News Room

2016

April 14, 2016

  • Budget 2016 commits to an increase of $11 million for midwifery services over the next three years.
  • The Alberta Association of Midwives is pleased about this year’s additional funding and hopeful that it will allow all midwifery practices to remain viable.

We are pleased with today’s budget announcement of additional funding of $11 million for midwifery services over the next three years. We are grateful that the value of midwifery is recognized by this government.

Considerations:

We are hopeful that the funding increase will allow all of Alberta’s midwifery practices to remain viable, that all women currently in midwifery care can stay in care, and that some students graduating in June can remain in Alberta. We need time over the coming days to look at the numbers.

Our Goal is Increasing Access:

Our focus now is the urgent work ahead for us and our partners, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, the College of Midwives of Alberta, and Mount Royal University, to review and amend the midwifery services funding framework to find ways to bring more women into midwifery care.

Without changes to the funding model, it will be harder to reach our modest goal of increasing the number of families receiving midwifery care by 1% of all births each year, from 5% currently to 10% by 2020. We hope to complete our work well before consideration of next year’s budget.

We are encouraged and confident that all of our partners are committed to making an equitable maternity care system a priority. We appeal to all primary maternity care providers to help us move forward with a maternity care system that supports families to birth where, how, and with whom they want.

We appreciate this government’s commitment to growing midwifery care in Alberta and look forward to developing and implementing a Sustainable Funding Model. It is our long-term goal to be able to serve every low risk family who wants midwifery care.

View full media release here.

April 14, 2016             Alberta 2016 Budget - click here for background information

April 6, 2016

Alberta Association of Midwives CEO Dr. Lolly de Jonge received the Soroptimist International of Calgary’s 2016 Making a Difference for Women Award Tuesday night for her work as a women’s health advocate. The award honours women who make a difference in the lives of women and girls. Her work to advance midwifery care for Alberta families, especially for marginalized women, is a personal passion for Lolly, who went from high school dropout and vulnerable birthmother to finishing graduate studies at the top of her class, and becoming a film and TV producer and the CEO of a women-led, women-run association.
 
The Soroptimist award comes as Lolly leads a critically important effort to design a Sustainable Funding Model to support the growth of midwifery care in Alberta. The April 7 and 8, 2016 Sustainable Funding Model Summit will be attended by representatives from Alberta Association of Midwives, the College of Midwives of Alberta, Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Midwifery program, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, along with consumer and midwifery pioneer representation.  
 
Experienced in the private and non-profit sectors, Lolly has executive experience, 25 years of community leadership involvement and is recognized as a notable Aboriginal in Canada. She is an astute business professional with expertise in strategic leadership, governance and communications. With over two decades with a global energy company, including a decade managing its ethics function, her focus is on organizational culture transformation. 
 
Lolly is considered one of Canada’s pre-eminent and well-respected maternity care advocates and she was the primary researcher of the Maternity Care Priorities in Alberta Report in 2014. She is Executive Producer and Director of the television series Transformation to Parenthood and founder of Birthing Magazine. She holds a PhD in Human & Organizational Systems and Master’s degrees in Human Development and in Environment & Management.
 
Said Soroptomist International President, Katherine Reiffenstein, “Dr. Lolly de Jonge is a stellar example of someone who has taken very difficult life experiences and turned them into gifts to use her personal and professional influence to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of women and girls. We are thrilled to honour her in this way.”  
 
Lolly is truly Making a Difference for Women.  
 
 Soroptimist International was founded in 1921 and is a worldwide volunteer service organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Globally, it has 76,000 members in 120 countries and territories, all engaging in thousands or projects to promote women and girls’ participation in education and leadership http://soroptimistcalgary.org/
 
The Alberta Association of Midwives (AAM) is the professional body representing midwives and the practice of midwifery in the province of Alberta. There are approximately 100 midwives registered in Alberta attending almost 5% of the births in Alberta each year. Midwives have been regulated by the government since 1994 and publicly funded since 2009. See www.abmidwives.ca
 
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Jodine Chase, Mediaworks West (780) 938-5208 or [email protected]

 

March 18, 2016                        Statement from the Alberta Association of Midwives:

Alberta Health Services has released the allocation of 2,774 funded courses of care for 2016/17 to Alberta’s midwifery practices.

