Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities - Annual Report 2011-2012 - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities - Annual Report 2011-2012

(Text version)

Table of Contents

Vision, Mission and Principles


Alberta is an inclusive and barrier-free society.


The mission of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Council) is to advise, report to, and make recommendations to the Government of Alberta (GoA) on matters relating to the opportunity for full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the province. It does this by listening to the opinions of the disability community, communicating their ideas and concerns to the GoA and the broader community, and working with governments, community organizations, and other stakeholders towards solutions.


Council is guided by the following interrelated principles in the pursuit of its vision, mission, key strategic direction and strategic objectives:

Equal status, personal contribution and inherent worth

Council promotes activities that recognize the equal status of persons with disabilities as contributing citizens of Alberta.

Equity of opportunity

Council is committed to actions that remove barriers to full inclusion in society and promote full participation in community life.

Individual responsibility and personal control

Council supports systems that provide the opportunity for informed choice and believes that all individuals, including those with disabilities, are responsible, within their individual capacities, for their own lives and their obligations as citizens.

Citizen centered planning

Council endeavours to represent the disability community to the GoA in order to ensure that the voices of persons with disabilities, as expressed through Council, are included whenever policies or practices that impact their quality of life or status as citizens are being considered.


Letter of Transmittal

September 1, 2012

Honourable Alison Redford
Premier of Alberta
307 Legislature Building
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2B7

Dear Premier Redford:

I have the privilege of presenting the 23rd Annual Report of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Council). This report covers the activities undertaken by your Council during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. It is submitted in accordance with s.7 (1) of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Act for your presentation to the Legislative Assembly.

Respectfully submitted,
Mike Hambly, Chair
Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities


Letter from the Chair

I have the honour of presenting the Annual Report of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Council). This report highlights the activities Council has been involved in during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.

Mr. Marlin Styner was Council Chair until December 2011. Due to his health he has been unable to continue to sit on Council. Marlin provided many years of dedicated service to Council. We wish him all the best as he focuses on regaining his health.

I am honoured to be appointed as Chair of the Council. The highlight was attending a function where I met Premier Alison Redford, and learned about her commitment to the work of Council.

Former MLA for Sherwood Park, Ms. Iris Evans, joined Council as Deputy Chair in October 2012. She presented the Council Awards at the International Day for Persons with Disabilities event in Edmonton. Ms. Evans replaced Mrs. Genia Leskiw, MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake, when Mrs. Leskiw was appointed to Chair the Cabinet Policy Committee on Education. Mrs. Leskiw was a valued member of Council and we thank her for her support and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Council members also had the opportunity to celebrate the Rick Hansen Relay, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Rick Hansen Man in Motion Tour as it worked its way through Alberta.

Council was also invited to speak at the Northern Alberta Development Conference on the subject of employment and persons with disabilities.

I want to thank Council members and the Secretariat for their hard work and commitment over the past year. Council will continue activities that support its Vision: Alberta is an inclusive and barrier-free society. Our team effort will help us continue on the path to full inclusion for persons with disabilities in all aspects of Alberta society.

Mike Hambly, Chair
Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities


Council Meetings

Council met regularly via teleconference, and meetings were held in Calgary and Edmonton. Council focused its work on the following areas:

Alberta's communities support participation by everyone

All people want to be able to participate in their communities. There are many positive practices that support people with disabilities to participate. Many of these show how barriers can be removed. Council used concepts such as universal design to help Albertans learn that everyone can contribute to their communities if the right tools and supports are available.

  • Council developed universal design materials including a presentation that is available upon request.

Government considers disability issues in all its plans and activities

Council looks for ways to connect the community's interests, ideas and concerns to government priorities. It also helps increase elected officials' understanding of disabilities.

  • Council looked for opportunities to work with the GoA by reviewing the ministry plans, identifying disability issues and incorporating emerging GoA interests into Council's workplan.
  • Council met with MLAs and key stakeholders from Calgary and surrounding areas to get to know these stakeholders and start to explore common interests.
  • Council received a presentation on the preliminary work of the Social Policy Framework initiative. Council provided feedback on ways to enhance the upcoming community consultations and will continue to support this initiative during the upcoming year.

Persons with disabilities have opportunities to be successful employees and employers

Council promoted equal access to employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

  • Council presented at the Northern Alberta Development Conference on the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities. The conference, held in Fort McMurray, was attended by the Premier, MLAs, and local government officials as well as other key stakeholders in Northern Alberta.

