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The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities actively promotes full participation in society and provides a voice for Albertans with disabilities.


Spring Forum Save the Date

January 2018 - Newsletters
Save the Date - Spring Forum

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The RDSP – A Huge Win for Advisors & Clients

December 2017 - Newsletters

The RDSP – A Huge Win for Advisors & Clients

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The Voice December 2017 Edition

December 2017 - Newsletters
Greetings from VAD!
This has been a dynamic year of change at the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities.  We have welcomed new staff: Maureen Murphy-Black, Teresa Yagos, Michelle Bissell, new board members: Kristin Jennings - Edmonton, Tarah Patterson - Grande Prairie, and Sharde Davies - Lethbridge.  With new people come new ideas and approaches. This newsletter highlights some of the accomplishments of the past year and new initiatives for 2018.

I, Meloney Patterson, Executive Director, thank all of you who welcomed me to my new role with VAD and look forward to our ongoing work. Seasons greetings and best wishes to you and your family from Voice of Albertans with Disabilities.


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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities November 2017

November 2017 - Newsletters
Voice of Albertans with Disabilities (VAD) is pleased to provide you with an update on changes occurring with VAD and the Alberta Disabilities Forum (ADF). 

VAD has always been the umbrella organization that hosted the Alberta Disabilities Forum. The difference between VAD and ADF has caused on-going confusion for many stakeholders. Voice of Albertans with Disabilities is taking a number of actions to address this issue.
Voice of Albertans with Disabilities Update

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Driver Appreciation Day Poster

November 2017 - Newsletters
Voice of Albertans with Disabilities (VAD) is pleased to partner with the Calgary Ability Network to launch the 1st annual Provincial Accessible Driver Appreciation Day.
Please let the ladies and men who drive and schedule accessible transportation know that they are appreciated.  It is through their daily work that many people get to live, work and play in our communities. Thank you for your welcoming manner, your professional driving skills, and your organization of complicated scheduling demands. Your work is essential to support the full participation of persons with disabilities in society.  Thank you, Thank you.

Attached is a poster we are sending to the Accessible Transportation Groups in Alberta. It would be wonderful if you could post it in a public place and share it with the staff connected to accessible transportation in your jurisdictions.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities October 2017

October 2017 - Newsletters
   Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday …now GivingTuesday is coming to Canada - a new day for giving on November 28, 2017.

Disability Employment Awareness Month  (DEAM)
   DEAM is looking for examples of employees with disabilities who shine in their roles (DEAMjobs) and employers who are leaders in recognizing the employability of people with disabilities (DEAMemployers).

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities September 2017

September 2017 - Newsletters
Why Voting is Important
   Voting in an election is your democratic right and your choice. Our city and our lives are shaped by the outcome of the 2017 Municipal Elections. Casting your ballot for a mayor, city councillor and school board trustee means you are participating in choosing the leaders that will make decisions about policies and programs that impact your daily life. 

Education for Life Bursaries!
  Voice of Albertans is proud to present the Education for Life Bursaries to 6 qualified post secondary students, all entering their first year of studies. 

ADF Forum - October 5, 2017
   You are invited to attend the Alberta Disabilities Forum, October 5th, 2017, from 9:30-2:30 at the Chateau Nova, 13920 Yellowhead Trail, Edmonton.   Confirm your attendance through Eventbrite, follow the link to reserve your tickets today - https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fall-forum-meeting-opportunity-to-network-tickets-37699317674

   Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday …now GivingTuesday is coming to Canada - a new day for giving on November 28, 2017.  We are proud to be a #GivingTuesdayCa partner.

   September 11, 2017, was the official kick off of the #IBelieveYou campaign. Meloney Patterson, Executive Director of Voice of Albertans with Disabilities, gave a speech in support of the campaign launch and we are pleased to showcase the newest poster in the #IBelieveYou campaign that features an individual with a disability.

Project Updates
   Voice of Albertans with Disabilities has completed the Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta project which includes sections on Current Practice, Accessibility Tools and Recommendations for Action.

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Elections Sheet

September 2017 - Newsletters
The information collected for the Municipal Election by the Voice of Albertans with Disibilities, with input from a number of members, is being used by a number of organizations to encourage discussion with candidates. The Disability Action Hall, Calgary, has created a handout using the material. It is great to see the information is prooving helpful to engage in the election process.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities August 2017

August 2017 - Newsletters
Accessible Hotels in Alberta:  Voice of Albertans with Disabilities has completed the Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta project which includes sections on Current Practice, Accessibility Tools and Recommendations for Action.

