Local Journalism Initiative
Sherbrooke MP Élisabeth Brière announced $735,000 of federal funding June 15 for a Université de Sherbrooke project aiming to reduce elder abuse. The program will trial online education modules for 240 Quebec participants and aims to be available to all Canadians in 2026.
The announcement coincided with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. “Today we talk about an issue that has an undeniable impact across Canada,” said Brière, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health. “Mistreatment toward older people is far too common,” she said, and is “associated with serious psychosocial and health consequences,” including premature death, poor physical and mental health and lowered quality of life.
The program will teach its participants – caregivers, professionals and volunteers alike – how to detect and respond to signs of elder abuse. “It’s not just to give the information, but also to restructure support services for caregivers,” said Université de Sherbrooke letters and humanities professor Mélanie Couture, the university’s research chair for the mistreatment of older adults.
Though the study will involve just 240 participants, its reach will likely extend to more than 240 older people, as many provide care to multiple people, Couture said. Though mistreatment is often between individuals, Couture said organizations can also commit elder abuse. “If [organizations] apply too much pressure or don’t offer enough care, we can also consider them to mistreat older people,” she said. That reality is codified in Quebec law, she added.