Image of ADWA "Essential but Forgotten" Campaign Office Press Release

“Essential but Forgotten” Campaign in support of Community Disability Service Workers

To: People we Support, Families, Guardians, and Skills Society Employees

RE: “Essential but Forgotten” Campaign in support of Community Disability Service Workers

From: Skills Society Senior Leadership

March 7, 2022


Message from ADWA

Alberta’s Community Disability Services are in a staffing crisis

Workers paid through government funded disability service agencies to support people with disabilities have not seen a wage increase since 2014 (despite an increase in the cost of living of 14% over the past eight years). We are feeling stressed and undervalued and many in parts of the province are choosing to leave their jobs for other employment where they will be properly compensated for their skills and valuable contributions.

The low wages and retention rates are of serious concern to community-based employers who are struggling to recruit and retain qualified staff to provide essential services to Albertans with disabilities.

In support of Community Disability Service Workers, ADWA [Alberta Disability Workers Association] is launching a provincial campaign to advocate for a 25% increase to current wages.”

See more details from ADWA here –

ADWA’s official press release can be found below. 

Skills Society is a member of ADWA and we will continue to share information around these issues. We hope you would like to learn more. To learn about the issues and facts around staff wages we are sharing important key messages and information resources. 

This is one of the most important issues for individuals with disabilities, families we support, as well as for staff and government, because if our sector cannot continue to recruit qualified staff due to low wages in the province, it affects the quality, safety and consistency of support services. This is in no way a partisan issue and strictly about ensuring people with developmental disabilities can continue to receive quality support services in our shared communities in Alberta. 

There are four main ways you can support efforts:

  1. Write to your MLA about the issue
  2. Follow and share the campaign on social media
  3. Share your thoughts and story of how this issue impacts you 
  4. Become a member of ADWA

What you can do

As a self-advocate. As a family member or ally of people with disabilities. As an employee in the sector.

1. Write to your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)

More information and resources including letter examples, key messages, and how to contact your MLA can be found at: 

2. Amplify Through Social Media

Follow ADWA on Twitter (@AlbertaDWA) and Facebook (@ABDisabilityWorkersAssociation) and share posts related to the Essential but Forgotten campaign. 

3. Share Your Voice

ADWA is seeking the voices, stories, and thoughts of self-advocates, families, and community disability workers impacted by this issue. You might consider sharing your thoughts on: 

  • Why this campaign is important
  • How current low wages impact you personally
  • If a worker why you chose this work
  • How you make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities
  • Why you are passionate about this career

If you would like to share your thoughts or story with media, contact ADWA at

4. Become a Member of ADWA

ADWA memberships provide access to new resources, advocacy efforts, and more. More information on ADWA memberships can be found here: 

Official Press Release

Official ADWA Essential but Forgotten press release (click the below link to view):



Website: ADWA resources

Report: Latest workforce data

Report: The high cost of low wages 

Report: Compensation and commitment survey results

Video: Campaign launch


Effective meetings with MLAs

Here are a couple of recommended resources on planning for meetings with MLAs or other elected officials. The MLA Advocacy Guide was developed by Public Interest Alberta in 2017. How to Have a Good Meeting is part of an online workshop for self-advocates called How to Have a Say in Government developed a few years ago by the Disability Action Hall in Calgary.

Examples of information that can be included in messages to MLAs