Elder Law Conference Coming to Vancouver in November: Save the Date!

The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Canada’s leading providing of continuing professional training for lawyers, and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are hosting the Canadian Elder Law Conference on 12 and 13 November in 2015. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the legal and other issues affecting Canada’s elder population, but will be of most interest to lawyers, financial planners and mental health professionals.

The conference is extremely timely, given Statistics Canada‘s recent report showing that there are now more Canadians who are older than 65 than those who are under 15. In fact, the baby boomers, the oldest of whom turned 65 in 2011, make up a greater share of the population than any other age group.

The boomers are also the first generation for whom divorce carried only a marginal stigma, as a result of the introduction of the original Divorce Act in 1968. But not only are more older persons divorced or separated than ever before, more are forming new married or unmarried spousal relationships. This poses special challenges for the legal and mental health professionals involved in family breakdown, as we can expect, in the very near future, to be helping more clients with significant physical and mental illnesses, more living on fixed incomes and in poverty, and more requiring institutional or assisted home care. Cases involving persons of retirement age often raise special concerns and competing generational interests about the distribution of income and assets following separation; concerns can also arise about the tension between the interests of employed persons wishing to retire and dependent persons unable to survive without spousal support. Dealing with later-in-life separation also demands a special sensitivity to the needs of women, who have lower incomes than men in general, and are disproportionately affected by separation and divorce.

I’ve written about the economic consequences of separation and divorce later in life, the federal benefits available to older Canadians and the interplay of spousal support and retirement in a paper for the National Judicial Institute, that you can download (PDF) from the website of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family.

This conference is a must for anyone practicing family law or involved in family breakdown from a financial or therapeutic perspective. The full details, including the agenda, are available on CLEBC’s website and CCEL’s website, but here’s the stuff you need to know.

Place: Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver BC

Date: 12 and 13 November 2015, 9:00 am to 4:30pm both days

CPD Credits: 12.5 hours, including 2 hours on ethics

Pricing: Early bird registration of $1,005 ($585 for students) ends 15 October 2015. The registration fee thereafter is $1,110 ($585 students), or $990 if you want to attend by webinar.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Barb MacLean, Chair of the British Columbia Council to Reduce Elder Abuse
  • Isobel Mackenzie, British Columbia’s Seniors Advocate
  • Dr. Andrew Wister, Chair of the National Seniors Council

Panelists presenting at the conference include myself, on population demographics, the financial consequences of later-in-life separation and divorce and retiring in the face of spousal support obligations, as well as :

  • Hon. Marion Allan, Clark Wilson
  • Barbara Buchanan, Law Society of British Columbia
  • Deidre Herbert, McLellan Herbert
  • Anna Laing, Fasken Martineau
  • Andrew MacKay, Alexander, Holburn, Beaudin and Lang
  • Catherine Romanko, British Columbia Public Guardian and Trustee
  • Kimberly Whaley, Whaley Estate Litigation
  • Geoffrey White, Geoffrey W. White Law Corporation

The topics to be addressed include:

  • Advance health care planning
  • Whether a national power of attorney registry would help reduce elder financial abuse
  • Update on guardianship law in British Columbia
  • Reporting and responding to suspected elder abuse
  • Physician assisted suicide and health care decision-making
  • Later-in-life separation and divorce
  • Dementia and client competency
  • Class action litigation in elder and estate law

Save these dates and head on over to CLEBC’s website to register now. Space is limited.

John-Paul Boyd is the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family. The Institute is a federally-incorporated charity established in 1987 and is affiliated with the University of Calgary

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