Current Issues

Here are GEA’s current Research Action Teams:

  • The Living Incomes Action Team focuses on efforts to increase access to job-training, expand the number of living wage jobs, and increase income supports for those unable to work.
  • The Mental Health Action Team focuses on increasing access to mental health and addiction recovery resources as well as other ways to reduce adverse stress.
  • The Community Building and Member Engagement Team focuses on increasing participation in faith, labour and civil sector organizations and assisting them in building respectful relationships and a strong sense of community.


**Rally your Members to Join the Movement to address Poverty, Living Wages and Mental Health**

Opportunity: Invite others in your organization to join you in supporting the campaign that GEA has launched in conjunction with End Poverty Edmonton to address Living Wage and Mental Health problems.

GEA’s new campaign video briefly presents the challenges and opportunities around these high impact problems.

We invite you and those you know to be part of the solution. This video can be easily shown during religious services, membership meetings and other events.

Please reply to this email with your interest in showing the video in your organization, congregation or community group. 

GEA-Supported Senior Care Program in Pilot Phase

Do you remember the GEA seniors house meetings that were held in our church a couple of few years back? The discussions we had concerning how to keep seniors safe at home for a longer time?

To respond to these concerns, the GEA Senior Care team compiled statistics, created The Age Wave document, met with Provincial ministers and City Council representatives, and presented our recommendations.

GEA also met with Sheila Hallet, Executive director of the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, and discovered that the Council was developing a program consistent with GEA’s recommendations.

GEA gave its full support to the Coordinating Council initiative. The result: the ‘Seniors Home Supports Program’, a pilot project that the City of Edmonton has agreed to fund for three years.

It is now in its second year. Your work, insights, and recommendations paid off!

What is the Home Support Program?

  • City is divided into six districts, each containing a community seniors organization
  • Each organization has staffed a Home Supports Coordinator to facilitate the program
  • Services arranged for seniors: housekeeping (vacuum, wash floors, clean bathrooms, do laundry, dust, clean the fridge) , yard care (mow lawn and do spring/fall clean-up, not including removal of animal waste, weeding gardens or planting flowers), snow removal (remove snow and put down anti-slip material to cover icy spots, not chipping ice), minor home repairs (clean eaves troughs, repair gate/fence and stair/handrail, change light bulbs, replace door knobs, repair flooring, install grab bars, clean windows without removing windows)
  • Each co-ordinator interviews private businesses and not for profit groups and individuals who potentially will provide the services, and builds a referral list
  • Seniors can get referrals to service providers by contacting or visiting the community seniors organization in their district.

Because this program is currently a pilot, its future depends on how well it is used. We want it to become permanent, so getting the word out is crucial.

Who Do I Contact?
Based on your postal code, contact the organization that serves your district.

District Organization Phone Number Postal Code
West Westend Seniors Activity Centre 780-483-1209 T5M, T5N, T5P, T5R, T5S, T5T, T6M, T5V
North West North West Edmonton Seniors Society 780-482-1958 T5E, T5G, T5H, T5J, T5K, T5L, T5X, T6V
North East North Edmonton Seniors Association 780-944-7470 T5A, T5B, T5C, T5W, T5Z, T6S, T5Y
South East South East Edmonton Seniors Association 780-468-1985 T6A, T6B, T6C, T6E, T6P
Mill Woods Mill Woods Seniors Activity Centre 780-496-2997 T6K, T6L, T6N, T6T, T6X
South West Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association 780-450-2113 T6G, T6H, T6J, T6R, T6W

For more information visit

Listening Campaign Launched! Here is the Timeline

Thank you who all who attended the Listening Campaign Launch in September.  It was a great start to the exciting listening starting in our organizations.

Listening launch
Check out more photos on Facebook

Listening campaigns are important work.  We know how valuable it can be for individuals to be able to talk with others about the pressures they’re feeling, to know that others care, and to build deeper relationships among our members.

The listening campaign will continue on the following timeline.

Leaders Check-In Meeting
Friday, December 2 – 9:30 – 10:30 AM, Catholic Archdiocese Pastoral Centre, 8421 101 Ave. Northwest, Edmonton
We will check in on the how the Listening is going for those who have the process underway and share strategies for those who are still planning or about to start.

GEA-wide Discernment Assembly
Wednesday, February 15 – 7:00 – 8:30 PM, Location TBA
We look at everything that surfaced during the Listening process, prioritize the problems we want to act on together, and launch Research-Action Teams to begin the work of developing concrete action proposals and campaign plans.

Organizing Fundamentals
Thursday, March 2 – 6:00 – 9:00 PM, Location TBA
We will provide an abbreviated introductory training on GEA / IAF principles and practices as a pre-requisite for anyone who will be participating in the Research Action Teams, and who has not yet attended a GEA Leadership Institute.

