The Case That Prompted this Blog
March 7, 2013
Resource for Seniors at Risk (CANADA)
Seniors at Risk is a resource for seniors and their loved ones dealing with over-medication of seniors, elder abuse in institutions, denial of legal rights to seniors and other challenging aspects of aging that seniors are facing in today's society.
The Seniors at Risk website is a gathering place for those who are fighting lonely battles for respect, justice and goodwill, often against bureaucracies or other powerful societal organizations and groups.
You are welcome here. We will listen, we will understand, and we will help.
Institutions ‘named and shamed’ for elder abuse – a last resort of ombudsman, media
March 1, 2013
Canadian banks and financial companies mistreat seniors and ignore laws, abetted by a negligent government
The growing epidemic of institutional elder abuse is not limited to nursing homes, hospitals and health authorities. The banking industry also appears to be mistreating and taking advantage of seniors. Banks?! Yes, banks.
Most senior citizens are customers, many are long-time and very loyal customers of the banking institutions they patronize, and all are citizens of Canada. It is their hard earned money that has made Canadian banks what they are today. Yet, our elders are frequently being treated with callous disrespect.
We are concerned with the evidence that banks and financial institutions are imposing their own rules, over and above the law of the land, ignoring legal documents such as power of attorney papers drawn up by lawyers, and creating desperate circumstances for seniors.
Here are three stories that surfaced in the media recently, perhaps the tip of a very chilling iceberg.
• A Royal Bank (RBC) branch in Vancouver refused to cash the pension cheques of a 94-year-old disabled and housebound woman for seven months. This bank ignored the Power of Attorney granted by their customer to her daughter. The daughter tried in vain to persuade the bank to relent but they would not budge… until she called the media. Then, three bank staff suddenly found their feet and made a visit to the elderly woman’s house to confirm the power of attorney (something that was not necessary to do in the first place, but presumably was done so the bank could save face).
“I took the power of attorney papers in. They were photocopied and sent to the [RBC] head office in Toronto,” said (daughter Linda) Graham. “Those were turned down as well because they weren’t explicit enough.” CBC, Go Public
• Staff at a Toronto Scotiabank branch reportedly refused to accept the power of attorney of a dying woman (featured in same CBC story, 2nd incident). The bank insisted that she, not her designated POA, come to the branch in person. When her family drove her to the bank branch, they asked staff to come out to the parking lot to meet with the 73-year-old woman who was weeks away from dying of cancer and unable to be transported anywhere easily. The family got a “flat-out refusal” from bank staff. Her family was forced to wheel the ailing woman, swollen with painful lymphoma, into the bank on a commode chair. All this, while the bank rejected the Power of Attorney document that had been properly executed by the woman’s lawyer. Scotiabank refused to comment, citing privacy – even though the woman was by then deceased.
• And, in a rare move, an Ombudsman publicly ‘named and shamed’ W.H. Stuart & Associates, a mutual fund dealer, for refusing to abide by a ruling that the firm pay $41,066 to an 82-year-old couple for failing to inform them of the real, and risky, nature of their investment, and for the loss of their life savings due to the firm’s mismanagement.
Which ombudsman you may ask? One you may never have heard of, but which might, one day, save your bacon (and your nest egg) – the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments. “OBSI has taken several significant and extraordinary steps to resolve this and certain other complaints that could not be resolved before we’ve resorted to announcing a refusal to compensate.”
The OBSI is Canada’s national independent dispute resolution service for consumers and small businesses that have a complaint they can’t resolve with their banking services or investment firm. It operates as a free alternative to the prohibitively expensive legal system.
SOURCE: Seniors at Risk
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.