October 28-30, 2010, Toronto, Ontario.
By Laura Watts
Society is currently undergoing the largest demographic shift in the history of humankind. In Canada, it is estimated that one in every four people will be over the age of 65 by 2036. In B.C., that figure looks to be even sooner – by 2030. But what are we, as a profession, doing to plan how to increase our knowledge base and respond to client need? The Canada Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) was established in 2003 as a national centre of excellence on law and aging issues. Located in Vancouver, the CCEL engages in legal research, law reform and outreach activities, responding to the need for good information in this exploding area of law.
One of the key activities, which the CCEL hosts, is the Canadian / International Conference on Elder Law. This unique event brings interdisciplinary issues into a legal focus – it is a hugely popular “big tent” conference, and is routinely rated a top event internationally, both for its strong content, and also its wonderful networking opportunities.
The conference brings together Canadian and international experts, academics, lawyers and advocates to promote and advance the discussion of elder law issues. This year’s conference theme is “Developing an Anti-Ageist Approach to the Law.” The theme reflects a multi-year Law Commission of Ontario project, bringing multidisciplinary analysis to bear on the law as it affects the older adult.
This year the conference will be held at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto. Conference rates are very competitive and the content is second to none.
The conference endeavours to address a range of issues in relation to elder law. In particular, the conference will explore the following three broad issues:
- Ageism and the law. The conference aims to promote discussion and reflection on how the design or implementation of the law may reveal ageist stereotypes or assumptions about older adults, a failure to recognize how particular laws may uniquely or disproportionately affect older adults, and use of age-based criteria.
- Access to justice for older adults. The conference seeks to address the unique challenges older adults may face when trying to enforce their rights due to, for example, ageism, health issues or capacity issues. The conference also aims to explore the types of services and systems that are needed to ensure older adults have access to justice and how technology can be used to enhance the delivery of legal services and information to older adults.
- Law reform and older adults. The conference aims to promote discussion on what considerations should be taken into account when designing laws that may affect older adults and why laws appear effective when drafted yet so often fail to effect the intended improvements or, have negative effects on the lives of older adults.
Some invited plenary speakers include:
- The Right Hon. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, PC, Supreme Court of Canada
- John Beard, Director, Dept. of Aging and the Life Course, World Health Org.
- John McCamus, Chair of Legal Aid Ont.
- Frances Patterson, QC, Public Law Commissioner, Law Reform Commission of the United Kingdom and,
- Roger Smith, Director of JUSTICE, London, England
The conference pre-day for the World Study Group on Elder Law will be held on Thursday, October 28, 2010. The World Study Group on Elder Law, originally convened by CCEL, is a group of international scholars in the area of law and aging who meet annually to present research updates and new work in this important, challenging and expanding field.
Everyone is welcome, no matter your knowledge level – there is something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you there.
Conference registration is available online at
Laura Watts, National Director, Canadian Centre for Elder Law, 604-822-0142.
This article was published in the October 2010 issue of BarTalk. © 2010 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.