WHEREAS the Elected Officials Education Program was designed to provide municipally elected officials with an opportunity to increase knowledge and skills to raise the quality of municipal government, and provide skills to those in office to be successful in effectively achieving the goals of their community; and
WHEREAS the EOEP states that it will ensure accessibility throughout Alberta with an accommodating schedule and varied course locations; and
WHEREAS there are approximately 26 rurals and 33 urbans situated north of the City of Edmonton who must travel long distances to attend these training sessions, most of which have been held in locations south of Edmonton, putting increased financial burdens upon them; and
WHEREAS the Internet is being utilized more and more for on line training opportunities and would open the doors for more municipal councillors to access the program;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC, AUMA and Alberta Municipal Affairs give serious consideration to holding EOEP training sessions on-line to allow equitable accessibility to those municipal councillors serving in areas located at great distances to the training session locations.
As stated on the EOEP website, the Elected Officials Education Program was developed to “provide municipal elected officials with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills, raising the quality of municipal government and enabling those in office to effectively achieve the goals of their community.” The fifth statement on the website indicates that the EOEP will ensure accessibility throughout Alberta with an accommodating schedule and varied course locations.
While the course locations have been varied, there have not been any EOEP courses offered very far north of Edmonton, having been held in:
– Three Hills
Some municipalities may have difficulty carrying the cost of a $300 to $500 tuition fee per course per councillor, and adding to that the additional costs of travel and accommodation to travel to these courses may make the EOEP unattainable for many municipal councillors.
As the locations of many of the 2009 and 2010 courses have not yet been established, it is hoped that this resolution will provide the impetus to provide these courses on-line utilizing the capabilities of the internet. There is great support for the EOEP and the opportunity to obtain training relevant to the role of an elected official, and utilizing the expanding capabilities of the internet would allow more councillors to obtain the training, thereby making the program more successful while maintaining the goals and integrity of the program.
The AAMDC has no current resolutions directly related to this issue. However, the Alberta Elected Officials Education Program Corporation (AEOEPC) has identified accessibility as an issue within their strategic plan. Specifically, a goal to maximize program exposure and expand opportunities for students to attend courses was identified. The AEOEPC approved implementing regional pilots and is also investigating e-learning opportunities.
Alberta Municipal Affairs recognizes that accessibility is a challenge when providing training, and encourages the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association to consider options to optimize accessibility.
Municipal Affairs agrees that online training is an option and could be considered as an enhancement to training sessions.
The EOEP launched its first online course in Fall 2010. To date, four courses are available for online learning with two more anticpated by the end of 2011. The entire roster of EOEP courses should be available online in 2012 and as such the AAMDC accepts that the intent of this resolution has been met.