Visit your Member of the Legislative Assembly

Plan the Meeting

Prepare for the Meeting

  • Think and decide on a clear one idea, or message you want to bring to the attention of your MLA.  When scheduling the meeting, ensure the MLA is aware of the topic, and send them a fact sheet or data ahead of time. Keep this brief. A 1-pager is the best. Your MLA will not have the time to read a full research paper.
  • Before you meet with your MLA, research the topic and theme of your meeting.
  • Arrive at the meeting fully informed and ready to answer questions and ask questions in return.
  • Organize your fact sheets, data sheets, and other documents. Critically evaluate the pieces you bring to keep the information meaningful and easy to understand. Bring a brief list of abbreviations and a glossary if necessary.
  • PAA can help you prepare. If you are meeting with a minister, deputy minister, or senior civil servant, coordinate your visit with the PAA so the CEO or a board member can join you.  If you are meeting with any other official, advise us & we will collaborate and support you as best as we can.

Schedule the Meeting

  • MLAs have offices in Edmonton at the legislature offices and in their home constituencies. Find out from the session schedule when the MLA might be in Edmonton, or back in their community. This will help you decide when to request the meeting.
  • Call or email your MLA to request a meeting.
  • Call or email the minister of your interest and cc their scheduling assistant.
  • If you are interested in meeting with your MLA in regards to a specific bill, make sure to request the meeting well in advance of the vote.

Bring your Story 

Tell a compelling story to support your message. Have a brief and clear story about how psychology, psychologists, or other mental health professionals have benefitted you. You can even ask about the experiences of the MLA to get the conversation going. View PAA position statements if you need direction or support for your story e.g. “The PAA, and their 3500 members support my experience with their position statements:
  • Psychologically healthy workplaces
  • Mental & behavioural health funding parity
  • Access for all Albertans
  • “Mental Health Therapist” is a disservice to Albertans
  • Counselling & psychotherapy = master’s degree
  • Alberta health care insurance plan coverage
  • Meaningful & effective school psychology

Practice a short elevator pitch of your message and story. This helps you summarize the topic effectively and saves time for other discussion in the meeting.

Highlight the Value of Psychologists

Psychologists serve the community as practitioners, researchers, academics, and consultants.  They have demonstrated benefits, are in critical need, are efficient, and are effective in treating mental illnesses or helping the individual maximize their potential. Psychologists are:

  • Accountable as regulated health professionals
  • Experts in their field
  • Accessible and willing to help
  • Uniquely trained with a minimum of 6 years of schooling not including supervision period, and continuing education

Set a Goal for your Meeting

The potential outcome of the meeting is a partnership with your MLA. Build relationships that matter, promote your profession, and assist elected officials to lead in ways that support the psychological health & wellness of our province. The goal could also be a direct call to action.

The Leave-Behind

Your leave-behind package can contain some of the same information that you brought to the meeting with you. Ensure your issue is outlined clearly in writing. This could be in a letter form. Only use the key data or fact sheet to support your message, but encourage the MLA to reach out to you for more. Include your full name, title, affiliation, or association and complete contact information (address, phone number, email, & website if applicable), Don’t include your CV.

Do’s and Don’ts for Meeting with MLA


  • Reach out for a meeting today!
  • Be on time, a little early if possible
  • Be positive; build a connection that puts you on the “same side” with the MLA
  • Circulate the conversation back to the point
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, make a note to get back to the MLA with facts
  • Be persistent; sometimes it takes a few calls to actualize the meeting
  • Use easily understandable terms and explain a term if there is a chance of misunderstanding.
  • Be appreciative and thankful for the time of the MLA
  • Ask for a follow-up


  • Delay the meeting!
  • Be surprised if the MLA is running late.
  • Argue and attack. This will make the MLA defensive and put a damper on the meeting
  • Wander off the point or be distracted
  • Make up an answer or lie when you don’t know
  • Get discouraged if you need to leave call-back requests or follow up yourself
  • Assume the MLA or representative is a psychology professional
  • Linger after the appointment time ends
  • Forget to leave the leave-behind materials


  • PAA Effective Advocacy with Elected Official webinar presentation slides – download
  • PAA Effective Advocacy Tip Sheet – download
  • PAA Advocacy Toolkit – download
  • Example of Access Advocacy in relation to Extended Health Insurance Providers – download
  • APA Call to Action – download
  • CSAE letter template for Parliamentary Secretaries re: funding for Canadian Associations – download
    • Parliamentary Secretary contact list – download
  • Framing C19: Making a Powerful Case for the Role of Government – download
  • Alberta Counsel – on twitter @albertacounsel; visit their website; subscribe to their e-newsletter The NEWS.
    • Alberta Counsel. (2020 March). Alberta’s Pandemic Response – Aggressive and Deliberate. The NEWS: Alberta’s Premier Review of Politics and Government Vitality, Issue 103. – download here
  • APA – Combating Bias and Stigma Related to COVID-19 – download here
  • PAA’s Advocacy Work 2020 Advocacy