Voting: Step by Step: Make sure your vote is heard in your local elections.

A Life Full of Adventure, Love, and Heartache. . . Book launch details

I Believe You: Three Simple Words that can Heal and End Sexual Assault

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities July 2017

July 2017 - Newsletters
Meet the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities New Executive Director
Meloney Patterson
   The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities would like to welcome Meloney Patterson as our new Executive Director! 
   Coming to us from Alberta Disabilities Forum (ADF), and PLAN Edmonton, Meloney brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about individuals with disabilities and the community resources available to them. Meloney has a lived experience as a family member supporting, first her father who lived with multiple sclerosis. He lived in a rural area and lived at home for many years with the support of his family. Secondly, she has supported her daughter who lives with an intellectual disability. She has supported her daughter, with the assistance of other family members, to live her daughter’s vision of a good life.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities June 2017

June 2017 - Newsletters
AISH Update
   In November 2016, the Auditor General released a report to recommend improvements to the AISH program.  Here are three recommendations that outline the commitment to Albertans to make the AISH program better.
1) Improve Program Accessibility
  • make the AISH program information more accessible and user friendly.
  • simplify the AISH application form. The new simplified AISH application form should be available by July 31, 2017.
  • improve the internal AISH application process.
2) Set Service Standards and Improve Eligibility 
  • Procedures and Guidelines
  • set standards for application processing times.
  • improve communication with applicants who are not eligible for AISH.
  • support staff decision-making through enhanced training and supports.
  • track and analyze appeal panel decisions.
  • review all eligibility policies...to provide clarity and transparency.
  • strengthen internal oversights and implement the Ministry’s Internal Audit recommendations.
3) Improve Reporting on Efficiency
The following indicators will be monitored and publically reported on:
  • efficiency/timeliness of program delivery.
  • effectiveness of program delivery.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities May 2017

May 2017 - Newsletters
Support and Referral   
   Voice of Albertans with Disabilities staff provide support (e.g. filling out forms, providing information of disability supports and programs) and referral services to people with disabilities, their families and advocates. Requests for information and support are received through telephone calls, letters, and emails.
   As people with disabilities, we know that government programs and services can be a challenge to access and/or understand. For this reason, Voice of Albertans with Disabilities has maintained our Support and Referral Program since 1973.

Get Loud for Mental Health
We often suffer silently. One of the ways to Get Loud is to speak up. Talk openly to someone you feel safe with: a loved one or a friend. If they’re informed and supportive, they won’t judge or shame you about your mental health concerns. They may even have their own concerns, and you’d be opening a dialogue. Either way, talking about it can end the silence.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities April 2017

April 2017 - Newsletters
AISH Changes - Disability Advocate - Service Dogs and More!
Check out our latest newsletter for more details.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities March 2017

March 2017 - Newsletters
Time for a vacation?
Albertans with physical disabilities will have five more parks to enjoy with their families this summer, plus a new place to fish in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park next summer.

On March 2, 2017, government representatives from the AISH program met with members from the ADF AISH Working Goup, Guy Coulombe, Spinal Cord Injury, and Meloney Patterson, ADF Provincial Coordinator, to discuss recommendations outlined in the ADF paper submitted to them in January. They invited us to outline in a letter our recommendations for suggested improvements to the AISH application forms, their processes and eligibility adjudication criteria.  We strongly reiterated the call for cost of living increases as outlined in the AISH Working Group paper. 

Board Members Needed
Would you like to make a difference in your community? We are looking for board members from all areas of the province who are 18 years of age or older, who can commit to a two-year term and have access to email. Priority will be given to those individuals with a disability or who have disability awareness.

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The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities November 2016

November 2016 - Newsletters
The VOICE of Albertans with Disabilities discusses Auditor General of Alberta report on AISH Program deficiencies. He concluded that “the Department of Human Services is unable to demonstrate that the AISH Program is efficient.  The AISH application process favours people who are good at completing forms and are persistent.  Assessing eligibility takes too long, and the department cannot be sure its staff’s decisions are consistent.  With its existing reporting process, the department does not know what it needs to change to improve the program.” He gave recommendations to improve the AISH Program.
The Alberta Disabilities Forum struck the AISH Benefit working group to look at how Albertans with disabilities are impacted by the amount of monthly income provided by the AISH program.  The ADF AISH Benefit working group distributed a survey to their member organizations to hear the perspectives of Albertans who participate in the AISH program. 

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Action Notes Fall 2016

September 2016 - Newsletters
What does an accessible Canada mean to you? Be part of the conversation.