In 2015/16, the relaxation of a restriction on the opening of new practices resulted in a number of midwives moving between practices and some opened new practices in order to serve rural and underserved Albertans to meet the goals of the province’s Midwifery Workforce Plan.

The allocations of courses of care have resulted in some practices reporting they have not received enough courses of care to allow them to continue to provide the services they and their clients have anticipated. One midwife intending to serve a rural area has not received any courses of care at all. Some new practices have indicated they may have to close. Some practices already have more women enrolled in care than the number of courses of care received, which means some women may have to be released from midwifery care and midwives unable to receive compensation for care already given. Midwives are also exploring the acceptance of private payments from clients in order to continue to accommodate demand. This private-pay system was in place prior to public funding in 2009. Midwives are reluctant to participate in a two-tiered payment system and have expressed concerns about equity.

The Alberta Association of Midwives recognizes the tough financial time facing all Albertans, and we are continuing to work with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health on a sustainable long-term funding model to grow midwifery care and to avoid a repeat of the difficult situation we are all in this year. The freeze on the number of courses of care at 2,774, which, with the continued increase in the number of births, represents a drop in the percentage of births attended by midwives.

A course of care provides funding for 48 hours of prenatal care and postnatal care for both mother and baby, as well as for the required attendance of two midwives at each birth, and a provision for between 39-55% for overhead, registration fees and insurance fees.

The amount allocated for a course of care has not increased since 2012. The increase in the number of courses of care by 17%-18% last year is not an increase in pay for midwives, it is an increase in the number of Albertans who can receive midwifery care. Even with this increase our midwives are not utilized to their full capacity.

We also continue to ask that the number of courses of care be immediately increased to allow midwives to work at their full capacity to accommodate as many of the 1,800 pregnant Albertans who are currently waiting for care as possible. Many of Alberta’s midwives are only working part-time, or even less, With the dozen students graduating this spring, our midwives can serve 3800 pregnant Albertans who are having babies and want access to midwifery care in this fiscal year.

March 9, 2016                      Statement from the Alberta Association of Midwives:

We are acutely aware of the frustration of the hundreds and hundreds of pregnant women who won’t be in the care of a midwife for their births. Every day we field calls from women who aren’t accommodated and we hear their frustration and their despair. Spearheaded by the non-profit consumer group, the Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth, families and supporters from around Alberta gathered today at the legislature, in Red Deer, and on social media from all around the province to celebrate midwifery and to encourage the Alberta government to improve access to midwifery care.

It is clear our government understands the value of midwifery care. This commitment was demonstrated - during this time of fiscal constraints - by the increase in the number of courses of midwifery care by 400 last fall. This made midwifery accessible for more Albertans - notably in areas outside the big cities such as Plamondon and Lac La Biche and Medicine Hat. We are continuing to work with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health and we are encouraged by the progress we all have made in recent meetings. We’re also very much encouraged by remarks today at the legislature by Association Health Minister Brandy Payne, who addressed the rally said the government is “ looking for different ways we can help expand access in the province while still working within our limited financial means with the current fiscal situation.” Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and Premier Rachel Notley have also indicated in recent days that the government is working on more access to midwives for Alberta families.

We are very grateful to Alberta’s consumer advocates for their strong, clear, and passionate voices of support for midwifery care.

March 7, 2016                    Click here to read about a Sustainable Funding Model for Midwifery

March 4, 2016                   Audio Recording - Alberta Budget 2016 Town Hall.  Premier Rachel Notley quoted, “The more midwifery services we can offer, the better”.  To watch the entire town hall discussion around Alberta’s budget, click here.

January 19, 2016         Global News - Pregnant women using social media to get Alberta Health’s attention “Some pregnant women in Alberta have launched a social media campaign to get the provincial government to fund more midwives. The campaign mainly focuses on women’s experiences with midwives, and how they believe that the midwifery option should be more widely available to all women.”

2015

November 20, 2015     Press Release: Lac La Biche welcomes midwives and expands choices for pregnant women

September 15, 2015     CTV - Alberta to fund 400 more births by midwives  “Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said Tuesday that an additional $1.8 million in funding will see the number of births with midwives increase to about 2,774 this year.” VIDEO: More Funding for Midwives

Alberta.ca - Government to fund up to 400 more midwife births this year “Alberta families will have access to more midwifery services and supports thanks to increased investment from the Alberta government that will fund up to 400 more midwife-supported births this fiscal year.”

