Compiled by Carol Wodak
The functions of the Alberta Office of the Seniors Advocate are to:
• Provide resolution support to senior Albertans and their families. We do this by providing information and linking you to government and/or community programs and services.
• Take note of what we are hearing from individuals. We analyse trends and identify systemic issues. We also actively seek feedback from seniors groups on issues of importance.
• Provide policy advice and make recommendations to the Government of Alberta to improve senior services and programs
The Alberta Office of the Seniors Advocate is mandated to make recommendations to government for improvements to seniors programs and services.
Based on analysis of issues arising from working with seniors, families and caregivers and listening to stakeholders and seniors groups, the Seniors Advocate provides two types of recommendations:
1. Administrative/operations Recommendations
Administrative/operational recommendations identify operational issues that, if remedied, may improve finding, accessing and/or utilizing government programs by Albertans.
2. Systemic Issue Recommendations:
System issues pertain to issues identified due to system structures or processes that may be remedied through a structural, organization or policy change.
Executive Summary: This is the second annual report submitted by the Alberta Seniors Advocate, Dr. Sheree Kwong See. During the fiscal year the Office continued to refine its administrative processes, including launching a Facebook page, and building the profile of the Office through public engagement activities (45 meetings and sessions with the public).
To meet our mandate to provide information and resolution support to senior Albertans and their families, the Office:
• Opened 1,254 new client cases and closed 1,269 cases (some carried over from last fiscal)
• Engaged in almost 8,100 contacts with clients and/or external agencies to close cases
• Supported resolution primarily by facilitating self-advocacy, referral, and if necessary, advocating on behalf of clients.
Albertans contacted the Office for information and referral about:
• Income and financial supports (26%)
• House and home supports (21%)
• Social supports (21%)
• Health care and supports (32%).
To meet our mandate to identify trends and issues impacting seniors, the Office:
• Analyzed issues raised during resolution support activities and feedback from public engagement activities, and
• Identified areas Albertans had difficulty finding, accessing and utilizing government or government funded programs and services in each of the four categories above (income and financial supports, house and home supports, social supports, health care and supports).
To meet our mandate to make recommendations and provide advice to government for improvements to programs and services, based on analyzed issues, the Office put forward recommendations:
• To clarify the registration process for the Alberta Blue Cross Coverage for Seniors Program
• To clarify information about the Direct to Tenant Rent Supplement Program
• That the Ministry of Seniors and Housing adopt communication guidelines to avoid ageism and
• To address the unique challenges to self-sufficiency faced by immigrant seniors in sponsorship breakdown.
To provide advice to government the Office:
• Provided input and the seniors perspective for five government initiatives
• Participated in three regularly occurring government committees and Minster’s stakeholder forums and
• Provided input at two government-funded community program initiatives.
Overall, the Office met its goal of expanding resolution support activity (individual advocacy) by more than doubling service from 2016-2017 levels.
For issues advocacy, the Office is seeing some progress on its ageism recommendations put forward last fiscal and has put forward more recommendations.
We look ahead to maintaining and evaluating our resolution support activity and continuing to chart progress toward previous and new recommendations.