On March 1st, 2023, a delegation of Chairs and volunteer representatives from over 20 local  Elder Abuse Prevention Networks in Ontario joined EAPO, to visit Queen’s Park and meet with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs). The intent of this first ever Lobby Day was to deliver our collective Call to Action, that the prevention of abuse of seniors be one of the Ontario Government’s top priorities and that we take a pragmatic look at what can be done to curb the current trajectory of rapidly rising incidents in the province.

The day began at 7:30 a.m. with a wholesome, Breakfast Reception hosted by EAPO, in Committee Room 228, of the Main Legislative Building. It was very well attended by MPPs and political staff, providing an opportunity to engage with Members of the Legislature and begin those essential conversations about how we can collectively tackle this growing societal issue, this unacceptable violation of human rights of older persons.  

During the formal segment, CEO Marta Hajek, welcomed participants, and after delivering her opening remarks, invited Hon. Min, R. Cho, having dawned a purple scarf, emblematic of the universal color of EA Prevention, to bring greetings from the Ministry for Seniors & Accessibility (MSAA). The Minister was followed by MPP Lise Vaugeois, NDP Seniors’ Critic and Liberal MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon who both expressed their resounding support of a collaborate, proactive government-wide approach, to address the needs of vulnerable seniors in the province at-risk or experiencing abuse, in unprecedented numbers.

The photo above was taken at the close of the reception after which, teams of delegates who were not already scheduled to meet with individual MPPs, proceeded to the Legislature where MPP Jill Andrew welcomed the EA Prevention delegation to the House, acknowledging the tremendous work by the volunteers and EAPO in helping keep Ontario seniors safe and secure.

The day though long, was exciting and extremely productive, allowing for over 29 individual meetings with MPPs and Ministers. Topics of discussion ranged from: 

  • raising awareness of the complexities of abuse issues
  • the need for ongoing, intergenerational education, across all sectors and communities
  • the need for sustainable funding and resource supports for the network of hardworking, dedicated volunteers engaging with EAPO to deliver on the province’s priorities of
    safeguarding older adults from harm and neglect, and finally,
  • sharing the very significant, stark and negative impacts that elder abuse is having on the province’s overburden health and public safety resources.

It was agreed that this was the time to be proactive and decisive in our collective efforts to support the fastest growing demographic in the province.

The Calls to Action, itemized in Briefing Notes provided to each MPP, in advance of the meetings included: 

  1. Apply an elder abuse PREVENTION lens to policy, legislation and programming when addressing the care of older Ontarians.
  2. Support the coordination and resource expansion of volunteer regional EA Prevention Networks, through sustainable funding.
  3. Invest in abuse prevention strategies and programming by providing at minimum an inflationary increase of 6.25% for 2023-2024.
  4. Protect the financial well-being of older Ontarians by investing in fraud prevention, including cyber-fraud and
  5. Provide funding stability through annualized multi-year agreements, that support consistent, accountable programming by EAPO.

EAPO (www.eapon.ca), a long-standing, trusted government partner, mandated by the Ontario Government over 20 years ago to support the implementation of the Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse (the 1st of its kind in Canada) renewed its commitment to dedicate all available resources to optimize its efforts in the realms of education, advocacy, training and community engagement, to help Stop the Abuse and Restore the Respect. All Ontarians deserve to have a strong voice and live a quality of life that is free from harm.


Photo Source: https://twitter.com/RaymondChoPC/