Canada has a long-standing history of leading Human Rights movements starting with the vote at the UN to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 – a promise of freedom, equality and justice for all. Today older adults represent the fastest growing demographic in our country yet we know that they do not enjoy the same protections as others and that the core of this societal intolerance is Ageism. The impacts of age discrimination carry significantly negative outcomes for the quality of life of older adults who are becoming invisible. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and afforded opportunities to participate equally in society. We are calling on Canada, a member of civil society, to advocate for and support the declaration of a UN convention on the Rights of Older Persons, to foster a world free from ageism. Strengthening our collective voice means being informed about the facts, knowing how far we have come and what must happen at the UN in May 2024.

Participants learned about what is at stake, without this legally binding instrument being declared. The inadequacies and gaps identified in international Human Rights frameworks are well documented and public support for change is growing globally.

Guest Speakers 

  • Honourable Minister Seamus O’Regan, Minister for Seniors
  • The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

Panelist Members:

  • Amal Abou Rafeh, Chief Programme on Ageing Section (PAS), Social Inclusion and Participation Branch, Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations Headquarters
  • Margaret Gillis, President International Longevity Centre (ILC) Canada Co-President, ILC Global Alliance, “Ambassador” Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario
  • Bridget Sleap, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch
  • Margaret Young, Chair Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP)
  • Frances Zainoeddin, Vice-Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing, New York
  • Marta Hajek, CEO, Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario

Websites and Resources Shared :

Please find below links resources shared during the webinar and background information on the need for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons and how you can take action to Sign the Petition!

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People is strengthening the rights and voice of older people globally. We encourage you to sign our petition urging governments to start drafting a United Nations (UN) convention on the rights of older people without delay.

Sign Petition:

The Global Rally is a key part of the Age with Rights campaign that provides opportunity for people around the world who support the stronger protection and promotion of older people’s human rights to unite in solidarity and call on governments to take action and support the drafting of the United Nations (UN) convention on the rights of older people. #AgeWithRights Global Rally 2024: 8-14 April 2024

Browse the Global Rally 2024 activities:

Age With Rights Social media toolkit:

Age With Rights Campaign

Canadian Coalition Against Ageism (CCAA)

We also encourage you to join the Canadian Coalition Against Ageism (CCAA), a nation-wide social change movement to combat ageism against older people while protecting and strengthening their human rights. Learn more at :  and Join Now as a supporter:

Websites Shared :


The Imperative of Including a Comprehensive International Legally Binding Instrument in United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing Inter-governmentally Negotiated Recommendations




Open-ended Working Group on Ageing::Campaigners across the world call on governments to start drafting a UN convention on the rights of older people


United National Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, it set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

United Nations DESA Programme On Ageing
The primary action of the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) programme on ageing is to facilitate and promote MIPAA including: designing guidelines for policy development and implementation; advocating means to mainstream ageing issues into development agendas; engaging in dialogue with civil society and the private sector; and information exchange.

You can reach us by email at [email protected]. Our contact address is available here.

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