» Income and Employment Supports Policy Manual

Employment & Training Programs and Services

Published Date: July 12, 2016
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Career & Employment Information Services

Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES)

Education Supports


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


The intent of DRES Education Supports is to assist an eligible learner with a disability, who is employment destined to participate in education and training.

All policy, eligibility and responsibilities stated in the Overview Disability Related Employment Supports policy must be met and/or agreed to prior to issuance of DRES supports and/or services.

Advanced Education (AE) provides funding to 26 publicly funded post-secondary institutions under the Post-Secondary Learning Act for the accommodation of students with disabilities. 

The Government of Alberta provides educational supports to students with disabilities attending non-publicly funded post-secondary institutions and out of province schools.  If the student’s need is greater than the $8,000 available through the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities, then the student may request DRES supports.

The Government of Alberta may provide DRES supports and/or services for learners who are grant funded by AE or Labour or learners who do not qualify for student loan(s) from Student Aid Alberta except for learners attending publicly funded post-secondary institutions.


  • Education supports are funded to a maximum Government of Alberta contribution of $75,000/academic year for a learner with a disability participating in an approved training program or in training approved by Government of Alberta staff as per their Service Plan
  • DRES supports learners with disabilities who are attending full-time training. 
  • DRES supports learners with disabilities who are funded by the Skills Investment Bursary for part-time training. 
  • A learner with a disability must apply for a Canada Student Loan and the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities if their program of study is designated for loan funding. Alberta Works learners and apprentices are exempt. 
  • A learner, who continues to meet the DRES eligibility criteria and demonstrates acceptable progress towards his or her Service Plan, may continue to receive DRES to the end of their Service Plan, providing that:
    • the need for the supports and/or services continues to be demonstrated
    • the supports and/or services are still DRES eligible and
    • a new DRES application is submitted to the Government of Alberta each academic year.
  • The assistive technology funded by DRES is provided as a support to the learner and is considered to be learner specific. The assistive technology belongs to the learner.  
  • DRES may fund the assistive technology and cover the cost of the installation, set-up, and training.  The learner is responsible for upgrades, insurance, maintenance, and repair costs. 
  • DRES will fund the actual costs of the eligible supports and/or services that have been provided and approved by the Government of Alberta. 
  • A Service Plan must be developed outlining the supports and/or services needed by the learner with a disability, the period of time that DRES education supports will be provided, the educational institution’s and/or training provider’s contribution, and the DRES cost.  
  • DRES will not fund education supports for learners with disabilities served under the Alberta School Act or the Post-Secondary Learning Act.

Refer to the Eligible and Ineligible Assistive Services and Assistive Technology List for approved services and/or supports.


Alberta Learners with Disabilities attending Out of Province Post-secondary Institutions

  • Prior to applying for DRES it is the responsibility of the Alberta learner to contact the out of province post-secondary institution that they plan to attend to determine if their disability related supports and/or services can be provided by the out of province institution and what funding is available.
  • AE has the responsibility to provide supports and services to learners with disabilities who attend out of province post-secondary institutions.  If funding is not available or if funding (including the $8,000 Canada Student Grant) is not sufficient to cover the costs of necessary supports and/or services, the learner may apply for DRES.

Out of Province Learners with Disabilities Attending School in Alberta

  • Learners coming into Alberta to attend post-secondary institutions must access disability related supports and/or services funding resources in their home province prior to applying for DRES.

Learners with Disabilities attending Specialized Post-secondary Institutions

  • Specialized post-secondary institutions offer programs specifically for persons with disabilities. The cost of supports and services to address the disability are included in the tuition, books and mandatory fees. As an example, Gallaudet University in Washington, USA is a post-secondary institution that provides education to deaf learners in an American Sign Language environment. The intent of DRES in these situations is to assist the learner by providing funding to offset the higher cost of tuition, books and mandatory fees charged by the specialized post-secondary institution. DRES will provide the difference in the cost of tuition, books and mandatory fees between the specialized post-secondary institution and a similar program at a post-secondary institution in Alberta. This calculated amount will be considered as a resource for AE Learner Assistance purposes.  
  • Regional Disability Specialists must be consulted regarding the calculation procedure. Government of Alberta staff will work in collaboration with staff from AE Learner Assistance Unit to determine the amount of DRES funding the learner with a disability will receive.
  • DRES funding for education costs (tuition, books and mandatory fees) are taxable and a T4A will be issued to the learner at the end of the tax year. Regional DRES Disability Specialists must be consulted regarding the Taxable Benefits Payment Process.