The Law Commission of Ontario is a partnership among the Ministry of the Attorney General, Osgoode Hall Law School, the Law Deans of Ontario’s law schools, the Law Foundation of Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Its purpose is to recommend law reform measures to enhance the legal system’s relevance, effectiveness and accessibility; improve the administration of justice through the clarification and simplification of the law; consider the use of technology to enhance access to justice; stimulate critical legal debate; and study areas that are underserved by other research.

Pursuant to this mandate, the LCO has initiated a project on the law as it affects older adults.[1] This is a multi-year project that is intended to develop a new approach to this area of the law, essentially providing a framework for analyzing and understanding the impact of the law on older persons. Given the breadth of this project, the LCO is first conducting a preliminary consultation to assist in determining its scope and content. This Paper is intended to provide a focus for discussion and to solicit input for this preliminary consultation.

There are many areas of the law that on their face have particular impacts on older adults, including estate, pension and benefit, and health laws. There are also areas of the law that, while neutral on their face, may be fairer or more effective if they take age into account. As well, there are many specific legal issues affecting older adults that would benefit from research and review. The LCO is of the view that the development of a comprehensive analytical framework for the law as it affects older adults will help to ensure that the needs, circumstances and experiences of older adults are appropriately addressed.

This Paper provides a brief overview of themes and issues that may form part of the scope of the LCO’s project on the law affecting older adults. The themes and issues are multi-dimensional and interconnected, and each can only be briefly touched upon within this Paper. This overview is not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive: the LCO welcomes, and indeed expects, that stakeholders will identify further issues, themes and approaches. Nor is it the intent of this document to explore all of the dimensions of any of the issues identified, or to develop positions and recommendations, but rather to highlight some issues that could be considered in more depth in the LCO’s project.

This Paper has been distributed to stakeholders for comment, as well as posted on the LCO website. Based on the LCO’s independent research, including the responses to this Paper, the LCO will adopt a set of guiding principles, and will identify themes and specific issues that will be addressed by this Project.

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