Following national consultations that included a public online survey and roundtables with CNPEA and other elder abuse prevention stakeholders, the Government of Canada has recently announced a new federal policy definition of mistreatment of older persons.

A policy definition "has a different purpose"  from a legal definition. Its aim is to help share a common understanding of the issue and "serve as a vehicle for culture change and public awareness" and to help inform federal policies and programs. This new policy definition is a first step for the government to take leadership in better understanding and addressing the issue of mistreatment. We hope that it will support future government efforts in increasing public awareness and in actively preventing mistreatment of older persons through policy reform and support for programs and organizations that address this pressing issue.

The new definition

"Mistreatment of older persons is a single or repeated event that involves a person, a group, a community, or an organization and occurs within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, when an act, word, attitude, or lack of appropriate action causes or risks causing negative consequences for an older person.It includes events of physical, psychological, financial or material, and sexual mistreatment that can be expressed in the form of violence (act word or attitude) or neglect (lack of appropriate action)"


Read the explanatory document and the Consultation on a federal policy definition of senior abuse: What we heard report.


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