Global News - Alberta government to fund 400 more births by midwives this fiscal year “Hoffman said continuity of care for women and babies is so important and this gives women a safe option for delivering their babies.”

Edmonton Journal - Alberta government announces more money for midwives “It’s vital we start to move to a system that ensures more choice for women.”

June 25, 2015     Audio recording of Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman discussing midwifery in the legislature including, at 2:54 “We have some money to actually increase funding not significantly but we will increase funding in the short term between now and the fall budget.”

June 4, 2015       CBC - Alberta’s First Midwifery Students Graduate from Mount Royal University   “In what’s being touted as a milestone day for Mount Royal University, and an important step for Alberta’s healthcare system, the inaugural class of the bachelor of midwifery has been granted degrees. There are only eight graduates”

Calgary Herald - Alberta’s First Midwifery Students Graduate from MRU  “The graduates all wore red shoes, a tradition that started at the midwifery program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas”

MetroNews - Calgary’s Mount Royal University Set to Graduate from MRU  “Mount Royal is the only university in Alberta to offer a midwifery program, making Thursday’s festivities all the more important”

CTV - First Class of Midwives Graduate from Mount Royal University  “It was an historic moment at MRU on Thursday as the university held graduation ceremonies for the first time for students in the province’s only midwifery degree program”

May 25, 2015      BBC - Why one Canadian midwife won’t be giving birth at home  “The restrictions to services are only due to the “fiscal climate in Alberta,” a spokesman for Alberta Health Services confirmed. Indeed, provinces across Canada are tighten their belts, which means less funding for midwives”

April 16. 2015          Funding cap prevents Alberta midwives from delivering services, and babies “The province’s 95 midwives are increasingly forced to turn away potential clients because Alberta Health Services is refusing to boost funding for their services.”

April 15, 2015      Brooks Bulletin - Despite massive midwifery growth a rural gap still exists  “Our greatest need easily in the province is still in rural settings and aboriginal populations but we do want to close maternity and birthing gaps”

April 13, 2015     A Life Well Lived - Sheila Kitzinger, natural childbirth expert, dies aged 86.  “Passionate & committed individuals can create social change”

April 10, 2015    Calgary Herald - Midwives Deserve More “With midwives’ patients having their babies in birthing centres and at home, thus freeing up space in crowded hospital maternity wards for those women who choose to give birth there, money and resources are being saved. The province should increase the midwives’ funding. Sometimes, government has to spend money to save some down the line, and this is one of those times”

April 6, 2015    Edmonton Journal - Funding cap prevents Alberta midwives from delivering services, and babies “With Alberta continually setting records for births in recent years — an estimated 54,000 to 56,000 babies were born in 2014 — demand for midwifery services has been climbing”

March 2, 2015    MetroNews - AHS doesn’t expect any funding increases for Alberta’s midwives as province negotiates new agreement “Despite an overwhelming demand across the province for more midwives, Alberta’s health authority won’t be dishing out more funding for the alternative birthing service as it negotiates a new agreement”

March 2015     CTV - No new money coming for midwives (video)

February 6, 2015    CBC - Alberta’s midwives funding may force new grads to seek jobs elsewhere “Despite a big demand for services, the Alberta government has no plans on increasing funding for midwives in the province”


2014

November 25, 2014    Rabble - Midwives are the solution to Alberta’s maternity care crisis “According to the recent report by MaternityCare Consumers of Alberta Network (MCAN), Alberta’s maternity care is ‘in the midst of a crisis.’ MCAN identifies the primary cause to be an insufficient number of care providers, including midwives, for low-risk pregnancies”

November 14, 2014     Edson Leader - MCAN report finds maternity care unsustainable in rural communities “There is a province-wide shortage of all types of maternity care providers, particularly low-risk providers including family doctors practicing maternity care and midwives”

November 5, 2014     GlobalNews - Alberta’s maternity care system ‘unsustainable’ and in ‘crisis’: report “There are currently 95 registered midwives in Alberta, most of whom are in urban areas. That number has more than tripled since 2009 when there were 31. Still in comparison, there were nearly 60,000 babies born in the province last year”