Albertans value a society that includes all citizens

Council looks for ways to profile how Albertans with disabilities contribute to their communities. It increases awareness of and interest in disability issues. If Albertans understand how disability concerns affect them, they are more likely to support improvements in programs, policies, employment strategies, and the built environment.

  • Supported and sponsored the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) annual events in Alberta.
  • Presented annual awards during IDPD to individuals and organizations who have been leaders in promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • Published the Disability In Focus Newsletter.
  • Developed the Marlin Styner Achievement Award.


Notable Events

Rick Hansen man in Motion World Tour

The Rick Hansen Man in Motion World Tour celebrated its 25th anniversary with the Rick Hansen Relay events that took place across Canada.

In 1985, Rick organized the Man in Motion World Tour to raise funds for spinal cord research. Rick travelled by wheelchair from Vancouver, covering over 40,000 km through 34 countries on four continents before travelling across Canada and returning to complete the tour in Vancouver. The world tour took 26 months to complete and Rick raised $26 million for Spinal Cord Research.

Council was pleased to support Rick Hansen, who is an Honorary Chair of Council. Council members were involved in a number of events throughout Alberta to celebrate the anniversary. Pam Wagner spoke at the event in Medicine Hat. Bryce Clarke, Austin Mardon, Kuen Tang and Carmen Wyton attended a Lieutenant Governor luncheon for Rick Hansen at Government House in Edmonton. Bryce and Kuen were honored to be selected to participate in the Rick Hansen Medal Relay event in Edmonton.

The Rick Hansen Relay included 7,000 participants who ran, walked, wheeled or biked through their segment of the original journey of the Canadian portion of the Man in Motion World Tour.

Leading the North

Leading the North is the annual conference hosted by Northern Alberta Development Conference and northern communities. The conference topic was about employment in Northern Alberta. Council members Bryce Clarke and Dan Bojarski spoke at this event regarding employment and persons with disabilities. The Premier, other government officials and key stakeholders attended. Bryce spoke about his personal experience as a police officer who acquired a disability and Dan was able to provide his perspective from an employer who hires persons with disabilities. They also presented statistics of persons with disabilities in relationship to employment and how Council could be used as a resource to Government in the areas relating to persons with disabilities. They were well received by the audience at this conference.

Social Policy Framework

Senior Officials from the Ministry of Human Services presented the Social Policy Framework initiative to Council at the March Council Meeting in Edmonton. Council provided feedback and identified where they could provide input and support for the development of the framework. Council plans to continue this work into the 2012 – 2013 business plan.


International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is celebrated each year on December 3rd, to increase awareness and education about the rights and abilities of people with disabilities. IDPD is recognized in communities across Alberta. The theme adopted by the provincial IDPD planning committee, “Nothing About Us Without Us”, reminds people that individuals with disabilities need to be part of the decision making process in programs, policies, and actions that affect them. This year, Council worked with a committee of community representatives to organize events in Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. A Council member was present at each of these events to bring a message from Council and to present a Council Award where there was an award recipient in that region.

Council leads the provincial coordination of events and provides promotional support such as media kits, newspaper ads and radio public service announcements. IDPD encourages Albertans to celebrate the achievements of persons with disabilities and to make full citizenship a reality for all.


Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards 2011

Council Awards are presented each year to honour Albertans whose outstanding leadership has changed the lives of people with disabilities. The Awards were presented at IDPD celebrations around the province.

Recipients of the 2011 Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards:

Premier's Council Award of Excellence in Public Awareness

Janine Halayko and John Collier — You Can Ride Two Program (Edmonton)

Janine Halayko and John Collier are the co-developers of the You Can Ride Two Program. This volunteer-run, seven-week program enables children with coordination challenges or other support needs to experience the joy and freedom of cycling. Volunteer facilitators break down each component of cycling into smaller, more manageable exercises for participants. This gives the children the opportunity to participate in recreational activities in the same way as their peers. John and Janine have expanded the You Can Ride Two program to other communities in Alberta; Tofield, Camrose, Red Deer and Vermillion, where they are training volunteers to deliver the program.

The Award of Excellence in Public Awareness is awarded to a person, team or organization that has increased the public's awareness of the benefits and value of a barrier-free, inclusive environment.

Premier's Council Award of Excellence in Employment

Champions Career Centre (Calgary)

Champions Career Centre (CCC) has been providing employment support services to persons with disabilities since 2000. CCC uses a client-centered approach to assisting individuals with career planning based on their skills, interests, and abilities. The centre also assists clients with job searching and retention skills. Since 2010, people receiving support from CCC have retained employment for at least six months, with 85 per cent having maintained employment on a lasting basis. CCC works with clients and employers to help them see the abilities of the individual rather than the disability.

