» Income and Employment Supports Policy Manual

Employment & Training Programs and Services

Published Date: October 23, 2018
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Career & Employment Information Services

Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES)

General Policy Overview


Income and Employment Supports Act, Part 2 Section 12,
Disability-Related Employment Supports and Services Regulation


The Government of Alberta is committed to increasing the capacity of Albertans to respond to the skills and abilities required by a changing economy and demand for an ever-increasing knowledge-based skilled workforce. The participation of persons with disabilities in the Alberta economy is essential in fulfilling this commitment.

The needs of persons with disabilities in the workforce are diverse. To address these needs, the Government of Alberta provides Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES) which may fund supports and/or services to assist Albertans with disabilities make successful transitions from school to work, unemployment to employment and from one career path to another.

The Government of Alberta strives to develop strong partnerships and work in collaboration with the person with the disability, the employer, the institution or training provider, and the other parties involved to determine the disability related supports and/or services needed by the person with a disability.

DRES is a support element in the Government of Alberta's programs and services. DRES may also provide supports and/or services in education/training, job search and the workplace if the eligibility criteria for all parties are met.

  • To level the playing field for persons with disabilities by providing individualized supports and/or services that address the barrier(s) to employment created by their disability.
  • To assist persons with disabilities participate in education/training leading to employment, access employment opportunities, and enable their full participation in the workforce.  
  • Not to replace or overlap supports and/or services already in existence by another program, funding source, Government of Alberta Ministry or provided by an employer.


  • DRES eligibility is determined through an Employability Assessment and the development of a Service Plan.
  • Employability Assessment should include:
    • a description of the diagnosed disability or suspected disability,
    • references to existing documentation (specialized assessments, medical reports, and quotations for services)
    • rationale to support provision of supports and/or services.
  • There must be a direct relationship between the documented disability, the barrier created by the disability, and the support and/or service being requested. 
  • Appropriate supports and/or services needed to address the person’s barrier must be a collaborative decision involving the person with the disability, the Government of Alberta and the training provider or employer and, in some situations, the specialist.  
  • The person with a disability must be employment destined to be eligible for DRES supports/services. 
  • A person with a disability is not eligible for DRES funding if involved in volunteer, supported or sheltered employment.
  • A DRES application must meet the overarching principle of eligibility of the individual and where indicated in policy, both the individual and the employer need to be eligible for DRES supports prior to approval.
  • Authority to approve DRES funding for supports and/or services, within the policy maximums is the responsibility of the Government of Alberta.  
  • DRES funding approval must be granted prior to the purchase and/or provision of disability related supports and/or services.  
  • If the person with a disability is eligible to receive the same or similar disability related supports and/or services from another program or funding source, they must access them prior to applying for DRES. 
    • Examples:
      • Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB)
      • Disability Insurance 
      • Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) 
      • Insurance settlements 
      • Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) 
      • Grants from Advanced Education 
      • Other funders

Individual Eligibility

In order to access DRES funding, the person with the disability must provide substantiation and meet the following criteria to be eligible:  

  • Be a person with a disability and have a barrier to education/training and/or employment that has been created by their disability and 
  • Be a resident of Alberta.  A person is a resident of Alberta if the person:
    • makes his or her home in Alberta and
    • is ordinarily a resident in Alberta which includes an Albertan who is temporarily absent for education or training purposes. and  
  • Be 16 years of age or older and
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or refugee under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and be legally entitled to work and/or train in Canada. 
  • The person must be able to work and be receiving at least the minimum wage as defined in the Alberta Employment Standards Code (includes comparable income level for self-employment) to be considered eligible for DRES Workplace Supports.  

Eligibility of the Employer

An employer must meet the following criteria to be eligible and provide substantiation upon request:

  • Private and/or not-for-profit organization or company with less than 500 employees.  
  • Self-employed persons with disabilities may be eligible for DRES.  The supports and services that are funded must be directly linked to the disability. 
  • The following are not eligible:
    1. federal employment equity employers,
    2. civic, provincial, and federal government, 
    3. hospitals, and 
    4. schools which include K–12 and publically funded post-secondary institutions.

