OTTAWA, June 15, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today issued the following statement in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day:
"Since 2006, June 15th has been recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, focusing attention on the abuse and neglect that some older adults experience and how it can be prevented.
"Elder abuse is a hidden crime that can take many forms, including physical, financial or emotional. It robs older people of dignity and peace at a time of life when they should feel secure. In Canada, it has been estimated that between four and ten percent of seniors experience some form of abuse and that only one in five cases of abuse is reported.
"Elder abuse is difficult to talk about, because it is such an emotional issue. However, breaking the silence and helping people understand the magnitude of this problem is essential.
"Our government is committed to standing up for victims of elder abuse. We are pleased to recognize and support the work being done to raise awareness of elder abuse and help seniors better protect themselves from its many forms.
"Our government also helps to address elder abuse through awareness campaigns, the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) and legislation. The NHSP provides funding for projects that raise awareness about elder abuse and create resources to help seniors protect themselves.
"In January 2013, the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act was adopted, ensuring stronger penalties for offences involving the abuse of elderly people. Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government proposes to better safeguard the well-being of seniors in a variety of areas, including financial services, financial literacy and health.
"We all have a role to play in preventing elder abuse. I encourage everyone to visit seniors.gc.ca for information on the signs and symptoms of elder abuse, as well as resources for preventative action."
The Government of Canada is working hard to help improve the lives of seniors on many fronts. These efforts include:
...developing seniors.gc.ca as a central resource for seniors on government benefits and services, including finances, housing, health and wellness;
...providing Canadians with close to $76 billion this year through Canada's public pension system;
...implementing a top-up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to help Canada's most vulnerable seniors. This was the largest increase in 25 years to the GIS for the lowest-income seniors. This measure further improves the financial security and well-being of more than 680 000 seniors across Canada;
...providing $2.7 billion in 2013 in additional tax relief to seniors and pensioners through measures such as pension income splitting and increasing the age credit;
...providing $400 million over two years under Canada's Economic Action Plan for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors;
...taking action to address elder abuse, including awareness campaigns, the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP)—which funds projects to raise awareness of elder abuse—and legislation that would help ensure consistently tough penalties for offences involving the abuse of elderly persons;
...increasing funding to the NHSP by $5 million, bringing the Program's annual budget to $45 million. The NHSP helps seniors use their leadership abilities, energy and skills to benefit communities across Canada; and
...supporting positive and active aging through the collaborative Age-Friendly Communities initiative, physical activity tips for older adults and falls-prevention initiatives.