The Award of Excellence in Employment is awarded to a person, team or organization that has helped create a barrier-free, inclusive environment within the workplace.

Premier's Council Award of Excellence in Education

Sandra Hukalo (Edmonton)

Sandra is a physiotherapist at St. Gabriel School in Edmonton. Sandra routinely goes above and beyond her job description to ensure the accessibility needs of all students are met, enabling each individual to become an active participant in the school community. She advocates for students and families to receive the proper equipment and supports and often modifies existing equipment to better suit students' needs. Sandra's hard work has made St. Gabriel's a more inclusive and barrier-free environment.

The Award of Excellence in Education is awarded to a person, team or organization that has made a significant contribution to a barrier-free, inclusive program, classroom or facility.

Premier's Council Award of Excellence in Community

The Medicine Hat Accessible Playground Projects (Medicine Hat)

The City of Medicine Hat, Parks and Outdoor Recreation Department, identified the need to create four new accessible playgrounds, one in each quadrant of the city by the end of 2017. The Medicine Hat Lions Club and the Saamis Rotary Club partnered with the City in the project. The three organizations played a vital role in creating accessible play spaces for all—six years ahead of schedule. The completed projects are: Strathcona Lions Playground, Ross Glen Playground, Saamis Rotary Playground and the Family Leisure Centre Playground. They all include new accessible water playgrounds, and the Family Leisure Centre Playground includes an outdoor fitness circuit.

The Award of Excellence in Community is awarded to a person, team or organization that has made a significant contribution to a barrier-free, inclusive environment within their community.

Premier's Council Gary McPherson Leadership Award

Dr. David Legg (Cochrane)

Dr. David Legg has spent the past 20 years working for the benefit of persons with disabilities. He has worked with the Ontario and Canadian Wheelchair Sports Associations and completed a PhD at the Steadward Centre. David has served eleven years on the Canadian Paralympics Committee, including his current role as president. He has also served as chairman for the Calgary Chapter of the MS Society and on the board for the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with Disability leading the Provincial Territorial Linkages network. Currently, David is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation Studies at Mount Royal University, chairperson for the Alberta Youth Olympic Symposium, board member for Sport Alberta, board member for the 2015 Pan/ParaPan American Games (Toronto), and a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Sport Management. David's active and long term involvement with the disability community has made a substantial contribution to improving the lives of people who have a disability.

The Gary McPherson Leadership Award is awarded to an individual Albertan who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievement in enhancing or enriching the lives of persons with disabilities.


Council's Community Engagement

  • Chair presented update of Council activities to the Alberta Disabilities Forum (ADF) hosted by Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD).
  • Power of Collective Wisdom conference to share emerging results from grants for mental health research. Council provided input into the grant.
  • Meeting with MLAs and community members in Ardrossan about Council's initiatives and strategic direction. Employing persons with disabilities and accessible health care were also discussed.
  • Giving Voice 2: Advocacy and Mental Health. Meeting with leaders in mental health, justice and government about recent developments in mental health and advocacy.
  • Special Needs Task Force Consultation. This presented an opportunity to hear the community's position on inclusive education.
  • Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology. Obtained information on current and emerging changes in technology for persons with disabilities and universal design.
  • St Paul Special Olympics Ball Tournament. Provided key messages about Council's activities to various communities taking part in the Tournament. Also provided information about Council awards.
  • Secondary Suites in Calgary. Council supported a document for presentation to the Mayor of Calgary, explaining the importance of developing secondary suites so that they are accessible for persons with disabilities.
  • REDI Enterprises Annual General Meeting. Council attended this meeting which provided an opportunity to build connections with the organization and their stakeholders.
  • Conversation with Councilors of County of Two Hills. Council provided information about their mandate. Since the County is going to be building a new medical facility in the near future, Council also provided information about the medical survey that was completed by ACCD that could be used as a resource regarding accessibility considerations for medical facilities.
  • Mount Royal University students attending the Disability Studies Program. Council provided an education session to students about the Council and people with disabilities.
  • Our Children Our Future, Getting it right — Alberta Education — The event was hosted by the GoA as a follow up conversation to Setting the Direction, Inspiring Education and the Speak Out sessions hosted in the prior year. This event was to obtain feedback on the new Education Act focusing on inclusion and universal access.


