QUEEN’S PARK – Today in Question Period, NDP MPP Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North) called on Premier Ford to make preventing abuse of seniors one of its top priorities. The NDP is demanding an increase in funding for Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario (EAPO) and for the Ford Conservatives to take immediate action to prevent the growing rates of abuse against seniors in Ontario. Incidents of elder abuse, a violation of human rights, continue to grow in Ontario. Reports show 60,000 elderly Ontarians suffering from neglect and financial, psychological, physical, and institutional abuse.
"Will the Premier ensure EAPO receives an increase in their annual grant to at least match the inflation rate?" asked Vaugeois.
The NDP is urging the conservative government of Ontario to implement the following recommendations proposed by EAPO.
- Applying an elder abuse prevention lens to policy, legislation, and programming when addressing the care of older Ontarians.
- Supporting coordination and expansion of volunteer regional and local Elder Abuse Prevention Network through a new annual investment of $250,000 to support local programming.
- Providing funding stability to support consistent programming for elder abuse prevention in Ontario.
- Investing in abuse prevention strategies and programming by providing, at a minimum, an inflationary increase of 6.2% for 2023-2024. This increase to cover inflationary costs is essential to ensure continuity and progress in preventing and mitigating the abuse of older Ontarians.
- Protect the financial well-being of older Ontarians by investing in fraud prevention, including cyber fraud. Financial fraud targeting older adults has increased exponentially in recent years. These instances have dire impacts on the lives of those defrauded, which further impacts the health and well-being of all Ontarians.
"It is unacceptable that EAPO has not received a funding increase in 20 years," said Vaugeois. “During the pandemic, when seniors were incredibly isolated and vulnerable, this government actually cut their funding from $900,000 to $800,000. That’s a cut of over 10% from a program that helps older Ontarians to escape abuse."
Vaugeois demands that the conservative government play a leadership role in protecting all seniors by using its influence to correct legislation and drive meaningful changes in communities, agencies, and municipalities where programs and services are offered. Currently, she says they are taking a “back seat.”
In a statement, Marta C. Hajek, Chief Executive Officer EAPO, added, "We have not received a funding increase in the 20 years of our existence. During COVID, when so many seniors experienced extreme isolation, abuse rates increased by 250%. Yet, the government chose to cut Elder Abuse Prevention's funding this time when all signs pointed to desperately needed increases."