Rural Renewal Stream – Community designation

Communities with the capacity to attract, recruit and welcome newcomers, can apply to participate in this stream.

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The Rural Renewal Stream addresses current labour needs and skill shortages in rural Alberta communities and helps newcomers settle into the community. This stream requires a community to apply to the Government of Alberta for community designation.

This stream is community-driven. Once designated, the community then works with employers to attract, recruit and retain newcomers by sharing information on settlement supports. This may include accommodation, education, health care and services such as language training.

A candidate must be selected and endorsed by a designated community and meet all criteria for the Rural Renewal Stream. Do not apply to the province of Alberta if you do not have an endorsement of candidate letter from a designated community.

Designated communities

List of designated communities

Table 1. List of designated communities and designation date.

CommunityDesignation Date
City of Brooks (including: Town of Bassano, Village of Duchess, County of Newell, Village of Rosemary)May 13, 2022
City of Grande PrairieJuly 6, 2022
Town of WhitecourtJuly 20, 2022
Town of Taber (including: Municipal District of Taber, Town of Vauxhall, Town of Coaldale, Town of Picture Butte, Lethbridge County, Town of Cardston, Town of Milk River, Town of Raymond)July 20, 2022
Town of Innisfail (including: Town of Olds, Town of Bowden)September 9, 2022
Municipal District of Smoky River (including: Town of Falher, Village of Donnelly, Village of Girouxville)September 9, 2022
County of Grande Prairie (including: Town of Sexsmith, Town of Wembley, Town of Beaverlodge, Village of Rycroft)September 9, 2022
Town of Trochu (including: Village of Acme, Town of Three Hills, Village of Linden)September 9, 2022
Fort McMurray Wood BuffaloSeptember 9, 2022
Municipality of JasperSeptember 13, 2022
County of Barrhead (including: Town of Barrhead)November 8, 2022
Town of HintonNovember 8, 2022
Town of Fairview (including: Village of Hines Creek)January 13, 2023
City of Medicine Hat (including: Cypress County, Town of Bow Island, Town of Redcliff)January 13, 2023
Town of Fox CreekFebruary 13, 2023
City of Cold LakeMarch 10, 2023
County of St. Paul (including: Town of St Paul, Town of Elk Point, Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay)March 10, 2023
Town of Drayton ValleyMarch 10, 2023
Town of Slave Lake (including: Sawridge First Nation, Town of High Prairie)March 10, 2023
City of LloydminsterMarch 29, 2023
City of LethbridgeMarch 29, 2023
Town of WestlockMarch 29, 2023
Municipal District of Greenview No.16 (including: The Town of Valleyview)March 29, 2023
Town of Peace RiverJune 14, 2023
Town of Sylvan LakeJune 14, 2023
City of WetaskiwinAugust 2, 2023
Special Areas 2, 3, 4 (including: Town of Hanna, Town of Oyen, Village of Consort, Village of Empress, Village of Veteran, Village of Youngstown, Municipal District of Acadia No. 34)August 2, 2023
Growth Regional Economic Development Alliance (including: Woodlands County, Town of Swan Hills, Town Mayerthorpe)September 22, 2023
County of Northern Lights (including: Town of Manning)September 22, 2023
Town of BonnyvilleSeptember 22, 2023
Town of Two HillsSeptember 22, 2023
Lac La Biche County (including: Hamlet of Lac La Biche, Hamlet of Plamondon and Greater Region)October 4, 2023
Town of High LevelDecember 14, 2023
Town of DidsburyDecember 14, 2023

Community designation

Interested communities fill out a Community Designation Application form. Additional points will be awarded for communities with less than 10,000 residents. Once a community is designated, they will be able to attract, recruit and retain newcomers using this stream.

Mandatory requirements

An application will only be evaluated if all of the mandatory requirements below are met:

  • rural communities with a population less than 100,000
    • rural communities in the same economic region may form a partnership to submit an application
    • census 2016 figures will be the reference year for population count
    • communities must fall outside of the Calgary and Edmonton census metropolitan area
  • one or more employers are interested in participating and have permanent (minimum 12 months), full-time, non-seasonal employment available
  • an endorsement letter of support from participating town or municipal councils signed by the mayor or reeve
  • application is signed and submitted by the economic development organization with a primary function in economic development
    • includes an economic development plan or similar document (does not need to be current)

Uses not allowed

The Rural Renewal Stream cannot be used for:

  • recruiting part-time or seasonal workers
  • individuals nominated under the stream will still need to be licensed by the respective Provincial Regulatory Organization (PRO) if their occupation is regulated or meet Alberta industry trade standards for a specific trade in Alberta
  • permanent residency approval is still required by the Government of Canada

How to apply

Before you apply

Communities must have the capacity to attract, recruit and welcome newcomers in order to participate in the Rural Renewal Stream. A Rural Renewal Stream candidate is a foreign national who does not have permanent residence or Canadian citizenship. This person could be living in or outside of Canada.

