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CNPEA welcomes the news of the appointment of the Honourable Filomena Tassi as the new Minister of Seniors. It is tremendously encouraging to see that the Canadian government has decided to make the fastest growing age group in the country one of its focuses at last. We look forward to collaborating with Minister Tassi to help guarantee that older adults live free from abuse and neglect.

Canada has long been in need of a Minister who will federally address the needs of such a significant number of its citizens. Since 2017, and for the first time in its history, Canada counts more people over the age of sixty five than under the age of fifteen. Canada currently faces challenges to ensure that older Canadians get to live fulfilling and safe lives, where their human rights are respected and protected. The issue is not the aging population, nor aging in general. The issue lies with policies, infrastructures, and services that do not take into account the specific needs and wishes of such a large part of our population.

Minister Tassi has the opportunity to foster and champion new approaches and new strategies to address the issues affecting older adults in Canada, particularly to address and prevent elder abuse.Stories about older adults who are mistreated, neglected or victims of fraud and financial abuse emerge regularly. Two recent national studies estimate that between 4.5% and 7.5% of Canadian seniors report experiencing some form of abuse. 7.5% of Canadians over the age of fifty five - that’s 695,248 Canadians who are subjected to abuse. The statistics only account for individuals who reported their situation, it is likely than many more suffer in silence.

The complex nature and roots of elder abuse require a concerted, wide-ranging approach that goes beyond silos and sectors. Through this new role, Minister Tassi has the opportunity to drive a forward-thinking, innovative effort; to unite, support and lead initiatives across the country. CNPEA has been working hard for years to encourage this approach by connecting people and organizations across sectors and provinces, by fostering the sharing of reliable information, and by advancing program and policy development on issues related to preventing the abuse of older adults.

We look forward to working with Minister Tassi in order to  build a safe, respectful and age-friendly environment for Canadians, as we all grow older.