Learner Policy & Procedures

Published Date: January 25, 2018
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Financial Benefits Decision

Assets – General

Asset Exemptions

AUTHORITY

Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 1(1)(h)
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 1(3)(b)(ii)
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 47
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 49 
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Schedule 1, Section 2(1)
MO 2016-08 Full-Time Learners: Schedules 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Labour)
MO 309/2017 Full-Time Learners: Schedules 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Advanced Education)
MO 2017-32 Exemption of Agricultural Benefits Settlement Agreement (Labour)
MO 2017-46 Exemption of Piikani Nation Grazing Leases Settlement (Labour)

INTENT

Training is a joint responsibility between government, the learner and the learner’s spouse. Where possible, learners are to contribute as much as possible financially to their training. However, certain types of assets are exempt to ensure that:

  • learners are encouraged to manage their funds and save for their children’s futures, and
  • learners may have some resources they can use to purchase items that are not available through the Income Support program.

POLICY

Learners who have non-exempt assets are not eligible to receive income support benefits.

Exempt Assets

Asset Bought with Exempt Income

An asset purchased with money received from the following is exempt:

  • compensation for HIV infection through the blood supply
  • financial benefits under the Victims of Crime Act, except amounts received for lost income
  • Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement, but not including:
    • a payment under section 4.02 of the Agreement for loss of income, or
    • a payment under section 6.01 of the Agreement for loss of support resulting from the death of the infected person.
  • Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement
  • Extraordinary Assistance Plan
  • Common Experience Payments (CEPs) and Independent Assessment Process Payments (IAPs) under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
  • Roth/Fifield Class Action Settlement Agreement from the Government of Alberta
  • A Slave Lake Wildfire Relief Payment or a payment under the Emergency Accommodation Program to persons subject to the mandatory evacuation order issued by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency in May 2011.
  • Compensation issued by the Government of Alberta pursuant to a Disaster Recovery Program for the June 2013 floods.
  • Compensation issued by the Government of Alberta for damage or loss caused by a disaster as determined by the Government of Alberta.  
  • Payments issued by a charitable organization for a disaster as determined by the Government of Alberta.

Documentation

If required, individual’s written statement including:

  • description and value of the asset
  • declaration that the asset was purchased with exempt income.

Asset (Liquid and Purchased) Obtained with Exempt Income

An asset, liquid or purchased with money received from the following payment is exempt:

  • A non-recurring payment received from a First Nation that is paid equally to each member on the First Nation’s band list as follows:
    • An Agricultural Benefit Settlement Agreement payment
    • A Piikani Nation Grazing Leases Settlement payment
  • A payment made to a First Nation under an agreement with the Government of Canada for a specific land claim exempted by the Minister under ISTHB Regulation, Schedule 2, Section 1(1)(s)
  • A harm done compensation payment from the Government of Canada or a province of Canada exempted by the Minister under ISTHB Regulation, Schedule 2, Section 1(1)(x)
  • Money received from a Government of Canada or province of Canada payment exempted by the Minister under ISTHB Regulation, Schedule 2, Section 1(1)(y)

Asset Held by Trustee in Bankruptcy

Any asset held by a trustee in bankruptcy for any member of the learner household under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada) is exempt with no restrictions.

Written documentation from an official source such as a trustee, lawyer, or bankruptcy documents.

Business and Farm Assets

Business and Farm assets are exempt for the first training service plan. On subsequent training service plans a business or farm would be considered a non-exempt asset.

Business Tools and Equipment

Business tools, including equipment needed for employment and supplies for farmers, are exempt for the first training service plan. On subsequent training service plans business tools and equipment and supplies for farmers would be considered non-exempt assets.

Clothing, Children’s Toys and Common Household Goods

Clothing, children’s toys and common household goods are exempt with no restrictions.

Home

A home of any value in which the individual lives, including the home quarter section for farmers, is exempt.

Household Furnishings and Appliances

Necessary household furnishings and appliances of any value are exempt.

Government Operated or Sponsored Project

Accumulated assets in a government operated or sponsored savings program such as the Learn$ave pilot program operated in Calgary are exempt.

Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRA)

A LIRA is a registered account that holds pension money that has been transferred from a pension plan. Money held within a LIRA are exempt assets.

Marketable Commodities

Marketable commodities produced or purchased in mass quantity and intended for sale or resale (e.g., farm yield such as grain, poultry, cattle and hogs) are exempt for the first training service plan.

If required, written documentation such as a current income tax assessment, District Agriculturalist’s report, or current farm records. Eligibility for an exemption is assessed by the Learner Income Support Office on a case-by-case basis.

Money in Trust for a Child

Money received on a child’s behalf (not including funds intended for a child’s maintenance), plus any interest or income earned by that money that becomes part of the trust, is exempt if the money:

  • is placed in an inaccessible trust (i.e., a trust the parent, guardian or child cannot take money from) within 60 days of receipt, or within 60 days of applying for financial assistance, and
  • cannot be withdrawn for the child’s benefit.

Money intended for a child’s maintenance is not exempt as an asset even if the funds are placed in trust.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Benefit for the Child of a Deceased Contributor and CPP Benefits for the Child of a Disabled Contributor are not exempt.

Money left to a child in a will is not exempt income, but may qualify for exemption depending on the terms of the will, and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If required, written documentation from an official source such as a lawyer, public trustee, financial institution, or a copy of a will that indicates:

  • the money is not accessible
  • source of the money (to determine whether it is intended for the education or maintenance of the child)
  • date the money was placed in trust
  • date the child can access the money.

Other Assets

Other assets, excluding a liquid asset may be exempt as per ISTHB Regulation, Schedule 1, Section 2(1)(p) and Section 3. The asset may be required to be disposed of within a specified time frame or used to secure a loan.

Documentation as required depending on the type of asset.

Prepaid Funeral Costs

All prepaid funeral expenses for any member of the household unit are exempt.

Real Estate-Not the Learner’s Primary Residence

Any real estate owned by a member of the learner household, other that the primary residence, is exempt for the first training service plan.

This includes:

  • property that they do not occupy as their principal residence (e.g. cottage, rental property), or
  • co-owned property that they do not occupy as their principal residence AND the other owner is not a member of the learner household.

Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

All RDSP’s are exempt.

Vehicles

Vehicles, including a vehicle that is adapted to accommodate a disability, are exempt.

Partially Exempt Assets

The following assets are only partially exempt and the excess amount above this limit is not exempt. The excess amount is used in the resource calculation when determining financial need (e.g. $103,000 RRSP - $100,000 exemption = $3,000 used as a resource and deducted from income support benefits).

Award or Prize (including scholarships or bursaries)

Amounts received for academic or community achievement are exempt to a maximum of $3,500.

Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance policies with a cash surrender value of $1,500 or less (for all members of the household) are exempt.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

All RESP’s are exempt as assets except when a learner is able to access their RESP for their training. The full amount that is accessible is used to determine the learner's award.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

The household units RRSPs are exempt to the combined total of $100,000.

PROCEDURE

Documentation:

If required, written documentation from an official source such as a

  • a life insurance company stating the cash surrender value of all life insurance policies for the adult members of the learner household
  • financial institution stating the value of all RRSP’s for each adult member of the household
  • the payer for a scholarship or bursary.

APPROVAL

Learner Benefit Coordinator, Learner Income Support Office unless otherwise noted.