Alberta Disability Workers Association
Building a Valued, Proud & Professional Workforce

PDD Review: Adding the Disability Worker's Voice

Posted By Kathleen Biersdorff on July 9, 2018

Earlier this year, the Minister of Community and Social Services announced that there would be a Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) review to “explore ways the system can be improved to ensure individuals and families get the best support possible.” ADWA has worked diligently to ensure that the voices of disability workers who provide the support to individuals and families are included in the consultation process.

Why should I speak up? Ultimately, disability workers are the people who are responsible to deliver on the PDD Program mission to “support adults with developmental disabilities to be included in community life and to be as independent as possible.” Disability workers—whether providing direct support or in supervisory roles—are in the best position to know how PDD Program policies and procedures can complicate their work or assist them to be more effective in achieving that mission. Your experience and insights are vital to ensure that the outcome of the PDD Review makes a positive difference for you and the individuals you support.

 How do I have a say? The Community and Social Services Ministry has been engaging with the community to determine the scope, timing and content of the review. They have asked two main questions:

  • Where, when and how should we do the review?
  • What issues and challenges should be discussed?

Getting the input of disability workers to these two questions has been a challenge that ADWA has offered to help the Ministry with. We know that there is no single best way for all disability workers to have a say. Many disability workers have multiple jobs or work extended hours in a 24/7 support system. It may take some time to free up a worker’s schedule in order to participate in a meeting. We also know that disability workers may have different ideas from other stakeholders about what currently works well (or poorly) and other issues that the review needs to address. While ADWA had a discussion of how to get disability worker input at its most recent Annual General Meeting, we realize that much broader input is needed to ensure that disability workers are meaningfully involved in the review.

Your voice! ADWA has developed a short online survey tied to the Ministry’s questions, so that we can do our best to ensure that any disability worker who wants to participate in the PDD Review can do so meaningfully. We also want to ensure that, as your professional association, we have a good understanding of what we should be advocating for in our own communications with government and our partners. Thinking of disability work as a life-time profession, what would need to change to make that a reality? Even if an issue does not make it onto the PDD Review agenda, we will have it on ADWA’s agenda.

Please take a few minutes between now and Sunday, July 22 to complete our survey at We would also ask that you share this E-Bulletin and survey link with as many colleagues as possible.