerable Adults Community Response
Public Guardian and Trustee of BC


“The first conference hosted by the CCEL opened my eyes to what could be achieved in the speciality of Elder Law. It was a meeting of enthusiastic informed professionals all committed to what for us in Australia was an emerging speciality. The work of the staff has never ceased to amaze me and the connections, collaboration and friendships I have made through and with the CCEL will last a life time.”

-Sue Field
Adjunct Associate Professor
School of Law Western Sydney University
Adjunct Associate Professor Charles Sturt University
Research Fellow University of Western Australia
Lead Investigator Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre
Distinguished Fellow Canadian Centre for Elder Law


The BC CRN applauds the work that has been done by the CCEL to inform and educate on the legal implications of elder abuse and neglect over the last 25 years.  The service providers and organizations which make up the CRNs appreciate having reliable and current information which can used with confidence when working in community to increase the awareness of elder abuse and work towards its prevention

-Sherry Baker

Executive Director, BC Association of Community Response Networks


As a Law Society practice advisor, fielding questions from lawyers about financial exploitation, undue influence, common law tests of capacity, dementia and other issues affecting older clients, I have often referred lawyers to Canadian Centre for Elder Law materials.   Thanks for being there CCEL and keep up the good work.  Happy Anniversary

-Barbara Buchanan QC
Practice Advisor, Conduct & Ethics

The Law Society of British Columbia


I want to congratulate Canadian Centre for Elder Law on their special anniversary!  In my role as the Manager of Community Outreach at West Coast LEAF I had the privilege to be part of the Women’s Dialogue Project. This project was a collaboration between CCEL and West Coast LEAF, and it paved way for us to meet with over 300 women of diverse background in various Lower Mainland communities. For me, it was inspiring to see first hand the inspiring impact of women being empowered to have a voice and knowing that they can influence law and public policy.  I wish the Centre many more successes and collaborations with community Partners to improve the lives of older women.

-Shahnaz Rahman
Executive Director , Surrey Women’s Centre


Congratulations to the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. For 15 years you have enhanced our understanding of the legal issues affecting older adults. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is particularly appreciative of how you’ve examined issues relevant to everyone affected by dementia: people living with dementia, and the caregivers, families and friends dedicated to caring for them. Through your research, you have collaborated with the Alzheimer Society and the people we support, giving voice to the concerns and the experiences which shape our perspectives. Thank you for your leadership in educating us all on law, policy and practice; thank you for working with us to change the experience of families affected by dementia.

-Barbara Lindsay LLB
Director, Advocacy & Education
Marketing & Communications
Alzheimer Society of B.C.

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