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Ms. Judith Wahl - International Federation on Ageing. Toronto, ON, CA

Ms. Judith Wahl Ms. Judith Wahl

Executive Director | Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Judith Wahl is the Executive Director at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.






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Judith Wahl has been the Executive Director at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly since its inception in 1984. She has an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1979. Judith has been very active in advocating for the rights of older adults and in the development of elder law as an area of practice. As Executive Director, she has been central to the development of ACE as the first legal clinic focusing on elder law issues in Canada. Judith was the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association's Elder Law Section (2007-2009) and she was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013).

Based on her experiences representing clients, Judith often represents ACE in government consultations on issues of policy development and law reform affecting older adults. She was a member of the committee that recommended the passage of the Advocacy Act, Substitute Decisions Act and Health Care Consent Act. She assisted the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group in staging two national consultations on elder abuse issues. She has contributed to submissions prepared by ACE on such issues as retirement home regulation, long-term care reform, health consent and advance care planning, elder abuse prevention, home care reform, hospital discharge legal issues and privacy of health information.

Judith has considerable experience training and teaching not only seniors but the family and friends of seniors, social workers, health practitioners and other service providers about the legal rights of older adults. She is a frequent speaker at local, provincial and national conferences on elder law issues. She previously taught a law and aging course in the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Toronto.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Public Policy Elder Abuse Human Rights

Accomplishments (1)

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (professional)


Education (2)

Osgoode Hall Law School: LL.M., Law

University of Toronto: B.A. (Hons.), Undergraduate Studies

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (5)

Who decides when a patient can't? Workshop covers consent, capacity, advanced care planning

Windsor Star  online


All had come to hear from Judith Wahl, executive director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, who was reminding them that patients have the legal right to make their own health decisions, and to learn what their condition is and what their options are. And if they’re not capable to understand and make decisions, health professionals have to get permission from the appropriate “substitute decision maker.”...

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Blurred Lines: Sexual consent for people with dementia

CBCRadio  online


The accused is Henry Rayhons, someone well known in Iowa, as a former state legislator. He's now facing a charge of rape, for allegedly having sex with his wife in a care-home at a point in her life when, prosecutors say, her mental state left her incapable of giving consent...

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Retirement homes: 5 things to ask before the big move

CBCNews  online


Rental retirement properties have different regulations depending on the province or territory, says Judith Wahl, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly's executive director and senior lawyer. Some are governed by their provincial or territorial residential tenancies acts...

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Focus: Lawyers worry about misuse of prior capable wishes by doctors

Law Times  online


Concerns over the misuse of these directives came to light during the Law Commission of Ontario’s research and consultation phase in its capacity project. Judith Wahl, executive director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, heard many horror stories during the preparation of a paper for the project. “All those prior capable wishes are grossly misused,” she says...

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Capability not determined by age

Welland Tribune  online


When Judith Wahl and her elderly mother go to the bank together, she can't help but notice something strange.

Her mother may be the client, but it's Wahl who the teller always addresses.

People often assume because of someone's age that they are incapable of handling their own affairs, the executive director for the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly told a packed auditorium at Welland Community Wellness Complex Tuesday...

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Featured Articles (5)

Institutional abuse of older adults: What we know, what we need to know Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect


Although Canadian policies support “aging in place,” there still will be a number of older adults who will require institutional care in the future. Most research on elder abuse, however, has focused on domestic abuse and has paid less attention to institutional ...

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The Evaluation of Capacity to Make Admission Decisions: Is it a Fair Process for Idividuals with Communication Barriers? Medical Law International


In Ontario the Health Care Consent Act protects the rights of competent patients to understand an alternate discharge destination and to consent to such discharge plans. Social work case managers evaluate the capacity of patients to refuse or accept ...

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The Legal Framework of Decisional Capacity The Canadian Review of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias


Decision making is an important part of everyday life. What happens when a person's capacity to make decisions is in question? Who decides whether we are capable to make decisions and who assumes the responsibility when we are not? This article discusses ...

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Capacity and capacity assessment in Ontario Advocacy Centre for the Elderly Publications


A common theme in the client work at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly 2, an Ontario community legal clinic, is that of decisional capacity. Capacity may not always be the primary legal issue in the client case, such as in a guardianship application or a hearing to review ...

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Regulation and legislation of the dying process: views of health care professionals Death Studies


Because of radical changes that have been effected by medical advances in the process of dying, it is now frequently necessary for patients to make an explicit decision on whether to, forego life-prolonging medical therapies. We report physicians' and nurses' ...

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