Did you know that approximately 14 percent of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities? And that there are approximately 411,000 working-aged Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so? Almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates. All Canadians are encouraged to take part in the consultation process, either by attending an in-person session or by participating in the online consultation. A full list of in-person sessions can be found at www.Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.

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Action Notes Summer 2016

June 2016 - Newsletters
New Executive Director, Accessible Hotels??, A new $2000 bursary from the Pembina Pipeline Corporation and ADF Updates

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Action News Spring 2016

May 2016 - Newsletters
Accessible Hotel Rooms in Alberta
For people with disabilities, travelling is often fraught with uncertainty, especially when it comes to hotel accessibility. This has become more evident as ACCD is approached by individuals and organizations that are unable to find accessible accommodations. We hear from people with disabilities who travel for work or leisure, families with children with disabilities and others who have found their travels compromised by inaccessible accommodations. While some steps have been taken to provide accessible accommodation, a disparity exists between what the industry deems accessible and the diverse needs of people with disabilities. Educating the hotel industry on what constitutes an accessible hotel room would be a great benefit to people with disabilities, as well as the hotel industry.

Accessible Dental, Eye Care & Pharmacy Services: Research Project Completed        
ACCD identified the need to raise awareness about the institutional and organizational barriers that exclude Albertans with disabilities from fully participating in dental, eye care and pharmacy services in Alberta. Our research study “Accessible Dental, Eye Care, and Pharmacy Services in Alberta” explored the status of accessibility of these health services for people with disabilities in Alberta.  To ensure equal access to health services in Alberta, it is crucial that people with disabilities are included in future strategies and implementation in order to provide accessible dental, eye care and pharmacy services.

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Action Notes April 2016

April 2016 - Newsletters
An Alberta Accessibility Act
   Through the years ACCD has received calls from community members asking if we are advocating for accessibility legislation in Alberta. Our response was, “Although we think it would be a good idea, we are not actively promoting accessibility legislation.” The steps necessary to have legislation drafted and enacted is a daunting task and one that ACCD has not pursued. However, given what is happening across Canada, now might be the time for Alberta to get on board and start the discussion about an Alberta Accessibility Act.

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Action Notes March 2016

March 2016 - Newsletters
   On June 6, 2016, physician-assisted death will become legal in Canada. Decisions are presently being considered about how physician-assisted death will be carried out in Alberta. The government of Alberta has created an online survey to hear from Albertans about what is important to us as the regulations/legislation are being developed.
   The government survey preamble states, “Physician-assisted death is a delicate and emotional issue. Alberta Health wants to ensure that Albertans have had, and will continue to have input into sensitive and difficult choices concerning end-of-life decisions and access and delivery of physical-assisted death.”
   The voices of people with disabilities must be heard. Please go to www.health.alberta.ca/initiatives/physician-assisted-death.html and fill out the survey, which will close on March 31, 2016.

   Read the 21 Recommendations here.

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Action Notes February 2016

February 2016 - Newsletters
The Supreme Court of Canada granted a four-month extension on the effective date of the Carter judgment to June 6, 2016.
What does this extension mean to Canadians?
   The provisions of the federal criminal code that prohibit doctor assisted dying will be in effect until June 6, 2016. After June 6, 2016, a competent adult with an “irremediable medical condition that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition” can get help from a doctor to die.

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Action Notes January 2016

January 2016 - Newsletters
How do we make more opportunities available for persons with disabilities to receive these benefits from nature?
What is a Hate Crime?

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Action Notes December 2015

December 2015 - Newsletters
Service providers are concerned about loss of their government contracts and the programs and services they have been providing for many years.
Creating an accessible pharmacy in terms of physical layout and communication strategies

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Action Notes November 2015

November 2015 - Newsletters
Leaving Some Behind
The Institute for Research on Public Policy has produced a document entitled Leaving Some Behind: What Happens When Workers Get Sick. This report calls for a fundamental renewal of Canada’s income, disability and employment support system and calls on the federal government to champion the renewal. The purpose of the report is to highlight the burden and household impact of serious illness in Canada.
   The report asks and answers the question, “How is Canada doing in supporting the employment and income needs of workers and families when they experience a major health issue?” Various aspects of Canada’s disability and employment support system are analyzed. A series of principles that could form the starting point for defining a new framework for supporting individuals deal with sickness or disability are identified.

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Action Notes October 2015

October 2015 - Newsletters
The federal election is coming soon and we want to make sure that Albertans with disabilities are ready to vote! In order to vote on Election Day, October 19, 2015, there are some things you need to do.

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