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Employment & Training Programs and Services

Published Date: June 09, 2021
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Career & Employment Information Services

Counsel to Leave Employment

Employment Insurance Act
Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA)
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 42 (1) and 97 (1) (g)


The goal of Employment and Training Services is to assist Albertans prepare for, gain, and maintain employment. Counsel to Leave Employment is an option to assist an individual who would not otherwise be eligible for Government of Alberta funded training because they are working.


  • to support individual Albertans who are working, to take training to increase their self-sufficiency and sustain employment.
  • to support people who are working and receiving income support as Expected to Work or Barriers to Full Employment (ETW/BFE) so that they can become financially independent.
  • to assist individuals to obtain competencies and/or credentials required in today’s labour market.
  • to address regional labour and/or skill shortages.
  • to respond to employer and industry needs for skilled workers in specific occupational areas while maintaining a balance between individual and employer needs.


  • Based on individual circumstances, leaving employment for further education or skill training may be an appropriate and effective course of action to increase or sustain long term employment and financial independence.
  • Under the Employment Insurance (EI) Act an employed individual is disqualified from receiving EI benefits if they voluntarily leave their employment without ‘just cause.’ However, an employed individual who leaves their employment in order to take Government of Alberta approved training can be considered to have ‘just cause’ upon approval of the Government of Alberta.
  • Individuals must receive extensive counseling in order to develop a service plan, including consideration of alternatives to improve their employment circumstances such as part-time training and distance learning, before they consider leaving their current job.
  • Counsel to Leave Employment must be approved by a Government of Alberta Authorized Official.
  • Individual must have a completed Training Information Form or a Letter of Admission from the training provider in order to be considered for a Counsel to Leave.
  • When a Counsel to Leave Employment approval is granted, the individual is expected to remain employed until at least two weeks before the training start date.
  • If the Counsel to Leave Employment Assessment is denied, the individual must be informed of their right to request a review of the decision by a Government of Alberta supervisor.
  • The assessing supervisor’s decision regarding the Counsel to Leave Employment is not subject to review by the Income and Employment Supports Appeal Panel.
  • To maintain EI eligibility, EI claimants/recipients must be available and able to work. EI claimants/recipients should indicate on their EI reporting card(s) that they are available and able to work, including during the interval between leaving employment and commencing training.


To record the decision on approving a Counsel to Leave for learners, see Business Process.