Looking Forward: Taking Steps Toward the Next 20 Years


As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are grateful for the over 25 projects we are working on with our many collaborators and partners. In the three projects described below, we highlight why they matter and what difference they will make to policies, practices, and the lives of children, youth, families, and communities.

Supporting Indigenous Child and Family Service Delivery

In early 2020, the federal government enacted An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This legislation recognizes the inherent Indigenous authority over child and family services, establishing minimum national standards for service delivery to all First Nations, non-status, Métis, and Inuit children. These national standards seek to:

  • Prioritize prevention and early intervention over apprehension
  • Maintain and promote Indigenous children’s relationships with family, community, and territory
  • Value and promote culture
  • Reunify Indigenous children, families, and communities

PolicyWise, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, and several Indigenous Governing Bodies are co-creating a journey map to explore, understand, and document the organizational factors and processes needed to support the implementation of the Act’s national standards. We will then share the journey map findings and lessons learned with other child-serving agencies to support Indigenous Governing Bodies needing their services and enhance the transition to the Act’s national standards.

The Edmonton Community Foundation provided this project’s funding.

Evaluating and Facilitating an Alberta Social Prescribing Model

Social prescribing is gaining recognition in Alberta as a cost-effective way to improve overall health and well-being. It is a person-centred, holistic, and structured approach to bridge health and social models of well-being. Health professionals refer patients to community social support services, connecting them to the right services at the right time.

Working with Healthy Aging Alberta, we are designing and implementing a developmental evaluation tool and a data management strategy. These tools will support several social prescribing projects underway in the province and demonstrate the impact of social prescribing on Alberta seniors’ health and social outcomes.

Developing a Labour Market Partnership Program

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry had some of the highest turnover rates and the second-highest job vacancy rate of all sectors in Canada. These labour shortages have only worsened since the pandemic, with cooks and food and beverage servers being the most available but unfilled jobs in Alberta.

PolicyWise has partnered with the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy, and Northern Development to identify challenges and possible long-term solutions for the restaurant industry. We are focusing on employee’s needs, providing a better understanding of recruitment and retention strategies. We are also looking at ways the restaurant industry can engage and develop the untapped labour force of youth who have recently arrived in Canada, are no longer in school, and are often unemployed.