Strategy #7 - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Strategy #7

Make it easier for clients to connect with Alberta government programs and services.

An Albertan requiring assistance faces a dizzying array of programs and services from various ministries with separate application forms and different intake points. The system is difficult to navigate. Many Albertans are uncertain what government services are available and how to access them. For Albertans dealing with poverty, mental illness, chronic addiction, crisis or other challenges, and for many youth and seniors, accessing services can be a particularly daunting process.

Clients often find themselves directed to numerous service delivery agents at various locations. At each intake point, they must repeat and re-describe their circumstances and histories to a new service agent in order to access a particular service. The client’s journey to secure assistance involves commencing a number of separate, disconnected processes as if each was their first encounter with the Alberta government. This is inefficient, cumbersome and exhausting for clients, and not cost-effective for taxpayers.

In keeping with a housing first philosophy, programs and services will need to become client-centred. In a client-centred approach, the individual client’s needs are identified and assessed; a determination is then made regarding how assistance can best be provided, taking into account the client’s circumstances and history. The client-centred approach works like a partnership, with both the client and the service agent working together to ensure the client receives appropriate assistance.

The service agent serves as a system navigator, connecting the client with appropriate programs, services and supports. This integrated approach eliminates the need for the client to commence distinct, disconnected processes. Though not necessarily government employees, system navigators should be armed with knowledge about Alberta government programs and services, helping to make accessing assistance an easier process.

An assessment will be undertaken across relevant ministries to identify the key points of service interaction with Albertans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. (These include but may not be limited to: Aboriginal Relations, Children and Youth Services; Education; Employment and Immigration; Health and Wellness; Housing and Urban Affairs; Justice and Attorney General; Seniors and Community Supports; Service Alberta; and Solicitor General and Public Security.)

As part of implementing the Plan, ways of integrating these key interaction points to achieve client-centered system navigation will be examined. Different models and approaches of system navigation will be examined and considered.

PID: 14616