Duty to Accommodate

Under Alberta Human Rights (AHR) legislation, employers and service providers (landlords, business owners, public service providers, educational institutions, professional associations, trade unions and others) have a Duty to Accommodate employees/ learners/individuals with disabilities which includes the costs incurred with the accommodations. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that employers and service providers have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to accommodate individual needs to the point of undue hardship. To substantiate a claim of undue hardship, an employer or service provider must show that they would experience more than a minor inconvenience. Undue hardship occurs if accommodation would create onerous conditions for an employer or service provider, for example, intolerable financial costs or serious disruption to business.

DRES’s role is not to assume the employer’s or service provider’s Duty to Accommodate. The intent of DRES is to work in partnership with small to medium sized employers (less than 500 employees) and non-publicly funded post-secondary institutions which are not supported by Advanced Education.  Through this partnership a determination is made regarding the disability related needs of a potential or existing employee(s)/learner and to negotiate with the employer/service provider the contribution of each party towards the cost of supporting an individual(s) with a disability.


Person with a disability will:

  • Provide requested documentation to substantiate DRES eligibility
  • Notify the Government of Alberta staff of any changes in their situation that may affect DRES eligibility. This could include health, job search, education, or employment changes. 
  • Report any issues or concerns in regards to their supports and/or services to the Government of Alberta, the employer, service provider or training provider 
  • Use the funded supports and/or services  as intended
  • Ensure assistive technology is maintained and insured 
  • Be responsible for performance and attendance at work 
  • Be responsible for acceptable progress and attendance while participating in education and/or training

The Government of Alberta will:

  • Conduct an Employability Assessment 
  • Determine the person’s eligibility for DRES by collecting, copying and documenting information 
  • Ensure supports and/or services are eligible for funding by reviewing the Eligible and Ineligible Assistive Services and Assistive Technology List
  • Develop a Service Plan 
  • Provide Service Management for DRES.  This ensures that as the individual moves towards their employment goal any changes in their situation can be identified and addressed. 
  • Compile a DRES file using the DRES Checklist of Information as a guide 
  • Establish a process in each Region to verify that a person with a disability received the DRES supports and/or services that the Government of Alberta funded 
  • Enter all information on MOBIUS as per the Mobius Input Sheet and Mobius Guide

Employer/Post-secondary Institution/Service Provider/Training Provider will:

  • Adhere to their Duty to Accommodate learners with disabilities which is outlined in the Alberta Human Rights legislation
  • Seek out cost/time effective means for providing supports and/or services 
  • Develop, provide and implement the list of approved supports and/or services  
  • Ensure the supports and/or services are meeting the needs of the learner with a disability 
  • Establish a time frame in which supports and services will be provided 
  • Provide the Government of Alberta with requested information and documentation to substantiate a learner with a disability’s eligibility and/or verification of supports and/or service rendered.

DRES Categories

Each of the following categories has a separate policy.

  1. Job Search Supports
  2. Workplace Supports (WPS)
  3. Educational Supports


The expected outcomes of DRES are:

  • The individual with a disability has their barriers to employment addressed through the provision of supports and/or services, and/or
  • The learner with a disability has participated in education/training, and/or 
  • The job seeker with a disability has accessed employment opportunities, and/or 
  • The employee with a disability has been enabled to fully participate in the workforce and receiving at least the minimum wage as defined in the Alberta Employment Standards Code (includes comparable self-employment).

Accountability – Performance Measures are outlined in the Alberta Works On-line Policy Manual


To record the decision on granting DRES to individuals, see the Business Process.



Appendix #1 – DRES Checklist of Information Required
Appendix #2 – Mobius Best Practices for DRES, Canada Student Grants, Specialized Assessments
Appendix #3 – Types of Specialized Assessments
Appendix #4 – Eligible and Ineligible Assistive Services and Assistive Technology List
Appendix #5 – Taxable Information
Appendix #6 – Taxable Benefits Payment Process
Appendix #7 – DRES Codes