We hope you had a wonderful summer and are now enjoying the routine that September brings many of us. The ACDS office remained busy over the summer and we are pleased to share the following updates from the office and our various programs areas.

ACDS news and updates

ACDS recently welcomed three new staff to support the planning and delivery of ACDS' programs and services and advance our strategic goals, including:

Pamela Vang,  Training and Development Coordinator:   Pamela has a strong background in digital approaches to education, including learning management systems. She also has considerable project management and adult education experience.  Pamela, who  joins ACDS from the University of Calgary where she was a research manager, is  i mplementing a number of strategies to enhance the training and development program. Pam can be reached at  pamela@acds.ca

Jasvir Chatha-Bains, Communications and Engagement Coordinator:
Jasvir most recently worked with the Alberta Human Rights Commission where she was responsible for the Commission's marketing and promotions portfolio as well as contributing to research and policy work. Jasvir is supporting the ACDS to advance its strategic communications and engagement goals, including supporting ACDS member committees with their communications needs. Jasvir can be reached at  jasvir@acds.ca 
Susan Tally, Standards and Accreditation Coordinator: Susan joins ACDS with extensive experience in professional standards having worked at CPHR Alberta. As a teacher for several years, Susan also brings experience in adult education. Susan is looking forward to supporting the Accreditation team's program goals. Susan can be reached at  susan@acds.ca

Training and Development Update

Training and development remains a core ACDS program. Our members and the wider sector continue to share the need for strong training and development programs, particularly given the sector's high staff turnover rate as well as the lack of post-secondary disability programs across Alberta.  In addition, training is a requirement of achieving CET level 1 and level 2 accreditation. ACDS continues to respond to sector needs and adapt and enhance the program to address these. ACDS is currently reviewing and revising all training and development resources and materials and transitioning to a stronger online program.

The following is a listing of the ACDS's ongoing and current programs. You can
 register here for each of the programs listed below.

The ACDS also offers in-person workshops.  Contact training@acds.ca  if you wish to benefit from this service.

Ongoing Training Sessions

Sep 12 2018
CPI Training
Sep 17 2018
PBS Level 1 + 2
Fort McMurray
Sep 18 2018
Outcomes Training
Sep 24 2018
Foundations Train the Trainer
Red Deer
Oct 11 2018
PBS Train the Trainer
Red Deer
Oct 15 2018
PBS Level 1 + 2
Grand Prairie
Oct 16 2018
PBS Level 1 + 2
Oct 18 2018
PBS Level 1 + 2
Dec 01 2018
Online Foundations Start Date
Feb 21 2019
Foundations Train the Trainer
Red Deer
*We are still looking to host two more PBS Courses. If your agency is interested, please reach out to  training@acds.ca 

Current Programs

Cost Per Learner
(Price varies if you are a member or non-member)
Face to Face & Online
Foundations - Train the Trainer
Face to Face
PBS - Level 1 + 2
Face to Face & Online
PBS - Train the Trainer
Face to Face
Outcomes Training
FREE Face to Face
Currently looking for 6 hosting agencies
Community Presence to Community Inclusion
Safe Bathing Toolkit
Downloadable PDF
CPI (For Small Organizations Only)
Face to Face & Online
$500 + Cost of Supplies
Disability Worker Safety Hub
Staff Safety Toolkit
Training Calendar
Learning Inventory
Online Videos
Fundamentals of Mentoring
FREE ONLINE - Piloting Until September 30 2018
ACDS 2019 Conference

Standards and Accreditation Update

Congratulations CET Level 2 Accredited Organizations

ACDS congratulates COSMOS, Vecova and Life Empowerment for meeting the CET Accreditation Level 2. 

Level 2 service providers are recognized by the community disability sector for their innovative and creative approaches to allow for the delivery of quality services to individuals with development disabilities.   These service providers have demonstrated a  higher level of quality than required with the mandatory CET Level 1 Accreditation and  can be proud to offer Accreditation Level 2 as the benchmark that individuals accessing services deserve.
Cosmos Community Support Services Ltd. (Cosmos)
Cosmos completed its Level 2 site survey on April 12, 2018 for its residential, volunteer and community support and employment access services. The organization also successfully met the requirements for the Complex Support Needs Designation.
Cosmos celebrated its 45 th anniversary a year ago in September 2017. In the past three years, the organization has received numerous awards and/or accolades for supporting individuals to be fully involved in their communities (e.g., individuals have been recognized with Alberta Health Services 20-years of volunteer service recognition and its Spirit of Excellence Award, through the Mayor's Recognition Award for volunteers, with Toastmasters 10-year award for volunteers; Family & Community Support Services' Achievement Award for a commitment to improving preventative social programs and services). The organization has also entered into numerous partnerships since 2015 (e.g., City of Red Deer programs, United Way, Life Long Learning Council of Central Alberta).
Commendations from the site-survey final report include:
  • Standard 41: Training and Development
  • Standard 42: Employee Satisfaction
Vecova Centre for Development and Research (Vecova)
Vecova completed its Level 2 site survey, which included the Complex Support Needs Designation and Respite for Children and Adults with Disabilities, in June 2018 for its residential, community and employment services.
Commendations from the site-survey final report include:
  • Standards 12 & 24: Abuse Prevention
  • Standard 26: Service Planning with Individuals
  • Standard 36: Health and Safety
  • Standard 38: Human Resources Planning
  • Standard 40: Employee Success
  • Standard 41: Employee Training and Development
Life Empowerment
"Home is more than just a location; it is somewhere to feel safe and welcomed, it is place the individuals feel that their voice is heard and they have opportunities to affect positive changes within their lives while reaching their greatest potential and to develop their highest level of independency." (CET Final Report, pg 3).

