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Learner Policy & Procedures

Published Date: May 22, 2020
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Learner Income Support Benefits

Core Shelter Benefit


Income and Employment Supports Act , sections 5 and 9
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits (ISTHB) Regulation, sections 2(1), (2) and (4)


The Core Shelter benefit ensures that learner households have the financial resources to pay for shelter.


The Core Shelter benefit:

  • is provided for learners who reside in private housing, social housing, or with relatives
  • rates are based on the composition and living arrangements of the learner household

Core Shelter rates:

  • are regulated as outlined in the Core Shelter Payment Table of the Income and Employment Supports Act (IESA)
  • cannot be exceeded by Government of Alberta staff or the Income and Employment Supports Appeal Panel

No additional benefit may be issued for an item covered by Core Shelter unless specific provision is made elsewhere in IESA or the ISTHB Regulation.

Coverage provided by the Core Shelter benefit varies depending on the household composition and living arrangements of the learner household:

  • The monthly Core Shelter rate when living with family (see Benefit Rate Table) is applied when an applicant/recipient is:

    • living with parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, adult child or adult grandchild of the learner or learner’s spouse/partner, and
    • name of the learner or spouse/partner is not on the tenancy agreement/mortgage


  • Social housing rates are regulated as outlined in the Core Shelter Payment Table in IESA.

    • includes housing unit operated and maintained by a housing authority established under the Alberta Housing Act
    • covers:

      • rent
      • heating fuel
      • utilities (not including power/electricity except when power/electricity is covered as part of the tenancy agreement)
      • damage deposit

    • Actual power/electricity costs are provided to learners living in social housing if:

      • Power/electricity is not covered as part of the tenancy agreement, and
      • the Core Shelter for social housing plus the amount for power/electricity does not exceed the rate for private housing


  • Private housing rates are regulated as outlined in the Core Shelter Payment Table in IESA.

    • includes:

      • owned home, rented accommodation, shared rent, room and board, or
      • sharing accommodation with relatives when the learner’s name, or the name of the spouse/partner of the learner is on the tenancy agreement/mortgage
    • covers:

      • rent
      • payments under a mortgage or agreement for sale
      • lot rental for a mobile home
      • utilities (except telephone and, if the household unit is living in social housing, electricity)
      • heating fuel
      • damage deposit
      • municipal taxes
      • house or tenant insurance
      • condominium fees, if applicable
      • homeowner's maintenance

Core Shelter benefit may be pro-rated if the training program start date is after the tenth day of the month.

A learner may receive full Core Shelter benefit if they can demonstrate their shelter costs have not been paid.

Shelter Rate Adjustments

Changes in household composition include:

  • child out of parental home

    • when a child is taken into the care of Child and Family Services and will be outside the parental home for more than three months, the Core Shelter is reduced in the second month


  • decrease in household size

    • there is no overpayment for the first month:

      • if an unforeseeable decrease occurs in the size of the learner household (e.g., a member of the household leaves home, is incarcerated or dies), or
      • if an 18 or 19 year old dependant ceases to be enrolled in a school governed under the Education Act


  • increase in household size

    • shelter amount for a learner household may be increased three months before:

      • birth or adoption of a child, or
      • return of a child who has been in the care of Child and Family Services (or any other reason the child is returning home)

Deletion of Adult from File for Non-Compliance

If the Core Shelter will be reduced because one adult is deleted from the learner household file for non-compliance, one month’s notice is provided to a learner household to allow time to find alternate accommodations.

Parenting Agreement/Order

If a Parenting Agreement/Order exists specifying that the child spends approximately fifty per cent of the time with the learner and the Parenting Agreement/Order is being followed, the child is included in the learner’s household to determine the core shelter benefit rate.

If both parents are learners and each has court ordered custody of approximately fifty per cent, each parent is eligible for the Core Shelter benefit.


An individual must submit a Learner Income Support Application (Full Time Study) or Change in Circumstances form for Learners.


Learner Benefit Coordinator, Learner Income Support Office