Human Rights Don’t Get Old
The basic human rights of older Canadians are challenged and undervalued every day in our society. This was especially evident throughout the COVID-19 pandemic over the previous years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that an estimated 1 in 6 seniors are victims of elder abuse globally.
We, as a country, cannot allow this to continue.
This World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), CanAge, EAPO, CNPEA and BC CRN are partnering together to initiate a national conversation surrounding the prevention of elder abuse. The campaign strives to highlight actions that each of us can take to support and protect the rights of seniors within our community.
Take action in 3 easy steps:
- Sign up for the online event
- Speak up for seniors
- Join the movement
Join the Conversation
On June 15th, we’re hosting a free national webinar event for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
This is the main event of WEAAD—a not-to-be-missed interactive experience that brings together a panel of experts, political figures, advocates and concerned people like you to engage in an inspiring discussion about how we, as a country, can end elder abuse and protect the rights of older people.
The event features an all-star lineup of speakers, including some very special guests.
Make sure you secure your seat quickly, as space is limited (and share widely with your networks!)
In case you missed it, you can watch the 2022 WEAAD panel here.
WEAAD 2023 Speaker Spotlight
Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO, CanAge
Laura Tamblyn Watts is the Founder and CEO of CanAge, Canada’s national seniors’ advocacy organization. Laura is a passionate advocate on a variety of urgent issues affecting older Canadians, including long-term care and home care, financial security, elder abuse, health care, ageism and inclusion of marginalized communities.
Laura previously served as Chief Public Policy Officer at the Canadian Association of Retired Persons before establishing CanAge at the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Since then, CanAge has emerged as a go-to media commentator and trusted voice for Canadian seniors, underscored by Laura’s more than 20 years’ experience defending the rights and dignity of older people as a lawyer and thought-leader.
Margaret Gillis, President, International Longevity Centre Canada
Margaret Gillis is the founding President of the International Longevity Centre Canada, a human rights-based organization, and Co-President of the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance, which is an alliance of 16 Centres around the world dedicated to the needs of older people. She is An award winning executive and innovative leader, Margaret played a key role in establishing the Age-friendly Community program in Canada and internationally. Other career highlights include a joint government-NGO project to protect seniors in disasters.
Margaret has strong credentials in regard to human rights, working with and speaking at the UN General Assembly on behalf of older people. Margaret has been actively working for a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons in Canada and internationally. With a background in health promotion, protection and programming, Margret is committed to improving the rights of older people.
Margaret holds a BA in History (Queen’s ) and a Master’s in Public Administration (Carleton).
Dr. Amanda Grenier, Professor, Norman and Honey Schipper Chair in Gerontological Social Work, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto
Amanda Grenier joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work in July 2019 as the Norman and Honey Schipper Chair in Gerontological Social Work. She is also appointed to Baycrest Hospital. Previously she was a Professor in Health, Aging and Society, the Gilbrea Chair in Aging & Mental Health, and the Director of the Gilbrea Centre at McMaster University. Prior to that she was a Faculty member in the McGill School of Social Work.
Dr. Grenier is an inter-disciplinary scholar focused on aging and the life course. Her research focuses on understanding the interface of public policies, organizational practices, and older people’s lived experience, with a particular focus on aging and inequality. She has led and participated in international, national, and provincial teams on aging and care, and carried out funded research on life course transitions, social constructs of frailty, aging with a disability, home care reform, and homelessness among older people (SSHRC, ESDC, CIHR). She currently is PI of a SSHRC Insight Grant: Precarity and aging: unequal experiences in contemporary late life. (2016-2021). Her recent books include Late life homelessness: Experiences of disadvantage and unequal aging (In Press, 2021 MQUP) and Precarity and Aging: Understanding changing forms of risk and vulnerability in later life (Eds, with Phillipson and Settersten, 2020 Policy Press).
