2023 Community Accountability report highlights

Who we are

Alberta Blue Cross® is the largest provider of health benefits in Alberta, and we’re proud to build on a 75-year legacy that reaches more than 1.8 million customers. Since our doors opened in 1948, we’ve championed our communities by supporting the health and wellness of Albertans. As we continue to grow, we continue to impact people’s lives for the better.

Download the Community Accountability report PDF

Trust is earned through actions, and our commitment to our communities remains the driving force behind everything we do.


In 2023, Alberta Blue Cross® celebrated our 75th anniversary. A lot has changed since we opened our doors in 1948. Over the past 75 years, we’ve built benefit plans, office buildings, sophisticated claims and administration systems and an organization that has served the health needs of generations. Yet despite all of this, the most important thing we’ve built is a high level of trust with our customers and communities.

Trust is earned through actions, and our commitment to our communities remains the driving force behind everything we do. Every year, we strive to do more and do better, whether that’s through our community partnerships, programs or our employee champions. Since 1948, our mandate has been to support the health and wellbeing of Albertans, and we continue to advance this mandate through community engagement.

To measure the impact we have on our communities, we work closely with our community partners to assess outcomes of our involvements. We also consult with the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) to compare our work against global best practices. The LBG is a global network of hundreds of companies using the same model to improve the management, measurement and reporting of corporate social investment.

The LBG model is recognized as the global benchmark for measuring corporate community and philanthropic investment. At the same time, we maintain Caring Company certification through Imagine Canada. The Caring Company Trustmark is Canada’s premier public expression of excellence in community investment and social responsibility. More than 70 leading Canadian companies maintain this certification.

Finally, we’re proud to continue advancing our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and Reconciliation. We continue to align our community investments with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of

  • Good Health and Wellbeing,
  • Quality Education, and
  • Reduced Inequalities.

From our humble beginnings of typing up plans using a single typewriter to being Alberta’s largest health benefits provider, we’ve come a long way in 75 years. And through that time, we’ve had an enduring commitment to the communities we serve. We appreciate the trust that has been placed in Alberta Blue Cross®, and our promise is to continue to earn this trust—including through the active role we play in our communities.

A legacy of building communities

We’re passionate about the places we live and the people we serve. For the past 75 years, we’ve walked alongside Albertans to create healthy and accessible communities where everyone can live, work, learn and play. Through our community programs, we strive to help Albertans access the supports they need to live well.

Built Together program

In 2023, we received 102 applications for the Built Together program and were pleased to award grants to 5 projects in Edmonton, Calgary, Peace River, Lac La Biche and Alexander First Nation. Since introducing the program in 2013 and with total funding exceeding $2.4 million, we have supported more than 45 infrastructure projects for active living across the province.

Community Wellbeing grant program

As 2023 marked our 75th anniversary, we celebrated by launching our Community Wellbeing grant program, which provided 75 awards of $1,000 each to volunteers across the province, along with matching donations to the organizations they volunteer with. We received a staggering 277 applications for this program. Our finalists were from a variety of organizations across the province including the Edmonton Food Bank, Cold Lake Pride, Wheatland Society of the Arts and many more.

Faces of Wellness

Our third annual Faces of Wellness program continued to recognize Albertans who are everyday champions for wellness in their own lives, workplaces and communities. The grand prize recipient was Ufuoma Muwhen of Edmonton. Ufuoma created NotJustYou, a nonprofit sickle cell support organization that provides a platform for people to connect, share experiences and access support. She’s also a strong advocate for Black health and enhancing health care for marginalized communities.

We are so excited and grateful to have been chosen by Alberta Blue Cross® for their Built Together grant program to help support our inclusive playground build for 2024. Our school has never had a playground since it was built in 1959. Not only will this greatly benefit the school children, but with this being a fully inclusive playground, we will be able to support children of all abilities in the community. Thank you, Alberta Blue Cross®, for your amazing contribution and for helping us get closer to our goal!

Monica Marchand on behalf of the Kensington Parent Association

A legacy of building trust

Since the day we opened our doors, we’ve made it our mandate to support the health and wellbeing of Albertans. We can’t do this alone, so we work hand in hand with dozens of organizations across the province to share resources, research and support. That’s 75 years of building trust with each other and the people we care about most—Albertans trying to live well.

