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Is elder abuse prevention and response a part of your practice?

Whether you are lawyer, notary, health care professional, social worker, financial planner, police officer, or other kind of practitioner—the Elder Law Conference offers programming to help you understand the dynamics of elder abuse and enhance your practice.

This year’s conference includes not only legal subjects, but also sessions that deal with policy and practice.  Featured topics are:

  • Older women fleeing abuse and family violence
  • Elder abuse in South Asian and Chinese communities
  • Elder abuse, isolation and LGBTQ older adults
  • Abuse in a long term care setting
  • Financial abuse through powers of attorney

This blog post summarizes the conference’s elder abuse content at a glance to help you plan an exciting learning experience and connect with other practitioners from across North America who care about similar issues.

Day 1, November 12

The first day of the conference offers a lot of choice. We are running concurrent panels throughout the day.  However, every set of concurrent sessions includes one elder abuse topic.  Although there are many interesting offerings, such as health care decision-making, elder mediation and guardianship law, it is possible for you to curate a full day of professional development for yourself on elder abuse topics.

9:10 – 9:40                      Opening Address: Creative and Powerful Linkages: Anchoring Efforts to Prevent and  
                                         Respond to Elder Abuse in BC
                                         A review of innovative work across BC to address elder abuse
                                         Barb MacLean – Chair, Council to Reduce Elder Abuse

9:40 – 10:40 
                  Police Practice to Counter Elder Abuse – a Comparison of Two Communities:
                                        Montreal and New Westminster
                                        Key challenges and strategies for supporting older adults experiencing abuse in a
                                        police practice context.

Josée Blais – Chief Inspector, City of Montreal Police Service
Detective Constable Jacqueline Frost – Domestic Violence/Elder Abuse Investigator, New Westminster Police Department
Reena Singh – Victim Support Worker, New Westminster Police Department, Elder Abuse Unit
Moderated by: Marie BeaulieuResearch Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults, University of Sherbrooke

10:55 – 12:00
                 Debate - Establishing a National Power of Attorney Registry: a Pan-Canadian Approach                                          to Minimizing Financial Elder Abuse and Fraud
                                         Listen to the debate, and vote on the winner.

Doug Surtees – Associate Dean Academic, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Brian Trainor – Retired Police Sergeant and Community Education Consultant, Saskatoon

Kimberly Azyan – Director, Services to Adults, Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, Vancouver
Clare E. Burns – Lawyer, WeirFoulds LLP, Toronto

Referee: Jay Chalke, QC — Ombudsperson of British Columbia

12:00 – 1:15
                    Networking lunch (provided) with keynote speaker
                                          The Wounds of Silence: a LGBTQ Isolation and Elder Abuse – Strategic Approaches                                                 for Change.
                                          Legal tools and best practices for cultivating a meaningful relationship with                                                     LGBTQ elders
                                          Rick Goralewicz – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Cheyenne and                                             Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma

1:15– 2:45
                      Supporting Older Women Fleeing Abuse 
                                         Learn to better support older women
                                         Discuss legal issues they face when leaving an abusive relationship

Janice Abbott – Chief Executive Officer, Atira Women’s Resource Society
Kendra Milne – Director of Law Reform, West Coast LEAF
Alana Prochuk – Manager of Public Legal Education, West Coast LEAF

2:00 – 2:45
                     Elder Abuse and Care Issues in a Long-Term Care Setting: Working Strategically to                                                   Advocate for Older Adults
                                        Financial and pain management, privacy issues and how to respond effectively to                                           abuse concerns

R. C. (Tino) Di Bella – Lawyer, Jawl Bundon LLP, Victoria 
Michael B. Krabbendam, RN, RPN Adv. – Administrator/Director of Care, Manoah Manor, Langley
Jane E. Meadus – Staff Lawyer, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

3:00 – 3:50
                     Arrimage: a Practical Guide on Intersystem Duo Practice between Police Officers and                                            Community Practitioners to Counter Elder Abuse
                                         The strengths, challenges and limits of the intersectoral approach.

Marie Beaulieu – Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC.

Day 2, November 13

Although elder abuse will be a theme discussed in sessions dealing with mental capacity and dementia, predatory marriage and health care decision-making, day 2 of the conference features two key sessions on elder abuse practice.

The morning includes a one-hour session on who to call when a vulnerable adult needs help. Focused on the BC experience, this inter-disciplinary session discusses agencies to contact for different types of abuse, neglect and self neglect.  Presenters will cover the roles and mandates of key agencies, what to expect when you contact them, and legal issues that may arise for all three formal responders in fulfilling their respective roles.


  • Deidre J. Herbert – Lawyer, McLellan Herbert
  • Kevin Coughlin — Regional Consultant, Services to Adults, Public Guardian and Trustee of BC
  • Leanne Lange – Clinical Specialist, Adult Abuse and Neglect, Fraser Health
  • Alison Leaney – Provincial Coordinator, Vulnerable Adults Community Response, Services to Adults, Public Guardian and Trustee of BC
  • Steve Wilson – Economic Technical Crime Unit, Delta Police Department

Finally, we are really excited to be offering a three-hour interactive session in the afternoon on addressing elder abuse in Chinese and South Asian communities.  We have heard from elder abuse practitioners from across the country that working with different ethno-cultural and immigrant communities is a key practice challenge.  Facilitators from the University of Victoria Centre on Aging and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law will present research on what tools and resources currently exist to support practice, and engage participants in an interactive session to map out priorities in developing tools to support elder abuse prevention and response in this area. The session will engage a graphic illustrate to map the discussions on a large scale—we are hoping for a session that will be informative and challenging, but also fun and inspiring.

Whether you work with seniors in government and policy, private sector or community, elder abuse is an urgent issue you need to understand.  The Canadian Elder Law Conference is a great opportunity to move your practice to the next level, offering two full days of high quality professional development to support you to understand the complex legal and policy issues surrounding elder abuse prevention and response. 

Register for the conference


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