Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program

Get financial support for Alberta’s communities, regions and municipalities for initiatives that promote long-term economic growth.

The Coal Community Transition Fund was announced in September as part of the CARES program. It will help Alberta communities affected by the phase-out of coal to undertake economic development initiatives that will support the transition away from reliance on coal-fired electricity generation. Learn more about the program.

The third intake for the CARES program is now open. Applications will be accepted from Oct 1-Nov 30, 2017. Learn how to apply.

As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, the Alberta government has allocated $30 million over 2 years to promote long-term economic growth and prosperity in Alberta’s communities and regions through the new Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program.

Funding is being distributed in a number of ways. For example:

  • up to $26.45 million will be made available to communities, regions, municipalities and other eligible organizations;
  • $2.2 million over 2 years will be allocated for Regional Economic Development Alliances to enhance existing initiatives;
  • $600,000 has been allocated to 4 Rural Alberta Business Centres to support 2016-17 operations; and
  • $750,000 has been allocated to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to support the Back to Business Resource Centre and business recovery expos in Fort McMurray.

Municipalities, communities and organizations interested in getting grants through the CARES program are encouraged to apply through an online application process.

Grant application process

CARES programs guidelines have been updated in an effort to streamline the grant application process. Changes are outlined below and can be found in the CARES program guidelines (0.3 MB).

The CARES program will run until 2018 and fund initiatives that create a measurable impact and align with one or more of the following program outcomes:

  • improving local business environment and/or regional economic collaboration
  • increasing support for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow and succeed
  • enhancing support for businesses and industries that provide diversification to a community or a region
  • increasing investment that drives high-value job creation

CARES program funding for economic development initiatives begins at $10,000.

Applicants must be able to match the funding requested (1:1 matching ratio) and projects must not take more than two years to execute. Successful applicants will receive the grant up front so that their project can commence immediately.

Projects or initiatives that are completed by two or more project partners and have a positive impact beyond an individual community or organization will be given higher consideration during the evaluation process.

How to apply

The CARES program follows a competitive application process. Applicants are required to fill out and submit their applications through the online application portal during the third application intake window.

Step 1. Create a user account and log in to the online application portal

Log in to the online application portal

As part of the submission, applicants will be required to provide:

  • background on project partners
  • letters showing current support for the project
  • a project summary including expected outcomes, objectives, milestones and timelines
  • measures of success
  • an overview of project risks
  • a budget including quotes

Step 2. Fill out and submit the application form

Fill out and submit the form electronically through the online application portal during the application intake period: Oct 1 to Nov 30, 2017 at midnight MST

Additional program details

For more information on the program including eligibility, scoring criteria, funding parameters and the application and review process, please refer to the CARES program guidelines (0.3 MB)