We build trust by creating community

Throughout 2023, we worked with our partners to help create healthy, vibrant communities and community spaces where people can come together. One of our main undertakings each year is the Healthy Communities Symposium, led by our partners at Communities ChooseWell and the Communities Symposium. Over 2 days, 125 wellness leaders from across the province came together to build upon their current community resources and promote wellness in their communities.

We build trust by breaking barriers

We stand as a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion. As an ally of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, we supported both the Edmonton Pride Festival and Calgary Pride Festival in 2023. We also celebrated Pride Month with our own team members in June, which included an all-employee panel sharing personal stories of navigating the world as 2SLGBTQ+ people. We continued to champion women’s health and wellness in 2023 by supporting the United Way’s Period Promise campaign and the Lois Hole Women’s Hospital Society’s series of Between Us talks, which focus on providing a safe and inclusive environment to share knowledge, listen to experts and discuss important women's health topics.

We build trust by feeding families

Access to nutritious food is critically important to both physical and mental health. Throughout 2023, we maintained our partnership with Fresh Routes, a not-for-profit organization in Calgary that delivers discounted healthy food directly to low socio-economic status communities. We also make sure kids can access the food they need to get through their days. We achieve this through our work as a snack sponsor for Free Play for Kids, an after-school multi-sports program for 8- to 12-year-olds, and as a partner of Apple Schools, an organization that provides wellness programming to schools across Alberta.

We build trust by uplifting youth

We want children to grow up strong, healthy and empowered. That’s why we partner with organizations across the province who give kids and teens the tools they need to succeed. We also promote wellness in Alberta schools through initiatives that impact thousands of students in hundreds of schools. Some examples of the work we did in 2023 include sponsorsing the Alberta Medical Association Youth Run Club, providing free snacks to kids through Free Play for Kids and sponsoring the Lung Association’s Breathe Smart program to educate children on the risks of vapaing and smoking.

We build trust by empowering older adults

As part of our support for Alberta’s aging-in-place strategy, we partner with several programs and organizations that promote the wellbeing of older adults. In 2023, we sponsored the Alberta 55 plus games in Brooks, the Top 7 Over 70 awards in Calgary and the first Alberta Healthy Aging Summit that saw more than 300 seniors’ health champions come together towards a united purpose of making Alberta one of the best places to grow older through the coordination and integration of community-based services. Due to high demand, we also partnered again this year with the Alberta Injury Prevention Centre to print, promote and distribute the Keeping Well booklets across the province.

We build trust by promoting physical wellbeing

We believe in prevention before treatment wherever possible. That’s why we partner with organizations who believe the path to health and wellness is through educating our communities and removing systemic barriers. In 2023, we continued our sponsorship of the Prescription to Get Active program, which works to break down roadblocks that keep people from physical activity. We also sponsored The Prostate Cancer Centre’s Man Van, the first mobile men’s health clinic in Canada, and the Parkinson’s Association of Alberta Hope Conference in November 2023. Finally, we continued our 20 years’ partnership with STARS by sponsoring 3 Fund-A-Flight missions for northern, central and southern Alberta.

We build trust by supporting mental health

Mental health remains a top priority for Alberta Blue Cross®, and we’re committed to ongoing efforts to raise awareness around its importance. We continued our support of National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) by sponsoring the 2023 initiative through the Calgary Counselling Centre. From October 2 to 8, we encouraged Albertans to check in with their mental health and take small, manageable steps to feel better. We also partnered with YWCA Edmonton to help provide mental health counselling services. In total, we helped 340 clients attend 4,422 counselling sessions at YWCA Edmonton in 2023, 99 per cent of which were fully or partially subsidized.

We build trust by standing with Indigenous Peoples

We live and work on Treaty 6, 7 and 8, and we respect the Indigenous Peoples whose land we walk on. Our involvements are guided by our Indigenous Pathway, which is overseen by a steering committee that includes representation from leaders in the Métis and Indigenous communities of Alberta.

In 2023, Edmonton hosted the Alberta Indigenous Games for adults, which was attended by more than 1,000 athletes. We also partnered with the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association to sponsor Grandmothers’ Circles events, which provide Indigenous women Elders from multiple nations the space to come together and share women’s teachings and traditions that have been passed down to them in an oral setting. In 2023, Alberta Blue Cross® was honoured to be presented with an eagle feather from Indigenous Elder and Knowledge Keeper Treffrey Deerfoot on behalf of the Keep Tobacco Sacred Collaboration. This was in recognition of our commitment to the Keep Tobacco Sacred Collaboration, a community-based initiative that honours tobacco as a sacred plant and a gift given by the Creator to Indigenous Peoples.