Research-Action Team Training
Date and Location TBA
We will convene all of the Research Action Teams together for a joint initial training.  We will then break  into teams to figure out first next steps and meeting dates.

We look forward to working with all of you to create a better Edmonton / Alberta for everyone! Please contact us if you have questions or need more information.

Spring 2015 Senior’s Team Update

Seniors Team Update Spring 2015

The Seniors Team is organizing our next round of house meetings.  Their focus is enabling seniors to remain in their homes for as long as possible. With the imminent Provincial Election, the Seniors Team’s is working to keep their issues front and centre, as the media focuses on the economy and the credibility of the current government.

We need to keep seniors issues up front.    The Seniors Team has identified three key areas of services:

  • Personal supports – housekeeping, cleaning, gardening, snow shovelling and small repairs.
  • Mobility and safety – transportation, grocery shopping, financial aid
  • Connectedness – social isolation, loneliness, poor access to health and social services.

The seniors identified that although they tend to be asset rich, they are income poor.  It is clear that Federal and Provincial median income to qualify for financial assistance is too high, for “middle income” seniors to qualify for support.    Alberta Health’s 2010 policy framework for an ageing population states as a goal to “increase the supply and range of home care and community care services to assist Albertans to receive services in the community.”

The question is whether we have the imagination to understand that or whether we will continue to pretend that the slack will be picked up through the ever-decreasing volunteer sector and decreasing social capital.  We can choose to put some key soft supports in place which in a short while will pay for themselves or we can wait until the medical costs overwhelm us.  It is time for action, its time for our system to evolve!


Jackie Clark, Horse Hill Berry Farm on Urban Agriculture

Urban Agriculture: Janelle Herbert of Riverbend Gardens, Edmonton

Senior Care

Next Senior’s Team Meeting is January 24th at 10:30am at St. Theresa’s Catholic Parish 7508-29 Ave

The Senior’s Team is collecting information from seniors about the services they need or they think they will need as they age, services which will help them to stay at home for as long as possible. We have hosted 3 house meetings so far.
Early results show that it is soft, domestic services they predict they will need in order to stay in their home. People are generally satisfied with the medical services available but the other services like housekeeping, snow shoveling, simple house maintenance, personal care, are the ones that are either not available or are too expensive.

Although most of the participants were over 65, some of the people who were not seniors had some valuable input for us. Many of them were caregivers of parents and other elderly family members.

We would like to have more house meetings in our GEA institutions. To that end we will be calling the delegates or institutional leaders to offer them the opportunity to host a house meeting and be part of this project. Please speak to Elaine if you are interested in finding out more about hosting a meeting.

Representatives of the Team met this week with Fred Horne, the Minister of Health. We asked him these questions:

  • What is your government’s vision for helping seniors to remain in their own homes for as long as possible?
  • What is happening within the Health Department and/or between departments to make this happen?
  • How can the GEA Seniors Team assist the process?

The Minister spoke of initiatives in his department:

  • the Seniors Property Tax Deferral to be implemented next year
  • consideration of a refundable Seniors Wellness Tax Credit
  • moving access to Home Care into the community via the new 140 Family Care Clinics and the current Primary Care Networks. Each of them will have an Advisory Committee of community members.
  • Model being set up for care and support of the homeless after they are housed could be extended to care for seniors staying in own homes.

Our conversation included possible other options for service delivery via churches, seniors’ centres, other social enterprises not yet in existence!

The Senior’s Team raised these issues which need to be addressed by government:

  • inadequate training of home support staff
  • low wages for support staff even though the agency charges are out of reach for many seniors
  • absence of standards of care

Significantly, Minister Horne said the government has moved from consultations which are event-based to individual MLAs consulting within their constituencies. Get ready to meet with your MLA to tell him what you want.

The Seniors Team is without a co-chair and is in danger of disappearing should no one step forward to take that position. I am currently a co-chair without a “co”. There were 18 people at our team meeting this week. Three of them were observers three of them were members we co-opted to come to meet the Minister of Health.

Two asks happened at the Strategy Meeting:

1. Consider hosting a house meeting to gather information about services needed by seniors at home as they age.

2. Volunteer as the co-chair of the Seniors Team

To host a house meeting or volunteer as a co-chair contact Elaine at

Senior’s Care Focus on Home Care
After 35 months and 26 + meetings the Seniors Team received wholehearted support for the project they presented to both the Institutional Leaders Caucus and the Strategy Team on February 23 at the Catholic Archdiocese conference centre.The plan includes house meetings in member institutions to answer the question, “What home care services are essential to help seniors remain in their homes for as long as possible?”
Armed with this background information, a campaign will be developed. Allies will be recruited among seniors’ advocacy and social organizations and the people and politicians holding the power in this area of health services will be identified. People in our member institutions will be asked, for example, to:
  • write and/or call their MLA and the premier
  • write and/or call the Minister of Health and the director of Alberta Health Services
  • attend rallies or demonstrations
  • participate in a small GEA group meeting with politicians and/or the leadership in Alberta Health Services
The Seniors Team will provide scripts and training for people to raise their comfort level and skill in carrying out these vital activities.The Team considers this is a winnable situation and we are grateful for and excited by the support we received at the Institutional Leaders Caucus and the Strategy Team meeting.