Amanda was the recipient of the 2018 Katz Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Interdisciplinary Age Studies (Trent); and the 2017 Hallsworth Visiting Fellow, University of Manchester, UK. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Aging Studies as well as a number of expert advisory committees on aging. She also co-leads the Knowledge Mobilization Strand (K-MOB) of AGE-WELL National Centre of Excellence (NCE) and is a co-applicant on the Inclusive Communities for Older Immigrants SSHRC Partnership Grant (PI- Guruge).
Ambassador Bob Rae
Bob Rae is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York.
Mr. Rae served as Premier of Ontario from 1990-1995, and interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011-2013. He was elected to federal and provincial parliaments 11 times between 1978 and 2013.
Mr. Rae received his Honours B.A. in Modern History from the University of Toronto, an M.Phil in Politics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1977. He was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1984.
As a lawyer in private practice, Mr. Rae led the restructuring of the Canadian Red Cross, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and chaired the board of the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also wrote “Lessons to be Learned” on the Air India bombing, and “Ontario a Leader in Learning” – a study of the Ontario higher education system. He was also named to the Security and Intelligence Review Committee by then Prime Minister Chrétien.
Mr. Rae’s return to Parliament for the constituency of Toronto Centre in 2008 led to his appointment as Foreign Affairs spokesman for his party, and to his election as interim Leader in 2011. Between 2013 and 2020 he taught law and public policy at the University of Toronto, and was a partner and senior counsel to the law firm OKT LLP, specializing in indigenous law and constitutional issues.
In 1997, Mr. Rae became a founding board member of the Forum of Federations. He went on to serve as Chairman and President of the Forum, and advised many governments and groups on issues of constitutional change, the rule of law, federalism and devolution. He remains a Senior Fellow of the Forum.
Mr. Rae is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He served as the Chief Negotiator for the 9 First Nations that are members of the Matawa Tribal Council in Northern Ontario between 2013 and 2018. In October 2017, Mr. Rae was appointed as Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar. In this role, he engaged in diplomatic efforts to address the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State and wrote the report “Tell Them We’re Human” in 2018. In March 2020, he was named by Prime Minister Trudeau to be Canada’s Special Envoy on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues. This led to his report “A Global Pandemic Requires a Global Response”, which was made public shortly before his appointment as Ambassador to the UN.
Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world. In addition to several government reports, he is the author of five books. Along with music, reading, and writing, he loves tennis, golf, and fishing. He is married to Arlene Perly Rae, writer and public advocate.
Dr. Tazim Virani, Senior Vice President, Social Impact & Global Initiatives, SE Health
Dr. Tazim Virani is a seasoned healthcare professional with over four decades of experience in the health and social development sectors. Tazim’s career as a clinician, administrator, educator, researcher, and system leader has been marked by a range of pioneering contributions. As the Senior Vice President, Social Impact & Global Initiatives at SE Health, Tazim leads an exciting initiative called Future of Aging that empowers older adults to live with dignity, choice, and independence. This program focuses on four key pillars: 1) human rights and combating ageism; 2) building coalitions for action; 3) age friendly and affordable housing options; and 4) innovation solutions to create a better world for older adults. Tazim is committed to creating positive social impact and empowering marginalized communities.
Tom Warner, Chair, The Senior Pride Network Toronto
Tom Warner (he/him) is Chair of The Senior Pride Network Toronto. SPN Toronto asserts and advocates for the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ older persons, engages in education and public awareness on behalf of 2SLGBTQI+ older persons and envisions communities of 2SLGBTQI+ older persons that are respectful, affirming, supportive, safe and healthy. Tom has been an activist for 2SLGBTQI+ rights for over 50 years. He was a leader of political action campaigns to have sexual orientation included as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Code during the 1970s and 1980s and to amend Ontario laws to extend legal recognition to same-sex spousal relationships during the 1990s. He served as an Ontario Human Rights Commissioner in the 1990s and is the author of two books, Losing Control, Canada’s Social Conservatives in the Age of Rights (2010) and Never Going Back, A history of queer activism in Canada (2002).
