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Exploitation: a prohibited practice | CDPDJ

Exploitation

Exploitation

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Exploitation is the act of taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability or dependency to deprive them of their rights. The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. prohibits exploitation of the elderly and of disabled persons.

How to identify exploitation?

Elderly or disabled persons may be victims of exploitation:

  • if they are physically, psychologically, socially, economically, and culturally vulnerable
  • if they depend on others to meet their basic needs

And, if they are faced with the following situations:

  • they are forced, under threat, to sign cheques or give someone access to their credit or debit card
  • they are prevented from receiving visits from or communicating with relatives
  • they are prevented from receiving appropriate medical services
  • they are required to pay for services they did not receive
  • they are mistreated by a relative or a caregiver

What to do in case of exploitation?

If you think you are a victim of exploitation, or if you have reason to believe that an elderly or a disabled person around you is a victim, you can seek the Commission’s assistance and file a complaint.

What does the Commission do?

  • The Commission takes action as soon as it is informed that an elderly or disabled person is being exploited;
  • It can employ all means necessary to stop the exploitation, ensure the safety of the elderly or disabled person, and obtain redress for the harm suffered;
  • The Commission can also ask a court to order an emergency measure;
  • The Commission may take action without the consent of the victim, if this consent is impossible to obtain.

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The following judgments are examples related to this ground of discrimination. The complete list of judgments issued by Canadian Courts are available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute’s website This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.. You can do a search by grounds of discrimination.

  • CDPDJ (Succession de Lajoie) c. Lajoie (2016) This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. (in French only)
    The son of a vulnerable elderly woman was found guilty of exploitating her financially and ordered to pay $350,000 to her heirs in compensation for the loss of a building, and $38,000 as material, moral and punitive damages. .

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The following video is in American Sign Language (ASL) and is not accessible with a screen reader.

This video explains exploitation in American Sign Language (ASL)  This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility..

 

What is vulnerability?

Someone is vulnerable when he or she is not in a position to protect him or herself or his or her goods and property.

Examples of potential vulnerability indicators:

  • Advanced age
  • Physical and psychological illnesses
  • Losses associated with aging
  • Isolation
  • Loss of a spouse or partner
  • Illiteracy
  • Dependency
  • Fear of reprisals

A victim of exploitation often displays a combination of those indicators. Therefore, a victim of exploitation does not need to be incapacitated but rather vulnerable.

 

Did you know?

In 2010, the Commission created a specialized team to investigate cases involving the exploitation of the elderly. This team, made up of five investigators and a legal counsel, is entirely dedicated to the issue of elder exploitation.