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Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: April 01, 2016
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04 Special Groups

Persons Involved with Education or Training


Income and Employment Supports Act, sections 6 and 9
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, sections 3, 7, 17 and 19


To ensure that clients access the appropriate funding source while attending education and training programs.


Expected to Work (ETW)/Barriers to Full Employment (BFE) Income Support (IS) is not the ongoing funding source for individuals attending full-time education and training programs.

Persons who plan to enter, or are in between training programs of a full-time education or training program and apply for ETW/BFE IS prior to their training start date, are assessed and must meet eligibility requirements as any other ETW/BFE IS applicant.

In the process of eligibility determination and Service Plan development, the following additional considerations should be addressed:        

  • Applicants are actively engaged in job search activities and available to accept and maintain any reasonable employment.
  • Applicants have registered with the provider for their next training period and are in the process of applying for funding for their next training period to ensure funding is in place prior to the first day of training.

Community and Social Services Approved Training Programs

Learners attending Alberta Community and Social Services approved contract or tuition based training programs may receive financial assistance through Learner IS benefits for on-going IS and training benefits. Learners should apply for funding well in advance of the training start date to the Learner Income Support Office (LISO) in order to receive their benefits when their training commences.

In exceptional circumstances, ETW/BFE recipients who have applied for Learner IS may be considered for bridge funding to extend ETW/BFE IS until Learner IS is in place. This is considered if the Learner has not been able to secure funding due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the Learner’s control.

Learner IS recipients who are no longer receiving ETW/BFE IS and who have had child support payments directed to the Crown should notify the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) when they are no longer receiving ETW/BFE IS. MEP will redirect the child support payments to the client.

Recipients of Learner IS are eligible for Non-Continuous benefits and Emergency benefits. Learners access these benefits by submitting a Change in Circumstances (CIC) form to LISO. In situations where the LISO is not able to process the emergency benefit request in time to address the Learner’s situation, the IS Learner may be assisted as a one-time issue at an Alberta Service Centre. These situations would typically be facilitated by the Regional Specialist.

Rehabilitative Programs / Course

In some situations, clients may benefit from attending a rehabilitative program (e.g., residential addictions treatment) or a specific course (e.g., anger management or job search) as part of their Service Plan. These interventions typically focus on the enhancement of skills to assist the participant in movement toward employment readiness and independence. ETW/BFE applicants and recipients may apply and continue to receive ETW/BFE IS while attending these programs or courses provided they continue to meet all IS eligibility requirements.
Recipients in these types of programs, full-time, are assigned to Client Sub-Type 15 (ETW) or Client Sub-Type 47 (BFE) for the duration of the program.
Other Full-Time Students

Full-Time students who are not eligible for Learner Benefits or are attending full-time programs, which are not part of the Skills Investment Program, should access other funding sources including student loans through Advanced Education. These students:

  • Are not bridged with ETW/BFE IS while waiting for funding from a source other than Community and Social Services Learner benefits; but
  • May be considered for one-time assistance in emergency situations. 

Dependants in High School

Parents/guardians are eligible to receive ETW/BFE IS for a dependent who is attending regular school (Kindergarten to Grade 12) as long as the youth continues to be included on the parent’s ETW/BFE IS file.

  • Parents of an 18-19 youth may continue to receive IS for the dependant child while the dependant child is attending regular school (full-time or part-time) including regular school breaks.\
  • Parents of a 16-19 youth, with a dependant are eligible for the High School Incentive benefit if the youth is attending regular school full-time including regular school breaks.
  • All other youth attending full-time school should be referred to alternative funding sources (e.g., Learner IS, Student Loans) to support them while attending school. 

Part-Time Training Courses

Clients who attend part-time training can receive ETW/BFE IS benefits provided they continue to meet all IS eligibility requirements (i.e., ability to obtain and maintain reasonable employment). The part-time training course(s) should be included in the recipient’s Service Plan.           

ETW/BFE IS does not provide benefits to fund training costs (tuition, books, student association fees and other mandatory fees). The client must access other funding (i.e., Part-Time Skills Investment Bursary or Student Loan for Part-Time Studies) for assistance with these costs.

Exposure Courses

Clients who are job ready can access an exposure course in order to obtain a specific job skill or certification. Clients can receive ETW/BFE IS while attending an exposure course provided this skill acquisition is part of their Service Plan and they continue to meet all IS eligibility requirements