Seniors First BC is a community-based, non-profit organization incorporated as a society in 1994 as the BC Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Seniors.
In 1986, Seniors First BC began as a grassroots advisory committee comprised of North Shore Community Services (NSCS), Justice Institute of BC and Social Planning and Research Committee (SPARC). Members worked to support the Project to Review the Adult Guardianship Act. SPARC, in partnership with the BC Old Age Pensioners Organization, developed abuse prevention materials. North Shore Community Services documented cases of abuse and explored legal issues. In 1992, SPARC and NSCS joined to form the BC Coalition on the Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect. NSCS, with federal funding, carried out community development in eight communities. Following an extensive needs assessment to establish the first Elder Law Clinic in BC, we changed our name to the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support in 2008.
Since 2000, the Law Foundation of BC has supported the Legal Advocacy Program, which provides legal information and advocacy to older adults. Scotiabank, the BC Securities Commission, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and the TD Financial Literacy Grant, among others, have also funded financial abuse prevention projects such as Money Matters, ABCs of Fraud, Protect Yourself! Financial Literacy, and securities workshops.
In 2008, Seniors First BC expanded its legal services to open the Elder Law Clinic, the first legal aid clinic for older adults in Western Canada, which has been funded by the Law Foundation of BC.
Seniors First BC is actively involved in efforts to combat elder abuse in British Columbia. We managed the VANGUARD (Vulnerable Adults and Capability Issues) research project, which involved a team of professionals from government, non-profit organizations and universities, and focused on issues of vulnerability and abuse on the continuum from incapacity to capacity.
In 2013, the Council to Reduce Elder Abuse was formed, and Seniors First BC joined as one of the key members.
Since 2016, we have launched several community legal clinics in the Lower Mainland, including Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, North Vancouver, Surrey, and Vancouver, in partnership with local nonprofit and municipal organizations.
In 2022, we launched Advance Planning Clinics in Prince George and Nanaimo to expand the access that older adults have to receiving assistance with drafting Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements.