Alberta Council of Disability Services


Foundations in Community Disability Studies

This Foundations in Community Disability Studies training program was first developed in 2005 and specifically designed for direct service workers in the field of Community Disability Services. It aims to provide a comprehensive orientation to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential to staff in the field. Foundations in CDS is a collaborative effort between the government, institutions of post-secondary education, and service providers in Alberta. Foundations in Community Disability Studies has become a benchmark with the industry is widely accepted as required training for all entry-level Community Disability Services Workers without prior training or education. The program is copyrighted to the Alberta Council of Disability Services. 

As of October 2023, we have made updates to the Foundations in Community Disability Studies curriculum: read the one-pager to learn more.

The program is offered in four different delivery modes:


This mode involves the support of an in-service tutor, who facilitate the learner process of individuals within their agency (including the evaluation component). Learners register through ACDS and manuals are distributed by ACDS before a tutor facilitates a session.

Tutors are required to complete training to facilitate this program. Training covers topics related to: tutoring adult learners, learning theory, facilitation skills, content delivery, learner evaluation, and mentoring. Tutors will be given (online) access to course-related materials, an understanding of the administration policy for the program, and access to a network of tutors.

Foundations in Community Disability Studies (Face to Face) is available during the COVID-19 pandemic through videoconferencing.

Register here 


This mode involves the delivery of materials through an online learning management system (Moodle). The program is divided into three sections, and throughout the program, learners are guided by an in-house mentor. The mentor supports the learner through completing the applied skills checklist—the “real world” component of the program that assesses each learner’s application of practical skills. Mentors are also a part of most assignments, in which learners discuss ideas and experiences related to the course content. Registration for the online course is now accepted year-round.

Register for Foundations in Community Disability Studies (Online)


This mode is for experienced individuals looking for a challenge. This course covers the same content as the online version, and must be completed within three months. Learners must have either three years of experience in the field or have successfully completed Basic Skills Training. At the time of registration, learners submit all skills checklists and a current copy of First Aid and Medication Administration certificates.


This mode is for learners seeking an orientation to Community Disability Services without either the skills checklists component or the certificate of completion. This course is ideal for those seeking context and knowledge: workers seeking a refresher on concepts; family members wanting to learn how to support an individual(s) with disability; and/or individuals looking for pre-employment knowledge.