Monday, December 28, 2009

An ONLINE application?

Working on the 2009 community spirit application, I notice this comment on page 2 of the application:

NEW Online Application - Organizations are invited to submit an application using the online application form. See the program website for details.

Organizations may also apply by submitting a completed application that has been down loaded from the program website

Yet on Page 3, the application states:
Faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted.

Is it possible that someone has missed the definition of "online application?"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stelmach has failed Alberta's disabled, say critics

We could not have said this any better...

Stelmach has failed Alberta's disabled, say critics: "CALGARY -

Premier Ed Stelmach has broken his promise to take care of Alberta's most vulnerable, say social agencies across Alberta, following the province's $11-million cut in funding for people with developmental disabilities.

Clients and support groups say the announced cuts and further clawbacks expected in the February budget will seriously erode the quality of life for 9,200 Albertans who rely on the financial support.

The Tory government informed social agencies over the past few weeks it will cut $11 million, or roughly two per cent, out of the fiscal year's program budget for Persons with Development Disabilities despite promising a funding increase of $33 million. The cut reduces the increase to $22 million."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mount Royal University - Disability Policy in Alberta

Mount Royal University - Nonprofit Resources - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Disability Policy in Alberta

This initial exploration of transition implications, emerged out of a policy project funded by the Max Bell Foundation. This policy study examined the range of provincial policy envelopes that impact a person with a developmental disability over the course of their life. Focusing on the major transitions, the study presents how service providing organizations work across policy boundaries, and how they see the effects of those transitions on families and individuals. Disability Policy in Alberta identifies six major themes that describe the experience of negotiating a transition point.

we found this paragraph enlightening:
Several agencies talked about disconnects within PDD itself. For example, the interpretation of the Act, especially regarding costs for the services provided and paid for, leads to several inconsistencies. Codes for service provision may vary from service provider to service provider and between the six regions which may negatively affect funding for service providers and/or individuals. Reporting mechanisms often do not reflect what was negotiated for a contract which also affects funding. While the Auditor General advises agencies not to sign contracts that might put the agency at risk or in an adverse situation, agencies indicated that PDD requires them to sign contracts as presented.

Families who live below the poverty line face considerable difficulties when they have a child with disabilities. These families have other basic needs issues which need to be addressed before they can address their child’s specific disability issues. External barriers related to housing and transportation make it difficult for families to access services. Agencies identified inadequate levels of support impacting poverty rates and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Westlock News Editorial

Westlock News

EDITORIAL - December 8, 2009

Debate needed

News Staff

Although the town may not be pleased with the move, the county's decision to bow out of the Westlock and District Transportation Committee - the handi-bus service - isn't an unreasonable one.

At this point, most people reading this editorial are probably going "what handi-bus service?" Which, of course, is part of the problem.

In fact, the transportation committee - and by extension, the handi-bus service - has been around in one form or another for the better part of 25 years.

The handi-bus is used to shuttle seniors and disabled residents. It isn't as flexible as a taxi, but it is also less costly.

Over the years, the service has been debated because of its nature as a transportation service funded by local municipalities in direct competition with taxi companies and the like.

As time has gone on, however, it's become clear the service just isn't being utilized by rural residents.

Perhaps that's because people think the handi-buses are "only for old people." Perhaps it's due to lackluster service; we don't use the buses on a regular basis, so we have no idea how accessible they are.

More than likely, we can chalk up some of this disuse to a lack of advertising. How do people even utilize the service? How many people reading this editorial right now could answer that question?

There are people living in the country for whom the handi-buses could be useful, but in truth, most of the people who would use this service are located in town..

And that leaves the county carrying a larger part of the costs for a program that hardly anyone in their municipality even uses.

We don't want to see the service fail. We don't want to see the county's withdrawal a year from now spell the doom of the transportation committee.

Hopefully, this generates some further debate on the topic. Perhaps, instead of this being solely debated by municipal politicians, Westlock residents can lend their voices to the topic. It would be nice to actually hear from people who utilize the service as to its effectiveness and worth.

We hope the service doesn't go. But at the same time, we can understand the county's position.

Westlock News: Off at the next stop please

Off at the next stop please
Westlock County serves notice that they're pulling out of Westlock and District Transportation Committee

Allendria Brunjes
News Staff

Westlock County council has notified the Westlock and District Transportation Committee that the county will no longer be a member of the committee, effective Jan. 1, 2011.

After an in-camera session on Sept. 22, county council voted to leave the committee. A letter was presented to transportation committee members on Nov. 20, stating the county's intent to quit.

The committee's main function is to provide transportation for elderly and disabled residents of the county and town by running a handi-bus service.

Westlock County's corporate and environmental services director Dennis Mueller said the county currently has only one registered rider.

"If our ridership was greater, I don't think we would have this discussion," he said.

He said the service is valuable for the town, but the county is not seeing any return.

"It is a very valuable service for the residents in town," he said, noting that there are 63 registered riders who use the bus regularly in town, and no registered riders from the Village of Clyde.

In the letter, dated Sept. 24, county administrator Ed LeBlanc states the county's participation in the committee was discussed at length during the Sept. 22 council meeting.

"The county could no longer justify its involvement in the committee's operation based on the very low ridership that we have experienced over a substantial period of time," the letter states.

Reeve Charles Navratil said while they did serve their notice, nothing is final yet.

"It may be good to keep in town, but to take out into the county I don't know," he said. "We did serve notice because we don't know if it's serving its purpose anymore."

The county contributes $22,250 to the service, while the town gives $15,066 and Clyde puts in $1,408. Mueller said these funds come from unconditional provincial grants, meaning the municipalities can take the money away and use it for other parts of their transportation budget.

In an interview, LeBlanc said that although council voted to leave the committee and could theoretically take the funds with them, the money may end up staying behind.

"The committee's equity and our financial contribution is still on the table for further discussion," he said. "It's yet to be determined. County council has not closed the door on that particular issue."

At the Nov. 23 town council meeting, councillors expressed their disapproval with county's decision, stating that there has not yet been an effort to fix the service.

"There has not been an attempt yet to just change it and make it work," said town Coun. Robin Brett.

"We do not want to see this discontinued, but maybe we want to look at different ways to use it," said town Coun. Marjorie Sterling-Miller, suggesting that the bus could be used to help single mothers who need transportation.

Sterling-Miller, who is also a member of the transportation committee, said she would really like to see the town not just agree to go forward with the county's decision, but discuss it further.

Mayor Bruce Lennon, pointing out that town council did not know about county's withdrawal, said he was not happy with the fact that county did not discuss the issue at a joint services meeting, which was held after the county's decision was made.

LeBlanc said the county only needed to give one year's notice to leave the committee, which is what they did.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

UN Enable - International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December 2009

UN Enable - International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December 2009
The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, aims to promote an understanding of disability issues, the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. The Day provides an opportunity to mobilize action to achieve the goal of full and equal enjoyment of human rights and participation in society by persons with disabilities, established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.