World Elder Law Study Group 2007


24 July 2007

By Alison Taylor

2007 World Elder Law Study Group Presentations

 

Dr. Larry Anderson, Psychology Professor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Ken Cavalier & Professor Tony Sheppard

  • The Wicked Witch of Mandatory Retirement in BC is Dead! What Now?

Jared Samuel Childers, Esq., LL.M.

ABSTRACT -The movement of companies, workers and retirees across national boundaries has increased over the last several decades and totalization agreements are more important now than ever before.  What will happen to the Canadian retirees, who have spent a portion of their careers in the United States and want to retire in the United States, but do not have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security benefits?  What if the Canadian retiree has not worked or lived in Canada long enough to qualify for Old Age Security or Canada Pension Plan?

Understanding totalization agreements between the United States, Canada, Mexico and other countries is increasingly important to professionals who are called upon to counsel clients facing decisions about retirement.  Policy makers also must consider questions of essential fairness and affordability in determining the scope of future totalization treaties.

The presentation analyzed the requirements for qualifying for U.S. Social Security benefits as an American citizen as well as how to qualify as a Canadian citizen.  Social Security concerns and controversial reform options were also addressed. 

Dr. Israel Doron, Senior Lecturer, University of Haifa

ABSTRACT – Until now, no attempt has been made to develop a research tool to provide a broad descriptive picture of the actual knowledge that older people have of their legal rights. This article will describe a first attempt, conducted in Israel, to create such a tool, known as the Facts on Law and Ageing Quiz (FoLAQ). This quiz was developed to provide a short and standardised tool for assessing older people’s knowledge of their legal rights in Israel. It is also intended to serve as a research platform for similar studies in other countries worldwide. The research was designed using a quantitative approach. The research population consisted of adult Jews, aged 50 or more years, living in the community in Israel. Using a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI), a randomly chosen sample of 227 persons aged 50 and over was asked 20 multiple-choice questions on central legal issues, and 13 closed questions on their socio-demographic background. The findings revealed that, in general, the majority of older persons in Israel know little about their legal rights. Specifically, the most vulnerable groups in this context were the less educated, the poor, the older-old, and women. Finally, the findings also showed that knowledge gaps were particularly obvious with regard to (1) national legal schemes covering social security in old age, and (2) the rights of older people regarding Israel’s national health insurance scheme.

Sue Field, Public Trustee NSW Fellow in Elder Law at University of Western Sydney

  • Research Update from Elder Law Australia

Sharon Koehn, Charmaine Spencer & Eunju Hwang

ABSTACT – Reuniting immigrant families has been considered an important goal in Canadian policy (Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC), 2006). When an elderly relative is sponsored under the Family Class immigration category, the sponsor makes an unconditional undertaking of support for a period of ten years to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. This is a longer period than for any other Family Class group. In addition to their legal status as dependents, sponsored seniors–the majority from India and China–are left financially and socially vulnerable by a constellation of cultural, situational and structural factors. Based on case studies of the South Asian and Chinese immigrant populations by authors, Koehn and Hwang, and the legal expertise of author Spencer, we conclude that Canada’s laws and policies have an important effect on intergenerational tension, the senior’s status, social isolation, as well as the risk of abuse and neglect or domestic and workplace exploitation. These factors can influence access to essential services such as housing and health care services. While further evidence is needed, findings from preliminary studies indicate the need for policy-level revisions as well as other approaches to reducing the vulnerability of this significant subpopulation of ethnic minority seniors. 

Dr. Nina Kohn, Associate Professor of Law, Syracuse University 

  • Preserving Voting Rights of Elderly and Cognitively Impaired Citizens

Peter Whitehead, Public Trustee NSW, Australia

  • Response to Financial Abuse in NSW-awaiting consent

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