On this page we will share: What we feel are the most important issues relating to survivors of domestic abuse, their families, and domestic violence shelters in the upcoming Alberta provincial election How and where to meet with your MLA candidates Other ways you can help spread the word How to vote ACWS does not endorse any political party and offers no opinion on who to vote for. All references to Alberta’s political parties’ statements, platforms or actions are based on information publicly available at the time of writing. The following is offered only in the interests of survivors of domestic abuse and their families and to encourage Albertans to participate in the electoral process. Each party will be sent these questions and their replies posted on this website to assist in your decision making. Questions to Ask Candidates and Political Party Representatives During the Provincial Election While it doesn’t get much attention, gender-based violence is one of Alberta’s most pressing issues. Intimate partner and/or family violence is a key pathway into homelessness, poor mental health and increased substance use. It is also a major contributor to the health care, child welfare, policing and justice system costs. We need all politicians to stand up and address this pandemic. Our Immediate Need Specific to Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Shelters Address inflationary pressures: Domestic violence shelters have not received any increases from government to address operational pressures (population growth, inflation, increased demand) for almost a decade. Is your party/are you prepared to act immediately after the election to adjust the domestic violence shelter grant agreements and the per diem arrangements with on-reserve shelters to, at minimum, adjust for inflation (estimated to be at 23% as of January, 2023) for both wages and operational costs? See Protecting Alberta’s Most Vulnerable. Modernize antiquated grant agreements, standards, and staffing model: The current staffing model undervalues the work of those working in domestic violence shelters (96.5% who identify as women) serving survivors (98.5% who identify as women) and does not fund some crucial costs, such as transportation for rural survivors, rising insurance, and utility costs. Simplified multi-year grant agreements have not benefited from red tape reduction initiatives. Are you prepared to provide the resources and work with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and domestic violence shelters across the province to modernize shelter standards, staffing model and subsequently increase operational funding accordingly? See Survivors Deserve Better. Shelters Deserve Better. Alberta Deserves Better: The 2021-22 ACWS Domestic Violence Shelter Workforce Survey. Address capacity issues: The pause in capital funding for domestic violence shelters in Alberta means that there is insufficient capacity to meet current needs while shelter stock is aging. Are you prepared to develop an investment plan to ensure that domestic violence shelters are not only accessible but are able to provide services to an increasingly diverse population to benefit all Albertans going forward? Further to this, there are at least 60 unfunded beds in this province that require resources and 4 unfunded shelters offering services. Are you prepared to fund these beds and services? Critical Issues Care for those with complex needs How might your government improve and provide timely access in responding to the complex needs of those fleeing violence? How would you bring together multidisciplinary supports to the shelters to access these much needed services? Both domestic violence and elder abuse shelters are seeing increasingly complex needs. Timely access to addiction, mental health and cultural supports is critical. Shelters need to be staffed appropriately to meet these needs, and be able to connect with specialist positions not currently funded through government funding models. Shelters are forced to fundraise for these essential roles, and this administrative burden costs shelters in time and resources. Systemic barriers also impede access to these important services. Elder abuse and support for older adults Currently, shelters serving older adults are dealing with a larger number of mental health concerns, such as the effects of years of trauma. In turn, there are additional health care needs including home care services. Existing higher health care needs of older adults can also limit their access to shelters. How would you support these needs of older adults? How will your party ensure Albertans understand and report elder abuse? What will your party do to ensure seniors who are abused get support and assistance? Last year there was a launch of the elder abuse prevention strategy. What would be your plan to implement it? Developing a turn-away strategy that sees women get the help they need There are simply more adults, children, and seniors needing support than there are resources and staff to support them. How will you work with ACWS and domestic violence shelters on the development of a Turn-Away Strategy? See We call on the Government of Alberta to work with ACWS on a turn-away strategy. Support for Indigenous Women What are you prepared to do to support Indigenous women in shelter and to further the Calls to Justice? Moving the needle towards transformative change Domestic violence shelters have a critical role to play in preventing further violence. Are you prepared to recognize and support the critical role domestic violence and elder abuse shelters play in gender-based violence and family violence prevention? Shelters are an integral part of the development and implementation of any prevention framework and its implementation. As the recently released Australian National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children points out, ending gender-based violence, including domestic and family violence, requires a clear commitment to ending children’s and young people’s experiences of such violence. It also requires a clear commitment to providing age-appropriate recovery support and services for children experiencing domestic and family violence. We need a government that is prepared to fund and act upon this crucial issue. The Canadian National Action Plan on Gender Based Violence will be implemented through individual agreements with the provinces. In developing and implementing this plan, are you prepared to ensure an open and transparent process guided by front-line expertise in the rollout of the National Action Plan? See Advancing the National Action Plan in Alberta. Legislative Change Are you prepared to update the Family Law Act so it aligns with the Federal Divorce Act? Are you prepared to review and update the Protection Against Family Violence Act during your term? Special thank you to the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council and to our members for contributing to this content. Find Your Riding Identify which riding you live in by entering your address or postal code here. Request a meeting by calling the candidate’s office, stating that you are a voter in their riding. Learn More Find Candidates There are 3 ways you can meet with candidates: by requesting a meeting, by attending an event (e.g., candidates forum), or by speaking to them when they knock at your door. Learn More Email Template If you cannot meet with a candidate, you can email them and advocate for women's shelters. Learn More Information on Alberta’s political parties Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) United Conservative Party of Alberta (UCP) Alberta Party Independence Party of Alberta Green Party of Alberta Liberal Party Requesting a meeting Candidates are trying to meet with and secure support from as many voters as possible before election day, and may be more available to offer you a 20 minute meeting now than they will be after the election. Meeting directly provides you with the opportunity to establish a relationship with the candidate and to situate the policy issues you are discussing within the context of your story. We recommend contacting candidates from all the major parties, not just one. We want to educate every party and as many candidates as possible. Read the profiles of candidates in your riding which are typically posted on their website or their party’s website to see if you have any points of connection to them or common interest. If you have trouble finding their contact information online, reach out to the parties via their websites linked above for assistance. Email addresses for NDP candidates can be built using the formula email@example.com. The formula for UCP candidates is not yet known. What else can you do? share ACWS’s election-related messaging on social media (find us here on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). vote and ensure your family and friends vote too! How to vote Be ready to vote: Visit Elections Alberta to learn about how you can Be Ready to Vote: Register to vote using your current address Get your “Where to Vote” card in the mail or by email Make a plan to vote and choose your preferred voting option Bring ID when you go to vote Learn how Elections Alberta makes voting accessible Find out about barrier free access to voting places and returning offices, how multiple voting options are offered, and about the accessibility tools at voting places on Elections Alberta’s website here. Who can vote: To vote, you must be: A Canadian citizen 18+ years of age, and A resident of Alberta Albertans who have a legal guardian have the right to cast their own vote. Learn more about who can vote. How to vote: If you need help marking the ballot you can bring a friend, family member, or support staff with you, or can ask for help from the Elections Alberta staff at the voting location. Choose from four ways you may want to vote: Election Day – May 29 at your assigned voting location Advance Voting – May 23-27 at advance voting locations At a Returning Office – If you are unable to vote on Election Day or on advance voting days, you may vote at the returning office for your electoral division starting on May 1. By Mail – Electors choosing this voting option must apply in advance and declare their reason for voting by Special Ballot. Applications to vote by mail are now being accepted. Learn more about how to vote.