June 11 COVID-19 Update
This message includes

  • Message from Andrea Hesse, CEO: Stage 2 relaunch; CSS guidance for reopening programs; health orders; invoicing 
  • Survey on Freedom to Care Act:  The deadline is June 26
Message from Andrea Hesse, CEO
Stage 2 Relaunch
This week the Government of Alberta (GoA) announced that on June 12th the province will begin stage 2 of the relaunch strategy. 
  • Community and Social Services’ (CSS) relaunch guidance for disability service providers was released today.  
  • We have updated our relaunch guidance document to reflect the latest information and encourage you to continue to share issues and challenges, so we can address these through updated resources and our advocacy efforts. 

The next stage in reopening and managing the risks will provide opportunities for service providers to engage individuals in service in new ways, and also continue to challenge you in navigating risks, health orders and guidance documents, and respond to the desires and needs for individuals and families to reengage in community. Workforce challenges will continue as you reengage staff from layoffs and navigate changing staffing models. 

Service providers and your staff should be proud of the work that you have undertaken to adapt and respond to a rapidly changing environment, as you continue to meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities throughout this crisis. 

I have been so impressed and privileged to be a voice for all of you as I have seen you rethink your service delivery models, manage without a precedent or roadmap, continue to put the needs of individuals in the forefront, and to bring the individuals you serve and your staff through this pandemic safely. 
Health Orders
As we move towards the stage 2 relaunch  in Alberta, we have heard from many of you who are struggling with the requirements and recommendations of public health orders as individuals and families reengage in the community, and as risk levels in communities decrease. We have been sharing these concerns with CSS and requesting that they engage with Alberta Health regarding the recommendations, recognizing the difference in service delivery models between PDD and Alberta Health Services programs and services. In addition to following mandatory aspects of the orders for your SLALA licensed homes, I know that many service providers diligently adopted the same requirements and procedures strongly recommended for either your undesignated licensed homes or non-licensed homes and are reticent to move away from recommended practices. We will continue to advocate that appropriate adjustments be made to reflect changes in risk and service needs for PDD homes. However, I do want to reiterate that although mandatory practices must be followed, organizations can make reasoned risk assessments regarding whether recommended practices need to continue in their organization based on service models and vulnerability of residents. 
The working group providing feedback to the invoicing process is scheduled to meet again next week. We have received some feedback this week regarding ongoing challenges and inconsistencies. Please  continue to share  this feedback to inform the evolution of this process. 
Service Provider Partnership Committee
In addition to the regular COVID-related meetings, the Service Provider Partnership Committee met this week to recommence conversations scheduled prior to the pandemic related to sustainability and other PDD related issues: 

  • The committee provided feedback on planning for additional and more transparent data sharing related to waitlists, as well as other program-specific regional and provincial data.
  • A new task team is being created to ensure learnings from COVID-19 including opportunities, are captured as services move forward.   
  • A report back from the Red Tape Reduction task team was made with feedback given and that group will recommence their work.   
  • Initial discussions regarding government and/or service provider strategies to address sustainability issues in the program in the immediate and short-term as well as some longer-term strategies. This work will continue in early July and we will provide updates at that time. 
Survey on Freedom to Care Exemptions
CSS has invited non-profit organizations to participate in the  Freedom to Care Act Survey . The proposed legislation will allow charitable and non-profit groups to apply for a "common sense exemption" from regulations that are designed primarily for commercial application, where those regulations have the unintended consequence of preventing a social good from being performed. 

The survey will remain open for responses until June 26, 2020.  
ACDS COVID-19 Contact Email
Service provider input and engagement is critical to helping ACDS advocate on behalf of the sector. Service providers can report their issues, concerns and questions to our dedicated email, and a member of the ACDS Leadership team will respond:
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Alberta Council of Disability Services