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Employment Insurance Initiatives

Published Date: September 27, 2017
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Canada/Alberta Labour Market Development Agreement


The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide support for employment programs and services to Albertans.  The Canada/Alberta Labour Market Development Agreement empowers Community and Social Services to act as a designated authority to assist Employment Insurance (EI) recipients.  Our agreement allows designated Community and Social Services staff to recommend that eligible individuals maintain their entitlement to EI benefits while attending a full-time training program at their own expense. These individuals are referred to as Feepayers.


To allow unemployed individuals in receipt of regular EI benefits to attend a full-time training program, at their own expense and be permitted to continue to collect their EI benefits.  Community and Social Services may approve individuals, who lack marketable skills and/or need new or additional occupational skills or English language skills that will be acquired through attending a training program and result in improved employment prospects.  The intent behind recommending participation in an eligible training program is to facilitate a prompt return to employment in the labour market.


Service Plans with single training interventions

Eligibility Criteria


  • Unemployed at the time of the request (must not be counseled to leave employment to attend a training program as a Feepayer or quit their employment to attend training), and
  • Has an active regular EI claim with a start date before the start of training, and
  • Is legally entitled to work and study in Canada, and
  • Has participated in a Service Needs Determination Assessment (SND), and
  • Lacks the marketable skills needed for employment, and
  • Has identified a tuition-based training program that will provide the new or additional occupational skills or English language proficiency required, and
  • Has established a realistic and achievable goal, and
  • Has the financial resources required to cover living expenses for the period of training, and
  • Has the financial resources required to cover the training program costs (tuition, fees, books and supplies etc.), and
  • Has read the consent/declaration portion and completed the Feepayer application.

Being unemployed, in and of itself, is not considered to be sufficient rationale to approve an individual to participate in training.


  • Full-time tuition-based training (normally, full-time training as defined by each institution is acceptable or approximately 25 hours a week), 
  • Leading directly to employment,
  • Delivered by classroom or synchronous e-learning
  • For programs over 7 weeks in length, has been provincially designated by Advanced Education (AE) or recognized by Community and Social Services, 
  • Results in a recognized credential within 1 year (12 months) of the training start date or demonstrates improved language proficiency as evidenced by increased Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) levels in all competency areas.

There is no requirement for active service management or to conduct follow-ups for individuals recommended to attend a single intervention at their own expense. The onus is on the individual to inform staff of changes to their Service Plan.

Service Plans with multiple training interventions

The Feepayer policy and procedures are not to be used for EI recipients participating in multiple training interventions. Examples of multiple training interventions include but are not limited to; Academic Upgrading followed by Occupational Training, or English as a Second Language followed by Integrated Training.

An EI recipient with a Service Plan which includes multiple training interventions must participate in an Employability Assessment and meet all eligibility criteria, required of an Alberta Works Learner, if they wish to be considered for income support and/or training benefits for a period(s) of training.  The procedures and approval process for an Alberta Works Learner will apply to individuals who do not have a calculated financial need, while in receipt of EI benefits, for some of their Service Plan.


The following procedures apply to Service Plans with single tuition based training interventions.

A SND Assessment is required to:

  • ensure the individual is unemployed, lacks the marketable skills needed for employment, but is otherwise job ready, and
  • verify the type of EI claim and its status, and
  • confirm the individual has the financial resources to be successful, and
  • ensure the individual is willing to make the commitment and investment needed to successfully complete training and the training planned is appropriate to achieve their employment goal.

An Authorized Official must be satisfied that the institution or program the individual has chosen is appropriate for the individual and is recognized by industry.  If it has not been approved or recognized by either Community and Social Services or AE, and is 7 weeks or less in length, an acceptable “Feepayer” curriculum will result in the following desired outcomes:

  • Will enhance the employment skills and abilities of the participant, and 
  • There is labour market need for the skills obtained, and 
  • There is evidence that the industry, sector or employer community recognizes the skills training offered.

The Authorized Official will provide approved individuals with instructions for completing their EI reporting cards while attending full-time training as a Feepayer.

Mobius Documentation

To record the decision in regards to this service, refer to the Feepayer Business Process.


Authorized Community and Social Services staff