News / Edmonton

MLA hopes disability advocate will make a real difference

Legislature unanimously passed bill this week

The Alberta Legislature unanimously approved a private members bill to create a disability advocate on Wednesday, a move that Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen hopes will lead to real change in the province. 

“There’s no point in doing something for window dressing. The person we put in place has to make a real difference in how services are provided in this province,” said Jansen, who put forward the bill. 

A disability advocate would play a similar role to the province’s child advocate, who acts independently, advocates for vulnerable young people and identifies systemic issues that create barriers in accessing services.  

Some of the challenges Jansen frequently hears are the difficulty in transferring services when someone turns 18 or 65, she said, or the sheer amount of paperwork required for parents to fill out when seeking support for a disabled child. 

“For a lot of parents, they found navigating the system to be fairly difficult … We can get rid some of the bottlenecks in terms of getting supports out to people with disabilities,” she said. 

The advocate is slated to have a budget of about $800,000 to $900,000. The newly created position will be reviewed after two years.

“When we hear the feedback from the advocate we can determine whether we’re doing enough (and) whether we need to add resources,” Jansen said.

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