Overview

The Health Advocate promotes self-advocacy and supports Albertans in dealing with their concerns about health services by:

  • listening to the concerns of Albertans and supporting them in finding ways to resolve them
  • providing education about the Alberta Health Charter
  • referring Albertans to the appropriate complaints resolution process
  • reviewing or investigating complaints under the Alberta Health Act
  • providing information about health care services and programs
  • reporting to the Minister of Health on the Health Advocate's activities and health related issues that concern Albertans

Health Advocate role

The role of the Health Advocate is to assist, navigate, review, educate and inform.

Assist and navigate

The health service system is complex and difficult to understand, particularly for those who are suffering, in pain and are vulnerable. The Health Advocate assists you to find your way to the appropriate health services, health related programs, and resources to meet your expressed needs.

When you contact our office, you are connected with a Health Advocate representative who listens to understand your concern and determine the issue. Next, the representative will do some research to learn more about the concern. The representative will then work with you to develop a plan of action and provide support. This helps you to act on your own behalf if you are referred to another complaint process, program or service.

Review

In cases where no other dispute resolution process exists, the Health Advocate may carry out a review, with or without a complaint, into situations where someone is believed to have failed to act in a manner consistent with the Alberta Health Charter.

Educate and inform

The Alberta Health Charter sets out the expectations for interactions among patients, health providers and health service organizations. The Health Advocate provides education about the Alberta Health Charter and how it applies to Alberta’s health service system.

The Health Advocate aims to use every interaction between staff and Albertans as an opportunity to educate people on roles, responsibilities and expectations with the system.

Restrictions

The Health Advocate cannot:

  • represent an individual at court or tribunals
  • reverse a clinical or administrative decision
  • take disciplinary action against any health service provider
  • order any fines or other penalties
  • investigate complaints involving federal or municipal governments, police, universities, schools or other non-health related companies

Publications

Read the Health Advocate’s annual reports.

Janice Harrington

Close up portrait of Janice Harrington.

Janice Harrington is Alberta’s Health Advocate and Mental Health Patient Advocate.

Janice is a passionate, respected and results-driven leader with over 2 decades of experience influencing positive public policy change in the corporate, political and not-for-profit sectors.

With an extensive background in leading complex organizations through rapid transformation and change, Janice is uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of Albertans for positive health and mental health outcomes. She understands that navigating the system can be daunting, particularly for patients and their loved ones who may be experiencing stressful or difficult times in their lives.

A collaborator, consensus builder and advocate, her role is to break down barriers, ensure patients’ rights are always respected, and connect individuals with health and mental health resources, education and programs.

Janice is an avid volunteer and community builder. She sits on a number of volunteer boards representing the arts, social services and environmental organizations. She is the receipt of two Premier’s Awards of Excellence, as well as a Consumer Champion Award and a Corporate Social Responsibility Award for a financial literacy education program for high schools.