A Message from the Honourable Minister of State of Seniors

I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss the important work our Conservative Government is doing to combat abuse against older Canadians. We cannot and will not tolerate abuse in any form against seniors.

We have taken several steps to address this very serious issue.

For example, in March 2007, our Government established the National Seniors Council to provide us with advice on all matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors. The first priority given to the Council by our Government was to examine the serious issue of elder abuse in Canada. After a year of extensive consultations with seniors, community and social groups, as well as other concerned Canadians, the Council released its report on elder abuse. It clearly outlined the magnitude of the problem of elder abuse in its many forms, including physical, financial, psychological, sexual and neglect.

Our Government fully understands that this is a complex problem that cannot be solved by one level of government or one organization. We recognize that combating elder abuse requires all of us to do our part to stop such unspeakable mistreatment. That is why, at the federal level, we are increasing our efforts.

We have introduced the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative, under which we invested $13 million over three years to help seniors and others recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse, and also to provide information on what support is available. A key element of that commitment includes a national public awareness campaign, which we will be launching very soon.

Together with my colleague, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, I also recently announced more than $4 million in funding to support 16 projects across Canada. Each project falls under the Elder Abuse Awareness component of the New Horizons for Seniors Program. The funding supports national and regional non-profit organizations in their efforts to raise awareness of elder abuse and reduce the incidences of abuse against older adults across the country.

I appreciate CARP’s leadership on elder abuse awareness and prevention. Our Conservative Government is working with our counterparts, collaborating with provinces and territories, professional associations, and non-governmental organizations to take measures to combat elder abuse and ensure that the quality of life of seniors is not diminished by abuse of any kind. Together we will continue working to end elder abuse.