The Alberta Indigenous Games bring together sport and thought, tradition and innovation, individuals and community, history and the present moment, heart and soul. The event facilitates physical development and emotional growth, friendly competition and cooperative effort, just the right combination to promote healing of the body-mind.

Dr. Gabor Maté, M.D., physician and author

A legacy of building bridges

Post-secondary education helps youth on the path towards better lives, which improves the health and wellness of communities overall. Through our scholarship program, we are committed to bridging the financial gap that prevents many students from moving on to post-secondary studies.

Scholarship program

Our scholarship program supports more than 80 awards each year for full-time students based on academic achievement and financial need. The awards are administered directly through accredited post-secondary institutions across the province.

Indigenous scholarship program

Through our Indigenous scholarship program, we work to address the education inequity faced by Indigenous Peoples in Alberta by making post-secondary studies more financially accessible. The $1,500 awards are based on scholastic achievement, financial need and community involvement. In 2023, we awarded 3 scholarships to Indigenous students who were completing their high school education and entering their first year of post-secondary study, as well as 6 scholarships to mature students entering their first year of post-secondary education.

Meet an Indigenous scholarship recipient: Morgan Chalifoux

Morgan Chalifoux is a mother of 4, a proud Indigenous woman, a leader in her community and a social work student at Norquest College. She grew up with the effects of the residential school system, and those personal experiences led her to working with some of the most marginalized people in Edmonton’s inner city, particularly women. She spent 10 years on the frontlines fighting for human rights. Now, she’s pursuing her education in social work so she can take that work further and help her community.

My dream is to continue to practice in my field, to be a social worker, but also to carry my Indigenous culture and practices and work together as one. I think I can make a really big impact, especially being an Indigenous woman. There’s not a lot of us who have that opportunity… I wish there was. I just hope that I will be able to find support, find the people who believe in me and find the people who will give me that opportunity.

Morgan Chalifoux, 2023 recipient of the Alberta Blue Cross® Indigenous scholarship.

A legacy of building futures (environmental commitments)

At Alberta Blue Cross®, being accountable to the communities we serve also means being cognizant of our impact to the environment and taking measurable actions to manage and minimize our environmental impact.

Business process evolution

As we have continued our focus on business process automation and digitization, this effort has substantially reduced our environmental footprint. We continue to focus on encouraging both customers and health service providers to submit claims to us online, with amazing results. Almost 99 per cent of our claims are now submitted online, cutting down on paper consumption and waste.

Improved energy efficiency

We’ve continued ongoing energy efficiency enhancements to our facilities, as well as a pervasive focus on waste reduction and recycling. In 2023, we recycled more than 9 tonnes of materials that otherwise would have end up in the landfill including not only cardboard and plastic but aluminum and glass products. Meanwhile, our confidential paper recycling program diverted over 7,000 kilograms of paper for reuse.

Thinking about the future

Looking ahead, we are in the midst of developing an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework for Alberta Blue Cross® through which we will further advance our commitments to environmentally sustainable business practices.

A legacy of building champions

At Alberta Blue Cross®, our team members are true champions for our communities. We work with people who share our passion for making a positive difference in the communities we serve and play an active role in our community involvements.

Championing the employee giving campaign

In the fall of 2023, our team members came together for our annual employee giving campaign, which matches employee donations of up to $100 to the charitable organization of their choice. From October 5 to November 30, 2023, our team members raised $39,724.38 for 86 different charitable organizations. This included more than $23,000 in team member donations to organizations through the employee giving campaign, with more than $16,000 being matched by our community foundation.

Championing our Hearts of Blue team

Our Hearts of Blue employee-led charity continues to support dozens of grassroots organizations across Alberta through donations of needed items and volunteer support. We support organizations ranging from homeless and women’s shelters to organizations that support children and Indigenous communities. In 2023, our team members donated more than $75,000 to support 45 different charitable organizations across Alberta.

This was an incredibly successful Hearts of Blue moment and the most memorable one I have been involved with so far! Truly incredible to see all the collaboration and teamwork from everyone involved.

Alex Fong, Hearts of Blue team member, on working with Peak Vocational and Support Services Ltd.

Want to learn more?

Engaging in the communities we serve to support all Albertans in living their best lives is a fundamental aspect of how we live our commitment to our social purpose. Download the full 2023 Community Accountability report to read more.

Download the Community Accountability report PDF