At Alberta Blue Cross, our Mission is to provide supplementary health care and related benefit programs and services, on a viable, not-for-profit basis, for the financial protection and well-being of our publics.
Values and Code of Conduct
With the belief that a Code of Ethics should be based on the values of employees, Alberta Blue Cross undertook an initiative beginning in 1998 to develop such a code through sessions with the majority of our employees, including front-line staff, team managers and managers. Through these sessions, five key shared Values were identified. These Values were then reviewed with all employees and the Board of Directors and have now been actively integrated into all aspects of Alberta Blue Cross.
These Values—Integrity and Trust, Respect Dignity and Pride, Continuous Learning, Productivity, and Wellness and Balanced Lifestyle—support Alberta Blue Cross, both our employees and our organization.
As an extension of these Values, the Alberta Blue Cross Code of Conduct defines the behaviours which guide directors, senior officers and employees in their day-to-day tasks, interactions and decisions. This Code of Conduct, which includes Conflict of Interest guidelines, strengthens the organization's commitment to living these shared Values on a daily basis.
Together these Values and Code of Conduct reflect a high concern for both people and productivity as well as service to our customers, and give Alberta Blue Cross a clear focus as we pursue our Mission.
What is a Blue Cross Plan?
Our Mission is firmly grounded in the unique legislative framework that established the Alberta Blue Cross Plan more than 60 years ago—and continues to provide a clear mandate for our organization today and into the future.
Alberta hospitals sponsored the formation of the Alberta Blue Cross Plan in 1948. Under an Act of the Alberta Legislature, the Associated Hospitals of Alberta was incorporated and permitted to establish a voluntary, pre-paid, not-for-profit Blue Cross plan.
Over the years, as Albertans’ health care needs changed Alberta Blue Cross evolved to meet those needs—with supplementary benefit plans for services such as prescription drugs, dental care, ambulance service, vision care, home nursing and other health-related benefits.
By the 1990s, less than one per cent of Alberta Blue Cross business related to hospital claims. Changes in Alberta’s health care system further outdated the original legislation governing the operation of the Alberta Blue Cross Plan. In response, the Alberta government replaced the governance legislation with a new stand-alone act, the ABC Benefits Corporation Act, effective December 1, 1996.
The ABC Benefits Corporation Act, as amended in 2004, sets out the purposes under which Alberta Blue Cross continues its operations. Alberta Blue Cross's Mission is in line with these purposes:
(a) to initiate, own, participate in or operate projects, plans, or programs, and to provide related services, that are intended or designed to improve the health and well-being of the residents of Alberta and other customers of the Corporation;
(b) to provide or arrange for the provision of supplementary health benefit programs and related or associated benefit programs and services.
Under this legislation, Alberta Blue Cross submits an annual report to the Minister responsible for the Act.
Board of Directors
In accordance with the ABC Benefits Corporation Act and Regulation, Alberta Blue Cross is governed by a Board of nine Directors, representing a broad and diverse cross-section of Albertans. New board members are elected by the members of the Board in office from a list of persons nominated by a Nominating Committee consisting of one representative from each of the following; the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta, the Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the current ABC Benefits Corporation chair. Directors may serve for three consecutive three-year terms. Each Director must act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the Corporation, and must exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.
In the provision of effective governance for ABC Benefits Corporation, the Board of Directors plays an important role in overseeing the affairs of the Corporation. Among its primary responsibilities are the following functions:
- Establish Bylaws in compliance with the ABC Benefits Corporation Act and Regulation.
- Ensure there is an effective strategic planning process in place for the Corporation and set strategic direction for the Corporation.
- Ensure compliance with privacy and security legislation.
- Establish and maintain policies and procedures including ensuring prudent investment standards; maintaining board independence of management; and addressing the identification, disclosure and resolution of matters involving conflict of interest of members of the Board, senior officers and employees of the Corporation.
- Establish board committees to assist in carrying out its responsibilities, specifically an Audit and Conduct Review Committee and Governance and Compensation Committee; and establish Terms of Reference for these committees as well as the Board and Chair.
- Undertake annual self-assessment of the Board and its committees.
- Appoint the President who is responsible for general supervision and management of the day-to-day operations of the Corporation.
- Approve the appointment, remuneration, and annual performance criteria of all officers of the Corporation.
- Oversee the financial health of the Corporation, preparation of audited consolidated financial statements and preparation of the annual report.
- Appoint an Actuary and an Auditor for the Corporation.
- Monitor the principal business risks of the Corporation and that the business is conducted in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations; and ensure the Corporation has adequate internal control and information systems in place.
The Audit and Conduct Review Committee assists the Board of Directors by monitoring, evaluating and making recommendations on matters such as the external audit, risk management, internal audit, provider audit, computer security, information privacy and confidentiality issues, and the financial reporting and accounting policies and practices of the Corporation.
The Governance and Compensation Committee assists the Board of Directors in reviewing the performance and compensation for the President/CEO and officers, ensuring attention to organization development and succession, reviewing policies and conduct regarding values and behaviour, acting as a selection committee for the CEO position, when necessary, and in reviewing and promoting the effectiveness of the Corporation’s own board governance.
View our listing of the Board of Directors is included in the most recent Alberta Blue Cross Annual Report.