Sometimes the E-Bulletin email address ( gets caught in your spam filter. Check for it there and mark email from that address as not spam. The other possibility is that ADWA has the wrong email address for you. Please contact ADWA at and let us know what email address you would prefer us to use.

Not at this time. The Canada Revenue Agency only allows dues to be tax-deductible if they are required in order to be allowed to practice your profession. This applies to regulated professions, such as social work, engineering, physical therapist, etc. A certification process is part of the process to becoming a regulated profession (e.g., under the Health Professions Act). But for now, you do not need to be either certified or an ADWA member to be a community disability service worker.

ADWA’s only source of operating money is from membership dues. The more members we have, the more money ADWA has available to hire staff who can get more done on member priorities. As appropriate ADWA may apply for specific project grants (ie: the Certification Pilot – Labour Market Partnership). In keeping with best practices for professional associations, we do not rely on government contracts to operate. This allows us the freedom to advocate without fear of funding loss. Although ADWA accepts donations, we are not a registered charity and cannot provide tax receipts.

As many as 15,000* workers are employed in the community disability services. This figure does not include disability workers who work directly for families in family managed services nor does it take into account the number of disability workers who are working in two or more positions. A main goal of ADWA’s advocacy efforts is to see all community disability service workers properly compensated so that one wage with one employer is sufficient to meet their financial needs and have time for family, growth and renewal.

*Alberta Council of Disability Services. ACDS 2019 Workforce Survey. March 2020. Actual figure is difficult to estimate due to many workers holding multiple positions within and across organizations.

First, ensure that you are an ADWA member. That way, you can be informed of all the latest news in the E-bulletins. ADWA is also working on hosting more panel discussions with various stakeholders to have holistic discussions regarding the Disability Services profession. Another way to become more involved is to become an ADWA Champion, where you advocate for other colleagues to become ADWA members. ADWA Champions are provided with updates that can be further brought to their agencies/organizations, connect with various other Champions throughout Alberta, etc.

ADWA was created to provide a voice for Community Disability Service workers and “to build recognition of the professionalism of those who work in this field and help them build careers that are supported by relevant education and an enhanced certification process based on recognized core competency standards” (ADWA, 2010). The Alberta Disability Workers Association (ADWA) has been mandated by our membership from its inception to research and develop a certification process that would be implemented within Alberta. ADWA undertook this task and has been working on this priority extensively since 2014.

A pilot project was conducted from December 2017 to March 2019 with the final report submitted to Alberta Labour in August 2019. The core purpose of the pilot project was to determine whether the certification system developed (i.e., core competency standards, evidence structure and process) were fair, rigorous, and flexible enough to determine the competence of community disability workers with a wide range of education and experience working in a variety of settings across Alberta.

In 2020, ADWA’s certification committee began our focus on building on the learnings from the pilot and creating a plan to communicate our findings to the larger community. We hoped to provide opportunities for input from all stakeholders to further the development of the certification process.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this shifted the rollout of our plans and diverted our efforts to emerging issues facing the sector. This shift continues but with some resources assigned to begin our planning again.

At this point in time, (January 2022), Alberta does not have a certification process in place to assess the competencies of the community disability service workers. Stay tuned for updates as we continue along this journey.