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By Kathy Majowski and Kavina Nagrani

On January 30, 2019, the CNPEA participated in a Roundtable in Toronto hosted by the FCAC. In response to a commitment by the Government of Canada “to respond to the unique needs of Canada’s aging population’’, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada will ‘’engage with banks and seniors’ groups to create a voluntary code of conduct (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”)  to guide banks in their delivery of services to Canada’s seniors.” (Fall Economic Statement 2018). We were pleased to be invited to participate in the roundtable discussion and to provide comments/feedback on the draft Code. You can find a summary of our comments below.

  • It is CNPEA’s position that a code of conduct to better serve older adults should be mandatory. A voluntary code introduces a risk of inconsistencies across banks and branches. Notwithstanding this sentiment, CNPEA is of the view that the code despite being voluntary, is a step in the right direction.

  • Over recent years, professionals in the field of aging have debated the most appropriate terminology. The term “seniors’’ is falling out of favour. The CNPEA recommends that  ‘’older adult’’  be used to define Canadians 55 and older in the Code.

  • The Code establishes an “Advisory Committee” to oversee compliance and perform periodic reviews. The CNPEA recommends that older adult representatives and representatives of municipal Seniors Councils from different jurisdictions be invited to participate or form part of the Advisory Committee.

  • In regards to the oversight of bank compliance to the Code, the CNPEA recommends consequences and/or guidelines in cases of non-compliance be in the Code.

  • The CNPEA supports the banks designating a “Senior Champion” within their staff and suggests that this champion should be mandated to attend a specific number of yearly training opportunities (such as webinars and events) to stay up-to-date on current issues and topics affecting older adults.

  • In regards to direct services and communication with older adults, the CNPEA recommends that bank staff encourage older adults to seek legal advice about services such as joint accounts and Power of Attorneys to assist in making an informed decision, and further ensuring that print materials are available with information relating to the same are available. 

  • The CNPEA supports the initiative to ensure that bank employees have relevant knowledge and receive training about topics that are related to older adults

  • CNPEA supports regular training of bank staff to ensure that they are familiar with ever-evolving scams and fraud typically targeting older Canadians and that they are expected to share information, red-flags and communicate with their client base in respect thereof. 

Overall, the CNPEA is in support of the initiative of the FCAC to implement the voluntary Code, and are of the view that the Code will be instrumental in helping to mitigate the risks of financial abuse and fraud within the older population of Canadians. 

 

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