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Human Services Minister meets with groups in Grande Prairie

Alberta’s Minister of Human Services made a brief visit to Grande Prairie last week. Irfan Sabir met with local First Nations and social services groups, and says he was impressed by how well they work together.

“I was actually very pleased that they were all very much connected with each other; they all knew each other and they were all working very collaboratively. They were all very community-minded people and will to work not only with each other but with us as a group as well.”

The Grande Prairie Aboriginal Inter-Agency Committee included him in a discussion about the importance of having culturally appropriate programs in the community and removing barriers to accessing them. Sabir explains one of those is transportation from rural northern areas.

“The proximity of communities from each other and proximity of people from those services creates issues, but we will work together to address these issues and make sure that people get the needed services in a timely fashion.”

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Sabir says the province is already moving forward with a rural transportation strategy, which is going through the consultation phase right now.

Local social services agencies also got the chance to meet the Minister when he was in Grande Prairie Sabir says the informal roundtable was a chance for him to learn more about what groups like Inclusion Alberta do. He also got some positive feedback on his recent decision to stop using the Sport Intensity Scale.

“This was a scale to assess the needs for service of persons with developmental disabilities. We had heard concerns that that scale was disrespectful and that some of the questions were disrespectful, so we discontinued the use of that.”

The Parent Link Centre, FCSS, the Caribou Child and Youth Centre and Odyssey House were also involved. While some concerns were brought up, Sabir says the meetings were largely to build on relationships between the organizations and the province.

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