Legal Definitions of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Elder abuse and neglect is a significant issue in Canada, and one of particular national importance to seniors. The Canadian Federal Department of Justice has asked the Canadian Centre for Elder Law to provide a study in the area of elder abuse and neglect legal definitions in Canada and in Commonwealth comparator jurisdictions.  The purpose of this project is to prepare a report that will outline the legal definitions of elder abuse and neglect both nationally and internationally.

Particularly, the report will answer the following two key questions:

  1. What definitions of elder abuse and neglect appear in Canadian federal/provincial/territorial legislation, justice system policies and case law?
  2. What definitions of elder abuse and neglect appear in other countries with a justice system similar to that of Canada (such as the UK, Australia and the United States)?

Answers to these key questions will be ascertained with comprehensive legal research of reported case law, and relevant legislation and policies in all Canadian jurisdictions. Our international legal research will examine appellate level decisions, specific legislative definitions, and secondary sources. These resources will be supplemented, where necessary, with interviews of Canadian and international experts in the field. A Final Report will be prepared by June 30, 2008.

CCEL would welcome and appreciate any of the following information for inclusion in this study (in any format, including electronic or hard copy, citations, links, etc.):

  • Case law which has some mention of elder abuse and neglect in terms of defining it (including obiter dicta)
  • If not in Canada, legislation, either civil or criminal, which includes or defines elder abuse and neglect
  • Policies and protocols concerning elder abuse and neglect (preferably linked to some form of legislation, for example, an elder abuse protocol pursuant to an adult guardianship legislative scheme, or a mandatory reporting scheme, or a long-term care statute, etc.)


Related Files

Below you will find additional, relevant and specific documentation, backgrounders, research, resources, media releases and summaries that have been, or will be incorporated into our final publications and study papers.

If you have questions about these or other specific documents, please reach out to BCLI using our contact page or at the bottom of each page of our website.