Alberta Council of Disability Services

Exemption Panel and Process

Introduction to the Exemption Process

Service providers that provide services to DIAD-funded Albertans must go through a Creating Excellence Together (CET) accreditation review every three years using either Accreditation Level 1 or Accreditation Level 2 Standards for Adults with Disabilities.

However, service providers can apply to the ACDS Director of Services and Accreditation (Director) for exemption from the CET survey process if they meet certain criteria (as described in the next section).

  • The Director facilitates the process and chairs the meeting.
  • The meeting will include time for the service provider representative and the funder’s Regional Director or designate (e.g., contract manager) to present the case and answer questions from the Exemption Panel members.
  • Meetings are conducted by teleconference.


Exemption criteria includes

  • not providing direct support to individuals with disabilities
  • not monitoring individuals, or implementing services, or following up with individuals
  • providing one-time, sporadic or infrequent support with no expectation of follow-up or ongoing contact
  • being accredited through an accrediting body that has equivalent standards as determined by the Ministry of Community and Social Services

Examples of services and supports that may be exempted include

  • workshops
  • courses for guardians and parents
  • advocacy services
  • facilitation of person-centered plan development
  • specialist advice
  • bereavement counseling
  • administrative placement service
  • private hires (i.e., arranged by the individuals or others who act as employers, such as with Family Managed Services/Self-Managed Supports)

Note: Survey exemptions that are approved for service providers, or for specific standards and/or indicators only apply to the survey cycle in which they were granted.

Request for Exemption of Services

As soon as a service provider receives its one-year letter stating the date of its next CET site-survey, it needs to 

  • submit an exemption application form to the Director explaining its exemption request and rationale
  • notify its DIAD Regional Designate and copy this person in on any further exemption-related correspondence with ACDS

The exemption request needs to include information about

  • the type of service provided
  • if its service is periodic, short term, or one time only
  • if there is no direct delivery of services or supports
  • if there is any regular follow-up
  • why the service would be difficult to evaluate through a CET survey

The Director sends the request along with any other documentation (e.g., acknowledgement letter) and/or additional information requested from the service provider to the Panel members for their independent review.

If the service provider is already accredited through another accrediting body, it will be asked to submit a copy of that body’s last Accreditation report and/or appropriate supporting documents.

The service provider will be advised of the date and time of the Panel meeting, and asked for the name of the person who will be representing it at the meeting.

Requests for Exemption from a Specific Standard

If the exemption request is for exemption from a particular Standard, then the same process applies as noted above, except the basis for allowing exemption is based on

  • the nature of the service provided
  • the influence and/or impact the service provider has on that area of the lives of individuals who access its services 
  • the intent of the Standard as described in the About this Standard section of the CET manual

The Panel is charged with determining criteria for exemption to particular Standards.

Once a meeting time and date has been set, representatives from the service provider and funder are invited to present their case. Generally, if a service provider has been exempted previously and if nothing has changed in regards to the services provided, the process will be a formality only (i.e., may not require a full meeting of the Panel and representatives).

Possible Decisions and Outcomes

There are five possible decisions that the Exemption Panel may come to following the Exemption Panel meeting.

Full Exemption: The Panel has determined that the service provider meets the criteria for exemption and will not need to go through the CET Survey Process.

Partial Exemption: The Panel has determined that portions of the service provider’s services fully meet the criteria for exemption, but other portions do not. A CET site-survey will be required but will only include the services that don’t meet criteria.

Supplemental Review: The Panel has determined that portions of the service provider’s services only partially meet the criteria for exemption. A CET site-survey will be required but will only include a supplemental review (i.e., Quality of Life and Quality of Service Standards and specific Organizational Framework Standards).

Modified Review: The Panel has determined that the service provider’s services only partially meet the criteria for exemption. A CET site-survey will be modified to only review those service areas that can be measured.

No Exemption: The Panel has determined that the service provider’s request does not meet criteria. A full CET site-survey will be scheduled. However, the service provider is given the opportunity to appeal this decision.

In all but the last instance, the decision of the Exemption Panel is final.