There is a critical staff shortage in long term care facilities

On April 12th, 2010- GEA’s Senior’s Care Team brought a new voice to the legislature as they began a series of small team meetings with MLA’s regarding improving conditions for seniors in Alberta, particularly in terms of Long Term Care Funding.

Thanks to the meeting with Dr. Sherman GEA will now be meeting with other ministries and health officials related to important Senior’s issues.

GEA’s Senior’s Team has begun researching and organizing around the following components of Senior’s Care:

– Increased Funding to Continued Care Facilities and ensuring the proceeds from the sale of Alberta Savings Bonds actually goes toward Continuing Care.

– Changes to the Alberta Building Code to allow for more senior’s friendly housing.

– Increase funding for training of continuing care workers.

– Developing community owned not for profit pilot seniors housing and care projects.

Mark Winne on Food

Local Foods Update ~ October 2012

Since 2008, the Local Foods Team has been working on the issue of strengthening our local food system and economy. In 2010, the City of Edmonton passed progressive policy (the Municipal Development Plan or MDP) which stated:

before any of the remaining land in the City’s boundaries that is currently zoned agricultural could be rezoned two key strategies would have to be developed: a City Wide Food and Agricultural Strategy (CWFAS) and a Growth Coordination strategy (GCS). They also approved a vision for Edmonton as part of the MDP : “Edmonton has a resilient food and agriculture system that contributes to the local economy and the overall cultural, financial, social and environmental sustainability of the city”. It was the first time in Edmonton’s history that local food and food security were included as part of the planning parameters of the city. This policy happened only because citizens of Edmonton organized themselves with the support of GEA’s member institutions and turned out over 500 citizens three times to City Hall during the two year process. We moved from being food consumers to food citizens…actively engaged in shaping food policy for our city and region.


Since 2010, we have continued to actively engage citizens in the ongoing discussion as to their concerns and imaginations about the future of food and the preservation of agricultural land in Northeast Edmonton. As part of our citizen engagement, we hosted Local Food Training in June. As well, several GEA leaders have participated in both the Advisory Committee for the Horse Hill (Northeast Edmonton) Area Structure Plan (hosted by Waltons, Cameron Development and other key landowners in NE Edmonton) and the Food and Urban Agriculture Project Advisory Committee (hosted by the City of Edmonton). Debbie Hubbard has been the GEA representative on the Food and Urban Agriculture Project Advisory Committee since its formation in October 2011. In September 2012, we hosted a workshop facilitated by Miistakis Institute and invited a variety of stakeholders to learn about tools and mechanisms for conserving agricultural land. (land trusts, conservation easements and transfer of development credits) We were very fortunate to receive a $30,000 grant from Alberta EcoTrust that has supported our work on this issue.


However, there are many competing interests and views in the City about what should happen to the remaining land zoned agricultural in the City.  Pressure is mounting to rezone it and move quickly into development. GEA believes that a win-win solution to those competing interests is possible but that it will take leadership from the City and time to work through a process. All landowners deserve fair compensation for their land. However, through the Municipal Government Act, the City has been given the responsibility to make decisions that protect the long-term interests of all citizens and not the short-term interests of people wanting to make windfall profits.


Just as with our earlier action with the Municipal Development Plan, we need folks to flex their citizenship muscle. Plan to come to City Hall Council Chambers on October 26.  There will be a public hearing for the City-Wide Food and Agricultural Strategy from 9:30 to 5:30 pm. Come for the entire day or for whatever part of the day you can. This will be the only Public Hearing that citizens can have a say in the content of the Strategy. It will be held before the Executive Committee (Mayor Mandel and Councillors Sloan, Leibovici, Diotte and Krushell). They will decide whether to send the Strategy back for more work or on to the full City Council for a decision. We know that a citizen presence at City Hall does and can make a difference.

