Elder Concepts is a private consultancy organization developed by Laura Watts, LLB that provides research, writing, legal analysis, strategic advice, training and facilitation services on issues relating to seniors. With special expertise in elder abuse and neglect prevention, elder-friendly audits, policy and law reform, Laura brings more than 10 years of in-depth experience in the field. She has worked with municipal, provincial and federal governments, private law firms, banks, regulatory agencies, long-term care and assisted living housing facilities, ombudsman services, NGOs, health care and social work professionals, local community organizations, court systems and judges, elder abuse prevention organizations, community and seniors’ centres and research institutes.
Laura’s work is non-partisan and independent, friendly and approachable. Valuing all levels of community engagement as necessary for positive change, Laura can be found actively working in both in the basements of rural community centres and in the offices of the United Nations.
She is the former National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, and retains an affiliated relationship with that organization. She serves as the current Chair of the National Elder Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association. She serves as co-Chair of the International Federation on Ageing’s Law and Ageing Section.
Laura has been qualified as an expert in the field of elder abuse prevention and elder law by both the Canadian and American governments and has provided invited testimony to both the Canadian House of Commons and Senate Committees. Laura has been extensively quoted in government reports and recommendations.
Currently, she serves as Chair of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) Stakeholder and Investor Advisory Council, and has previously served on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC) Stakeholder Council. She is frequently consulted by financial agencies on financial elder abuse and financial literacy issues, in Canada and internationally.
She has provided expert advice and support to the National Institutes of Justice (US), the National Judicial Institute (Canadian), the Federal / Provincial / Territorial (FPT Canada) on Seniors’ Safety and Security Issues on elder abuse and prevention. Laura has worked closely with local, national and international governments or organizations in North America, Europe, Israel, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Laura helped to co-found the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support’s Elder Law Clinic in Vancouver – the second free legal clinic for seniors in Canada and has worked closely with other organizations to support the development of other elder law clinics. She is the founder and organizer of the World Study Group on Elder Law and the Canadian / International Conference on Elder Law (2005-2011).
She has served as a Commissioner to the Uniform Law Conference of Canada where she worked on issues relating to harmonizing substitute decision-making in Canada. Laura is also the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Elder Law and a current editor or reviewer for a number of international peer reviewed journals on aging and abuse issues, including the Australian Elder Law Review, Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect and the Canadian Review of Social Policy. She is the author of numerous leading reports and articles on law and aging issues and is a frequent national media resource on the subject.
Laura holds several university affiliations, including the University of Victoria (Centre on Aging), the University of Toronto (Faculty of Social Work, NICE Network), William Mitchell College of Law (Centre for Elder Justice and Policy). This year she has been awarded the Stetson University 2012 International Distinguished Fellowship in Elder Law.