Read the Rural Renewal Stream Factsheet.

Community requirements

Communities will be responsible for:

  • identifying and working with community employers that have permanent (minimum of 12 months, full-time, non-seasonal) jobs that need to be filled
  • connecting with a settlement providing organizations to identify and plan for some of the settlement needs within the community
  • ​developing additional criteria (optional) to recruit foreign nationals
    • this could include narrowing down the occupations that the community is interested in recruiting
  • responding to foreign national inquiries while community is actively recruiting
  • collaborating with employers on selecting and endorsing the foreign national
  • developing and implementing a plan for welcoming and settling foreign national(s) to the community

Contact us if you have questions on community designation.

There is no direct funding for the Rural Renewal Stream. However, the Government of Alberta offers grants to support capacity building of small centre or rural areas to attract, welcome and retain newcomers in rural Alberta. These grants are part of an annual call for proposals that support community capacity building.

Learn more about these grants

Complete the application form

An economic development organization fills out the application in partnership with the community.

Note: Incomplete applications and/or applications that do not have all of the mandatory requirements will not be evaluated.

Endorsement support letter from participating town or municipal councils signed by the mayor or reeve

The letter should outline the following on the official letterhead:

  • name and address of the participating town or municipality supporting the application
  • participating town/municipality acknowledges support for this project and the meeting date that this project was discussed
  • participating town or municipality acknowledges that their community name will be posted on the Government of Alberta website should their community become designated
  • name, title and contact information of the mayor or reeve issuing the endorsement letter

Submit the application

The completed application and supporting documents need to be submitted for designation by email to: [email protected]

Applications will be evaluated on a points system (points for each category are noted in the application). Communities must score a minimum of 150 points in order to be considered for designation. In the event that multiple applications are received at the same time, selection will be based on top scores.

After you have submitted

Government of Alberta representatives will review the initial application and let the applicant know if the application is complete (all sections of the application are fully completed and all mandatories have been provided/met). The amount of time this review will take will depend on the volume of applications.

Once the application has been reviewed and deemed complete, the applicant will receive an email confirming the official date of submission. At this point, the application cannot be altered.

The application will be evaluated and a government representative will contact the community to indicate the status of the application within 8 weeks of the official submission date. The applicant will be notified if more time is needed and will be notified of the outcome of the application via email.

Community designation will last 3 years to the date that the community received email confirmation of designation. There will be an option to extend the designation by an additional 2 years to a maximum of 5 years.

After receiving designation

Attract and recruit

A designated community, in partnership with their local economic development organization and participating employers, are responsible for recruiting foreign nationals. Candidates may be recruited from within Alberta, Canada or outside of Canada.

Candidates that are currently living in Canada are only eligible if they have legal status in Canada. If the community is recruiting outside Canada, all federal immigration rules and regulations apply. The Government of Alberta will not compensate the community for any recruitment costs.

The community partnership reviews candidate applications to ensure candidates meet all criteria, including the program eligibility. Communities may choose to have additional criteria separate from the mandatory criteria. This can include a particular skill set or certain occupations that help the community fill a specific labour need.

The employer provides a job offer to the successful candidate and the community endorses the newcomer.

Select and endorse newcomers

An endorsement of candidate letter is issued to the candidate chosen by the community for the Rural Renewal Stream.

Content for the endorsement of candidate letter

The letter must be on the official letterhead and issued by the local economic development organization of the community and must outline the following:

  • name and address of the economic development organization supporting the application
  • candidate’s full name and residential address
  • details of the bona fide job offer:
    • name of the business
    • name and contact information of the employer
    • location of employment
    • position and description of job duties
    • duration of employment and work conditions
  • detailed description of how filling the position offered aligns with the economic growth of the designated community
  • the employer’s efforts to fill the position within Canada and outcomes
  • name, title and contact information of the person issuing the endorsement of the candidate

The candidate submits their application through the AAIP Portal ensuring all criteria for Rural Renewal Stream is met. There is a non-refundable application fee for this stream. The application will be reviewed and the candidate will be notified if they are eligible for nomination.

While the permanent residency application is being processed, the candidate can request a 204(c) Letter of Support to apply for a temporary work permit to allow them to start working in the designated community.

Permanent residency

Nominee applies to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residency

The federal government makes the final decision on permanent residency applications. A nomination by the province does not guarantee an approved permanent residency application.

Welcome and integrate newcomers

It is the responsibility of the community to identify what kind of settlement supports they will offer, develop and implement a settlement plan to help the candidate and their family settle into the community.

Pre-arrival settlement services are available through the federal government for permanent residents. The province has some services available for nominated temporary residents in Canada with a valid work permit.

Community evaluation

An evaluation of the community designation may be conducted at the end of the designation period. The community will need to participate in the evaluation by providing information as requested.


Connect with us if you have questions about community designation:

Email: [email protected]