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 Click here to Subscribe to the ACDS Umbrella (Lite)

A monthly newsletter update from the umbrella organization for Alberta's disability sector. Featuring news, events, training and professional development, involvement opportunities and submissions from ACDS members.

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Past issues

Alberta Proclaims Disability Employment Awareness Month


For the first time in our history, Alberta is officially recognizing October 2017 as Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) recognizes the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities, raises awareness about an under-represented talent pool in the province and the available supports that help Albertans with disabilities succeed in the workforce. By highlighting the skills of Albertans with disabilities and connecting these individuals to prospective employers, our government is encouraging inclusive employment across the province.


ACDS Leadership Event & 2017 Annual General Meeting
Digging Deeper
October 18 - 19, 2017
Calgary, Alberta
A strong focus on membership engagement, collaboration and networking will be the key to our sector's success on all fronts - from influencing public policy to sharing information, creating resources, and mentoring new leaders in the sector.
We will be looking for your input as ACDS staff move forward with operational planning and the development of membership engagement and communication strategies.  
Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre (formerly Greenwood Inn)
(Time Frame: 11:00 am October 18 until 1:30 pm on October 19)
Timing for AGM: October 18 at 3:00pm followed by a reception
Registration Is Now Open


Bill 205 - Advocate for Persons with Disabilities Act passes third reading in the Legislature

Introduced as a private member's bill by MLA Sandra Jansen, and co-sponsored by MLA Marie Renaud, Bill 205 was adopted as a government bill and received unanimous support in the Legislative Assembly.

Click here to read more about it in the ACDS Umbrella

The 2017 ACDS Innovation Award winner is...

The Southern Alberta Community Living Association, Skills Society and Lift Interactive!

Watch Sue Manery, Executive Director of SACLA, accept the award on behalf of the collaborative group behind the My Compass App. And click here to read about all the nominees for this year's award. Thank you as well to everyone who took the time to cast your vote for the nominees.


ACDS Announces New Chief Executive Officer

We officially welcome Andrea Hesse to ACDS as our new Chief Executive Officer, who will officially start her role on June 7.

Andrea lives in Edmonton, and yes is an Oilers fan!!!

Career wise, Andrea is an experienced senior leader with experience in both the non-profit and public sectors. She spent the last 5 years as Executive Director of ABC Head Start, an early education and family support agency serving children and families with diverse needs. Prior to that Andrea was a senior leader with the Government of Alberta in the Ministries of Children and Youth Services, and Human Services working on a variety of portfolios related to strategic and policy leadership for children and families. Andrea also began her career in the non-profit sector as a program manager and provided front-line services to children and families.

Educationally, Andrea completed both her B.A. and M.Ed. in counselling psychology at the University of Alberta and has presented at numerous conferences and events. In addition, she completed the Community Shift Program for Non-Profit Executive Leadership at the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario.

As a community leader, Andrea currently serves as a member on the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations. In addition, she was also a director of the Blackmud Creek Community League in Edmonton for several years.

Personally, you will find Andrea to be easy to talk with; keenly aware of the political and human services landscape; passionate about growing our sector; and a down to earth person that is easy to connect with.

All combined, Andrea will help move ACDS forward through this era of transition. She is very much looking forward to meeting the great people of the ACDS community. Currently a transition plan is being developed which includes meeting service providers in each region, touring agencies, familiarizing herself with operations and planning strategically with the Board.

Andrea's specific contact information will be available on June 7 or shortly thereafter. Please join us in welcoming Andrea to ACDS!

Looking forward to the future,

Helen Ficocelli
ACDS President

ACDS Announces Retirement of CEO Ann Nicol

It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the Board of Directors announces Ann Nicol’s retirement as CEO of Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS), effective May 15, 2017. Since 2007, Ann has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization, and while we will miss her and her inspiring leadership, we wish her the best of luck in her retirement and her new ventures. We want to thank her for the 10 years of dedicated service which involved many significant accomplishments.

Please see the attached letter from the Board and Memo from Ann Nicol.

Thank you.

Helen Ficocelli, President

ACDS Board of Directors

CEO Retirement Announcement Letter

Message from Ann Nicol

Standards Revision Update!

First of all, ACDS would like thank the many people and organizations who have invested their time and resources into the revisions to the 2016 CET Standards. The feedback you gave us provided great insight and direction to the changes.

The Site Survey Process also prompted some discussion; however, we have not yet made any firm decisions about changes to the survey process.

CET Accreditation is available in the following versions.

  • Level 1 Standards for Adults with Disabilities
  • Level 2 Standards for Adults with Disabilities

Level 1 or Level 2 may include these additional indicators.

  • Services for Children with Disabilities
  • Complex Support Needs Review
  • Respite for Children and Adults with Disabilities, which is new for CET

A detailed Guide to Changes accompanies the Level 1, Level 2, Children’s and Complex Support Needs manuals. The Appendices for these manuals has been greatly enhanced, and includes an up-to-date glossary and bibliography.

Prices for the 2016 manuals will be similar to the previous 2013 version. However, a big change is that ACDS is allowing purchasers to print copies of any digital or server version of the manuals, and to buy the binder covers and dividers separately. Click here to access the order form.


  • Service providers can now start ordering manuals using the product order form link on the ACDS website
  • Self-Study Guides will be available in November
  • Information sessions will be scheduled for 2017

For further information about any these standards, feel free to contact your Accreditation Coordinator.

New Accreditation and Workforce webinars

"I like that they are so informative and at the same time short and to the point. Excellent training material that I will be reviewing with my team as well." - Almira Vujovic, Manager - REDIworks | REDI Enterprises Society

Turn up the sound and learn about CET levels 1 and 2, processes to respond to behaviours of concern, risk management, the Workforce Classification System and much more. Additional webinars are being developed so be sure to watch, the Umbrella newsletter and/or social media for updates.


Reply from Human Services Minister - July 2015

Letter to Human Services Minister - June 2015

Welcome Letter to new MLA's - May 2015

Congratulations Premier Notley - May 2015

ACDS Head Office

160 3015-12 Street NE
Calgary, AB  T2E 7J2
Ph: (403) 250-9495
Fax: (403) 291-9864

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