President’s Speech: HSAA Focused on Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy

Good morning, Well, it’s great to be with you all this morning. Are you all having a pretty good time so far? I think we’re going to have a great couple of days together. I can’t tell you the number of hours of work that goes into putting a convention like this together – mostly because I have no idea. All I know is that we’ve been thinking about this, planning it and putting it together…

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Back on track in Fort Mac

Your home is destroyed by fire. You’re six months pregnant. You’re separated from your husband and two children as you flee the flames. Would you look back on that a year later and say it was a blessing? That’s how HSAA member Jennifer Oger and her husband David see what happened to them when the Beast of Fort Mac burned through their lives in May 2016. “The blessings during that time were incredible,” says David, one…

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All smiles as members work on sponsorship

Photographed above: HSAA member Ayed Saad enjoys a Canadian experience – Tim Hortons. “A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” Victor Borge, 1909-2000, Danish and American musician and humorist. He was also a refugee from war. As a Danish Jew, he fled when the Germans invaded Denmark. He arrived in the U.S. with only $20. Smiles may be the furthest thing from our minds when we think of Syrian refugees fleeing from war, but they may prove…

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Welcome home: Unions exist to help everyone – including a Syrian family seeking safety in Alberta

The following guest opinion column was published in the Edmonton Journal on Jan. 3, 2017. The family, originally expected to arrive in October, finally made it to Calgary after Christmas. Photographed above is the family of four being welcomed by HSAA members and supporters. Photographed below is Social Justice Committee chair Faika Satterthwaite hugging one of the children.   This week, a Syrian refugee family of four arrives in Alberta to begin a new, safe life…

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Safety fears unfounded after extreme vetting

Worried about bringing Syrian refugees to Canada from Lebanon? Don’t be, says Sam Nammoura, co-founder of the volunteer Syrian Refugees Support Group. This family hasn’t just been screened, it’s been “extreme vetted” three times. The first vetting was by Lebanese security. “They have their own way of [determining] who is coming in, who they are, who they are associated with. If there is anybody who might cause a threat to Lebanon, they will be removed or…

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Opinion: Protect recovery by sparing public-sector jobs

This guest opinion column was published in the Edmonton Journal on Feb. 28, 2017. In an age of “alternative facts” and divisive politics, we can all agree on this: Alberta needs jobs. Lots of stable, well-paying jobs. What’s the best way to create new jobs and protect existing ones? To steal a familiar line: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Surprised to hear the president of a public-sector union discuss the importance of the economy? Don’t be. Public-sector…

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Health care matters

It’s government’s #1 job: making sure you can count on health care when you and your family need it. After years of cuts, neglect and privatization, Alberta’s health care system is stretched pretty thin. But the good news is, we’re finally seeing long-overdue investments and improvements in our hospitals and health care. The bad news is, politicians and the UCP are talking about more cuts and privatization. Cuts are too risky. We know the kind of…

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4 Things you need to know about Alberta’s Health Care before the next election

Our system is stretched pretty thin. Alberta’s health care system is stretched pretty thin from years of cuts, privatization, and neglect. We’re finally seeing some long-overdue investments and improvements in our hospitals and health care, but politicians and the UCP are talking about more cuts and privatization – as if they haven’t learned their lesson. Cuts are too risky. HSAA members deliver vital services to Albertans every day so we know first hand the kind of…

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HSAA’s call centre is right here in Alberta

We’re right here – not in Bangalore, Ireland, the Maritimes or the southern U.S. – and we’re here to help you! When people hear “call centre,” they sometimes picture workers in cubicles in some far-fetched corner of the globe, toiling in anonymity, linked to the caller seeking assistance only by a phone line. That’s not how we work. HSAA’s call centre is in our new HQ in Edmonton. The Members Resource Centre (MRC) agents are direct,…

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