Council Members' Biographies

The following biographies are of the 2011 – 2012 Council members. Information included in the biographies is current as of March 31, 2012.

Mr. Mike Hambly – Chair

Mr. Mike Hambly of Calgary currently owns and operates a business that works to decrease barriers for people with disabilities by putting braille on business cards for alternate format and marketing purposes. Mike has worked in the not-for-profit sector, including the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the Independent Living Resource Centre and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. He has participated on a number of committees, including the Access Calgary Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee on Accessibility, and many other related disability committees.

Mike brings a unique perspective to Council. He is blind, has paraplegia and uses a guide dog that has been trained to support his use of a manual wheelchair.

Mr. Marlin Styner – Chair (to December 2011)

Mr. Marlin Styner of Red Deer has volunteered and worked within the disability community since 1981.

He has been a member of several different committees that deal with disability issues. Some of these include the Canadian Paraplegic Association Advocacy Committee, the Provincial Barrier-Free Transportation Committee, the Spinal Cord Injury Collaboration Initiative, the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (National) and the Alberta Disability Coalition.

Marlin has advocated for persons with disabilities and presented on such topics as injury prevention, motivation, universal design and barrier-free access, transition and living with a disability, and disability and travel.

Ms. Iris Evans – Deputy Chair

Ms. Iris Evans has been MLA for Sherwood Park since 1997.

In addition to serving as an MLA, Ms. Evans also serves on the following standing committees: Members' Services, Legislative Offices, and Private Bills.

In her 13 years with government she has served as Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, Minister of Finance and Enterprise, Municipal Affairs, Children's Services, Health and Wellness, and Employment, Immigration and Industry.

Ms. Evans' career to date comprises numerous highlights such as creating legislation to support children with disabilities and enhance child welfare, introducing a framework to improve health care policy and serving as the government's lead international marketer and promoter to position Alberta as a prime destination for immigration and investment.

Mrs. Genia Leskiw – Deputy Chair (to October 2011)

Mrs. Leskiw was elected to her first term as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Bonneville-Cold Lake on March 3, 2008.

In addition to serving as Deputy Chair on the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Mrs. Leskiw also serves as a member of the Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Committee and the Special Standing Committee on Member's Services.

Prior to her service as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta Mrs. Leskiw taught elementary school for almost 30 years. In 1995 Mrs. Leskiw was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2005 she was honoured with an Alberta Centennial Award. Mrs. Leskiw is very active in her community and has volunteered with various organizations and associations.

Mr. Dan Bojarski

Mr. Dan Bojarski is from St. Brides, near St. Paul. He is a businessman who has demonstrated great capacity for and success in hiring employees with a variety of disabilities.

As a result of his experiences, Dan promotes inclusive employment practices. He is an industrial engineering technologist and past director of the St. Paul and District Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Dan is the president of Two Hills and District Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Bryce Clarke

Mr. Bryce Clarke of Ardrossan has been a police officer with the Edmonton Police Service for over fourteen years. He is currently one of Canada's first full-badge quadriplegic officers.

Bryce was named honorary Chair of the Edmonton Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion event in 2008 and 2009. He participated in the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man in Motion relay and had the opportunity to meet and wheel with Rick.

As a quadriplegic, Bryce brings to Council his experiences of working with a disability and living with a disability in a rural area.

He is involved with the Home for Life committee that works on setting standards for homes that promote accessibility and visit-ability. He is a member of the Disabled Hunter Review Board that reviews claims by disabled hunters who require special permits.

Dr. John Latter

Dr. John Latter is from Calgary and is currently a professor and the Medical Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation at the Alberta Children's Hospital.

John's career includes many years of dedication and special interest in the area of children and youth with physical disabilities. He is also a member of the Calgary Chapter of Muscular Dystrophy, Canada, and a director of the Dave Irwin Foundation for Brain Injury.

Dr. Austin Mardon

Dr. Austin Mardon of Edmonton has been a member of several different committees over the years, including the Edmonton Public Library, Alberta Disabilities Forum, Edmonton Clubhouse Society, Schizophrenia Society of Alberta (Edmonton Chapter) and Schizophrenia Society of Alberta (Provincial Chapter).

He lives with a mental illness and believes that the inclusion of people with mental illnesses in the community is important and can substantially improve the quality of life of persons who live with a severe mental illness.

Austin has authored over 200 peer reviewed communications and several books and has received the Congressional Antarctic Service Medal (U.S.) 1988. In October of 2007, Austin was invested with the Order of Canada for Mental Health Advocacy.

