Time for municipal elder rights law: An Anglo-Canadian perspective

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In an age of globalization and privatization, local governments and municipalities are searching to define their social role and place. In an aging society such as Canada, arguing that promoting the legal rights of older persons should be part of the legal authority of the municipal government is not simple. It is easier to abide by the position that, without an efficient centralized machinery, social and environmental problems will remain unsolved or unaddressed. This article presents a different understanding of the place of municipal government in Canada. The goal of this article is to present an original legal-policy argument: It is time for local communities and local governments in Canada to use their legal authorities to enact local bylaws that define and establish the rights of their older citizens. The argument maintains that local municipalities hold the legal power and the social potential to make a significant contribution in the legal sphere for promotion of the rights of older people, and that this power has been neglected. The article supports the argument on three pillars: (1) an empirical analysis of bylaws in different municipalities across Canada; (2) a socio-legal analysis of the advantages of municipal law as a tool for social change; (3) a case analysis of a recent municipal legal reform in British Columbia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal on Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Aging
  • Elder law
  • Law and aging
  • Local government
  • Municipal elder law
  • Seniors' rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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