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.

Application status: Open - Applications are being accepted until midnight MST on June 30, 2018
Ministry responsible: Economic Development and Trade

Individuals who successfully submitted applications for an intake period can access their application program profile through their user account.


As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, the Alberta government launched the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program in 2016 to promote long-term economic growth and prosperity in Alberta’s communities and regions. Through Budget 2018, the CARES program has been extended to 2020.

A series of program enhancements have also been introduced to maximize and build on the program’s success so far. These enhancements include:

  • Revising the program outcomes to encourage not-for-profits and municipalities to partner with private industry.
  • Reducing the amount of matching funding required by First Nations and Métis Settlements from 50% to 25% of the total project cost.
  • Shortening the application intake window from 60 days to 30 days.
  • Clarifying ineligible costs, and
  • Extending eligibility to national not-for-profit organizations, associations or societies that partner with a provincially registered entity and undertake an Alberta-based project.

All changes can be found in the updated CARES program guidelines (PDF, 544 KB).

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 to reflect a series of new program enhancements. Changes are outlined below and can be found in the CARES program guidelines (PDF, 544 KB).

The CARES program has been extended to 2020 and funds 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 associations, businesses and industries that provide diversification to a community or a region
  • increasing industry and sector competitiveness to lay the foundation for investment and job creation

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

Municipalities and not-for-profit organizations must be able to match the funding requested at a 1:1 matching ratio, or 50% of the total project cost.

First Nations and Métis Settlements must be able to match the funding requested at 25% of the total project cost.

Successful applicants will receive the grant up front so that their project can commence immediately. All projects must not take more than two years to execute.

Projects or initiatives that have private industry partnerships 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 accessible through this page during each intake.

There are currently four application intake periods scheduled for the CARES program:

  • June 1 to June 30, 2018, inclusive (now open)
  • October 1 to October 31, 2018, inclusive
  • May 1 to May 31, 2019, inclusive
  • October 1 to October 31, 2019, inclusive

For more details on the type of information applicants are required to provide as part of their application, please refer to the sample application form (PDF, 644 KB).

Step 1. Create a user account

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 an active application intake period.

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 (PDF, 544 KB)

Successful grant recipients

See documents below for information on successful grant recipients, including an overview of each project and the total amount of funding received:

Other funding

In addition to grant funding distributed through the competitive application intakes, CARES funding has also been distributed in a number of other ways. For example:

  • Regional Economic Development Alliances received funding to execute projects and support operations through 2016-18
  • four Rural Alberta Business Centres received funding to support 2016-18 operations
  • the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo received funding to support the Back to Business Resource Centre and business recovery expos in Fort McMurray
  • $300,000 was provided to the Capital Region Board to explore the viability of a new regional economic development entity
  • $4,999,575 was allocated to assist Alberta communities affected by the coal-phase out through the Coal Community Transition Fund (CCTF)