Marie Renaud has been waiting a long time for this.
Consultations launched this week to survey persons with developmental disabilities (PDD) and the community that surrounds them about housing safety.
Before Renaud was elected as the St. Albert MLA in last May’s provincial election, she served as executive director in Lo-Se-Ca and had rallied against the safety standards that were being imposed by the province.
The new NDP government extended the deadline to comply with safety standard regulations introduced under the previous government until the end of March to allow for more consultation.
In December, Renaud was named as the MLA to the consultation team, a team she said is very unique and includes people with developmental disabilities, advocacy groups, other experts and some technical safety people.
“It’s been a really, really unique process. Not always easy and not always comfortable, but I think the result will be really good,” she said in an interview last week.
Community conversation forums were held in Westlock and Grande Prairie this week. The closest forum to St. Albert will be the one in Edmonton on Feb. 29.
There’s also an online survey available.
“We’ve moved it away from the specifics of the standards to what is it that makes your home and your life safe. That’s a huge win for this community,” she said.
She said there is no formal speaking at the consultations, instead there are different stations where people can have a conversation.
“I’m really hopeful that we’ll find some solutions here,” she said.
The consultations are Phase 1 of the process, which wraps up March 14. The consultation team that Renaud is a part of will have to then submit a report with what she said would be some quick recommendations to the minister of human services by the end of March.
Renaud said there will be a bit more time for the second phase of the project to figure out some solutions.
The MLA is happy they’ve had the chance to re-examine the changes to the safety standards.
“I was so worried that this was going to change the way people were going to be able to live in the community and it was just frightening to me, so I’m incredibly hopeful,” Renaud said.