A St. Albert resident has been placed on a panel that will examine the province’s Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program.
Over the next nine months, Dan Huising will join 10 other Albertans in reviewing and making recommendations to improve the program.
Huising, who will be self advocating on the panel, said he’s excited to get started.
“I haven’t been on it before, so I’ll have to take in all the information,” he said, adding that staffing in the program has been a concern for him.
The group will meet for the first time this week, Huising said. The other panelists are from organizations, agencies, families and those with developmental disabilities.
Marie Renaud, St. Albert NDP MLA, encouraged Huising to join the panel. Prior to politics, Renaud was the executive director for about 14 years at the LoSeCa Foundation. The foundation helps provide supports for persons with disabilities.
Around 17 years ago, Renaud met Huising through the organization. She said she felt he would be a perfect fit for the panel.
“He’s a really incredible young man,” she explained. “He’s a great advocate for himself and other people, so I felt like his voice at a table like that would be perfect. I think he’s got a lot to offer.”
At LoSeCa, Huising has been on the board and has worked as an assistant in one of the foundation’s day programs helping others with disabilities.
“He has a really unique perspective,” she said. “He’s used PDD supports for many years and he’s also done some work as a support worker, so I think he’ll bring some really good, and needed, perspectives.”
Since 2015 the province has increased funding to the program by $150 million, ended the Supports Intensity Scale, repealed the program’s safety standards and improved client and staff safety.
In total, the $853-million program helps 12,000 Albertans.
The other panelists are:
- Dorothy Badry (co-chairwoman): Associate professor of social work at the University of Calgary. Parent of a child with disabilities.
- Dick Sobsey (co-chairman): Emeritus professor at the University of Alberta. Has written books on health, education and human rights of persons with disabilities. Parent of a 28-year-old son who has multiple disabilities.
- Ann Nicol (co-chairwoman): Volunteers on the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Community and Social Services Citizen Appeal Panels.
- Krista Carr: Executive vice-president of the Canadian Association for Community Living.
- Ryan Geake: CEO of Scope Society, and presently sits on a number of disability-related non-profit boards and councils.
- Lorelei Martin: executive director of the Drumheller and Region Transition Society.
- Norman McLeod: Disability advocate and board president of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights.
- Sahana Parameswara: Executive director of Gateway Association in Edmonton.
- Johnathon Red Gun: Employment coordinator for Community Futures Treaty Seven
- Lloyd Thornhill: Self-advocate from Calgary.