What’s happening in the Disabilities Sector?
I wanted to let everyone know that the Disabilities Sector is potentially in a risky place. Many of the agencies that provide services for children and families also provide services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) or Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) services. It is important that we support Alberta Council for Disability Services (ACDS) advocacy work as it may have a collateral effect on many of your colleagues. 

What is the issue? On June 10, the Government of Alberta (GoA) issued a notice to select AUPE members and guardians of individuals with disabilities, regarding the government’s exploration of alternative service delivery for individuals currently served in public institutions. The AUPE’s anti-privatization committee subsequently responded with the Protect Disability Services campaign that has garnered some media and social media interest. While the campaign reasonably addresses the challenges of any changes to families, guardians and individuals currently supported in the public institutions under consideration, as well as potential job losses, the language around “privatisation of disability services” is misleading, and has created a false narrative around the historic and current service delivery of persons with developmental disabilities.

The campaign has generated support from families and individuals in care, union locals represented by staff at Edmonton School Boards, opposition parties and critics, as well as allies and advocates for persons with disabilities. ACDS and ALIGN is concerned about the potential implications of the sustained false and negative narrative around community-based (private) service delivery.

ACDS has initiated:

  • a social media campaign promoting key facts about community disability services, as well as celebrating and promoting the resilience and innovation in the sector, organizations, and staff, during the pandemic. The #QualityCDS campaign was recently launched; and
  • a statement from ACDS CEO, Andrea Hesse with details about the history and current facts has been released, https://acds.ca/about-acds/-qualitycds.html.

How can we help?

Let’s share the clarifying messages and support the social media campaign.

There is an AUPE/NDP rally planned for today (Oct. 27) at the legislature abut the potential contracting of direct services.  http://www.aupe.org/news/news-and-updates/rally-be-held-fight-ucp-attacks-albertans-disabilities.

Rhonda Barraclough
Executive Director, ALIGN