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Friday, July 01, 2016
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The Province of Saskatchewan is responsible for training and employment supports for Employment Insurance (EI) clients through the Skills Training Benefits (STB) program. The main objective of the STB program is to assist clients who are EI eligible to return to the labour market as quickly as possible and to improve their employability.

This is administered by the Ministry of the Economy through Canada-Saskatchewan Labour Market Services offices (Can-Sask). STB is provided to fund the costs of training, such as: tuition, books, child care, transportation, etc. STB is a taxable benefit. The amount an individual gets through STB is negotiated with the staff at the Can-Sask offices.

To be eligible for STB, you must have a valid Social Insurance Number and you must be EI eligible.

An EI eligible person is:

  • A person who, when requesting financial assistance, is defined as an unemployed insured person for whom a benefit period is established or whose benefit period has ended within the previous 36 months; or
  • A person for whom a benefit period is established in the previous 60 months and who:
    - Was paid maternity benefits during the benefit period;
    - Subsequently withdrew from active participation in the labour force to care for one or more of their newborn children or one or more children placed with them for the purpose of adoption and is seeking to re-enter the labour force.

Can-Sask staff work with a client to complete a return to work Action Plan. Developing the Action Plan involves reviewing the client's abilities and skills to compete in the labour market, assessing the client's work and education history, strengths, challenges, abilities, employability skills and so on. The intent of the Action Plan is to determine the client's needs and assist the client to develop a return to work plan that is realistic and achievable and the client agrees to.

Key features of the Skills Training Benefit are:

  • STB is not an entitlement.
  • Each Action Plan is a personal and unique one.
  • Clients must make a contribution.
  • There are no automatic "allowances" or subsidies.
  • Costs and resources are taken into account in negotiating the STB.

STB is a negotiated process, clients are expected to contribute to their training. In consultation with a Client Services Consultant (CSC) the client and CSC will jointly determine the amounts to be contributed toward studies. The contribution will vary based on the resources available to the client. The resources taken into account include: income and assets from all of the client's sources, (and spouse's if applicable).

Several costs that the client may have while attending a training program include:
Tuition and student registration fees, costs of purchasing instructional materials, such as books and equipment or any other costs specified by the educational institution that are required to take the training program.

Additional expenses in caring for dependents resulting from participation in a training program. These may include the costs of child care or caring for a dependent child who is infirm or disabled.

Travel costs, especially in rural and northern areas, clients may have costs related to attending training.

Costs of meeting the needs of persons with disabilities may be considered such as:

  • the purchase of special equipment essential for pursuing studies
  • additional costs for special transportation, when such transportation is indispensable to participation in the training program
  • the costs of adapting instructional materials, and
    • the costs of special assistance (interpretation, transcription of texts in Braille,)

Clients enrolled in post-secondary courses that are designated/approved for Student Loan funding may receive STB in combination with student loans. Tuition and books may be paid through the STB program and living expenses through the Student Loan program.

Clients may receive STB for up to three years (36 months) in their lifetime to assist with the cost of programs that fulfil their Action Plan and help get them back into the labour force.

For more information contact one of the Labour Market Services delivery locations in the province.

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