Government of Canada supports project to prevent and address mistreatment of older persons across Ontario

News release

Funding will support those who have experienced, are experiencing, or are at-risk of experiencing violence.

February 22, 2024 | Toronto, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada

Mistreatment of older persons can have serious health and psychosocial consequences, including premature mortality, poor physical and mental health, diminished quality of life, and increased rates of emergency services use, hospitalization, and nursing home placement. These issues touch families in all parts of Canada, and include many forms of physical, financial and emotional abuse, as well as neglect.

Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour and Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced nearly $800,000 in funding to the University of Toronto to implement and evaluate RISE, a community program to help respond to mistreatment of older persons.

The program will focus on involving family and friends, as well as formal support services, to change the relationship between the person experiencing mistreatment and the person causing harm. The project aims to gather evidence about what strategies are effective in preventing mistreatment of older persons, for whom they work best, and in what situations they have the greatest impact.

This project is made possible through targeted funding for older persons from the Preventing and Addressing Family Violence – the Health Perspective Investment. The Government of Canada will continue to take action to prevent mistreatment of older persons, support survivors, and break the cycle of violence in families and communities from coast to coast to coast.


“Mistreatment of older persons inflicts deep emotional wounds, and can lead to feelings of fear, shame, and isolation. Our commitment to addressing and preventing mistreatment of older persons in Canada goes beyond protecting their physical safety; it extends to nurturing their mental health, fostering resilience, and reclaiming the joy and dignity that every person deserves.”

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Seniors deserve to age with dignity and choice. That can’t happen when seniors are fearing for their safety. Research in elder abuse is how we’ll build the tools we need to stop it.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Minister of Labour and Seniors

“One in ten older adults living in the community across Canada experience some form of elder mistreatment each year, which translates to nearly 900,000 older adults who fall victim. Unlike other domains of family violence, we currently do not have an organized system of response in the community for cases of elder mistreatment. In fact, most people have no idea what to do if they have a concern about a family member of or neighbour who may be experiencing elder mistreatment. RISE, and their partnership with Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario, represents an evidence-based solution to this problem and a way to address this gap in the system.”

David Burnes,
Professor, Canada Research Chair on Older Adult Mistreatment Prevention

Quick facts

  • If you, or someone you know, are affected by family violence or want to learn more about the issue, please visit for information. You can also find resources and services in your area.

  • Loneliness and depression increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors can increase an individual’s susceptibility to mistreatment. Mistreatment of older persons cases are expected to increase substantially over the next two decades in proportion with projected older adult population growth.

Associated links


Alexander Fernandes
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Hartley Witten
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Labour and Seniors, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada

 Public Inquiries:

Page details

Date modified: