Weekly Service Provider Partnership Committee Update
Highlights of this message

  • ACDS’ key priorities are to successfully advocate for the CDS sector, and build sector capacity  
  • ACDS is committed to supporting the sector through this critical time 
  • Important outcomes of today’s SPPC meeting: CSS’ commitment to regular virtual meetings, and other commitments 
  • Confirmed group home cases and visitation guidelines
Advocating for you, and building your capacity are ACDS’ key priorities 
Over the past months, ACDS has advocated successfully for mechanisms for service providers to work in partnership with Community and Social Services (CSS), to address the challenges facing the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program related to sustainability, and to the broader need to respond to changing service needs and demands. One of the key outcomes has been the Service Provider Partnership Committee (SPPC) and the associated working groups that are formed to address sector issues. We have also established key opportunities for engagement with our membership to inform our advocacy work including member engagement meetings, and our provincial Government Relations and Human Resource Coordinating Committees.

These actions have been taken to support our commitment that advocacy, along with capacity building, are ACDS’ key priorities. We have been successful in our efforts because our members have worked with us to ensure our work is informed and evidence-based and this has earned the trust of CSS. 
ACDS is committed to supporting you through this critical time  
It is against the above backdrop, that ACDS has been identified by CSS as a key partner in collecting and disseminating information during this critical time. It is, however, equally important that ACDS has the independence to act in the interest of our service provider members and facilitate their ability to meet the need of individuals living with disabilities during this challenging time. 

A critical piece of the advocacy we have been undertaking with CSS, is the need to respond to urgent issues service providers are facing, but also the need for CSS to communicate directly with service providers. We have stressed that communication is necessary to provide answers to questions service providers have about their funding and services, to facilitate the necessary decision making to sustain services, make staffing decisions, as well as address critical needs regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and other issues.    

Although ACDS has appreciated the opportunity for daily contact with the Ministry and weekly SPPC meetings, and we are aware of the challenges faced within government to act in this ever-changing environment, it became clear that a stronger message was necessary. In my call last night and in today’s SPPC meeting, we were able to communicate the consequences for both service delivery and the current advocacy channels through ACDS, should this communication not occur.  
We are encouraged by the commitments made at today’s meeting. 
Important outcomes of today’s SPPC meeting 
As an outcome of today’s meeting, John Stinson and Jason Chance will be scheduling virtual meetings along with regional PDD representatives with each Service Provider Council. At these meetings, they will provide information around funding and billing, commitments and processes to address sector and service sustainability. As well, they will provide answers where they exist to some of the issues you have brought forward regarding service decisions, contingency plans and PPE. CSS is also working to get direct support from AHS regarding guidelines and training regarding use of PPE. 

In addition, beginning next week, a weekly FAQ will be published to address issues as they arise. This will not only facilitate clarity but will also provide reassurance for organizations that the issues you raise with ACDS are being brought forward and the actions CSS is taking in response.
Confirmed group home cases and visitation guidelines
You may have heard in today's update from Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw about COVID-19 cases being identified in a PDD group home. CSS and AHS are currently supporting that organization, and new guidelines were referenced today for licensed facilities. We will share this information tomorrow when it becomes available.

In addition, service providers that are not able to meet the new visitation guidelines may be required to communicate a temporary suspension of visitation to families until these guidelines can be met, or are lifted.
Thank you for your ongoing trust in ACDS and for your important work during this time 
I want to thank all of you on behalf of myself and our Board of Directors, for the trust you are showing in ACDS as you continue to share your concerns and issues with us to address on your behalf. I also want to thank you for the work you are doing to support each other, and to problem-solve across regions and organizations. I know the important work you do is often not publicly recognized or appreciated but it is everything to the individuals and families you are supporting. 

Stay tuned and thanks for your leadership and work with ACDS, to give us the information we need to identify issues. As well, I appreciate you sharing strategies of how you are solving problems so that we can make available to others through our  pandemic resource site.

Please continue to let me how we can support your work. 
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Alberta Council of Disability Services