Although older adults make up a growing proportion of Ontario’s population, law and policy-makers may not be fully aware of or always consider the potential effects of their laws and policies on these members of society. These laws and policies include those that directly target older adults, as well as general laws and policies that may affect older persons as part of the general population. The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has created a Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults to help evaluate new or existing laws, policies and practices and understand their impact on older adults.
The LCO’s Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults can be of assistance to anyone who develops, interprets, implements or assesses laws, policies or practices that may affect older persons, including
- legislators, policy-makers and courts;
- advocacy organizations and community groups that deal with issues affecting older adults; and
- public or private organizations that develop or administer policies or programs that could affect older persons.
The LCO hopes that ultimately the Framework will benefit older persons by making the law more effective, just and accessible.
The Framework is based on a set of principles. These were derived from the LCO’s public consultations and research, as well as building on the foundations created by the National Framework on Aging, the International Principles for Older Persons, the reports of the Special Senate Committee on Aging, the work of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and other initiatives.
The Framework is accompanied by an extensive Final Report: A Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults, Advancing Substantive Equality for Older Persons through Law, Policy and Practice. The Final Report provides background about the lives of older adults on which the Framework is premised, sets out in detail the principles and considerations that form the basis for the Framework, and provides examples of the potential application of the Framework. It will be of assistance to those who require further information or assistance in applying the Framework.
The Framework was developed through an extensive process of research and consultation. The LCO:
- Formed an Ad Hoc Project Advisory Group made up of academics, legal and other service providers, government representatives, advocates and community organizations.
- Funded research papers by experts in the field on issues related to the project, as well as carrying out considerable internal research.
- Co-hosted the 2010 Canadian Conference on Elder Law, in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.
- Consulted broadly with experts, key stakeholders and older adults themselves through consultation papers and submissions, a stakeholder event in the fall of 2011, a series of focus groups with older adults, and a broadly disseminated consultation questionnaire.
This project is closely related to the LCO’s similar project on the law as it affects persons with disabilities. A significant minority of older persons live with disabilities, whether because they have aged with disabilities or because they have developed disabilities as they aged. While there are many areas where the two projects diverged, they were developed in tandem and have shed light on each other during that process.
- A Framework for the Law as It Affects Older Adults: Final Framework – April 2012
- Final Report – April 2012
- Interim Report including Draft Framework – June 2011
- Consultation Paper – January 2009
- Pre-Study Consultation Paper – May 2008