Chief Ovide Mercredi
Ovide Mercredi is a Cree, born in the northern community of Grand Rapids, Manitoba in 1946. He served his community as Chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011 and acted as a councillor for three years after his terms as Chief.
A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Faculty of Law in 1977, he practiced criminal law and later specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs. Ovide Mercredi became a national and international leader in advocating for Indigenous peoples’ rights.
In 1989, Ovide was elected Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba as well as appointed a member of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. He became a key strategist for the Assembly during the time of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform discussions. Ovide has always advocated for non-violent methods to resolve conflict and he had an active role in negotiations in Oka, Gustafson Lake, Iperrwash and Burnt Church.
On June 12, 1991, Ovide was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, a role which he held for two terms from 1991 to 1997, where he represented a diverse group of people who embraced differing traditions and at times, represented conflicting interests. During his first term, he led the negotiations for the First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord. In his efforts to find consensus for policies and to foster unity, he spent much of his time traveling across Canada to meet people and to learn firsthand of their difficulties.
He became the first chancellor of Manitoba’s University College of the North in 2007. He was selected in a traditional manner to be the National Spokesperson for Treaties 1 to 11 which he led from 2006 to 2014. For his work as an advocate of non-violent methods for change, he has been nominated by the Government of India for the Gandhi Peace Prize. He served on the board of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Among his many honours and awards are; Order of Canada, 2021, the Order of Manitoba in 2005 and honorary degrees from Bishop’s University, St. Mary’s University, Lethbridge University, Athabasca University, the Law Society of Ontario and the University of Manitoba.
Ovide is the author of My Silent Drum a book of poetry and enjoys golfing.
Currently, Ovide is working for Nishnawbe Aski in Northern Ontario on the application of the Declaration of Indigenous Rights as a tool for reform of Canadian laws.
Moira Welsh, Journalist, Toronto Star
Moira Welsh is a Toronto Star journalist and the Star’s lead on its project called The Third Act, which challenges governments, policymakers and institutions to improve the way we live in our later years. Moira is the author of Happily Ever Older: Revolutionary Approaches to Long-Term Care and has written extensively on issues related to older adults along with social justice, health and the environment. Moira has three National Newspaper Awards for Toronto Star investigations. She was a finalist for a Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism, the Justicia Award for Legal Reporting and the Canadian Hillman Prize for investigative journalism “in service of the common good.”
Get the Facts
1 senior abused is 1 too many. Unfortunately, when it comes to showing just how urgent a problem elder abuse is, the numbers don’t lie.
- 1 in 2 people are prejudiced against older people (Global Report on Ageism, World Health Organization)
- 1 in 5 Canadians say older people are a burden on society (Report on Ageism, Revera, 2012)
- An estimated 7.5% of Canadians 55 and older experienced abuse (Into the Light National Survey on the Mistreatment of Older Canadians, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, 2015)
- 1 in 6 people over the age of 60 are victims of elder abuse (World Health Organization)
- In 2021, Women aged 55 and older represented 28% of all victims of femicide (Call it Femicide Report, Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, 2021)
- Nearly 8 in 10 seniors report age discrimination in healthcare (Report on Ageism, Revera, 2012)
- In Ontario, there was a 250% increase in calls to the Seniors Safety Line in 2020 (Assaulted Women’s Helpline, 2021)
Speak up for Seniors
We’ve developed an All-in-one WEAAD Social Media Toolkit to help individuals and organizations spread the word about WEAAD on social media.
We’ve also created a WEAAD Toolkit full of resources and materials created to support you in planning events, designing educational and promotional materials for awareness activities, and for promoting your WEAAD events.
The Kit includes: WEAAD logos, available in French and English, Social Media images, certificates, email signature images, Zoom backgrounds, social media cards/messages, and more! We’ve also got sample social media banners below to help spread the word.
For more elder abuse resources please visit CNPEA resource page.
Join the Movement
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