Independent Seniors Advocate Initiative

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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.


Human trafficking action plan

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The Government of Alberta is implementing a nine-point Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking to protect at-risk individuals from being trafficked in Alberta, empower survivors of trafficking, and provide new remedies to deal with traffickers.

Human trafficking is a serious crime that takes three forms: sexual exploitation, forced labour trafficking, and trafficking in human organs or tissues. Traffickers exploit people of all ages, ethnicities and genders, forcing their victims to provide labour or sexual services against their will and using threats of violence to trap them in a cycle of exploitation.

Key actions

The nine-point Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking will:

  1. adopt the “2002 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons” (Palermo Protocol) definition of human trafficking
  2. create a provincial Human Trafficking Task Force which will bring together representatives of relevant ministries, agencies, police services, and community groups to share information and coordinate action on an ongoing basis
  3. increase efforts to educate the public, particularly vulnerable groups, about the reality of human trafficking, and report tips to the new National Human Trafficking Hotline
  4. ensure appropriate training for judges, prosecutors and first responders, including police officers, nurses and doctors
  5. ensure the Ministry of Labour provides information to Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta about their rights under Canadian law
  6. work with community groups, other provinces and the federal government to collect and share better data on human trafficking, and to ensure coordinated action as part of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
  7. name and shame traffickers by publishing the names of businesses found to have knowingly facilitated human trafficking
  8. lobby the federal government to strengthen penalties against human traffickers by bringing Bill C-452 into force
  9. Introduce legislation to establish a process for restraining orders, torts and proclaim a Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Source: Government of Alberta

Community Initiatives

Blood Tribe police (March 2022) announce plans to have a human trafficking outreach program by fall 2022. Read more


In-School Dental screening for Children in Alberta in Grades K-12

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One of the actions local CWL councils are called upon by the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council is to contact provincial government officials regarding our provincial resolution 2019.01 which was passed last June at the Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Convention.

On February 24th, the Catholic Women’s League Provincial President Judy Look and members of her executive met with representatives from Health, Education, and Children’s Services of the Alberta government.

I invite you to use the following two template letters to write to the Members of the Alberta Legislative Assembly regarding Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Resolution 2019.01:  that annual universal dental screenings be immediately implemented in all Alberta schools for school-aged children from grades K-12.

Please use the first letter template to write the Premier, the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Health.  Use the second template for your own MLA. You may find your MLA’s contact information at Who is my MLA? which will ask for your address and provide you with their name and contact information.

Tips:  It will be more effective if you change the letter slightly to make it your own.  (Form letters are not effective.)   Be brief.  Be polite.  Ask a question. Be sure to use exact wording from the resolution.

For God and Canada,

Gayleen Hamilton
Legislation Chair,
Calgary Diocesan Catholic Women’s League


Palliative Care

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During the past months we have been given the blessing of time to contemplate what is important in our lives and in our society.  Many of us are prioritizing the importance of a health care system that cultivates a culture of care and love for people at all life stages..

This is an opportune time to use our letter-writing energy to urge our government to seriously hear our concerns about two issues:  (1)  the providing of palliative care for all Canadians who choose this option near the end of their lives; and (2) the suggested removal of safeguards to Bill C-7.

National President Anne Marie Gorman's letter to the Prime Minister is posted on the National website "Letters" page. Access it at:

We encourage everyone to contact government leaders on the following two concerns. 

  1. Palliative Care: In 2017 the Federal Government put forward the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada.   The government promised to invest $3 billion into national home care services including palliative care. Has funding been made?   How can Canadians make informed decisions about their end of life treatment when quality palliative care is readily available to only 15% of Canadians (2018 Health Canada Report)? On May 17, 2020 Zi-Ann Lum published “Will the Pandemic Finally Make Us Talk About Palliative Care?” in the Huffington Post, Canadian Edition.  I encourage you to read it if you want more information.

  2. Bill C-7, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD):  There are concerns about removing some of the safeguards placed in the existing legislation.  First, the government is proposing to remove the mandatory 10 day waiting period before a patient can receive medically assisted death stating that the waiting period may unnecessarily prolong suffering.  Second, the government is proposing to remove the need for two witnesses. Both safeguards exist so that patients can make an informed decision about their end of life care without pressure and with appropriate verification.   Presently the Bill has undergone two readings.  There is still time to write letters and email the government to express our concerns about the removal of these safeguards.

Sample letters to the Prime Minister, Justice Minister, Health Minister and Member of Parliament are posted under Legislation Tips and Tools.  Adjust them as you wish.  See the Forms and Resources page for our letter writing guide and contact information for MPs and MLAs.

Through faith, we have a moral compass that guides our actions daily to help and protect the vulnerable in our society.  May our Lady of Good Counsel guide you as you work for God and Canada.


Federal Legislation Bill C-51

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Federal legislation, Bill C51,  was introduced by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on June 6, 2017. This bill clarifies certain aspects of the Criminal Code of Canada and also repeals certain sections of the Code. Unfortunately clause 14 of the bill requests to remove section 176 from the criminal code.  Presently section 176 prohibits obstructing a religious leader from conducting a religious ceremony and it prohibits disturbing an assembly gathered for a religious, moral, or social purpose. The bill does not give an alternative for this section, therefore if the bill passes with clause 14 intact it would then not be illegal to obstruct a religious leader from conducting a religious ceremony or for individuals to cause a disturbance at an assembled gathering.

Thank you to Shirley Christo in Ontario for bringing this to my attention.

You will find below the related letter that Shirley sent to her MP. Shirley has given her permission for this to be sent as an example for members to use in writing their own MPs regarding this important issue.

Read more ...