ED Update December 2019
The Board of Directors and I met with the Minister of Children Services Danielle Larivee last week. Our meeting was a result of the letter we sent to the Premier. In our discussion we reviewed who we are, how many people we represent and the current financial issues we are facing. According to the Boland report we are back up to a 47% turnover rate, agencies are reporting difficulty in hiring and ALIGN has had an unprecedented number of jobs posted on our website. Interestingly as I reviewed our history for the meeting we are in a 6 year wave again. It seems that every 6 years we are in this predicament.
We were able to state that in each of those times we were able to develop some sort of business relationship committee which help everyone understand the issues and collaboratively work on them, we also have been able to work on flexibility in contracts and in some cases injections of short term funds as a stop gap. At this time, there is a promise of some funding to cover the paid days off vacation requirements in Bill 17, and there is some discussion of support for the costs of Bill 30. The Minister also assures us she is trying to request increased funding in the 2019/20 budget, with a special emphasis on the group care sector.
We emphasized that the added expectations over the past few years, and in the next few years with the Stronger Safer Tomorrow recommendations in all service delivery areas there is a need to fund those as we cannot sustain the good practice with just minor adjustments. We stressed that group care, contact foster care and kinship care must have attention soon. We would like to see a clear procurement plan, and contracts that includes the costs of the new legislation, regular cost of living increases, and a realistic cost for operating. Generally speaking group care was last procured in 2006 and contract foster care in 2008.
We continue to advocate on your behalf, if you are really struggling you need to make your challenges known to your contract managers. If you are beginning to close programs can please let me know. I have monthly meetings with the policy and program division of the Ministry and we want to make sure they are aware of the challenges within the sector.
By now most of you know that the Ministry of Community and Support Services have been doing a review of the PDD program. I hope you were able to be at an open house and/or wrote a submission. Stay tuned; I am sure some recommendations will affect FSCD.
I recently received a letter of introduction from the new Disabilities Advocate. I have written to him in hopes of meeting with him to discuss the FSCD sector.
Foundations of Caregiver Support (FCS)
This project has taken a life of its own. ALIGN has provided 3 train the trainer sessions over the last 6 months. We have trained over 150 people to train the FCS modules. To date there have been a total of 685 staff and 200 agency caregivers trained that we know of. We believe that many of the contract foster care programs are working on training their caregivers over the next few months. Thank you for the support and uptake in doing this work. We ask that you report who has been trained in your agencies to us so that in June we can report on the total numbers.
We are moving forward with the assumption that the trainers are making plans within their own agencies to train staff. Our offer of assistance stands, especially if you need an indigenous trainer. Please email or call Nicole firstname.lastname@example.org or 780.232.9199.
We have decided not to offer ALIGN session in January and February. Our contract goes until June and the funding is tight. We hope to run another session for whoever needs it later in the spring. If you are struggling getting the training in, or need help please call Nicole ad we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get it done. If we need to ask for more funding we will but need to know the need by March.
Strengthening Today, Building Tomorrow conference – January 24 &25, 2019
Registration is going fast and furious for the annual conference. We are looking forward to seeing everyone here. If you haven’t registered yet, there is still room. We have extra room on Friday if anyone wants to send their staff to see Dr. Michael Ungar. You can just purchase a one day ticket for that event.
Group Care Symposium – February 7&8, 2019
For those of you who work in group care, we are offering our 3rd group care symposium in February 2019. We know it is close to our conference and this may be a challenge but we had the opportunity to have some of the guest speakers’ already here in Alberta, and we are aware that group care will be procured as soon as the Minister can get the funding in the budget. She plans to move forward with her ask soon. So we wanted to make sure that we had the latest research available to you, plus we have asked Jon Reeves and Joni Brodziak to come and open the session with the expectations for the sector moving forward. We have an exciting line up of academics and researchers to speak, and will have example of programs there as well. We hope that those if you who work in this area, are able to come. We do have limited seating on day 1 so don’t wait to long or you will miss out. Registration is open now.
Occupational Health and Safety
Bill 30 and its requirements have been challenging for everyone. We have asked for some clarity on the requirements for work site and safety committees and representatives. https://www.alberta.ca/work-site-health-safety-committees.aspx. Specific to your concerns about employers with multiple work sites, the approvals process is outlined on the webpage (bottom) or I will post on our website. If there are still questions please send them to me and I will get assistance for you.
Yesterday ALIGN and ACDS met with the Ministry of Labor regarding the current Care Worker Focused inspections. We clearly outlined some of the concerns we have heard including the inconsistencies, threats of fines, questions about placements, etc. We were able to have them stop/complete the inspection process. Only those that are currently open will be followed up on and there will be no more in this round. We are told that there is a group of inspectors that have been assigned to this sector. In light of that, ACDS, ALIGN and the 2 ministries have offered to provide the inspectors some insight into the sector, how it works and who the clients are. We hope to do that in January and then we expect to have a debrief session on this current round of inspections later in February.
According to Alberta Council Recent poling states:
THE UNITED CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADS BY 15% AMONG COMMITTED VOTERS BUT 26% OF ALBERTANS SAY THEY ARE UNDECIDED.
WHILE THE UCP HOLDS A COMMANDING LEAD IN MOST OF ALBERTA THEY ARE TRAILING THE NDP IN EDMONTON
Speculation is an election will be called for March
Our government relations committee (GRC) is meeting in January to compose some questions that are relevant that you and your staff might want to ask those that come knocking on your doors or that you go visit in the New Year. We encourage you to take the key messages (on our website) and invite candidates to your agencies to meet with you. If not, go talk to them about the sector, your strengths and challenges wherever you can. There will be many forums, or they will host office meeting or town halls. Alternatively just ask for a meeting. They need to understand how the sector works, and how we provide excellent services.
