About CCEL

Our History

The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (“CCEL”) is a national, non-profit body dedicated to exploring the particular legal issues which affect older Canadians.

Our parent body, the B. C. Law Institute, first began studying issues of “elder law” in 1999 when, with support from the Law Foundation of British Columbia, it began project work on Private Care Agreements and Financial Arrangements: Loans and Guarantees between Family Members and Friends. Out of this and other Law Foundation supported initiatives came the growing realization of the need for a formalized Centre dedicated to legal issues of concern to older adults.

In July 2003, the B.C. Law Institute formally established the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. The mandate of the CCEL includes research, law reform, and education relating to legal issues of interest to older adults. Today, the CCEL is recognized for its expertise in Elder Law issues both in Canada and internationally.

Our Strengths and Priorities

Uncovering “hidden issues”: An important part of the work of the CCEL is to identify legal and policy issues that can dramatically affect older adults but may be buried beneath familial or systemic overlays. When people think of elder law wills and estates and pensions often come to mind; however, areas such as childcare and immigration policy, for example, can have a significant impact on the rights of older people and their quality of life.

Engaging community and key stakeholders: The CCEL is well situated to engage the larger community in identifying problems and developing solutions. An important part of the CCEL mandate is to be “reform-minded” and to seek better laws, policies, and systems for Canadian or international societies. We identify issues and reforms by consulting with older people and non-profit community agencies as well as academics, government, and practitioners from diverse areas of work including justice, health care and finance.

Working collaboratively: A thorough examination of legal and policy issues requires many perspectives and diverse expertise. Many of CCEL’s projects involve collaborations with local, provincial and national agencies.

Analyzing problems with an intersectional approach: Older adults are as diverse as the general population. The impact of law and policy on their lives will depend on sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, immigration status, disability, socio-economic status, Indigenous identity and other factors connected to power and privilege in society. We strive to approach all our work with an awareness of vulnerability linked to identity and ensure we are including diverse perspectives.

Demystifying law, policy and practice: In recent years the CCEL has created a number of tools that clarify obligations and rights under law. CCEL has published innovative tools targeting health care practitioners, non-profit organizations and the general public.  Most of these plain language resources are all available for free on the CCEL website.


The objectives of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are: to enrich and inform the lives of older adults with the law; to meet the increasing need for legal education and research in relation to legal issues having particular significance for older adults; and, to serve as a national focal point for this emergent field. To current knowledge, it appears to be the only such Centre in the world and is currently serving as a model of interest for several other countries.

The CCEL also occasionally hosts the World Study Group on Elder Law, a group established October 2005 to facilitate study and knowledge exchange internationally on issues affecting the legal rights of older adults worldwide.

The Program

The CCEL’s current projects and activities embrace both legal and interdisciplinary channels.

Research and Scholarship

  • Developing academic research and writing in relation to legal and policy issues impacting older adults
  • Hosting the Canadian International Conference on Elder Law
  • Sponsoring the Annual Gregory Steele, Q.C. Student Paper Prize in Elder Law
  • Developing a national and international collection of Elder Law materials and case law

Law Reform

  • Identifying ways in which the law could be improved to encompass and develop the interests, rights and well-being of older adults
  • Participating in the development of solutions which empower older adults to live in a supportive legal environment
  • Pursuing topics concerned with ensuring the financial integrity of transactions involving older adults
  • Investigating law reform issues identified through CCEL scholarship and research
  • Carrying forward Elder Law projects concerned with law reform initiated by the British Columbia Law Institute

Information and Education

  • Developing education materials that focus on elder law issues for the legal profession, law and post-secondary student, health and financial professionals and the community at large
  • Identifying and working closely with other agencies concerned with the delivery of legal information to older adults and to the legal profession
  • Hosting the Canadian Elder Law Conference.

CCEL Services

The CCEL offers workshops and lectures on a variety of issues affecting older adults. Contact the CCEL at ccels@bcli.org for more information.

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