Financial Abuse of Seniors: Legal Framework and Promising Canadian Approaches in Detection, Response and Prevention

2 April 2013

By Alison Taylor

2 April 2013—On March 26, 2013, CCEL Senior Fellow Laura Tamblyn Watts participated in a National Meeting on Financial Abuse organized by the International Federation on Ageing and held in Toronto.  The full day meeting included stakeholders from the financial sector, government officials, and individuals and organizations with expertise in the area of abuse of older people.  This event was an important opportunity to:

  • Raise awareness, build networks and create dialogue;
  • Discuss the gaps and challenges in preventing, detecting and responding to financial abuse of seniors; and
  • Share promising practices and explore how to best address financial abuse of seniors.

As part of this event, the CCEL produced the Background Paper Financial Abuse of Seniors: An Overview of Key Legal Issues and ConceptsThe paper includes:

  • Discussions of the concepts of abuse of older people and financial abuse of seniors, including examples, patterns and highlights of key social dynamics;
  • An overview of the existing legal framework in Canada, including criminal law, provincial legislation (such as adult protection and adult guardianship legislation), mental capacity law, power of attorney law, and privacy law, including a summary of amendments to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, included in Bill C-12;
  • An Appendix of examples of promising Canadian approaches in detection, response and prevention; and
  • A conclusion highlighting recommendation that emerged out of the 2008 Federal/ Provincial/ Territorial Forum on financial abuse of seniors relevant to the National Meeting.

Questions for the consideration of stakeholders are threaded throughout the paper to stimulate thinking and discussion.

The CCEL was very pleased to be part of this important event and to be invited to produced this paper. Responding to financial abuse is a challenge that involves practitioners from diverse disciplines, and open information and idea sharing events of this nature are crucial to moving forward productively.

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