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Alberta/Mackenzie Provincial CWL Vision for an Independent Seniors Advocate

The CWL journey to lobby for an Independent Seniors Advocate began with a CWL provincial initiative back in 2015 calling members to sign a petition.

The petition read:

Urge the Alberta Provincial Government to amend the Alberta Health Act to ensure that the Seniors Advocate is an Officer of the Legislature and therefore independent.

We asked the CWL members to begin a grassroots movement through the MLA’s.  At that time, there was a seniors advocate, but he was accountable to the Minister of Health and there was no separate office.  Because there was no separate office when a government changes, the position is at the mercy of the new government.

Alberta Independent Officers of the Legislature are impartial, non-partisan officers that operate independently from the Alberta government, political parties and individual elected officials, and are responsible to the legislative assembly.  The officers carry out duties assigned by the statues and report to the Assembly through the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.

Alberta has 7 Officers of the Legislature:

  • Auditor General
  • Chief Electoral Officer
  • Child and Youth Advocate
  • Ethics Commissioner
  • Information and Privacy Commissioner
  • Alberta Ombudsman
  • Public Interest Commissioner

(Source: Government of Alberta)


This CWL Call to Action sees the work of the advocate and her/his office as one that monitors and analyzes senior services as well as a resource for seniors looking for information on a variety of issues.  Because seniors’ issues cross so many different ministries (health, finance, housing, social development transportation, housing, etc.) it seems necessary to have someone co-ordinate across all the ministries. 

It would be the first stop for any senior or caregiver to get the necessary information they require be it health, housing, financial abuse, etc. related. It would also have the authority to investigate complaints such as inadequate care in nursing homes or abuse, etc. It would make recommendations to the government through the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.