Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Welcome to the website for Albertans Advocating for Change Together. We are a network of self-advocates and self-advocacy groups across Alberta. 

We find out what self-advocates are doing and share it with others so we can all be stronger. We find out what is important to self-advocates and make sure they have a provincial voice. The AACT Council (our board) meets monthly on the second Monday of the month from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Here is what we have done in recent years.

2023 Activities 

Planning - We have started to plan for a Change-Makers Summit as part of our planning for the future. We would like the Summit to be in-person, but that costs a lot of money. So, fundraising is part of our planning. We have also written letters to the Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services and others, and meet a few times each year with the Disability Advocate.
Staff Burnout - We are also concerned about staff stress and burnout.  We put together resources to hep staff manage stress. We also made videos to encourage staff when they are down and think their work is not important to us. We reached out to the Alberta Disability Workers Association (ADWA) and they agreed to put our resources and videos on their website where staff will see them.

2022 Activities

Plain Language Rocks - AACT sent in a proposal to the Government of Canada for a project that would make videos about how plain language helps people understand rules and how to fill out forms the right way, how it helps those who make language plain, and how to hire people with low literacy to make language in government documents plain. The videos would be shown at events for National AccessAbility Week and International Day of Disabled Persons. We did not get the grant for this project. 

The Best Way to Have a Voice is to Be There - Using the PDD Review processes and reports from 2019 and 2021, we compared the recommendations that came out of these processes for how many of the things self-advocates said was important to them. When self-advocates were on the committee that made the recommendations for change, more self-advocate ideas made it into the report than when self-advocates were only consulted and not at the committee table. We sent our report to PDD and asked them to make sure we were included on the Action Committee in the next phase of the review. People with developmental disabilities have not been invited to be part of that committee. 

2021 Activities

Election time - With a federal election in September and municipal elections in October, self-advocacy groups have been very busy helping self-advocates prepare to have their voices heard by voting. AACT is no exception. Our September 4 newsletter focuses on the federal election and tells you how you can register and vote, as well as linking you to events and resources that help you decide which political party best fits your views on what is important and what to do. Here is the link to the Parties' debate on disability issues hosted by the Pan-Canadian Disability Coalition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlhY1GcW72Q. We have also put together an extra municipal election newsletter in October with information about elections in the communities where our members live.

PDD Review - PDD asked AACT to gather answers to their questions about what PDD support should be for and how PDD should work. We told PDD and the Disability Advocate what people said on January 21. The questions and what self-advocates said are on our PDD Support page (http://www.albertaact.com/p/iq-tests-and-pdd.html). 

2020 Activities

AACT Virtual Summit Project

AACT got money through FCSS at the City of Calgary to do a project to connect adults with disabilities in rural and remote parts of Alberta to the self-advocacy community. We provided new tablets and helped people learn how to use them. We put on 6 Self-Advocacy Summits on Zoom in  This project ended in December 2020.

There are videos of each of the Self-Advocacy Summit sessions on our Summit page

We made 3 how-to videos and 10 "cheat sheets" with tips and resources that you can download from our Internet for Self-Advocates page. There is also a Training Manual for the project on the same page.

Zoom Town Hall

AACT co-hosted a Town Hall on Zoom with MLAs on May 14, 2020. Our ASL Interpreters were from FLIC Inc. and KLM Captioning provided text of the meeting. Thank you to all who participated.

You can listen to what was said at the meeting by clicking on Town Hall Zoom Recording. Click on Closed-captioned notes to download the text from KLM Captioning (33 pages in PDF). Also, here are links to Mental Health Resources letter by request (A letter from MLA Tracy Allard to MLA Marie Renaud April 14, 2020)

We have had regular meetings with the Disability Advocate and members of the Community and Social Services (CSS) Ministry in Alberta. This is the Ministry that runs the poverty support programs Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Income Supports, as well as the Persons with Developmental Disabilities Program (PDD). The government has made a few changes this year that have negatively affected people with and without disabilities who rely on social assistance: 1) They de-indexed AISH and Income Supports so that they no longer increase with the cost of living. This means that the money people get does not go as far and pushes them further into poverty. 2)  They changed the date they pay AISH and Income Supports into people's accounts to the first of the month. This means that thousands of Albertans have had to negotiate with landlords, lenders, utility and cell phone companies to change the dates that their payments are due. Many people have had difficulty doing this or doing this quickly and have experienced extra costs in late fees and NSF bank fees (about $45 for each payment). These increased demands on people with few resources has happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time getting things done is more difficult and puts people at greater risk.

Over and over in our meetings with government, we have told them what people with disabilities and poor people need.

  • We asked the government to change the AISH/Income Support payment date back to what it was.
  • We asked for a top-up of $300 (like in BC) to AISH/Income Support payments to help with COVID-19 extra expenses.
  • We asked the government to ensure that people on AISH/Income Supports be given proper PPE regardless of whether they get agency support or not.
So far, the government has changed how they handle CERB for people on AISH and Income Supports who lost their jobs due to AISH. Before, they would claw back CERB or EI dollar for dollar from AISH or Income Support. Now, single people who get CERB and some form of social assistance get to keep $300 of CERB outright and then will have 75% of the rest of CERB clawed back from their AISH or Income Support. People who lost their job before COVID-19 started still have EI clawed back dollar-for-dollar from social assistance.

AACT continues to advocate for these things and for the large majority of people on AISH and Income Supports who do not have access to CERB and have additional expenses due to the payment date change and COVID-19.

2018 Activities

AACT took part in the PDD Review!  Click here to read what AACT sent to the PDD Review panel based on what self-advocates said at the Self-Advocacy Summit.

We hosted a Self-Advocacy Summit October 1 - 3, 2018 at Deer Valley Meadows Camp near Alix in Central Alberta. Our theme was "Listen. Learn. Take Action!"About 120 self-advocates and allies came and talked with members of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the PDD Review Team and the Disability Advocate's office. We identified lots of issues and came up with good ideas to make things better for people with disabilities. AACT will share these good ideas with the government. Check out our newsletter for the Summit story with photos.