Alberta Ecotrust Logo


Community Engagement

New Date for Area Structure Plan that will Affect Local Food in Edmonton
A couple of updates for you re: the decision around preserving agricultural land in Northeast Edmonton.
a) the public hearing had been tentatively scheduled for January 16 and 17. We have just had confirmed that the tentative new date is Tuesday February 19. This could change as well but it won’t be any earlier than that for sure.
b) some of you have asked if you can see the Area Structure Plan (ASP) online. It won’t be made available to the public until the the proposed ASP goes to Council for consideration. It will be attached to the Council agenda. Typically the agenda, is posted at couple of days before the Public hearing date at:
However, if you would like to see the ASP prior to then, Carla Semeniuk, the City of Edmonton Planner has indicated that people can contact her and come to her office and see it. Her contact information is by phone:780-496-1582 or by email is:
Please let us know if you have any additional questions. We will keep updated as we learn more. If you have some ideas and interest in what we need to be doing to get ready for the Public Hearings, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Local Food Team – Greater Edmonton Alliance (
This work is supported by a grant from Alberta EcoTrust.


Public Hearing Part 2 – Friday, November 2,at 9:30 a.m City Hall Council Chambers

This is the process as best we understand it at this time:

– The final panel of speakers will be heard.

– Council may or may not ask questions of citizens in the panel.

– Then questions will likely be asked to Administration (Peter Ohm et al)

– Then the Executive Committee (Councillors Sloan, Leibovici, Diotte, Krushell and Mayor Mandell) will decide what to do next. They could send it back for more work or approve it in principal.

– If they send it to the full City Council, they can then decide it to send it back for more work or approve it (in principle or other).There is no opportunity for presentations or a Public Hearing. If approved, then it will give the green light for the Public Hearings for the Horse Hill (NE) Area Structure Plan in mid-January.

Non- Statutory Public Hearings before Executive Committee
Friday, October 26
9:30 to 5:30 (Lunch break most likely from 12:00 to 1:30)
Council Chambers, Edmonton City Hall (1 Sir Winston Churchill Square)
Citizens who wish to speak at the Public Hearing can register in advance online (, by phone (780-496-8178), or in person the day of the meeting.

Questions?? Please email us at

Farming in the City Guided Bus Tours ~ 

Live Local and the Greater Edmonton Alliance (GEA) are proud to present the Farming in the City guided bus tour Sunday August 26, 2012. Buy Tickets Now! This will be your chance to tour some of Edmonton’s treasured agricultural lands and meet the farmers who nurture the soils and supply us with their amazing bounty!

Each informative and entertaining 3 hour tour will be led by a guide who will share the history of the northeast food lands. You will have the opportunity to visit a number of producers who will tour you through their farms, allowing you to see, smell, touch and taste the fruits (and veggies) of their labour! Tours depart every 45 min from Northlands SE parking lot.

Don’t miss this unforgettable experience to sample some of the delicious products that thrive in our fertile soils and learn about the future of our urban farms!

Buy Tickets Now



C Returns – Now have a Facebook page – C ReturnsGreen.

Could you please go to the Facebook page and “LIKE” us?  Write a comment or two if you are inspired, or follow the link to to register for an assessment.   If you could also tell you friends (Facebook or otherwise), colleagues, and associates about our green retrofit service, it would be much appreciated.   (I don’t know if you have a Facebook page, but apparently, you don’t need to have one to “LIKE” us.)

~Expressionz Cafe~

Welcome to Expressionz Café (a not-for-profit social enterprise); an intimate place where people come together to network, and to share their creative ideas and expressions in an inspiring, friendly and relaxed environment that promotes originality, wellness and harmony.In essence, we are a modern day Community Centre with over 6000 sqft of multi-purpose, creative space for rent. We are also a daytime Café & Coffee Bar. Our purpose is to provide a venue with full- service hospitality for a wide variety of artistic, community and business events. Our mission is to renew the sense of joy in living and positive interaction.
Expressionz sets and achieves the goal of developing a vibrant community, one in which a diverse group of people engage creatively and thoughtfully with each other; a place where they feel welcome, where all philosophies are encompassed, allowing for the expansion and exchange of ideas.From Yoga and Tai Chi classes to Family Celebrations, Corporate Functions, Concerts and Productions, or simply hanging out with a friend for coffee and a fresh, delicious lunch, Expressionz has it all.And mixed in amongst the ever-changing events you will also find regular tenants like the Uptown Folk Club, SOL Café, and the Greater Edmonton Alliance – making Expressionz a truly unique “Community of Communities”. Each one of these groups connects community in a very special way, and fulfills Expressionz vision of sharing education, enlightenment, art and entertainment. Maybe your organization would be interested in renting an office space in the midst of a vibrant and energizing environment.
Designed for “sense satisfaction”, Expressionz aims to stir the spirit, animate the atmosphere, titillate the taste buds, ooo la la the olfactory, exercise the eardrums, and variegate the view. Join us!
For more information or to book your event contact info@expressionzcafe.comor visit



More than twenty years ago, the Canadian Labour Congress declared April 28 a National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed, suffer disease or are injured at work. Every year since, communities and union members throughout the world mark the Day of Mourning to remember workers killed and injured on the job, the impact on their friends, colleagues and family members, and to recommit themselves to fighting every day for workplace safety.