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Learner Policy & Procedures

Published Date: September 19, 2019
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Learner Eligibility

Eligibility Criteria Full-Time Learner


Income and Employment Supports Act, sections 5, 6(3), 9 and 19
Income Supports, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, sections 4-7, 12-17, and 29-46
Training Provider Regulation, section 2(1)(b)


The Government of Alberta has established eligibility criteria to identify individuals who are eligible to receive funded training and require income support while attending their training program.


To be eligible for Income Support as a full-time learner, an individual must meet all of the following Eligibility Criteria and Financial Eligibility Criteria as outlined in the Income and Employment Supports Act and the Income Supports, Training and Health Benefits Regulations.

Need for Training

An individual must have a need for training to obtain and maintain sustainable employment.

Financial Need

An individual must meet the financial eligibility criteria and be assessed as having a financial need.

An individual cannot receive income support from Community and Social Services and funding from Advanced Education to attend the same program.

Approved Training Program

An individual must be enrolled in an approved training program. Approved training programs can be either tuition based or contract based. Approved training programs are offered by a recognized institution, private training provider or contracted training provider and leads to recognized credentials.

Age and Out of School

Non-Employment Insurance (EI) funded Learner: 18 years of age and have not attended an education program under the Education Act for 12 consecutive months.

EI-funded Learner: 16 years of age and have not attended an education program under the Education Act for 12 consecutive months.

Exceptions to the age and out of school eligibility criteria for Non-EI Learners are identified elsewhere in policy.


Individuals must:

  • have an established Alberta address or an established address within the city of Lloydminster,
  • be in Alberta at the time of acceptance into the approved training program.


An individual must be a:

  • Canadian citizen, or
  • permanent resident of Canada, or
  • refugee under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act who:

    • has been given convention refugee status, AND
    • has been issued a ‘Notice of Decision’, AND
    • has applied for and received a Study Permit that covers the individuals entire period of training, AND
    • has a valid Work Permit at the time their training commences.

A refugee (who will have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) beginning with a 9) requires the following documentation to verify his/her eligibility, must be submitted with the Income Support Application for Learners:

  • Notice of Decision, and
  • Study Permit that covers individual’s entire period of training, and
  • Work Permit.

    If the work permit expires during training the learner must apply for a new work permit.

The dependent child of a convention refugee (20 years of age or younger) does not require a Study Permit if they are attending a program under the Education Act (K to 12). Post-secondary students require a Study Permit.

If a refugee claimant is given convention refugee status, the refugee is not required to apply for and receive their permanent resident status, or their new SIN before applying for Learner financial support.

The following are not eligible:

  • Refugee Claimant
    • person who has arrived in Canada (as a visitor, a Minister’s Permit Holder, or a person in Canada illegally) and seeks refugee status, or
    • while waiting for the outcome of their hearing.

  • Visitor
    • person who is lawfully in Canada for a temporary purpose, including:
      • temporary worker,
      • student, or
      • tourist.

  • Temporary Resident Permits
    • Person possessing a special permit issued by the Minister of Immigration that allows them to reside temporarily in Canada.

Social Insurance Number

  • An individual must have a valid SIN.
  • For protected persons (refugees) with a SIN that begins with ‘9’, the SIN must be valid for the individuals entire period of training.

A person who has a SIN beginning with a ‘9’ and who is not a refugee is not eligible to be a learner.

Employment Status

An individual must be:

  • unemployed, or
  • working on average less than 20 hours per weeks over the last 12 weeks and planning to remain employed while in training, or
  • employed and leaving employment to attend funded training. These individuals should be approved through a Counsel to Leave Employment. This is done as part of the Service Plan and must be completed before training starts.

Skill Level

An individual must be ‘unskilled’, defined as:

  • not having the competencies to achieve sustainable employment in the labour market.

Training Duration

There are limits to the number of months that the Government of Alberta will provide income support and training benefits to an individual enrolled in training. Individuals must have sufficient time left within these limits to reach their employment goal or to obtain their academic prerequisites for further training.

Labour Market Destined

An individual must:

  • have a clear, definable and realistic employment goal, and
  • understand that employment is the primary outcome of their training, and
  • be committed to seeking employment at the conclusion of their training.

The following are not eligible:

  • person who is incarcerated
  • person who has been convicted of an offence and is unable to work because of the conditions of their sentence

Ready, Willing and Able

An individual must be ready, willing and able to attend training and adhere to their training provider's Attendance policy.

An individual must understand and accept that if further post-secondary training is needed to reach the employment goal there may be a need for student loans, and that they must ‘pass’ a credit check to qualify for a student loan. An individual who has a poor credit rating or has declared bankruptcy should see their Authorized Official  for further information.

Agreement for Compliance

To be eligible as a full-time learner, the individual may be required to have an assessment of employability and Service Plan.


To apply for funding to attend an approved training program, the individual (including a recipient of Income Support as an ‘Expected to Work’ or ‘Barriers to Full Employment’ client) must complete a Learner Income Support Application for Full-Time Study.