Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Welcome

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.

2020 Activities

AACT Virtual Summit Project
Here is the flyer for the first 2020 Self-Advocacy Summit session. Sign up at www.tinyurl.com/AlbertaACT.  See the Summit page to find out about the other Summit sessions.

 

Are you passionate about self advocacy? Do you live in rural Alberta and feel isolated and disconnected from your peers? AACT got money through FCSS at the City of Calgary to do a project to connect people in rural and remote parts of Alberta to the self-advocacy community.


If you, or someone you know, live in rural Alberta and would like to participate please fill out this form (Click here) and submit it! We will connect you with a regional coordinator and a free tablet! You will also be connected with a peer trainer, as well as any adaptive devices you need. Our peer trainers will come to you and show you how to use the device)s) so you can take part in our mini summits starting in November! You must be 18 or older and identify as having an intellectual disability! We look forward to hearing from you! The deadline is October 1st, 2020!

AACT got money through FCSS at the City of Calgary to do this project to connect people in rural and remote parts of Alberta to the self-advocacy community. Right now, we have hired a Project Manager and 5 Regional Coordinators. We still need a few more Peer Trainers with disabilities to help people with disabilities who need help with technology in their home. Peer Trainers (and participants) will get gloves, masks or face shields and hand sanitizers for protection when they meet. Peer Trainers will get training and an honorarium for their help. Click on the link below to see the job posting for
If you are interested, complete this form and submit it by September 30, 2020.
 
Earlier in 2020

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.
 
For more information on our work in past years, look at About AACT.

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