Engagement status: Closed winter 2019
Ministry responsible: Community and Social Services


A community-led panel has been appointed to oversee the review of the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program.

The review is focused on:

  • examining access to services and supports to meet individual needs and goals
  • creating a service delivery system that:
    • responds to the needs of individuals and families
    • provides clear lines of accountability and oversight
  • evaluating access to training and supports to enable a skilled and well-trained workforce
  • examining eligibility criteria to access the PDD program’s services and supports
  • ensuring engagement with the disability community (individuals, families, guardians, service providers, and workforce) at both the system level and individual level has clarity of purpose and outcomes

This builds on the improvements that have been made since 2015:

  • increasing funding to PDD by $150 million
  • ending the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS)
  • repealing the PDD Safety Standards
  • improving PDD client and staff safety

The review panel sought input from people with developmental disabilities, their families and guardians, workers, agencies and community leaders throughout the province.

Meet the panel members


The PDD review panel engaged with Albertans about ways to improve the PDD program during the fall and winter of 2018. The initial engagement period closed on Dec. 7, 2018.

The panel received input from Albertans across the province, including individuals receiving PDD services, family members, service providers, advocacy groups, community disability workers and other interested Albertans through:

  • community conversation sessions
  • self-facilitated discussions
  • online survey
  • written, art or video submissions

Some highlights from the public engagement included:

  • 1,115 people attended community conversation sessions in St. Paul, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary and Edmonton
    • participants at these sessions discussed the PDD program directly with panel members and provided input on approximately 10,000 post-it notes
  • 1,163 people completed the online questionnaire
  • 10 community organizations submitted input from self-facilitated discussions and 13 organizations made presentations
  • 84 individuals made submissions, either in writing, video or art formats

The review panel is currently reviewing and analyzing all of the feedback received. Once completed, they will provide a report to the minster on what they heard.

You can read some of the ideas that were heard during the community conversations sessions.

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PDD Review panel members

The panel members are a diverse range of people with varying skill sets, experiences and backgrounds who represent self-advocates, family members and agencies.

Read the Terms of Reference (PDF, 106 KB)

  • Photo of Dick Sobsey

    Dick Sobsey, Co-chair

    Dick Sobsey is an emeritus professor of educational psychology at the University of Alberta, where he taught courses and conducted research related to the lives of people with severe disabilities and their families. He formerly served as Director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre and The J.P. Das Centre on Developmental and Learning Disabilities. He is the author of a wide range of books and articles that address the health, education and human rights of children and adults with disabilities. Dick is also the father of a 28-year-old son who has severe and multiple disabilities.

  • Photo of Dorothy Badry

    Dorothy Badry, Co-chair

    Dorothy Badry is an associate professor with the faculty of social work at the University of Calgary, where she teaches courses and conducts research related to social work, child welfare, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Indigenous issues, human behaviour and disabilities. Her research work, much of which is focused on FASD, has earned her numerous awards and accolades over the years. She is the author of a wide range of publications that address the societal impacts of FASD at provincial, national and international levels. Dorothy serves on numerous boards and committees related to her work in the social work and disability sector. She is also the parent of a young adult with developmental disabilities.

  • Gender neutral silhouette of a person, indicating no photo available for this user.

    Ann Nicol, Co-chair

    Ann Nicol has over 35 years of experience in front-line and senior management roles with the Government of Alberta social services and non-profit community disability services in Alberta. She worked directly with, and on behalf of, children, youth, families and adults with disabilities. Ann was also the executive director of a provincial human service organization providing community-based supports for persons with developmental disabilities and complex behaviour needs, and CEO of the provincial association representing community disability service providers. Ann holds bachelors and masters degrees in social work and received the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal for her community work. Recently retired, Ann volunteers as a member of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Community and Social Services Citizen Appeal Panels.

  • Photo of Krista Carr

    Krista Carr

    Krista Carr is the executive vice president of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) where she brings a perspective on disability supports and services from across Canada. Krista has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector working with people with developmental disabilities, their families, governments and systems to accomplish the mission of full inclusion and citizenship for persons with developmental disabilities and their families. She also sits on a number of disability-related boards and committees provincially and nationally. She currently resides in New Brunswick with her husband and two daughters.

  • Photo of Ryan Geake

    Ryan Geake

    Ryan Geake has extensive experience in the non-profit sector working with people with disabilities. He is the chief executive officer of the Calgary SCOPE Society, a non-profit charity that helps people with disabilities live successful lives in the community. He’s held numerous positions with SCOPE, where he worked to develop a stronger local disability community through the creation of programs like disability arts and film festivals, community gardens, kitchens and more. He presently sits on a number of disability-related non-profit boards and councils. Ryan also shares his expertise as a sessional instructor at Bow Valley College and the University of Calgary.

