Fact Sheet - Advocacy
Advocacy refers to the actions performed in support of or on behalf of an individual, group, policy, or cause. Advocacy work provides a voice for those who may be on the margins or on the bottom of the social scale to ensure that their needs are met and their rights are respected.

Three forms of advocacy:

  • Individual advocacy: This kind of advocacy is carried out by an individual, or someone acting on behalf of an individual, in order to obtain or access entitlements that are not been accessed or that might have been denied to an individual. An example of this kind of advocacy is a community worker assisting a client in applying for Old Age Security benefits.?
  • Policy advocacy: Is normally carried out by and individual ,or a group of people or on behalf of a group of people who have been excluded from particular entitlements or rights due to systemic barriers to policy implementation, or in order to find new ways of influencing people in political positions wiht the ability to change policies. An example of this kind of advocacy is the work of?CUSP(Community Undertaking Social Policy)?at St. Christopher House
  • Social Advocacy: Normally takes the form of public education. Depending on the issue one need to talk about, this may take the form of a public education campaign, a mass mobilization of people, an specific action targeting a government, or government department in order for them to notice the public outcry.???????

Advocacy is important in knowing one?s rights and acting on them make one more likely to be noticed and in turn receive the assistance they require. Advocacy also plays an important role in furthering and protecting the interests of?vulnerable populations.

The Advocacy Center for the Elderly is an example of a formal legal advocacy program, for the residents of Toronto. Its primary mandate is legal advocacy including the provision of legal advice to the elderly, as well as representation before courts and tribunals (Gordon et al., 1986), however advocacy can take on many forms.??

Any organization that provides services for those who are marginalized or vulnerable in some form, or any individual or group who support the rights of the people in these conditions can become familiar and involve themselves in advocacy work.

The St. Christopher House Advocate?s Manual, prepared by Naomi Berlyne for St. Christopher House (1999), provides a useful overview for those interested in doing advocacy work. The manual discusses the planning process for doing advocacy work, starting an advocacy group, staging events, working with the media, and working with the government.

This source can be found at the following link or by contacting Maureen Fair at St. Christopher house at 416.504.3535 ext. 233.



  • Abuse of Older Adults: A discussion Paper. Prepared by L. McDonald and A. Collins for the Family Violence Prevention Unit, Health Canada (2000).
  • St. Christopher House Advocate?s Manual. Prepared by Naomi Berlyne for St. Christopher House (1999).


Selected resources:

Advocacy Center

Various offices in the U.S.A.

Toll free number: 1.800.960.7705

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

Advocacy Centre for Elderly (A.C.E.)

2 Carlton Street, Suite 701

Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1J3

Canadian Association on Gerontology

National, multidisciplinary scientific and educational association established to provide leadership in matters related to the aging population.

Canadian Association on Gerontology
329 March Road, Suite 232
Box 11, Ottawa, ON? K2K 2E1

Telephone: (613) 271-1083
Fax: (613) 599-7027


International Federation On Ageing

Non-governmental, non-profit organization, the objectives of which are primarily educational in seeking to facilitate the transfer and dissemination of information that has practical application to the problems of the aged.

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