Law Commission of Ontario Launches Public Consultation On the Law as it Affects Older Persons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, May 6, 2008 – The Law Commission of Ontario today launched a public consultation on the law as it affects older persons. This public consultation is the first stage of a larger project that is expected to develop a new approach to this area of the law.
With the aging of Canada’s population comes both opportunities and challenges. It will be increasingly important to have a clear understanding of the needs, circumstances and experiences of older persons, and to have appropriate and effective policy frameworks in place. In keeping with these developments, there is a need for a re-examination of the law as it affects older persons, said Dr. Patricia Hughes, Executive Director of the LCO. “For the law to effectively serve older adults, we need to develop a principled and comprehensive approach that takes into account the diversity of experiences among older persons based on their sex, language, culture, health, and degree of vulnerability.”
There is a broad range of laws that affect older persons. Some laws directly deal with circumstances that uniquely affect older persons. There are laws, for instance, regulating long-term care homes. As well, laws still commonly provide benefits or assign duties based on attainment of a specific age. Other laws apply to everyone, but may have a different or greater impact on older persons because of their particular needs and experiences. For example, older persons may face extra challenges in attempting to access the justice system.
Because of the breadth of the project, it is being conducted in two stages. At this time, the LCO is seeking public input on specific issues that should be examined in depth, and the principles that should shape its approach. The LCO has developed a Consultation Paper that outlines potential issues and themes, in order to provide a focal point for discussion. Written submissions in response to the Consultation Paper will be accepted until Monday, July 7, 2008.
Based on the results of this consultation and the LCO’s independent research, the LCO will adopt a set of guiding principles for the project and will select themes and issues that will be addressed during the next phase. Further consultation will be undertaken on the issues identified. The entire project is expected to span two to three years.
Launched last September, the LCO operates independently of government to recommend law reforms to enhance access to justice.
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Ms Lauren Bates
Law Commission of Ontario