  • Photo of Dan Huising

    Dan Huising

    Dan Huising is a self-advocate with cerebral palsy who is also employed in the field as a community support worker assistant. He has been receiving PDD supports residentially for close to 24 years. Dan has inspired others through his determination, perseverance and ability to overcome obstacles. In 2014, Dan successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro as part of a fundraising project for an orphanage in Africa. Dan has also been involved with Special Olympics since the early 1990s. He has competed numerous times at provincials and twice at nationals. Dan had previously served on the Board of Directors of the Loseca Foundation, a non-profit agency in St. Albert supporting adults with developmental disabilities.

  • Photo of Lorelei Martin

    Lorelei Martin

    Lorelei Martin is the executive director of the Drumheller and Region Transition Society, a rural community organization that provides individualized support to people with disabilities. Throughout her career, Lorelei has been involved with numerous disability-related initiatives, including a PDD persons centred planning pilot, a PDD funding demonstration model and building self-advocacy in the Drumheller region. She previously served on the board for the Alberta Council of Disability Services and continues to serve as a member of the board of the Community Services Benefits Trust. She holds great enthusiasm and passion for the future of community disability services.

  • Photo of Norman McLeod

    Norman McLeod

    Norman McLeod has over 50 years’ experience in the disability field. He began his career at the Michener Centre in Red Deer where he was the assistant manager for 20 group homes. After moving to the provincial government in the Services to Persons with Disabilities (SPD) branch, he assisted non-profit organizations in developing community supports and provincial policies for people with disabilities to live inclusive lives in their community. Prior to his retirement, he served as chief executive officer of the SPD provincial board, where he managed the delivery of supports to people with disabilities through six regional boards. He now spends his time volunteering and is currently board president of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights.

  • Photo of Sahana Parameswara

    Sahana Parameswara

    Sahana has international experience working with people with disabilities. She has worked closely with people on the spectrum of ability and emotional health in the United States, India and Canada. She has worked in a number of roles throughout her disability career, from conducting social work research at the University of Calgary to counseling at the YWCA in Ottawa to working as a community disability worker in Sherwood Park. Her focus in the last 10 years has revolved around therapeutic communities and youth living with barriers in the child welfare system. Her experiences have given her the opportunity to help people with disabilities in a number of different ways, which led her to her current position as executive director of the Gateway Association for Community Living in Edmonton.

  • Photo of Johnathon Red Gun

    Johnathon Red Gun

    Johnathon Red Gun is a disability employment coordinator for Community Futures Treaty Seven. Throughout his career, he has facilitated numerous workshops in the wellness stream to those impacted by the Residential School legacy and its intergenerational trauma. He has served in various advisory roles with the Province of Alberta and developed partnerships with several disability program agencies. With his judicial background (former member of the RCMP) and knowledge of Blackfoot culture and tradition, his research for Siksika Nation Chief and Council into the complex issues of disability makes him a valuable resource for individuals in the community and private sector. He continues to advocate for First Nations persons with disabilities.

  • Photo of Lloyd Thornhill

    Lloyd Thornhill

    Lloyd Thornhill brings a lived experience as someone with a developmental disability. He has been an active member of the Disability Action Hall for 21 years, where he enjoys the opportunity to help others with disabilities. As an avid volunteer, he lends his time to the Alex Community Food Centre and Bell Music Centre. He is also actively involved with the Calgary SCOPE Society and enjoys participating in social activities with his peers. Originally from Newfoundland, Lloyd lives independently in Calgary and receives supported independent living supports through the SCOPE Society.

Pre-engagement summary

The topics addressed in the PDD review were developed through a pre-engagement process held in early 2018.

A number of activities helped inform the scope of the PDD review to ensure the engagement process is meaningful, effective and inclusive. These activities included:

  • in-person visits with self-advocates, families, workers and agencies
  • roundtables with advocacy organizations
  • public PDD survey

Learn more about what was heard about key issues, how people want to receive information and how they would like to be involved throughout the review by reading the PDD program review pre-engagement summary.


Province to review disability program in Alberta (Jan 19, 2018)

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The information you provide is being collected under the authority of section 33 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used to share information about the PDD Review and related topics. It will be treated in accordance with the privacy protection provisions of sections 33 through 41 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If you have questions about the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information, you may call 780-638-3061 or email css.pddreview@gov.ab.ca.