In 2012, the former Conservative Government of Alberta created new safety standards to keep people safe in their homes. This happened after a person with a disability living in Edmonton died in a house fire. After this, the government came up with eight safety standards that applied to certain people funded by PDD. It applied to people with complex needs, people who need overnight staff on a regular basis or to two unrelated adults living together who receive PDD supports.
The standards covered things such as: repairs to the home, water temperature, room temperature, fire safety and medication storage.
There were a lot of concerns about this because people with disabilities felt like this was an invasion of privacy and that these inspections weren’t fair. Advocates worried it may be expensive to pay for the safety upgrades that are required. They also worried that landlords may not want to rent to people on PDD because of the safety standards.
People in the disability community raised their concerns to the government about this In letters to then Minister Heather Klimchuk, advocates discussed their rights, their questions and offered solutions. Advocates also met with MLAs in the south region to discuss the safety standards. SRSAN has also had a strong presence at focus groups and round tables with various officials.
When the new NDP government was elected last May, Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir appointed a special consultation team to go across the province to listen to advocates and gather feedback to create more effective safety regulations.
On April 1, 2016, Minister Sabir announced the Safety Standard regulation would be repealed! Here’s what self-advocates had to say about the decision:
“We think it’s amazing that the government took the time to listen and hear the voices of self-advocates. If we would have kept quiet, the change wouldn’t have happened.”
“This doesn’t happen because even though self-advocates try to speak up, they are not always heard. Thank you for listening to self-advocates across Alberta!”
SAIPA was proud to witness the power of advocacy in our community and across the province; it is a true example of the wonderful things that can happen when advocates are educated, informed and included in all aspects of life, most especially their own.
SAIPA wishes to extend its sincere thanks to:
- Minister Sabir for listening to self-advocates and allowing for continued, meaningful consultation.
- The consultation team for taking the time and care to listen to more than 2,000 voices across the province, and writing a report that reflects those voices.
- The MANY self-advocates, service providers and community members who were brave enough to speak up about their concerns, questions and suggestions. Your leadership and courage is a shining example of the meaningful change that can happen when the community comes together to support one another.