November 5, 2014    MCAN releases Maternity Care Priorities Report

July 29, 2014    JOINT STATEMENT ALBERTA ASSOCIATION OF MIDWIVES AND COLLEGE OF MIDWIVES OF ALBERTA 

July 28, 2014    Canada.com - ‘Poor outcomes’ involving uncertified birthing attendants raise concerns “Midwives have the training to monitor the baby’s heartbeat properly for signs of distress and drugs to manage hemorrhaging by the mother, but these unregistered practitioners are often not qualified and they don’t have access to a hospital if there are problems”

July 1, 2014    CBC - Alberta midwives want to help more pregnant women “Goal is to have 20 percent of births in Alberta attended by a midwife”

May 21, 2014   CBC - Big demand for Alberta midwives leads to long waits “Many women are on long waiting lists because there are not enough midwives in Alberta, and because of that there are not enough midwives to help train students going through Mount Royal University’s bachelor of midwifery program”

January 23, 2014    Cochrane Eagle - Cochrane Community Midwives opens door to midwifery clinic  “We’re so lucky in Cochrane to have midwives because we don’t have enough in the province — especially in rural areas”

January 9, 2014   CBC - Support for Cochrane Midwives (video) “The province’s midwives’ association is supporting a practice in Cochrane after its clinic burned down”


2013

September 2, 2103    NewsTalk770 - Rallies in support of midwives across Alberta today “Alberta moms and  moms-to-be are expected to join midwives in rallies at the provincial legislature and across the province today”

August 10, 2013     Huffington Post - Alberta Midwife Services To Keep Public Access Funding “Alberta Health Services has agreed to keep funding midwifery services in the province. The deal with the Alberta Association of Midwives runs until March 31, 2015”

June 11, 2013   MetroNews - Midwives and Alberta Health Services sign funding agreement “The Alberta Association of Midwives (AAM) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) signed an agreement Monday that will ensure continued funding and support for the province’s growing number of midwives”

June 10, 2013   AHS - Agreement between AHS and Alberta Association of Midwives provides an alternative for expecting families “A Memorandum of Understanding between the two groups was negotiated and will remain in effect from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2015. It will ensure continued funding and support for Alberta’s growing number of midwives”

June 10, 2013    CTV - Province expands options for expecting families  “Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Association of Midwifes have inked a three-year agreement to maintain publicly-funded access to midwifery services. The AHS says the agreement will improve access to maternity services and provide birthing alternatives for expecting Alberta families”

March 3 2013    Winnipeg Sun - Midwives go online to deal with rural shortage  “An Alberta-based midwife is bringing her answer to rural Canada’s maternity-care “crisis” to Manitoba”

January 10, 2013   CBC - Midwifery now a profession in Alberta (video)

January 1, 2013   The Calgary Journal - Is Midwifery Safe?   “There is not anything to suggest in the appropriately chosen patient and when (the patient is) managed appropriately there it is any higher risk to have a delivery at home under the care of a qualified midwife”


2012

December 27, 2012    Edmonton Journal - Alberta midwives to establish professional college in 2013 “Alberta’s midwives will have their own independent professional college in the new year, a final step into mainstream medicine”

October 26 2012    Government of Canada - Government of Canada helps internationally trained midwives find jobs in their field faster “This is why we are working with partners like the Multi-jurisdictional Midwifery Bridging Program so that internationally trained health care professionals can put their knowledge and skills to work sooner in communities across Canada”

April 12, 2012    Macleans - Midwives: Why aren’t we paying them more? “It’s easy to make the case that midwives are well worth the extra money they’re asking for”


2011

May 3, 2011    CBC - MRU launches midwifery degree program

“According to the university, there are only 52 registered midwives working in Alberta. Training more midwives means more expectant mothers will get the care they want while stress on the health care system will be reduced”

Contact AAM

Alberta Association of Midwives
2632 24th Street SW
Calgary, AB T2T 5H9
Phone: 1-888-316-5457
Hours: Monday to Friday (8:00am-4:00pm)
Website https://www.abmidwives.ca/
Email: [email protected]