Ms. Diane Ridley (to May 2011)

Ms. Diane Ridley of Thorsby served as a Council member from December 2005 until May 2011. Diane left the Council to continue her studies at the University of Alberta to achieve her goal of becoming a lawyer.

Diane brought a cross-disability perspective to the Council. Her wide range of experience with issues that affect persons with disabilities living in rural areas, such as transportation and isolation, brought a unique perspective.

She has served on several different boards at the municipal level and has extensive experience with numerous government programs including Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH).

Diane has a personal commitment to advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities as her daughter, now a young adult, has had a disability since birth.

Mr. Brad Robertson

Mr. Brad Robertson of Calgary has been a strong advocate of people with disabilities through Disability Action Hall for the past seven years.

He has worked as a self-employed courier in Calgary for the past six years and a courier for a reproduction company in Calgary for nine years.

Brad has a developmental disability-pervasive developmental disorder and an obsessive compulsive disorder. He has been a client advocate for the Calgary Society of Persons with Disabilities and has also been involved with Boy Scouts as a Beaver leader for the past 17 years.

Brad is a very thoughtful person with a great memory and is very committed to the improvement of services for all Albertans with disabilities.

Ms. Amber Skoog

Ms. Amber Skoog of Picture Butte, near Lethbridge, lives with reduced vision. She currently works as a learning strategist with Lethbridge College.

Amber has various certifications in health and education. She has considerable experience working with seniors and persons with disabilities.

Amber is dedicated to using her personal experience and substantial knowledge to address disability issues for individuals and communities.

Ms. Kuen Tang

Ms. Kuen Tang of Edmonton currently works as a client services coordinator with the Canadian Paraplegic Association.

Kuen also creates logos, works with wood and is a letterer of graphic novels. She has taught computer skills to people with disabilities and at-risk youth at the Ability Society of Alberta.

Kuen brings to the Council her experiences volunteering at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, where she demonstrated life-management skills during Spinal Cord Injury Week and Children's Wheelchair Camp.

Kuen has been recognized for her ground-breaking graduation from the University of Alberta, earning a Bachelor of Elementary Education. She continues to demonstrate that it is possible for a person with quadriplegia to achieve great success.

Ms. Pamela Wagner

Ms. Pamela Wagner of Medicine Hat is a Registered Social Worker and Certified Human Resources Professional. She has worked for 30 years in not-for-profit disability service organizations, helping people and organizations make a better connection between themselves and their environment.

Pam holds a Master of Educational Psychology degree with a specialization in rehabilitation services. She owns and operates a counseling and consulting business in Medicine Hat and previously served on the board of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. Pam is an accreditation team leader for the Alberta Council of Disability Services and does capacity assessments for the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship act.

Pam is a member of the Crisis Assistance Network, the Medicine Hat College Social Work Advisory Committee, the Medicine Hat Human Resources Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and is involved in a community coalition with the objective of reducing poverty in Medicine Hat.

Ms. Carmen Wyton

Ms. Carmen Wyton of St. Albert currently works in stakeholder relations and previously was the president and CEO of Special Olympics Alberta. She has also been the president and executive director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society (Alberta Division), director of development for the Arthritis Society (Alberta and NWT Division), managing director of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and executive director of the Southeast Edmonton Seniors Association.

Carmen is well known and respected for her knowledge of and commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities.

As Carmen has Multiple Sclerosis, she also brings the perspective of having a progressive disability.


Financial Information

Council is supported by a Secretariat through the Ministry of Human Services. Expenditure officer authority resides with the Ministry. Council is not directly responsible for its budget or expenditures, but does have input into decisions that affect how resources are allocated. Council receives reports as to expenditures related to its activities.

Council is allocated a budget each year to cover the expenses associated with meeting its mandate and business plan objectives. Typical expenses include honoraria and expenses for members, meeting costs, IDPD contracts, and production of communication materials and Annual Report. Council members are paid honoraria in accordance with the rates set by GoA in the Committee Remuneration Orders. Council expended $184,226 in 2011 – 2012. Council's expenditures are included in the Ministry's annual report.


Contact Information

Premier's Council on the Status of
Persons with Disabilities
11th Floor, HSBC Building
10055 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 1G3

Telephone*: 780-422-1095
Fax: 780-415-0097
*To phone or Fax toll free outside of Edmonton, first dial 310-0000
Individuals that use TTY can contact the message relay service at
711 for assistance in contacting the Premier's Council office.


Modified: 2012-11-13
PID: 15395