About the Conference

The 5th annual Canadian Conference on Elder Law took place from October 28th – 30th, 2010 at the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Toronto. The goal of the Conference is to promote contribution and access to a knowledge base regarding legal issues affecting older adults, with a view to reducing vulnerability, social isolation and abuse. The Conference brings together professional groups, lawyers, community members, advocates, health specialists, researchers and interested individuals, and highlights some of the most interesting and innovative research and practices in the field.


The Conference Partners

The 2010 Conference was developed in collaboration between the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, the Law Commission of Ontario, and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly is a community based legal clinic whose services and activities focus on areas of law of special importance to the seniors’ population. ACE was the first legal clinic in Canada to specialize in the legal problems of seniors. It provides direct legal services to low-income seniors, public legal education, and engages in law reform activities.

The Canadian Centre for Elder Law is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of older adults in their relationship to the law and conducts research, outreach and public legal education on elder law issues. The Canadian Centre for Elder Law was the host of the previous Canadian Conferences on Elder Law


2010 Conference Overview

The theme of the 2010 Conference was “Developing an Anti-Ageist Approach to the Law”, reflecting and supporting the LCO’s multi-year project to develop a holistic and principled framework for the law as it affects older adults, the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly’s pioneering role in promoting access to justice for older adults, and the unique mandate of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law.  The Conference explored issues of elder rights, ageism and the law, access to justice, and law reform for older persons.

The Conference commenced with a pre-day on October 28th, during which the World Study Group on Elder Law met and presented new and emerging research in the area of elder law.


The Conference’s plenary sessions included:

• A keynote address from Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;

• A panel from Ontario’s law schools reflecting on the role of the law schools in responding to Canada’s aging demographic;

• A discussion on making the shift to a rights-based approach to elder law, featuring International Federation on Ageing Secretary General Dr. Jane Barratt, Professor Joan Gilmour of Osgoode Hall Law School and Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission Barbara Hall;

• A panel discussion on law reform and older adults including LCO Executive Director Dr. Patricia Hughes, Justice Marcia Neave of the Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeals, and Frances Patterson Q.C., Public Law Commissioner of the Law Commission of England and Wales; and

• The Distinguished Lecture on Elder Law by Judge Nancy Flatters of the Alberta Provincial Court.

The Conference included 25 breakout sessions, focusing on a diverse array of issues including the use of technology to improve access to the law for older adults; gender, age and the law; including older adults in the law reform process; family relationships, conflict and the law of capacity and guardianship; the development of effective complaints mechanisms to protect the rights of older adults; and many others.

The full Conference Programme is available here. The LCO has posted the Conference papers and presentations here.

The Conference Dinner was a celebration of the role of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and Ontario’s legal clinics in advancing the rights of older adults and access to justice more generally, and included a pre-dinner reception hosted by the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario. The Dinner speaker was Roger Smith of JUSTICE.