Life Empowerment completed its Level 2 site survey, which included the Complex Support Needs Designation, Services for Children with Disabilities, and Respite for Children and Adults with Disabilities, in April 2018 for its residential, community, employment, transition, respite and children's services. The organization supports individuals with "complexities of behaviours, dual diagnosis, mental health considerations, addictions, and involvement with the criminal justice system. Individualized programming to individuals is the purpose of Life Empowerment while focusing on community inclusion, quality of life, and personal empowerment. Life Empowerment has expanded their services since their last survey with most of the expansion providing complex care service delivery."
Commendations from the site-survey final report include:
  • Standard 27: Rights
  • Standard 36: Health and Safety

Call to Participate on the Commission on Accreditation 

The  Commission on Accreditation  is an 8-member, arms-length body that reviews Level 2 Accreditation site survey reports of organizations that serve the community disability sector, and renders accreditation decisions.  The Commission has a great opportunity for Senior Management people from CET Accredited Level 2 organizations to serve on this committee.

General applicant qualifications:
  • Working in an ACDS member organization
  • Being committed to the accreditation process
  • Being committed to endorsing quality services for individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Being committed to serving a 2-year term
  • Being committed to attending the meetings as scheduled (usually once a month; more or fewer depending on the number of Level 2 surveys conducted)
Preference may be given to applicants who have a background or experience in Complex Support Needs, Mental Health, Brain Injury, Children Services, or Seniors.
Application  forms are available on the  ACDS website.  Submit your application to Clova Lehr, Director of Services and Accreditation, ACDS by fax to (403) 291-9864 or by email to accred@acds.ca

Workforce Development

Workforce Classification System

Workforce Classification System (WCS) has been undergoing a major revision. The upcoming 5 th edition features a number of new additions including new Benchmark Job Profiles, new specialized career paths in Employment Support and Complex Needs, and a new competencies based staff evaluation tool.  The manual has been rewritten to be more accessible for organizations without full time HR support. 
Organizations have been asked to provide input on the new WCS through online surveys and a series of focus groups held across the province.  The WCS update is now entering its final phase before general release and once again there is a need for sector involvement.  ACDS is seeking volunteer organizations to participate in the pilot of the updated WCS, in particular organizations that have programs in the areas of Supported Employment and Complex Needs.  The pilot will run over the fall. Participation is welcome from organizations already using WCS or those new to the system. 
The 5 th edition of the Workforce Classification System will be released to the sector later this year.  The WCS remains a free resource available to Alberta service providers.  Support is available, at no cost to the service providers, for organizations interesting in adopting the WCS and also for those already using the system.  For more information about the WCS or the pilot, contact Jody Amirault, Workforce Development Coordinator at jody@acds.ca or 403-250-9495 ext. 223.

Energy Efficiency Program

Program Update

The ACDS Energy Efficiency Program is nearing its one year anniversary. Over the past year, ACDS has had the opportunity to advocate for the sector from an environment and energy standpoint by speaking to government and industry leaders at two separate Environmental Education Leaders forums. Many members have accessed resources from the program, and energy audits are ongoing. The audit target has moved in the last few months with Energy Efficiency Alberta revamping their rebate program, but changes have been made to better align members needs with new efficiency guidelines.

The educational component, with an emphasis on environmental and climate literacy, is currently in development and will be available to ACDS members in the near future. This will offer members and individuals an opportunity to gain an unbiased understanding of these issues, empowering them to make decisions based on best practice from both an economic and sustainable aspect. The material will be available online and in print as best suits the user's needs, and workshops will be offered for in person and hands on learning.  Contact Neil Delorme, Energy Efficiency Coordinator, ACDS at neil@acds.ca or (403) 250 9495 ext. 240, for more information. 

Neil Delorme, ACDS Energy Efficiency Coordinator presenting at the  Environmental Education Leaders' Forum, organized by the Alberta Environment, Parks, and Climate Change Office on September 12, 2018.
Other news and events

Disability Employment Awareness Month

Through the advocacy efforts of the CEFN (Calgary Employment First Network), the PDC (Pan Disability Connection Edmonton), ACDS, ADWA (Alberta Disability Workers Association) and EmployUs, Alberta is officially proclaiming October as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM)! The purpose of DEAM is to promote employment inclusion for people with disabilities and celebrate the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities. 

Proclamation events will take place at the Alberta Legislature, Edmonton on October 1st from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and at City Hall, Calgary on October 2nd, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Visit the  Government of Alberta website for more information about the proclamation events.

For further information about DEAM, including other DEAM events taking place across the province and ways to get involved, visit the  

Health and Safety E-News Letter

Members are encouraged to sign up to the Government of Alberta's monthly e-news letter with the occupational health and safety news and events. For more information and to subscribe, click here. 

ACDS member news and events

Autism Alberta Alliance is hosting an event, titled "Building a Continuum of Opportunity" on October 15th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The free event will include presentations, facilitated conversations and community building activities on the topics of diagnostics, navigation and mental health, among others. 
For more information and to register,  click here.

Alberta Council of Disability Services
160-3015 12 ST NE
Calgary, Alberta, T2E 7J2
Phone: 403-250-9495  Fax: 403-291-9864
www.acds.ca   e-mail: acds@acds.ca