Purpose of the Project:

Although older adults make up a growing proportion of Ontario’s population, law and policy-makers may not be aware of the potential effects of their laws and policies on these members of society, including laws or policies 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 to help evaluate new or existing laws, policies and practices and understand their impact on older adults.

Who Can Use It:

The LCO’s Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults is of assistance to anyone who develops, implements, interprets 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.

It is the LCO’s intent that ultimately the Framework will benefit older persons by assisting in making the law more effective, just and accessible.

How We Developed the Framework:

The LCO developed the Framework through an extensive process of research and consultation, including the following:

  • forming an Ad Hoc Project Advisory Group made up of academics, legal and other service providers, government representatives, advocates and community organizations’;
  • funding research papers by experts in the field on issues related to the project, as well as carrying out considerable internal research;
  • co-hosting the 2010 Canadian Conference on Elder Law, in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly; and
  • consulting 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.

Documents Released to the Public Today:

The LCO has today released two documents to the public:

  • The Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults sets out principles and a series of evaluative questions for assessing laws, policies and practices.
  • The accompanying Report on the Law as it Affects Older Adults provides background about the lives of older adults that informs the Framework, sets out in detail the principles and considerations that create 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.

Members of the Project Advisory Group:

Dr. Jane Barratt, International Federation on Ageing
Christina Bisanz/Nancy Cooper, Ontario Long Term Care Association
Dr. Brenda Elias, University of Guelph, Humber
Elizabeth Esteves/Katharine Mortimer, Ontario Seniors Secretariat
Professor David Freedman, Queen’s University Faculty of Law
David Harvey, Alzheimers Society of Ontario
Margaret Hawthorn/Mary Hynes, Ontario Older Women’s Network
Krista James, Canadian Centre for Elder Law
Professor Gerda Kaegi, Ryerson University
Teri Kay, Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Professor Nina Kohn, Syracuse University College of Law
Dr. Penny MacCourt, Canadian Association of Gerontology
Dr. Lynn McDonald, Institute for Life Course & Aging
Kathryn Pilkington, Ontario Association of Non-Profit Housing and Services for Seniors
Craig Vander Zee, Ontario Bar Association
Judith Wahl, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly