The Government program area coordinates the provision of Association services to members and maintains the extensive support structure necessary to ensure that those services are delivered promptly and efficiently. Questions about the services available from the Government program area should be sent to government@ata.ab.ca.

The Government Program Area performs five main functions:

GovernanceTop of page

Staff in Government assist the Association's elected officials, including the president, the vice-presidents and the district representatives, to do their work. In addition, the Government program area carries out the following tasks related to governance:

  • Organizing the Annual Representative Assembly, which is the parliament of the Association. This task involves determining the number of delegates to which each local is entitled and ensuring that locals are familiar with registration procedures and the availability of grants-in-aid.
  • Arranging meetings of the Provincial Executive Council, an executive committee of 20 persons who transact the business of the Association between annual meetings. A synopsis of Council's decisions, PEC Points, is published regularly in The ATA News. PRECIS, a more detailed account of Council meetings, is distributed to schools and locals.
  • Arranging meetings of local presidents, which take place in October and February each year.
  • Providing support for the Association's extensive network of committees.

Advocacy Top of page

The Government Program area arranges for the table officers to meet with the government and other agencies for the purpose of communicating the Association's official policy on education-related topics, as established each year by the Annual Representative Assembly. Staff in Government also maintain contact with the Canadian Teachers' Federation leaving the ATA website, which, on behalf of the teacher organizations in each province and territory, makes representations to the federal government on educational and other matters of national concern. For further information, see advocacy.

AdministrationTop of page

The executive secretary is responsible for the overall administration of the Association's programs and its staff. While Provincial Executive Council is responsible for developing--and the Annual Representative Assembly for approving--programs, assigning staff to carry them out is an administrative function.

CommunicationsTop of page

Publications
Top of page

The Association produces two official publications, a newspaper and a magazine, which are sent without charge to all teachers employed by school jurisdictions in Alberta as well as to education students in Alberta universities, federal and provincial politicians, and education officials across the province. Subscriptions are also available. Circulation is about 39,000. The ATA News, a tabloid published bi-weekly from August to June, contains news of Association activities, feature articles about educational issues and events, editorials and letters from readers. The ATA Magazine, published quarterly, is a professional journal containing educational and professional articles. Contributions for these publications are welcomed. Submissions and inquiries should be sent to government@ata.ab.ca.

Better Government Program

The purpose of the Association's better government program is (1) to encourage teachers to play an active role in politics by making them more aware of politics and the political process and (2) to make MLAs and the public more aware of educational issues and teachers' concerns. Among the activities presently undertaken in conjunction with this program are (1) encouraging local associations to become involved in politics, (2) providing MLAs with copies of Association briefs, political statements and other background materials, (3) monitoring the Legislative Assembly and (4) publishing, after each provincial election, a guide to the Alberta legislature.

Information Services

To publicize its activities and views, the Association maintains contact with approximately 60 major provincial media outlets (including daily newspapers and radio and television stations) and 100 weekly newspapers. The Association sends these outlets copies of all media releases and, when appropriate, arranges with them to interview guest speakers at teacher conventions, specialist council conferences and other events.

Public Relations

The purpose of the Association's public relations program is to enhance the image of the teaching profession and to increase public support for education. The Association's public relations program includes the following activities:

  • Setting up display booths at teachers' conventions.
  • Producing materials to help locals, teachers, and principals undertake their own public relations activities.
  • Presenting an annual award to the school and the teacher judged to have undertaken the most innovative school-community public relations project.
  • Honouring with a special award each year one reporter from a daily newspaper and one reporter from a weekly newspaper who have produced the most thorough news articles on education.
  • Recognizing with special awards each year the locals that have designed the best overall publication relations program, the best newsletter and the best special project.
  • Producing a series of pamphlets for teachers that contains information on current topics of interest to teachers.
  • In cooperation with other education stakeholders, helping to plan Education Week activities.
  • Planning and undertaking activities designed to maintain and enhance support for public education in the province.
Social Policy Initiatives

From time to time, the Association, acting either on its own or in concert with various groups, attempts to alert the public and the government to conditions that limit the potential of children or others involved in education. Recent activities of this kind include (1) organizing a Joint Stakeholder Committee on Children and Poverty, which brings together concerned individuals from education, health, justice, social service, religious and business communities to pursue recommendations of the Association-sponsored conference on children and poverty held in 1992, (2) striking a Subcommittee on Strategy for Delivering Health, Social, Justice and Educational Services in Schools to look at ways of promoting the coordinated delivery of critical services to children at school sites and (3) cooperating with Careers: The Next Generation Foundation, which is concerned with easing the transition of students from school to work. More long-standing initiatives include the Association's Women in Education Committee, whose mandate is to encourage gender equity in the education system, and the Association's human rights program, which includes a workshop on stereotyping and a monograph entitled Respecting the Differences. See policy for more.

Support ServicesTop of page

Finance
Top of page

Among the major tasks performed by finance staff in Government are these:

  • Ensuring that each local association receives an operating grant in the form of a 20 percent rebate of the basic provincial fee.
  • Administering the grants-in-aid program, which compensates locals for expenses incurred in sending delegates to provincially called meetings.
  • Auditing (without charge) the financial records of specialist councils.
  • Processing claims for expenses incurred by members serving on Association committees or representing the Association on the bodies of other organizations.

Members seeking information about Association fees, its budget and other aspects of its financial operations should contact the treasurer/chief financial officer at government@ata.ab.ca.

Records

Staff in Government maintain the Association's membership database, access to which is carefully restricted so as to protect teachers from unwanted solicitations. The Government program area also maintains the Association's archives, which contains historical records dating back to the Association's inception in 1918. Local officers and others interested in accessing this material should contact the archivist at government@ata.ab.ca for assistance.

Facilities

The Association maintains two offices, one in Edmonton and the other in Calgary. The Edmonton office, Barnett House, houses the office of the president and most Association staff. This facility includes a cafeteria (with a seating capacity of 150), an auditorium and other meeting rooms suitable for holding committee meetings and seminars. Individuals interested in renting space for meetings or other events should contact the business and facilities manager at government@ata.ab.ca.

The Association Calgary office, known as the Southern Alberta Regional Office (SARO), includes offices for a number of Association staff as well as limited meeting space.

Printing, Publications and Distribution

Printing equipment located at Barnett House is used to produce most of the materials that the Association uses in communicating with its members. Upon request, the Association also prints materials for locals (at a reduced cost) and provides editing, production and printing services to specialist councils. Materials of interest to teachers are distributed in a monthly school mailing.