The GRC will continue to offer suggestions and questions as they work through some of the communications research we have. I have reached out and hope to meet with Jason Nixon and Leela Aheer from the UCP party and Stephen Mandel and Greg Clark from the Alberta Party. We have also been offered the ability to submit a position statement to the UCP on the sector. I am working on that now.
Here are the candidates as of today. You can get contact information by googling them or checking the Election Alberta website. We strongly encourage you to reach out to those in your home riding and your office riding. We need to inform the politician about the sector.
|Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock||Glenn van Dijken|
|Banff-Kananaskis||Cam Westhead||Miranda Rosin||Brenda Stanton|
|Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul||Dave Hanson||Glenn Anderson|
|Brooks-Medicine Hat||Michaela Glasgo||Jim Black|
|Calgary-Acadia||Brian Pincott||Tyler Shandro||Lana Bentley|
|Calgary-Beddington||Randy Kerr||Karen McPherson|
|Calgary-Buffalo||Joe Ceci||Tom Olsen||Omar Masood|
|Calgary-Currie||Brian Malkinson||Nicholas Milliken||Lindsay Luhnau|
|Calgary-East||Peter Singh||Gar Gar|
|Calgary-Edgemont||Prasad Panda||Joanne Gui|
|Calgary-Elbow||Janet Eremenko||Doug Schweitzer||Greg Clark|
|Calgary-Fish Creek||Richard Gotfried|
|Calgary-Foothills||Jason Luan||Jennifer Wyness|
|Calgary-Glenmore||Whitney Issik||Scott Appleby||Allie Tulick (Green)|
|Calgary-Klein||Craig Coolahan||Jeremy Nixon||Kara Levis|
|Calgary-Lougheed||Jason Kenney||Rachel Timmermans|
|Calgary-McCall||Irfan Sabir||Jasraj Singh Hallan|
|Calgary-Mountain View||Kathleen Ganley||Angela Kokott||David Khan||Thana Boonlert (Green)|
|Calgary-North East||Rajan Sawhney||Nate Pike||Gul Khan|
|Calgary-North West||Sonya Savage||Andrew Bradley|
|Calgary-Shaw||Rebecca Schulz||Bronson Ha|
|Calgary-South East||Eva Kiryakos||Rick Fraser|
|Calgary-Varsity||Anne McGrath||Jason Copping||Beth Barberree||Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes (Green)|
|Central Peace-Notley||Marg McCuaig-Boyd||Todd Loewen|
|Chestermere-Strathmore||Leela Aheer||Derek Fildebrandt (FCP)|
|Cypress-Medicine Hat||Drew Barnes|
|Drayton Valley-Devon||Kieren Quirke||Mark Smith|
|Drumheller-Stettler||Nathan Horner||Mark Nikota|
|Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview||Deron Bilous||David Egan||Jeff Walters|
|Edmonton-Castle Downs||Ed Ammar||Moe Rahall|
|Edmonton-City Centre||David Shepherd||Lily Le||Bob Philip|
|Edmonton-Decore||Karen Principe||Ali Haymour|
|Edmonton-Glenora||Sarah Hoffman||Marjorie Newman||Glen Tickner|
|Edmonton-Gold Bar||Marlin Schmidt||David Dorward||Diana Ly|
|Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood||Janis Irwin||Tish Prouse|
|Edmonton-McClung||Lorne Dach||Laurie Mozenson||Stephen Mandel|
|Edmonton-Millwoods||Christina Gray||Anju Sharma||Abdi Bakal|
|Edmonton-North West||David Eggen||Ali Eltayeb|
|Edmonton-Riverview||Lori Sigurdson||Kara Barker||Katherine O’Neill|
|Edmonton-Rutherford||Richard Feehan||Hannah Presakarchuk||Aisha Rauf|
|Edmonton-South||Tunde Obasan||Pramod Kumar|
|Edmonton-South West||Mo Elsalhy|
|Edmonton-West Henday||Jon Carson||Nicole Williams||Winston Leung|
|Edmonton-Whitemud||Elizabeth Hughes||Jonathan Dai|
|Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche||Laila Goodridge|
|Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo||Tany Yao|
|Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville||Jackie Armstrong||Marvin Olsen|
|Grande Prairie||Tracy Allard|
|Grande Prairie-Wapiti||Travis Toews|
|Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland||Oneil Carlier||Don McCargar|
|Lacombe-Ponoka||Ron Orr||Myles Chykerda|
|Leduc-Beaumont||Shaye Anderson||Brad Rutherford|
|Lesser Slave Lake||Danielle Larivee||Pat Rehn||Judy Kim-Meneen|
|Livingstone-Macleod||Tim Meech||Dylin Hauser|
|Morinville-St. Albert||Dale Nally|
|Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills||Nathan Cooper|
|Peace River||Daniel Williams|
|Red Deer-North||Adriana LaGrange||Paul Hardy|
|Red Deer-South||Barb Miller||Ryan McDougal|
|Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre||Jason Nixon|
|Sherwood Park||Sue Timanson|
|Spruce Grove-Stony Plain|
|St. Albert||Jeff Wedman|
|Strathcona-Sherwood Park||Nate Glubish||Dave Quest|
|West Yellowhead||Martin Long||Kristie Gomuwka|
I want to personally wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and Best Wishes for the New Year. I hope you all get some rest over the holidays and little time off. Our office will be closed from Dec. 17th to January 4th.
I will see most of you at the conference in January.