Alberta Council of Disability Services

History of CET

The Standards of the Alberta Association of Rehabilitation Centres 

1972 / 1973: The Alberta Association of Rehabilitation Centres (AARC: now Alberta Council of Disability Services) and service provider representatives

  • discussed forming a committee to consider standardized levels of service
  • talked about possible standards
  • began initial development of the Core Standards

AARC and the representatives based the Core Standards on the belief that standards should be developed in partnership with the community sector and measured using a review system conducted by experienced senior leaders in the field.

1984: A Review Committee was established to review the standards manual and develop policies and procedures to support a newly created accreditation process.

1985: The first Commission on Accreditation was formed.

1986 February 7: Accreditation was first granted to a South Region service provider.

1991: AARC published the Striving for Quality (SFQ) Manual and Handbook.

1994 October: AARC and Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD; the former Services for Persons with Disabilities) established a partnership to evaluate services to adults with developmental disabilities and collaborated to expand the Core Standards into the Creating Excellence Together (CET)‚Äč Standards.


  • The partners conducted twenty-eight focus groups (approx. 300 individuals with disabilities, plus their families and guardians) across Alberta. The information and feedback from these groups were used to develop the outcome-based quality of life standards.
  • AARC trained 44 people from the sector to become the first Partnership Surveyors. 


  • The partnership moved into the implementation stage for the CET certification level of the standards, which culminated in the publication of the CET Standards Manual. 
  • Lyle Oberg tabled CET in the legislature, and AARC was awarded the Premier's Award of Excellence.


  • AARC introduced mandatory standards to address the requirements surrounding positive and restrictive procedures.
  • When the CET standards were reviewed in this year, they became 
    • CET Certification
    • CET/SFQ Accreditation
  • These standards were reviewed and amended again in 2003 and 2005.
  • This review, as well as all subsequent reviews, incorporated important changes that had arisen from government decisions around Community Disability Services (CDS) and reflected best practice within the field.
  • CET reviews would take place approximately every three years to correspond with accreditation's three-year cycle.

2006: AARC’s name changed to the Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS). 

The Standards of the Alberta Council of Disability Services


  • CET Certification was renamed CET Accreditation Level 1
  • CET/SFQ Accreditation was renamed CET Accreditation Level 2
  • CET was expanded to include reviews for Children's Services and Complex Behaviour Supports
  • All of these standards and additional indicators were reviewed and amended in 2011.


  • ACDS created the Leading Excellence Together Self-Assessment Tool, which service providers could use as an inhouse tool to either help them prepare for a CET survey or to measure their own organizational framework.
  • ACDS introduced the Guidelines for the Use of Medications that Influence Behaviour, a medication handbook. This booklet was updated in 2016.


  • When the CET standards were reviewed in this year, they became 
    • CET Accreditation Level I
    • CET Accreditation Level II 
  • The former indicators for children's services became the CET Accreditation Standards for Children with Disabilities, and included twelve Quality of Life and twelve Quality of Service standards, plus one Organizational Framework indicator on time-outs.

2016: The concept of two levels of accreditation remained, but the titles changed from having the Roman numerals that were introduced in 2013 to a return to being the Level 1 and Level 2 Standards for Adults with Disabilities. What was new was that either Level 1 or Level 2 could include additional indicators as described below.

  • Additional Indicators for Services for Children with Disabilities came about from feedback from the 2013 children's accreditation standards. The changes served to
    • better suit services to children and youth with disabilities, including transitional services and
    • enable service providers to review and accredit services for children through one accrediting body and one process
  • Additional Indicators for the Complex Support Needs Designation (CSND) grew out of the former Complex Behaviour Supports. CSND addresses
    • medical, intellectual and behavioural support needs and
    • supports for individuals whose lives intersect with multiple systems
  • Additional Indicators for Respite to Children and Adults with Disabilities was developed to review the unique aspects of respite supports.


  • ACDS launched the most in-depth accreditation evaluation we've ever done that included all aspects of CET and of emerging accrediting practices.
  • While the 2016 Standards followed the Quality of Life, Quality of Service and Organizational Framework model that has been the hallmark of CET for the past three decades, our new approach combines these three sections into Quality Measures that comprise fewer and a more manageable number of standards and indicators.
  • This version also reframes the CSND indicators to distinguish what constitutes support for individuals with complex needs and what constitutes support for individuals who also require a Secure Treatment service model.
  • This version of CET became an optional choice in September 2021 and will be fully implemented in April 2022.