Map of AlbertaOne of the wealthier provinces in Canada, Alberta has implemented some innovative approaches to delivering disability supports. Alberta is one of the only provinces to make a serious effort to put a single ministry in charge of disability support programs: the Human Services Ministry. A separate income program has been established for those living with developmental disabilities (the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) and Alberta has a policy of tailoring supports for each individual and ensuring families are involved in planning and decision-making processes.

On paper, Alberta’s support system looks pretty strong. However, good policy and program ideas have not necessarily resulted in good practices or outcomes.

  • After complaints about lack of consistency in access to services in supports across Alberta’s six service regions, a review and “transformation” of the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program was started in 20081.
  • The transformation process has extended far beyond the original timeframe as individuals living with disabilities and their families have continually voiced concern that consultation with those affected by the PDD program has been inadequate2.
  • The 2014 Alberta Budget cut $42 million in funding from the PDD program , in spite of mass protests against the cuts the previous summer3.
  • The Alberta Disabilities Forum group has criticized Alberta’s Home Care program for years, claiming « current services and programs remain fragmented, are difficult to navigate, and are not consumer oriented. »4 Further, they have repeatedly emphasized the negative impacts that lack of appropriate housing options and inadequate funding levels for respite care, disability aids, and support staff wages have on Albertans living with disabilities and their families5.

[1] Government of Alberta. (2013). Report on Spring 2013 Persons with Developmental Disabilities Community Conversations (p.2). Retrieved from 
[2] Alberta Disability Workers Association. (2013, June 6). PDD Announcement Reassures Families. Retrieved from & St. Albert Gazette. Opinion. (2013, June 5). Time to consult on PDD. The St. Albert Gazette. Retrieved from
[3] Crofts, A. (2014, April 20). Province cuts $42 million in programming for persons with disabilities. The St-Albert Gazette. Retrieved from 
[4] Alberta Disabilities Forum. (2014). Linked In: Meeting the Needs of Alberta’s Home Care Clients. Retrieved from
[5] Alberta Disabilities Forum. (2011). Addressing the Needs of Albertans with Disabilities in Home, Supportive and Long-term Care Settings. Retrieved from