Plan for Community Engagement Councils in 2014

October 24, 2013

 

As you are aware, Human Services was created by Premier Redford two years ago to bring all social-based government programs together and work with communities to build a better Alberta where everyone can achieve their potential and live fulfilling lives. We have been engaging stakeholders to discuss our future community governance model and consider ways to strengthen how the ministry, agencies and communities can collaborate and achieve the outcomes Albertans identified in Alberta’s Social Policy Framework.

One of the deep understandings reached was that if we are to be successful, social issues must be “owned” by the community. Government can neither legislate nor buy them out of existence. A common governance model is needed where the community identifies issues that impact individuals and the community, and discusses the roles individuals, government and the community take in developing solutions.

I am proposing to introduce legislation this Fall Session that will enable Human Services to establish new community engagement councils in 2014. These councils will help us engage communities to collaborate and co-create solutions to local concerns and issues. Pending approved legislation, we envision wrapping up the board governance operations of our current Child and Family Services Authorities (CFSA) and our Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) boards and moving to an integrated network of regional engagement councils in the new year.

This direction aligns with the goals and principles described in Alberta’s Social Policy Framework, which was created with the input of more than 31,000 Albertans as a roadmap for communities, governments, business, non-profits and families to work better together to address social challenges. The success of these consultations signaled a new era of working together to achieve positive outcomes.

The proposed councils will:

– comprise Albertans from all areas of interest and capabilities, including Aboriginal perspective; they will have an Aboriginal Co-Chair, as is the model with the existing CFSA Boards 

– develop relationships and focus on meaningful engagement with communities, building on the good work of existing PDD and CFSA boards 

– work collaboratively with communities to understand the social issues and co-create solutions with communities and other stakeholders such as Alberta Health Advisory Councils, school boards, Family and Community Support Services Associations, municipalities

– help communities and government understand if we are achieving the outcomes that are important to Albertans

The success of these councils will be dependent on community involvement, and I am interested in hearing how you think the councils can work with individuals, and other community and regional councils and boards, to best identify and engage the local community in the needs of your area. If you have any thoughts on how they could be successful, please let me know at hs.engage@gov.ab.ca.

I appreciate you taking the time to consider this request. I will continue to update you on this initiative through the Making a Difference e-newsletter.