Family-friendly Resources

Striking a balance between career and family can be a challenge for everyone. While questions of work-life balance affect many Albertans, those who choose to run for public office may face unique challenges as they fulfill their roles as MLAs and as parents of growing families. This online guide highlights the resources available to Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and their families.

The Special Standing Committee on Members’ Services Subcommittee on Family-Friendly Workplace Practices and Policies made a number of recommendations to the Legislative Assembly, one of which was the development of a resource guide outlining the amenities and resources available to Members who are expecting or who are new parents.

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Elected officials typically do not have a traditional eight-hour workday. Members are required to be present when the House is sitting. Representing 87 constituencies throughout the province, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta comprises several out-of-town Members who reside in Edmonton when the House is sitting. The partners and children of those Members often relocate or visit during this time. To make the Alberta Legislature more family friendly and to recognize the challenges facing Members who are also parents, the LAO has undertaken a number of initiatives to modernize the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, its practices and procedures.

Changes to the Standing Orders

The Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta were amended to explicitly permit Members to bring their infants on to the floor of the Chamber.

A quiet room for families

The quiet room has been designated as a private and comfortable space for Members to care for children. The room is located just off of the Legislature Chamber.

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Ensuring precinct is accessible and easy to navigate

Access

Members with questions about access to the precinct can contact the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Family-friendly amenities

Improvements such as high chairs in the Legislature Building cafeteria and family-friendly washrooms with change tables in the Legislature and the Edmonton Federal Building make our site more welcoming and comfortable to all families.

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Do Members' Have Parental Leave?

Some parents are able to take leave from work during the first year following the birth or adoption of a child. While Members do not currently have parental leave available to them, the Legislative Assembly is exploring changes to relevant legislation that would allow Members to be absent from the House following childbirth.

Are Members' eligible for employment insurance?

It is important to note that Members of the Legislative Assembly do not pay into employment insurance and, as such, do not qualify to receive coverage while off work.

Can Members change benefit coverage when they become parents?

Upon the birth, adoption or guardianship of his/her first child, a Member may request a change to his/her benefits coverage. Benefit changes must be completed within 31 days of the birth, adoption or guardianship of a Members’ first child.

Changes to a Members’ plan following subsequent dependents will have to wait until Choice time each July.

Benefit change options:

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As a reminder, MLA Benefits:

Alberta Health Care

Coverage under the Alberta Health Care insurance plan is provided directly through Alberta Health.

Prescription Drugs and Extended Medical Benefits

This plan provides comprehensive coverage for prescription drugs and extended medical benefits for Members and eligible dependents. The plan provides reimbursement for a portion of the costs of a wide range of services, including hospital, ambulance, emergency dental care, prescription drugs (direct bill), paramedical practitioners, eye exams and vision care, chartered psychologists, home nursing care and emergency medical services when traveling outside Alberta. Premiums are paid by both the Member and the Legislative Assembly.

The benefit year is July 1 to June 30, and the claims administrator is Alberta Blue Cross.

Dental Benefits

Core Coverage - The core plan provides:

  •  80% reimbursement for basic dental services
  •  50% reimbursement for major dental services, and
  •  50% reimbursement for orthodontic services
  •  to a combined maximum of $2,000 per benefit year for basic and major services and a lifetime maximum of $2,000 per insured for orthodontic services. The Legislative Assembly pays 100% of the monthly premiums for core coverage.

Enhanced Coverage - The enhanced plan provides:

  •  100% reimbursement for basic dental services
  •  80% reimbursement for major dental services, and
  •  60% reimbursement for orthodontic services.
  •  Under the enhanced coverage there is no ceiling on the benefit amount. Both the Legislative Assembly and the Member contribute to the premium costs for enhanced coverage.

This plan provides for partial reimbursement of costs of dental services for Members and eligible dependents. Members may select either core or enhanced coverage. The benefit year is July 1 to June 30, and the claims administrator is Alberta Blue Cross.

Group Life Insurance

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Dependent Child

Your unmarried child or unmarried child of your eligible benefit recipient who is:

  •  Under age 21; or
  •  Under age 26 and a full-time student in an accredited program or at an accredited educational institute, college or university; or
  •  Any age, incapable of self-sustaining employment because of a disability and is wholly or substantially dependent on you for financial support and maintenance.

Members' have free and confidential access to The LAOs Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) through the LAO’s intranet site.

Additional online resources for new parents

The resources below offered by Alberta Health Services provide helpful information on everything from breastfeeding to early childhood development.

Practical information for partners

Visiting the site

The Alberta legislature is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Edmonton. Whether travelling by car, transit or on foot, accessing the precincts is relatively easy. Also, the site is surrounded by a multitude of amenities and services. Below are some links to assist Members’ families with getting here and navigating the site once they’ve arrived.

Understanding parliament

The parliamentary environment is unique, and the demands it places on elected representatives are atypical in comparison to some other types of employment. The information below provides insight into the schedule, roles and responsibilities of a Member.

Preparing for public life

Being a public figure can carry with it many unique challenges. Beyond the hectic schedule, Members are constantly in the public eye, which can be difficult for both Members and their families. When new Members are elected, the LAO provides an orientation session for partners to help prepare them for life with an elected official.

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