News Release

New video to raise awareness about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in light of COVID-19

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Vancouver –The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and B.C.’s Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA) are teaming up to highlight the importance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two organizations have created a video to increase awareness about elder financial abuse, the most commonly identified type of elder abuse.

The video focuses on identifying investment scams related to COVID-19 and provides helpful tips on how people can recognize, reject and report fraud. Currently, 96 per cent of the abuse experienced by older adults goes hidden or undetected, according to Employment and Social Development Canada.

“WEAAD is particularly important this year because the pandemic has forced many seniors to become more isolated, which we know is one of the key risk factors for experiencing financial abuse,” says Pamela McDonald, the BCSC’s Director of Education and Communication. “We need people to step up to protect seniors in their community from becoming victims of investment fraud.”

Results from an abuse and neglect survey from the OSA shed light on these issues in B.C.:

  • 17 per cent of respondents witnessed financial abuse in persons over age 65
  • 76 per cent of respondents who witnessed financial abuse said the abuser was a family member
  • 49 per cent of respondents who witnessed financial abuse or neglect did not report it
  • 12 per cent of respondents did not report the financial abuse because they didn’t know who to report to

 “It is important for seniors to be able to identify and to know how to report financial abuse, especially as they self-isolate due to COVID-19,” says Isobel Mackenzie, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate. “It’s also equally important that seniors stay mentally and socially connected to help decrease their vulnerability to financial fraud.”

As a part of the 2020 Elder Financial Abuse campaign, the video is being shared on social media and through the BCSC InvestRight website. People are also encouraged the get involved on social media using the hashtag #RejectFinancialAbuse.

The United Nations General Assembly designated each June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in 2011.

About the survey:
The survey was conducted for the Office of the Seniors Advocate by R.A. Malatest from March 18 to April 15, 2020. The survey of British Columbian adults received 1,506 responses, yielding a margin of error of 3%. The survey was conducted as part of the OSA’s forthcoming systemic review of elder abuse and neglect.

About the British Columbia Securities Commission (

The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:

  • A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
  • A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital

About the Office of the Seniors Advocate:

The Office of the Seniors Advocate monitors and analyzes seniors’ services and issues in B.C. and makes recommendations to government and service providers to address systemic issues. The office also provides information and referrals for individuals who are navigating seniors’ services.

Media Contacts:

Elise Palmer
British Columbia Securities Commission

Celine Comeau
Office of the Seniors Advocate

Public inquiries:

1-800-373-6393 (toll free) or 604-899-6854
Learn how to protect yourself and become a more informed investor at

Office of the Seniors Advocate:
1-877-952-3181 (toll free) or 250-952-3181 (in Victoria)