Access to Justice for the Elderly
The growth in Canada’s aging population has led to increased awareness of the special needs of seniors and the impact of the law on them. Our blogs have often dealt with issues that particularly affect the elderly, such as power of attorney abuse. In a previous blog, I noted the rise of a new practice specialty, elder law, to deal with the multi-faceted legal needs of the elderly.
The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) is a longstanding community legal clinic that has been at the forefront of elder law since 1984. ACE specializes in providing legal services to low income seniors in Ontario and promoting access to justice for the elderly. Through its work, ACE has developed expertise in issues affecting older persons, such as elder abuse and exploitation, mental capacity and consent, patients’ rights in hospitals and other institutions, and substitute decision making.
ACE is currently working with the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) to research the best ways to enforce the rights of older adults residing in institutional settings, such as hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes. Older adults, including residents in institutional settings, are too often denied access to justice due to lack of awareness of legal rights, discrimination based on age, and financial and physical obstacles in trying to access the legal system. ACE’s goal is to develop an ‘access to justice model’ that will promote the autonomy and dignity of older adults residing in institutions, and ensure that their complaints are heard and successfully resolved. ACE’s work is part of a broader multi-year project by the LCO to develop a new framework to analyze and understand the impact of law on older persons.
Have a great day!
Bianca La Neve