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Bill would give continuing-care residents a voice

New legislation would give residents of long-term and licensed supportive care facilities more say in their quality of life and how their homes are run.

The Resident and Family Councils Act would guarantee residents and families the right to establish self-governing councils at any long-term care and licensed supportive living facilities with four or more residents.

“Resident and family councils play a crucial role in many communities, but no consistent requirements exist for all Alberta long-term care and supportive living facilities. We’re working to make life better for Albertans by ensuring residents and their families have opportunities to help create caring, supportive environments.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

The legislation would apply to public, private and non-profit long-term care and supportive living facilities. Operators would be required to work with councils on quality-of-life concerns, such as food, services and activities.

“Our resident and family council has helped residents here feel that this is truly their home. As this council has been meeting monthly over the past two years, we’ve been working together to make this an even better community.”

Doreen Wilson, site administrator, St. Marguerite Manor

“As the daughter of a resident living in memory care, the council at St. Marguerite Manor has been truly beneficial. Not only am I able to monitor, influence and improve the care of my mother and other residents, I can be confident the operator is helping residents meet their needs and desires.”

Kate Friesen, participant in resident and family council, St. Marguerite Manor

A toolkit and information guide would be developed by Alberta Health in consultation with residents, families, and operators. Council members would have flexibility in determining roles, when and how facility representatives should be involved and how meetings would be structured. In the coming weeks and months, the province would also engage with people with developmental disabilities, their family members and guardians.

“We have heard loud and clear from Albertans with disabilities – ‘nothing about us without us.’ As government, we completely agree that Albertans should have a voice in these matters and are committed to working alongside those with disabilities, their families, disability advocates and service providers. The Resident and Family Councils Act offers yet another opportunity to ensure that voices of Albertans with disabilities are reflected in decisions that affect them. In weeks and months ahead, we look forward to a robust and collaborative conversation with all concerned to get this right.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community Services

“It is important for government to hear directly from Albertans with disabilities on the issues that matter to them. Adults with developmental disabilities living in licensed facilities deserve to have their voices heard and respected regarding facility management and operations. Thorough consultation will be an important step to ensure this legislation reflects the needs of this community.”

Bruce Uditsky, CEO, Inclusion Alberta

If passed, the legislation would come into effect on April 1, 2018. 


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